Cooperation and engagement with our tenants and other stakeholders is an essential part of our sustainability strategy. We firmly believe that we can achieve the most by working with all our clients and other stakeholders, sharing ideas and devising innovative solutions to the challenges we all face.
Tenant engagement and satisfaction
Bouwinvest and its property managers want to gain more insight into the needs of the Fund’s tenants, so we can focus on the matters that generate returns. But to provide tenants with better services, we need a total client profile. Thanks to today’s technology, we can now make direct contact with tenants and improve the cooperation between tenants, property managers and Bouwinvest itself. One of the first steps in our renewed cooperation with tenants is the development of a community app, a portal that tenants, the property manager and Bouwinvest can use to communicate with each other efficiently and effectively. We have already started the search for a new cooperative model.
The Office Fund conducts an annual tenant satisfaction survey, which provides insight into the satisfaction of tenants and highlights potential improvements. The overall score was 6.8 in 2017 (2016: 7.3) and the participation rate was 38% (2016: 36%). The lowest participation rates were once again found among tenants of smaller office units. The response would be 47% if this survey were to exclude tenants of units of less than 100 m2 (2016: 48%). The survey was sent to 204 tenants in total, and 74 of these completed the questionnaire in full (2016: 86).
The main reason for a lower average overall score is a significant lower score for Centre Court (The Hague), which is surprising because its anchor tenant, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, is about to sign a lease extension. A lower score for this asset affected the overall score, because the result is calculated pro rata according to the weighting of the annual rent per tenant.
Another way to measure tenant satisfaction is to use the Net Promoter Score (NPS). This approach starts with a response of each tenant to a single question: How likely is it that you would recommend the asset to a friend or business partner? The scoring for this answer is based on a 0 to 10 scale and came in at 7.5. This means that on average tenants gave higher scores based on a single question when compared to the overall score, which is based on nine different elements: building exterior, parking facilities, general facilities, sustainability, accessibility, light, building interior, security and internal climate.
Those who respond with a score of 9 to 10 are called Promoters, and are considered likely to exhibit value-creating behaviour, such as remaining a tenant for longer and making more positive referrals to other potential tenants. Those who respond with a score of 0 to 6 are labelled Detractors, and they are believed to be less likely to exhibit value-creating behaviour. Responses of 7 and 8 are labelled Passives, and their behaviour falls in the middle of Promoters and Detractors. The NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of customers who are Detractors from the percentage of customers who are Promoters. For purposes of calculating a NPS, Passives count towards the total number of respondents, thus decreasing the percentage of detractors and promoters and pushing the net score towards 0. The NPS was 2; lower than in 2016 (13). The main reason for this is that the score was calculated based on a pro rata weighting of the annual rent per tenant and some larger tenants gave lower scores.
It is worth noting that the importance of parking declined, while the importance of sustainability increased. The scores for both aspects increased. Answers to open questions were once again very interesting and gives us an excellent starting point for a personal approach to a number of tenants. As we do every year, we will work with our property managers to come up with an action plan to improve results.
Stakeholder and tenant engagement is very important in any drive to improve the sustainability of the Fund’s assets. We have signed 2 green lease agreements with tenants to boost sustainability. And together with our external property manager, we are drawing up a new standard for green lease agreements. This will include clauses related to collective sustainability and efficiency goals for both landlord and tenants, making any improvement of sustainability a joint effort.
To promote and increase sustainable procurement, we have launched a project with IVBN (Association of Institutional Property Investors in the Netherlands) and a number of fellow fund managers to engage and assess the Fund’s suppliers using a sustainability web tool. Current and future suppliers will be assessed on their sustainable commitments, policies and behaviour.
Bouwinvest has Service Level Agreements with its property managers, who are assessed each quarter on topics related to administrative management, technical management (including sustainability), commercial management and tenant satisfaction.
The Office Fund applies ‘Bewuste Bouwers’ sustainable building criteria to all new-build projects and redevelopments. These criteria ensure that the contractor deals with the concerns of local residents, and addresses safety and environmental issues during the construction phase.
At last year’s annual kick-off of the Stichting Bewuste Bouwers, known as the ‘Bewuste Bouwers Boost’, Bewuste Bouwers announced the winners of the awards for the most sustainable projects over the past year. The winner of this award in 2017, with the highest score of 9.3, was Building 1962 in Amsterdam, for the redevelopment realised by Lokhorst Bouw en Ontwikkeling. The project scored well above the norm on all fronts and excelled in the fields of communication and awareness actions targeting the immediate vicinity of the project. The Bewuste Bouwers code of conduct was translated into concrete actions, including the push to increase the awareness of the entire project team of the impact they have on the environment, the immediate vicinity and on their fellow workers involved in the project.
Community and stakeholder management
The Fund took the initiative to organise a stakeholders’ meeting with real estate owners, users and the municipality of Amsterdam to support a joint action to improve the area around the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam, as a complement to the quality boost to the area from the current redevelopment of Building 1931 and Building 1962.
This meeting led to a declaration of intent, followed by the preliminary foundation of a Business Investment Zone (BIZ), with Bouwinvest one of its BIZ board members. A BIZ is a clearly defined area, such as a shopping street or business area, designated for investment by local entrepreneurs and/or real estate owners to improve the quality of the neighbourhood. The BIZ board draws up a concept investment plan together with a budget. The Amsterdam city council has organised a meeting for April 2018, where all the parties involved in the project will pledge their support.