Atrium is committed to sustainable growth reflecting our long-term approach to investment and operations and our continued efforts to lead in terms of corporate citizenship in the countries where we operate. Our core strategy is to employ sustainable principles and procedures as the underlying foundation of our daily activities. Atrium has rolled out a sustainability program across all its operations and offices with actions that are aligned with business strategy and long-term value creation. The Company has taken considerable steps in the last years to further improve its sustainability performance. Many of its commitments lead to more efficient operations, improved customer journey, increased employee awareness and a stronger organization that is prepared to manage the portfolio in a sustainable way in the years ahead. We will further embed our sustainability approach in our business strategy for 2020-2025.
Atrium has formalized its sustainability policy by choosing to focus on three main pillars: Our Customers, Our Places and Our People.
In each area we strive to improve our performance and to make a difference. We promote health, safety and well-being of our customers. We continuously look to improve our environmental impact by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, energy, water consumption and waste. Furthermore, we aim to offer our employees a great place to work, with a diverse workforce, equal pay and equal rights. Through active management and investment, data collection and sharing of best practices we aim to control and minimize the environmental impact of our operations.
Back in 2014, a materiality assessment was performed to reach a broad understanding of our stakeholders, their priorities and to assess our sustainability risks. With input from all our stakeholders (customers, tenants, investors, management and employees) Atrium defined a stainability policy and roadmap to meet stakeholders’ expectations. In 2015, Atrium set up a Sustainability Committee and published its sustainability policy. In 2016, we started rolling out our sustainability program, which included the monitoring of our Environmental, Social and Governance performance. We published a stand-alone Sustainability Report for the year 2016 and 2017. Since 2018 we have been integrating the sustainability report and ESG performance data into the annual report to reflect the fact that sustainability is an essential and integral part of our way of operating and conducting business.
In 2019 reporting period, Atrium has decreased its total energy consumption by 4.3% on a like-for-like basis compering to the previous period. Water consumption decreased with 5.1% on a like-for-like basis and the total amount of waste collected, decreased with 9.4% in 2018-2019.
For more details please refer to the 2019 Sustainability Report, which is an integral part of the 2019 Annual Report. The report is aligned with the EPRA best practices recommendations on Sustainability Reporting.
Since 2016 Atrium has been recognized by the industry for its sustainability efforts. In 2019 Atrium received a gold award in the financial reporting Best Practices Recommendations (BPR) series by the European Public Real Estate Association (EPRA). Atrium has been participating in the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB). This global benchmark assesses the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) performance of real estate companies. In 2020 Atrium received three green stars.
At a corporate level Atrium’s Sustainability Committee is responsible for defining the Company’s sustainability strategy, setting long-term targets and monitoring its company-wide environmental and social performance. Atrium’s Group Executive Management and various departments including Asset Management, HR and Operational Centre Management are represented in this Committee which meets on a quarterly basis. Atrium’s Board of Directors reviews and endorses the Company’s sustainability strategy, reporting and the planned initiatives on an annual basis.
Atrium has launched a Green Financing Framework which integrates the company’s sustainability commitments with its financing activities. Under this framework Atrium can issue green financing instruments, such as Greenbonds, Green loans, Green hybrids and Green private placements. The issuance of green financing instruments will be used to lower our carbon footprint and to further integrate sustainability in our corporate strategy. Our Green Financing Framework is alignedwith the Green Bond Principles 2018 and the Green Loan Principles 2018 . The Green Financing Framework has been verified and approved by Sustainalytics, an external second opinion provider. An annual allocation and impact report will be included in our annual Sustainability Report and will be verified by our external auditors.
Atrium’s shopping centres at the heart of their communities. Over 718 community engagement activities were organized in 2019 of which 41 focused on sustainability. Furthermore, we introduced Community Centres in a number of our shopping centres, reserved for different neighbourhood initiatives. In Promenada, we introduced a Community Centre called Fifth Dimension. This attractive space is used for different kind of activities. It is a unique project where we as a landlord not only provide a physical space but also organize a range of activities on a daily basis to support education, health and self-development. It is our way of giving back and investing in the community we are a part of. Our commitment goes far beyond just creating a physical space and in 2019, we had almost 1200 activities during the year and more than 8,000 people participating in activities at Promenada.
With climate change bringing drought and heat waves to previously mild continental climate areas, responsible and innovative use of water has become a more pressing issue. At Atrium Flora, a rainwater tank and harvesting system were installed in 2019 which are projected to save 8% of total water consumption from the grid. Harvested water is used as process water for irrigation and flushing toilets. This measure is calculated to save €13.000 a year in water costs which translates into a six-year return on investment period. The project is planned to be extended in 2020 and the following years with the aim to cover around 20% of water consumption.
As part of ongoing improvements of Atrium Reduta and Atrium Copernicus during 2019, we decided to replace the lighting in different areas, such as car parking, arcades and toilets, with over 1.600 LED’s. A major investment that will pay for itself within just a few years because of its significant impact on energy costs. The new lamps are covered by a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty and their brightness is better than the old lights even though they require less power. Energy consumption drops, as well as our carbon footprint.