Andrew Vaughan CEO
Message from the CEO
Dear reader, I am pleased to introduce our 2020 Responsible Investment Report. 2020 was an extraordinary year. It will go into the history books as the year in which the COVID-19 pandemic turned into a worldwide health crisis. It also cascaded into an economic nightmare that required a lot of us all in terms of flexibility, adaptability and persistence.
The well-being of all stakeholders
Redevco is an employer, an investment manager and a landlord to many retailers. Our priority has therefore been to safeguard the health and well-being of our employees, investor clients and tenants. The crisis has made very clear what partnership is all about and I would like to emphasise three things.
First, my Redevco colleagues have made me very proud. We have demonstrated that our team approach makes us perfectly capable of working remotely to run our business smoothly and deliver quality services to the best of our ability.
Second, I am extremely grateful to our investor clients and our shareholders for their continued support, trust, and valued partnership. This is particularly welcome as our primary concern during this crisis is to help our retail tenants navigate through this storm.
And third, it hurts to see many of our tenants severely impacted by this pandemic as their shops were and partially are still closed and their businesses are suffering. We have and will continue to work together with our tenants to find balanced solutions to overcome this crisis.
The one positive aspect of this pandemic is its effect on our environment. With so many of us homebound and restricted from travelling, our planet has been given some time to take a breather. My hope is that we will use this opportunity to collectively make lasting change to the well-being of our planet and its people.
The world around us is changing – and so are we
The COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating change across many aspects of society, business and cities. Redevco has always had a focus on cities and the creation of vibrant locations where people can live, work, shop and play. Now, our cities are being transformed at their core, as they become
increasingly digital and more sustainable. This is underpinned by people’s changing needs, habits and priorities, as well as shifting demographics. The pandemic is accelerating this transformation further, as it impacts every aspect of people’s lives in urban spaces. Our vision is for cities to contribute positively to the health and well-being of everyone. And we strongly believe that we can help cities become more positive environments for citizens and visitors alike.
Although the pandemic took us all by surprise, we anticipated many of these changes a few years back, and decided to diversify beyond retail. One major activity in this context is to repurpose the assets in our existing retail portfolios and transform them into mixed-use locations. A great example is our Le 31 asset in Lille, France. This 25,000 m2 largescale redevelopment project offers a mix of leisure and entertainment activities, street food, streetwear, a hotel, co-working spaces and parking facilities. We have carefully curated our Le 31 offer to create an iconic ‘Next Gen’ mixed use scheme that goes beyond a traditional commercial area, with the intent to create and build a solid and sustainable
In addition to re-purposing existing assets, we plan to grow and diversify into other real estate sectors within the urban environment. After successful residential acquisitions, we are now further extending our scope to urban logistics and exploring alternative real estate. This context of growth and diversification means that partnerships will play an increasingly central role. These partnerships include our existing clients, as well as new ones as we increase the number of separate accounts and create new joint ventures and other vehicles. As a third option, we are also considering the acquisition of platforms that fit our strategy.
“My hope is that we will use this opportunity to collectively make lasting change to the well-being of our planet and its people.”
Net Zero Carbon for sustainable cities
It is our task to contribute to a more sustainable future for cities. That is why our growth and diversification plans include making our entire portfolio Net Zero Carbon by 2040. This means that Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) considerations will progressively be key to our specialist investment strategies. In fact, we have put a Redevco ESG Policy in place to frame our sustainability approach in internationally-recognised terminology, and to provide transparency to all our stakeholders. This overarching framework clearly states how we want to work as an
investment manager and how we wish to interact with our stakeholders.
We have also joined forces with our shareholder COFRA Holding to initiate Project Solar: a large-scale, renewable energy project that will provide clean, on-site energy generation by installing solar panels on the roofs and carparks of the retail park assets that we manage in Belgium.
At the same time, we took another step in the roadmap to reaching our Mission 2040 ambition – to know where we stand today in terms of our assets’ energy consumption and emissions. To do this we partnered with Fabriq, a platform that allows us to capture and analyse energy and other
environmental data across all our assets. This will help us formulate the next steps and track progress on our joint efforts with our tenants to reduce overall energy consumption and emissions.
Redevelopments provide perfect opportunities to futureproof our assets. We are happy that – despite COVID-19 – we have managed to successfully conclude a variety of projects in this area. These include an ‘Excellent’ BREEAM In-Use rating for our C&A flagship store in the heart of
Zurich, and the first phase of a major refurbishment of Parque Corredor Shopping Centre in Madrid with the goal of receiving an ‘Excellent’ BREEAM In-Use rating once the second phase is concluded.
Employees play a key role
The health and well-being of our employees have always been important. In times like these, as we all work across dispersed locations for months on end, we need to be especially vigilant. Therefore, we have created a health and well-being vision to structure our thoughts on this important
topic. This vision enables us to clearly communicate Redevco’s views and actions. In this context, we updated our working from home policy, organised events to maintain mental and physical health, and renewed our training platform to make learning opportunities readily available to all.
Our colleagues are strongly committed to making a difference to the world we live in. Of course, volunteering in COVID-19 times has been challenging, but the Redevco Foundation continues to facilitate our employees’ engagement with supporting local community projects and charitable initiatives across the globe. In the past year, Redevco Foundation disbursed employee-proposed grants for a total of €1.2 mln to over 50 initiatives.
A challenging and rewarding time
The past year has proven to be testing. It demanded that we change our ways quickly and adapt all of our routines overnight. However, we are optimistic about our future and that of society at large. We should use this situation to ‘reset’ our approach – to structurally change behaviour
that negatively influences the well-being of people and the planet. At the same time, now is a good time to reinforce practices that will lead to better places to enjoy life in a healthy, safe and vibrant way.
I want to thank my Redevco colleagues for their perseverance and hard work during the unprecedented 2020 business year. And on behalf of all of them, I invite you, our stakeholders, to be partners on our journey to realise our vision for the cities of the future.