Sustainability at Balder
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
A large environmental impact takes place through the properties’ energy consumption and we, therefore, work continuously to reduce energy consumption in our properties.
All electricity purchased for our properties is green electricity from renewable sources. We also own two wind farms, one to the north of Falkenberg and one on Öland, producing renewable energy corresponding to the domestic electricity for about 8,000 apartments each year.
Other measures implemented to reduce energy use include window replacements, supplementary insulation of façades, adjustment or replacement of ventilation units and the replacement of light fittings. Our energy use was reduced by 7.9% per square meter during 2020.
Below you can read more about some of the most important sustainability issues in our properties.
- Digitalisation of properties
We’re installing smart technical control systems that improve energy consumption, for example, a system for individual metering of cold and hot water and optimization of the room temperature.
- 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. In 2021 our area developers in Gothenburg, Stockholm, Sundsvall, Skövde and Trollhättan have, in cooperation with PreZero, distributed information and arranged activities for our tenants to increase awareness of recycling.
- 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.
- Bike and carpools
Balder prioritizes solutions for increased mobility, such as proximity to public transport, cycle paths and electric carpools in the development of properties and areas, as are green areas for sport and recreation.
Security and well-being in the property portfolio
It is important for Balder 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, and activities such as communal barbecue evenings and cultivation projects.
In addition to creating safer outdoor environments with places for social gatherings for all ages and expansion of lighting we also hire young people as summer workers and implement education investments in selected areas.
Balder’s employees are responsible for property management, finance, letting and operations, creating proximity to the customer and a good awareness of both the area and the property.
Below we have listed some of the activities we do 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.
- Education investments for unemployed
We arranged a truck driver education for several tenants in Bergsjön that were currently unemployed. In addition to the opportunity of obtaining a truck driving license, they also got to meet potential employers in need of truck drivers.
- Local activities
Many local activities are arranged on an ongoing basis, for example, free outdoor exercise in several areas, football tournaments for young people, food festivals, and Corona adapted outdoor concerts. We also arrange games, sporting activities and swimming school during the summer vacation and other holidays.
- 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
We arranged the Bergsjö Gala 2019 with Familjebostäder. 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 levels and collaborate with municipal authorities and other actors.
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, to give the training courses a clearer connection to working life. We also offer several work placements in various occupational roles.
- Special efforts during the pandemic
When most activities were cancelled due to the pandemic, we redirected our efforts to support healthcare workers. We distributed coffee and chocolate bars outside several hospitals and provided the staff with pre-paid lunches. In Gothenburg we let health care workers use parking spaces free of charge close to the Östra hospital during spring 2020.
- Joint runs with Löparakademin in Hallonbergen
In cooperation with Löparakademin, we arranged running meetings 2 to 3 times a week for young people in Sundbyberg and Botkyrka in 2020. The goal is to run 10 kilometres. Löparakademin is a non-profit organization that works for equal health and social inclusion.
- Support for organizations
Balder has through the years given support to several help organizations. For example, we cooperate with Mitt Livs Val that provides newly arrived and unaccompanied immigrants with study motivation and mentor programs.
- 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 openly and honestly 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. The organization evolves continuously, and new roles emerge in the company, where we have recruited people internally and externally.
We work continuously to create 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 to promote personal development. Every year, about 100 colleagues participate in the Göteborgsvarvet Half Marathon, where Balder provides sponsorship in registration fees and running tops. The 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.
- Business travel
When it comes to business travel, we have a travel policy that makes it easier to book more environmentally friendly means of transport. During the pandemic, more and more employees have worked from home, which has promoted a digital way of working and the need for commuting and business travel has therefore decreased.
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 financial stability where net debt to total assets does not exceed 50% over time. Since a few years back, Balder has had 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 has the purpose 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. In addition to green bonds, Balder also has green loans with Swedish banks, both within the Balder Group and in associated companies, and a green loan agreement with the European Investment Bank (EIB).
- 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 by the Miljöbyggnad Silver rating or equivalent.