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As a long-term property owner, we strive to take social, environmental and financial responsibility.
Balder’s framework for sustainability comprises five general elements that bring together the company’s material topics in respect of social, environmental and economic sustainability.
Focus on reduced consumption
Our largest environmental impact takes place through the properties’ energy consumption. The top priority from an environmental perspective is therefore to reduce energy consumption in our properties.
All electricity purchased for the properties in Sweden is green electricity from renewable sources. We also own two wind farms, one to the north of Falkenberg and one on Öland, that each year produce renewable energy corresponding to the domestic electricity for about 7,800 apartments. Other measures implemented to reduce consumption include window replacements, supplementary insulation of façades, adjustment or replacement of ventilation units and the replacement of light fittings.
Below you can read more about some of our most important sustainability issues in our properties.
- Digitalisation of properties
We have made good progress in the installation and use of smart technical control systems that improve energy consumption, for example a system for individual metering of cold and hot water, which on average reduces consumption by 15%.
- Maximise recycling!
One of our goals is to reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfill sites by providing effective waste management facilities in our properties.
- Sustainable materials
During renovations and new construction, we strive to minimise waste through coordinated purchasing and reuse of material.
- Regular self-monitoring for the safety of our tenants
There are regular inspections of the properties. Once a year, a large proportion of employees gather to do what is known as a Night Run. This involves in-depth inspections of the properties to investigate how they are running at night. Before summer we also gather all coworkers for a joint cleaning day in and around our properties.
- Increased number of certified properties
We strive to increase the proportion of properties that are certified. The goal for new in-house production is that the properties shall be certified as a minimum in accordance with the Miljöbyggnad Silver rating or equivalent.
Security and well-being in the property portfolio
It is important for us to contribute to developing entire areas and city districts where our properties are located. We do this by being involved in several different projects together with local actors. Among other things this includes for example security patrols, neighbourhood partnerships, security staff, and communal barbecue evenings and cultivation projects.
We have carried out major initiatives in the outdoor environment in several areas with the aim to create places that encourage people to socialise, organise barbecues, play or do sporting activities, or to just sit and enjoy the greenery. This has resulted in new communal barbecue sites, the planting of new flowers, bushes and trees, new asphalting and paving of paths, expansion of lighting, new play areas, spaces for various ball games and outdoor gyms.
Below we have listed some of the activities we do in order to improve our areas.
- Measurement of customer satisfaction
Every two years we conduct a major customer survey, CSI, via AktivBo. Since the surveys began the results have continuously improved for both residential and commercial tenants.
- Local activities
Many local activities are arranged on an ongoing basis, for example free exercise in several areas, a football tournament for young people in Skövde, a food festival at Bergsjön in Gothenburg, and Corona adapted outdoor concerts in Sundsvall.
- An introduction to work
Every year we hire several young people as summer workers in the company’s areas. For many of them this is their first job.
- The Bergsjö Gala
In 2019 the Bergsjö Gala was held through a partnership between Balder and Familjebostäder in Gothenburg. The purpose of the gala is to recognise people, organisations and businesses that contribute towards a positive development in Bergsjön.
Joint work for a sustainable development
Social engagement is a natural element of our work and a way of contributing to sustainable development. We engage in community-related issues at both local and regional level and collaborate with municipal authorities and other actors.
We collaborate with other actors in offering work placements and mentoring for young adults who find themselves outside the labour market. The long-term goal is to increase employment. Initiatives currently under way include those at Hallonbergen in Stockholm and at Bergsjön in Gothenburg. We also sponsor the Childhood Cancer Gala and are a partner of the Swedish Crown Princess Couple’s Foundation, which focuses on projects that promote good health and strengthen solidarity among children and young people in Sweden.
Below you can read more about our sustainable partnerships.
- Increase interest for the real estate business
We are involved in Fastighetsakademin, a vocational training college in Gothenburg, where we contribute with knowledge the real estate business, in order to give the training courses a clearer connection to working life. We also offer a number of work placements in various occupational roles.
- Cooperation with responsible suppliers
All major procurements are put out to competition and central procurement processes are conducted in order to increase control of suppliers and the whole procurement chain. When selecting suppliers and during follow-up on quality delivered, internal criteria are used to guarantee compliance with company’s adopted policies.
- Code of Conduct
We have a Code of Conduct that has been adopted by the board and is to be used as a tool in day-to-day activities, both internally and externally. We do not tolerate any form of corruption, extortion or bribery – our business activities shall be carried out in an open and honest way that does not in any way impede competitiveness. All forms of harassment, abuse and crimes are prohibited and must be reported to the line manager. There is also a whistleblowing function, which provides an opportunity to submit anonymous reports of infringements.
- Impartial letting
All letting of apartments is handled according to our selection policy, which has been drawn up to produce an impartial assessment when choosing tenants. No party may be disadvantaged in the selection process due to gender, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, religion or other belief, disability, transgender identity/expression or age.
A developing workplace
Satisfied coworkers and a healthy working environment are important for us to be able to recruit and keep coworkers with the right competence. We work continuously to create the conditions to promote health and personal development. It is important that our coworkers are happy and feel a sense of engagement for Balder and feel that they have an opportunity to develop within the company.
- Good health and development
All employees are offered a wellness grant and have ongoing employee appraisals in order to promote health and personal development. Every year about 100 colleagues take part in the Göteborgsvarvet Half Marathon, where Balder provides sponsorship in the form of registration fees and running tops. Those colleagues who are not running take part in the role of supporters and officials at our tent in the event area.
- Balder Academy
We work continuously with training and development through the digital training platform Balder Academy. All employees get an adapted training package, depending on which role in the company the individual will be taking on. There are also induction courses for new employees, to provide them with an insight into how Balder works, what values the company has and what different functions within the company work with.
- Career at Balder
There are major opportunities for a career within Balder, and each year many coworkers change jobs internally.
- Corporate travel
When it comes to travel, we have a travel policy that aims to simplify booking and the choice of environment-friendlier means of transport. Alternatives to business trips, such as video conferences and phone meetings, are also encouraged in order to reduce emissions.
- Increased efficiency with digital support
Through different digitalisation initiatives we work with the optimisation and automation of our processes, to improve security and control while also saving time for the organisation. These initiatives are ongoing, and in the coming years we will continue our work to digitalise the physical properties.
Long-term ownership with stable cash flows and satisfied customers
We strive to maintain a high level of activity and efficient management to generate a good profit from property management. Having customers who are happy and stay in the company’s properties is crucial for long-term financial sustainability.
Balder secures financing that is sustainable in the long term through a diversified financing structure. Our goal is a financial stability where net debt to total assets does not exceed 50% over time. Since the last few of years, Balder has green loans as an element of financing for new projects.
- We work close to our customers
Thanks to property management with presence, in-house customer service and central functions, we have good knowledge of our properties and areas. Tenants are involved on an ongoing basis through surveys, discussions and meetings about ideas and suggestions relating to the development of the properties and entire areas. Customer satisfaction is measured through regular customer surveys.
- Green financing
Our Green Bond framework in order to finance projects that contribute to a reduced environmental impact, primarily to green and energy-efficient buildings with environmental certification. We also invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency improvement measures.
Sustainable development goals
Balder strives to contribute to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and has selected six of the 17 goals that are considered most relevant to the company’s business activities and where the company has the greatest opportunity to have an influence.
Balder has signed the Global Compact, the UN’s international principles for companies in the area of human rights, labour, the environment and anticorruption. The principles are based on the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ILO’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, the Rio Declaration and the UN’s Convention Against Corruption.