We continue to drive our sustainability efforts forward with the introduction of concrete sustainability goals and a coherent ESG strategy covering all of our processes and business practices. Our new strategy focuses on five pillars defined as: climate & environmental protection, sustainable & transparent governance, living diversity, strong company culture, and societal engagement/stewardship.
“83 percent of our staff are under the age of 40, and their outlook is instrumental in shaping our vision for the topic. For us, ESG standards are intrinsic and part of our DNA,” explained Marion, Head of ESG. She continued, “Even before we launched our ESG strategy, sustainability was part and parcel of what we do. And with our ESG team and the extended 10-member ESG Work Force, sustainability plays a key role in all departments and is firmly rooted within the company management. However, the strategy enables us to take our existing sustainability work – and Coros as a company – to the next level; to systematically integrate ESG standards into our processes and place them even more firmly front and center in our day-to-day business activities.”
Pillar 1: Climate & environmental protection
Our new ESG strategy sets ambitious targets. By 2040 at the latest, we want our entire fund portfolio to be climate neutral. Moreover, we plan to achieve the same goal for our operations as early as the end of 2023, including digitizing our processes, cutting paper use, and moving to a paperless office e.g. digital business cards. Regular audits of our CO2 footprint will also enable the company to reduce our emissions.
“We are systematically evaluating our processes with the aim of identifying additional ways to cut our CO2 emissions. And where this is not possible, we plan to use CO2 offsetting, e.g. for business travel.” In the case of our real estate portfolio, Coros is drawing up Green Capex plans for each of the properties. “A key requirement for this is good quality data about the energy consumption in each property. We’ve addressed this by launching a systematic roll out of smart meters across our portfolio,” explained Marion. Green lease clauses – and the resulting collaboration with tenants on environmental issues – also have an important role to play. In addition, Coros is working towards BREEAM, LEED or DGNB certification for our buildings, and ESG due diligence and a systematic risk analysis now form part of every purchase process.
Pillar 2: Sustainable & transparent governance
To ensure good corporate governance, we introduced compliance guidelines and appointed a dedicated compliance officer. Staff also undertake regular compliance training to ensure these principles remain firmly rooted in Coros’ culture. We have drawn up our own Code of Conduct as well as a Code of Ethics, which sets out the fundamental values that underpin the company; and the aim for 2024 is for Coros’ reporting to meet UN PRI grade A standards.
Pillar 3: Societal engagement & stewardship
At Coros we also see our responsibility in engaging with our partners and investors by conducting open dialogue and active stewardship and ownership. With this joint effort we want to achieve common goals.
Another important element of sustainable business is ensuring Coros only works with business partners who maintain impeccable business standards and whose business models have no negative impacts on society. Moreover, we have defined this set of exclusion criteria for potential tenants.
Coros also supports longstanding community projects in Germany such as “Gesellschaft macht Schule”, which supports children with educational disadvantages based on their social background.
Pillar 4: Living Diversity
We seek to promote an internal culture of equal opportunity where there is no place for discrimination based on gender, age, lifestyle or sexual orientation. Our diversity policy provides the framework for this culture and also covers other important areas of HR management. Staff is expected to treat each other without prejudice, be it based on age, gender (women’s quota), origin, or level of education. In particular, our Coros team represents a diverse range of cultural backgrounds, with 50 staff members hailing from 13 different nationalities. “For us there is no doubt that working in diverse teams with people from different cultural and professional backgrounds provides our staff with inspiration and helps us achieve better results,” said Leonhard, Founding Partner. In addition, we promote a good work-life balance by offering a range of working models, including working from home and part-time contracts.
Pillar 5: Strong company culture
A strong and positive corporate culture is a vital ingredient for employee satisfaction and a collaborative working environment. To promote this, we have introduced a number of initiatives including our well-being policy. Coros allocates each employee a monthly budget, which we can choose to spend on a selection of training activities in the areas of sport, health and education, as well as courses on protecting our mental health. Regular satisfaction surveys are also planned to identify additional areas where our corporate culture could be improved.
“As part of the real estate sector, we carry a big responsibility for cutting the high emissions levels and creating positive spaces where people can live and work. We want to use our ESG strategy to set an example and promote a sustainable future, which is why we, as a company, have committed to going climate neutral as early as 2023. An open work culture is already part of our company DNA, but our ESG strategy will enable us to keep making improvements,” explained Leonhard, adding, “We are taking proactive steps to help our real estate on the road to climate neutrality and making all the necessary operational changes, including digitizing our measurement infrastructure in readiness for smart metering, for example. We also intend to increase the quality of our buildings and, wherever financially viable, keep technical systems updated with the latest technologies, so that, by 2040, our portfolio enables us to meet the targets we have set ourselves.”