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Case study: How alstria promotes workplace diversity

As a leading German office real estate company, focused on the ownership and active management of its properties throughout their entire life cycle, alstria believes that it benefits from the blending of various backgrounds, ideas and perspectives. Accordingly, alstria seeks to develop a diverse workforce, hiring talented individuals regardless of their origin and gender  Tweet This!, promoting people based solely on their performance, and having managers capable of fostering inclusive working environments.

This case study is based on the 2017/18 Sustainability Report by alstria published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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As the European market becomes more diverse, cultivating an inclusive work environment becomes a business imperative. In order to promote workplace diversity alstria took action to:

  • promote equal opportunities
  • foster gender diversity
  • increase age diversity

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2017/18 Sustainability Report alstria identified a range of material issues, such as ethical conduct, employee growth and development, financial performance, supplier management, carbon emissions. Among these, promoting workplace diversity stands out as a key material issue for alstria.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The organization should identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process s of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups alstria engages with:   

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement
Tenants

 

 

 

 

·      Regular meetings with key tenants

·      Feedback at all different stages of a tenancy, as collected by alstria’s property managers

·      Access to all important documentation by means of an online tenant portal

Business partners
·      One-on-one dialogue before the beginning of a new business relation

·      Weekly meetings with contractors during the construction stage

·      Dialogue in the form of online feedback via the company’s website

  Employees ·      Annual appraisal meetings

·      Open-door policy

·      Anonymous company feedback survey

  Local communities

 

·      One-on-one dialogue with affected neighborhoods before and during redevelopment

·      Press conferences

·      Responsive communication through social media

  Investors ·      Discussion at roadshows, conferences and tours of alstria’s properties

·      Direct dialogue and voting rights at the Annual General Meeting

·      Direct chat via alstria’s website

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics alstria engaged with its stakeholders through a survey among 1,420 stakeholders, who included shareholders, debt providers, analysts, tenants, employees, press and others.

What actions were taken by alstria to promote workplace diversity?

In its 2017/18 Sustainability Report alstria reports that it took the following actions for promoting workplace diversity:

  • Promoting equal opportunities
  • Each of alstria’s employees is to be treated fairly and respectfully by supervisors and other employees. Seeking to prevent discrimination on any grounds throughout the Company’s upstream and downstream activities, alstria’s ‘Equal Treatment Policy’ vehemently prohibits any sort of discrimination based on ethnic or national background, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, age, religion, ideology, political attitude or any disability that affects the working relationship alstria has with its employees, from hiring to the termination process. Employees experiencing or witnessing any discriminatory incidents have to report such incidents to their direct supervisor or the Company’s compliance officer. The Company’s external compliance hotline enables employees to anonymously and confidentially report any relevant breaches and, since the Company’s founding in 2006, no concerns regarding possible discrimination have been officially addressed at alstria.
  • Fostering gender diversity
  • Firmly committed to promoting gender diversity and increasing the representation of women in management positions, alstria employed, in 2017, 76 women and 45 men, a female-to-male ratio of 63% to 37%. As the industry has a deficit in women in management positions, alstria’s Management Board has determined that female representation for the first management level below the Management Board should not be less than 30% until December 2021. This target was overreached in 2017, with 41.7% of alstria’s upper management positions covered by women. A similar target quota of 30% female representation until 2021 has been set for the members of the Supervisory Board, which has also been achieved, with women making up 33.33% of the Supervisory Board in 2017. Additionally, in 2017, the salaries between women and men in equivalent positions and homogeneous teams were aligned and did not differ by more than 1.2%.
  • Increasing age diversity
  • When it comes to the creation of a new location of operations or a new division, alstria recruits people regardless of age. For example, during its recent business expansion with a local operational team in Berlin, alstria recruited a mixed-aged workforce from the beginning. This principle allows alstria to benefit from each age group’s special strengths, and avoid potential conflicts. The measures alstria takes to benefit from the experience of employees of various ages include facilitating mentoring, and encouraging cross-generational interaction. This way, alstria encourages employees to share knowledge and understand various perspectives. To compliment this effort, alstria also raises managers’ awareness of the challenges posed by mixed-age teams.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 405-1 Diversity of governance bodies and employees

2) Disclosure 405-2 Ratio of basic salary and remuneration of women to men

3) Disclosure 406-1 Incidents of discrimination and corrective actions taken

 

Disclosure 405-1 Diversity of governance bodies and employees corresponds to:

Disclosure 405-2 Ratio of basic salary and remuneration of women to men corresponds to:

Disclosure 406-1 Incidents of discrimination and corrective actions taken corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  • Business theme: Non-discrimination
  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • Business theme: Non-discrimination
  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
  • Business theme: Non-discrimination

 

80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

Research by well-recognised institutions is clearly proving that responsible companies can look to the future with optimism.



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References:

1) This case study is based on published information by alstria, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning.  If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:

http://database.globalreporting.org/

2) https://www.globalreporting.org/standards/gri-standards-download-center/

Note to alstria: With each case study we send out an email requesting a comment on this case study. If you have not received such an email please contact us.

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