Our environmental report
The Company believes that the environmental aspects of its business model are of high importance. GCP pays great attention to the environmental aspects of the repositioning process and includes, as well as improves upon, environmental measures. The Company sees the implementation of environmentally friendly measures as both an important environmental issue as well as an integral part of the optimization of its cost structure. The Company has a full environmental policy in place that reflects all aspects of energy management and environmental responsibility.
The Company is reporting in line with the EPRA sBPR guidelines.
The Company has switched 2/3 of its buildings, as well as all of its offices to electricity from 100 % renewable resources during the past 2 years and will continue to switch as and when existing contracts expire. So far cost savings of 23% compared to previous electricity providers have been realized. All GCP offices are supplied with electricity from renewable resources.
Around 1/3 of the portfolio uses gas supplied heating systems. 28% of that energy has been switched to climate neutral gas, resulting in (externally certified) 20k tons reduction of CO2 emissions. A further 13% will be switched to climate neutral gas during the next two years. The remaining 59% will gradually be changed as existing supply contracts expire. GCP puts great emphasis on new contracts, which will be entered into only with gas suppliers that deliver 100% climate neutral gas. Furthermore, through the changeover to new high efficiency heating systems we were able to reduce our CO2 output by 780 tons (10%) per year and a further reduction of 1,000 tons (10%) per year is planned for the coming two years.
Looking forward, GCP has set out clear goals to reduce further its CO2 output through exchanging inefficient heating systems with highly efficient systems fueled by gas or district heating. Also, further improvements in the supply of electricity from renewable resources will be implemented going forward with the aim to have all electricity supplied from renewable resources. Furthermore, GCP is working on a Photovoltaic Pilot Project which will supply 150 apartments with solar energy.
The Company puts emphasis on changing fixed costs to variable costs, which has proven to significantly increase the energy savings. In buildings where the charges for water, hot water and heating have been calculated on a per square meter basis in the past, GCP is installing metering systems that allow the charges to be applied based on actual consumption, which results in tenants becoming more conscious of their consumption, resulting in a lower use of valuable resources. This is enhanced by GCP’s awareness creation amongst its tenants through several publications in various languages, independent hand-outs and videos about dealing responsibly with resources and saving costs at the same time.
In many of GCP’s locations the company cooperates with external providers, ensuring proper waste management and waste separation. As a result waste recycling is optimized and 30% cost savings have been achieved. In selected locations the Company has implemented a waste disposal system using an electronic chip, significantly reducing waste in terms of weight and volume.
The Company does create optimized Green Buildings where there is an overall benefit as part of the life cycle assessment. Hereby, the resource consumption and waste creation over the whole life of a property is considered. Policy is to prefer investment in Green Buildings based on the positive result of life cycle assessment although it is important to know that nearly all investment properties are existing buildings at the time of purchase and only to some degree qualify for certification.
Therefor we optimize the buildings in terms of energy consumption, thermal insulation, eliminating maintenance backlog and extending the residual economic life of a property through, in part, heavy investment and capital expenditure. In this context, we are looking more at Blue Building certification, which is one program under the Green Building standard specifically designed to deal with the optimization of existing structures that are already in the mid-point of their life cycle. We are currently investigating several buildings for such certification and are in the process of examining the relevant methodology.
The Company’s business model is focused on investing in and managing value-add opportunities in residential units. In the past and until today, we have not engaged in greenfield development and therefore we have not built any new Green Buildings. As we have improved on the environmental performance on many of our properties, we have become a member of DGNB (German Sustainable Building Council). That means we are not investing in ready-made Green Buildings, nor do we create them from scratch. We create sustainable buildings with eco-friendly performance data and increased life spans out of existing premises and structures.
The Company considers climate change risks as part of our risk management. We are aware of the market expectations and regulatory requirements. Therefore, the responsibility for this topic rests directly with the CEO.
According to our Environmental Policy, the emission of greenhouse gases is strictly to be monitored and reviewed. Internal benchmarking systems are in preparation for external audit. The objective of the Company is to reduce the energy consumption, especially of fossil fuels, by increasing the use of renewable energy, if economically feasible. The Company hereby defines emission and reduction targets periodically.
Where fossil fuels are used the ability to switch to higher efficiency systems is reviewed and examined regularly. Management regularly reviews projects and initiatives to improve on climate change related issues.
Furthermore, the Company is in the process of collecting relevant data internally. Due to the constantly updated requirements for ESG reporting we are planning to implement reporting according to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.
Each project and business activity is assessed with respect to its impact on the environment and possible implications on the climate. Low emission technologies are preferred alongside the implementation of processes and projects to actively reduce overall energy consumption. For each area relating to property portfolios, construction, operations and supply chains, for example, the impact on climate and its minimization is reviewed.
The Company is using strategic partners for energy supply (gas and electricity). These have all relevant certifications in place and analyze the ‘energy portfolio’ they have with us on a regular basis. It is part of the Company’s agreement with MeistroEnergie that all GHG emissions are 100% offset. All relevant certifications and statistics can be supplied and are ready for review. MeistroEnergie also statistically covers not only the development of energy used by the Company – which has been nominally increasing due to portfolio growth – but also give us forecasts as to the tons of GHG saved and offset as part of our program with them.