Corporate social responsibility at Rabo Real Estate Group
Rabo Real Estate Group believes that real estate should serve end users and contribute to the quality of the living environment, both now and in the future. This belief is underpinned by a commitment to:
- active ownership of sustainable real estate;
- ethical business practices;
- responsible business practices; and
- community involvement.
Financially sound business practices are the framework that facilitates this.
Active ownership of sustainable real estate
Bouwfonds Property Development launched a campaign by the name of ‘Daarom nieuwbouw’ (Why choose a new-build?) in 2012 to educate consumers about the sustainability of, and energy savings associated with, a new-build property. Consumers looking to buy a new-build from Bouwfonds Property Development - whose properties already meet high energy efficiency standards - can use the Green Buyers’ List to choose from various additional energy-saving options.
The fact that MAB Development has a forward-looking vision in developing commercial properties is illustrated by De Heuvelgalerie, a shopping centre in Eindhoven. This development, which was completed by MAB Development 20 years ago, received a ‘Very Good’ BREEAM-in-use rating in 2012 without any additional structural investments having been made. Structural aspects make up one-third of the rating. BREEAM is the standard in sustainability for commercial real estate. MAB Development uses the ‘Very Good’ BREEAM rating for its developments as a minimum. The First Rotterdam project received an ‘Excellent’ rating.
FGH Bank introduced a sustainability module in 2012 to identify what sustainability labels have been awarded to properties in the bank’s portfolio. Kantorentop (Office summit) is a platform for local, provincial and national authorities as well as investors, developers and property financiers, including FGH Bank, that is designed to define an effective, nation-wide solution to vacant office buildings. In June 2012, the parties signed a covenant to combat office vacancy and to promote a more effective market for office space.
Bouwfonds REIM’s ambition is to align reports of institutional funds to the recommendations of INREV, the European Association for Investors in Non-Listed Real Estate Vehicles, as much as possible. In keeping with the Rabobank Food & Agri Principles, investments are made in farmland and farms in Central Europe. Local communities receive support through business courses and in setting up cooperatives, which are meant to improve their economic and social perspectives.
Fondsenbeheer Nederland sees investing in the quality of the physical environment as its strategic mission. Through the funds it manages, it achieves this on a daily basis when it comes to listed buildings (National Restoration Fund), nature conservation (Dutch National Fund for Rural Areas), incentives for the housing market, urban regeneration and sustainability (SVn, a public housing fund) and rezoning of industrial, agricultural and religious heritage (BOEi).
Ethical business practices
The new Policy Rule on Integrity in Commercial Real Estate Operations that was issued by the Dutch Central Bank (DNB) was implemented at Rabo Real Estate Group in 2012 as scheduled. In this context, a number of divisions organised integrity workshops and courses on how to deal with dilemmas for employees.
Responsible business practices
Rabobank Group offsets its group-wide carbon emissions from energy use on an annual basis by purchasing carbon certificates. Expenditures on equipment explicitly include assessments of the scope for energy savings. The current car lease scheme is being reviewed; it is set to be converted into a system with greater focus on actual emissions.
Rabo Real Estate Group wants its operations to be future-proof and forward-looking. Rabo Real Estate Group has been the main sponsor of Open Monumentendag (Heritage Day), one of the largest cultural events in the Netherlands celebrating Dutch cultural heritage, for years now. In 2012, over 925,000 people visited the more than 3,500 historical buildings and sites that were open to the public. Rabo Real Estate Group also expresses its commitment to the community through the activities of three non-profit divisions:
- Fondsenbeheer Nederland, a fund manager, which manages public/private community investment funds to promote the quality of spatial planning in the Netherlands;
- Bouwfonds Cultuurfonds, a cultural fund, which supports cultural projects with ties to area developments undertaken by Bouwfonds Property Development; and
- Bouwfonds Kunststichting, an art foundation, which collects, manages and preserves modern art to inspire people in their work environment.