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INTEGRATING OVERALL STRATEGY AND CSR STRATEGY
The business case for this converged approach on sustainable development is clear and measurable. There is a strong connection between the socio-economic development of the communities we operate in and the prosperity of our centres. Our objective to create long-term value for our financial stakeholders, too, is well served by this approach in acquiring, (re)developing and managing our centres, as it adds value throughout their lifecycle.
Our centres have a special place within their communities as a place where people spend time, work and shop. They have become the setting for large parts of people’s lives. Our centres can be places for cultural enrichment, social interaction, recreation and education as well as shopping. Together with our tenants, we create awareness among consumer on social and environmental issues, such as leading a healthy lifestyle, responsible consumption and concern for the environment. If, as a result of our actions, our centres are viewed locally as making a positive contribution to the community, consumer trust will grow. So will the value we add to our centres and their ability to build a positive and meaningful brand image.
The better our centres are embedded into their local communities, the more connected they are to their surroundings and the people living there and the more successful they are. Being well connected helps us understand the communities where our centres are located and ensures that our centres’ services and facilities evolve in line with community aspirations. It also helps to make community activities and investments locally meaningful. We recognise the importance of being alert to the changing demands of people in our centres’ catchment area and the need to adapt quickly to their demands. The benefits of CSR in the retail context include the development of goodwill with the local community, increased customer loyalty, a better understanding of a centre among customers, improved stakeholder relationships and competitive edge over centres in the vicinity.
Corio’s mission is to create places where people like to meet, spend time, shop and come back to again, to create Favourite Meeting places, a home from home. To that end Corio adjusts its centres to the needs and demands of the local catchment area and supports local communities through a wide range of events and programmes. There is a connection between quality of public spaces, social interaction and a sense of well-being. We are conscious that our buildings have an effect on the quality of life as an integral part of community life. Our core business is focused on continuously upgrading our centres physically as well as through the services and activities we house. In this way we ultimately impact the residents of the surrounding catchment area too. Since we are constantly seeking to improve our centres in line with their needs and demands, our success attracts more consumers and other retail business. Ideally this creates a snowball effect which ultimately brings direct economic advantages to the community as a whole. Retail-led regeneration has measurable effects on surrounding areas. Studies show it enhances house prices and the attractiveness of the area and leads to growth in employment opportunities. The other way around, rising employment in the catchment area has a positive effect in the retail sector, so there is a shared benefit. To maximise our positive impact we have chosen to focus our community involvement on employment, education and entrepreneurship. We call it our 3E scope. We started a few pilot projects in 2011 that will be expanded in 2012. For the first time we will measure the results of these activities through a Social Return on Investment (SROI) calculation. Together with local stakeholders we will work to further develop the communities in which our centres are located, using the SROI and all the input we can get from our tenants and consumers to refine and improve our offering.
We manage our centres in such a way that our environmental impact is minimised and collaboration with our partners is maximised. This is our strategy in realising the sustainability potential of our portfolio. Our main impact area for the operational part of our portfolio is climate change and energy. We recognise greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions globally are at unsustainable levels and as a society we need to respond urgently to the issue of climate change. We are also committed to supporting and encouraging our stakeholders to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy use in areas within our influence. Water efficiency and waste reduction are on our environmental agenda as well. We will increase our efforts to cooperate with our tenants on these issues, as these partnerships are essential to make progress in these areas. The group-wide adoption of a green lease as standard contract, the implementation of sustainability committees on our centres and sharing environmental consumption data with our tenants are examples of our approach.
Corio integrates sustainability fully in the concept and design of centre developments and re-developments in order to create flexible and future- proof centres. From the very early stages of concept and design up to the completion and delivery of the centre, all measures are taken to have the lowest impact on the environment. To that end Corio has the ambition level of achieving BREEAM (re)development certificates with the qualification of at least ‘good’. We see ample opportunity to create energy efficient and sustainable buildings by integrating state of the art innovation in technology. To achieve our ambition in creating “near zero energy” centres however, a different approach is required. This is a challenge that we will address in partnership with representatives from the retail market, innovative suppliers such as lighting experts and energy production experts. By working together, we will create sustainable value for all our stakeholders.