Environmental responsibility emphasised in real estate investments
Varma's principles of sustainable development are especially evident in its real estate investments; real estate plays a central role in the efforts to create a sustainable society of tomorrow. As a major operator in society we expect responsible operations and the prevention of adverse environmental impacts from both our partners and ourselves.
In our real estate investment operations, we strive to follow the principles of economic, environmental and social sustainability. Targets and measures supporting their achievement are defined for the different areas of operations, taking into account all three aspects of responsibility: economic, social and environmental.
Life-cycle approach as a part of economic responsibility
Investing in real estate is a long-term operation, and success requires the introduction of the life-cycle approach in decision making. Through the life-cycle approach we can set realistic and measurable financial targets for the return on real estate also in the longer term and ensure, in addition to ecologically sustainable construction practices, a good return on the investment by controlling maintenance costs, ensuring the modifiability of the property and choosing the right location.
In our new-building and major renovation projects, efforts are being made to take into account environmental aspects throughout the building's life cycle, from planning and construction to use and, possibly, demolition. This facilitates responsible, long-term investment operations while reducing adverse environmental impacts.
As a key element in the life-cycle approach, the aim is that the buildings are designed and constructed in a way that ensures their energy efficiency and allows them to be flexibly altered later to correspond with the needs of new customers. Location also plays a vital role in the modifiability of properties. This helps us to meet the requirements of both present and future generations.
Continuing development in energy efficiency
In 2011, Varma joined the Commercial Property Action Plan as part of the Finnish Energy Efficiency Agreement Scheme and committed to reducing the energy consumption of its properties by six per cent by 2016. The scheme aims to influence not only the energy usage of the property owner but also that of the tenants. By the end of 2012, the energy consumption of the properties included in the scheme had been reduced by about three per cent.
In 2012, Varma also launched, together with a partner, an initiative to draw up an eco-efficiency and energy-efficiency strategy for the different functions within real estate investments. Furthermore, a model for managing the carbon footprint of real estate will also be created. At the same time, we are internally developing the charting of environmental risks and liabilities. This process is backed by the UN Principles for Responsible Investment, signed by Varma, which help to conduct our operations in a systematic way.
High quality rental flats at a reasonable price
Varma is a major housing investor and directly owns over 4,000 rental flats. We aim to respond to the increasing demand by offering high quality housing at reasonable prices. At the end of 2012, Varma had 265 flats under construction in the Helsinki region, and at the beginning of the year, 180 new rental flats were completed in Espoo and Järvenpää.
In the construction of new housing, we pay special attention to reducing the environmental load by using the life-cycle approach. Our renovations bring energy efficiency and comfortable living to old residential buildings, while at the same time respecting their history and surroundings.