How do you assess a company on sustainability?
As far as we are concerned, sustainability goes much further than winning an extra point for something like an EPC standard or reducing CO2 emissions. I believe it is essential that the firm uses its range of products and services to respond to a social need. There are enough construction firms that are only in business for themselves. I expect more from a listed construction firm. It must be able to fulfil its social role in society. It must contribute to the quality of living and working environments and public spaces.
Do you believe that Heijmans responds adequately to this?
Heijmans responds well to spatial and urban issues with a number of products and innovations. Take, for example, the Heijmans ONE, which responds to the housing needs of young professionals and at the same time can breathe new life into undeveloped urban areas.
But there is room for improvement, or it can in any case be made more transparent. What is the vision of Heijmans on, for example, the way in which you can respond to the influx of refugees in terms of housing? What solutions does Heijmans have for the higher-earning social tenants problem? Which social goals can you achieve through the transformation of existing buildings and how can you thus give new impetus to an area? Show how the company sees it, identify possible solutions and what this means for all parties involved. That is how you can contribute to public debate. Challenge the world and therefore also yourself.
How does the construction industry perform in terms of sustainability, and how does Heijmans rate?
The VBDO does a lot of research on the sustainability performance of listed companies and also benchmarks them. The construction industry ranks somewhere in the middle. In recent years, however, the business process and the end products have become significantly more sustainable. A phenomenon such as the CO2 performance ladder has certainly been a contributing factor. But in addition, it is important that construction firms are intrinsically motivated to become sustainable. And not just because the client demands it.