3 March 2020 9:30

Letter to Stakeholders

Dear Stakeholders,

What we are presenting today is our tenth Sustainability Report. This is a very important milestone for us, it means that we have been working for 10 years to make IGD increasingly sustainable under all aspects: economic, social and environmental. The Company, compared to when we started sustainability reporting, has grown: greater capitalisation, with increased revenues and a higher number of employees. We have defined strategies which have enabled us to improve, over time, all our main sustainability performance indicators, because we believe that a company like ours which intends to be an important and long-lasting player in the retail real estate market, can only operate in a sustainable manner, or rather, one that is capable of producing over time added value for all its stakeholders, without taking short-lived shortcuts.

We believe we have carried out our work successfully, but we also see it as a starting point for what we intend to do in the future. For this reason, in this Sustainability Report we have placed great attention on highlighting our strategic approach and we have taken the opportunity to review our targets from a long-term point of view. Indeed, with this in mind, we have introduced a new section, called «Sustainability strategy».

With regard to this, in 2017 we launched the strategy «Becoming Great», which summarises the Company’s commitment to continuously grow in a manner that is «Green, Responsible, Ethical, Attractive, Together». There are three underlying elements: material issues, sustainability risks and future targets.

The definition of the material issues enables us to focus our attention on aspects that are really important both for us and our stakeholders, thus avoiding the use of resources (human and economic) on non-priority targets. We defined these material issues in 2017 and we analyse them every year to assess their accuracy: currently there are 12, for each of them we have defined the risks and established targets to be reached over the next few years. The definition process of the sustainability risks, carried out in 2019 and presented in this Report, arose from the awareness that the mapping of these (and the subsequent identification of the policies  and actions related to them) would enable us to avoid or at least mitigate any negative impacts on corporate business and transform them into positive opportunities.

With regard to future targets, we have stated in this Report what we are doing in order to successfully complete those included in the 2019-2021 Strategic Plan, at the same time, however, we have decided to raise the bar by including targets for 2030. This is an important step for IGD: we want to publicly commit ourselves and actively contribute to a transition towards a “low carbon” economy in the cities where our Shopping Centres are situated.

Furthermore, we intend to continue our relations with you, our stakeholders, in an ethically correct manner and implement all the necessary safeguards so as to be ahead of, or at the very least, comply with the law, both with regards to the way we conduct our business and by positively influencing the context in which we operate. At local level, it is our intention to be not only a landmark for shopping and leisure time but also a generator of economic and social development, becoming known as a place for gatherings and one that satisfies local needs.

We define our targets in a transparent manner, in the same way that we transparently monitor (and will continue to do so) our performance, seeking to continuously adapt our way of reporting to satisfy new standards and requirements. For this reason, starting from this Report, we have decided, in line with the best European practices in our sector, to draw inspiration from and refer to the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), the aim being to provide you, our stakeholders, with some useful information in order to assess the Company’s approach to climate change.

With regard to climate change, we have highlighted in section «Green» how total energy consumption decreased over the year by 7.1% and how, for the seventh year running, there was a reduction in GHG emissions intensity.

We have calculated that if the structural work and managements actions carried out by IGD over the last few years had not been implemented, our Shopping Centres would have emitted 7,900 tonnes of CO2 more into the atmosphere in comparison with what was actually produced in 2019 (compared to 2012).

These results are the outcome of multi-year planning, which between 2016 and 2019 led us to invest about 10 million euros (3.4 of which just in 2019) in energy efficiency.

We are following with great interest the debate at international level on Nearly Zero-Energy Building: this is one of our targets and we undertake to reach it (as far as is practically possible for us) by 2030 with regards to our Shopping Centres. We are happy to say we are on the right track: the electricity used in our Malls comes exclusively from renewable sources, we are continuing with the installation of photovoltaic panels (8 systems installed in 7 Shopping Centres up to now) and the replacement of traditional lighting with led lighting systems (change carried out in 19 Shopping Centres, 5 of which alone in 2019). When we decide to enhance a property by means of restyling work, we always do it in a sustainable manner: from 2014 to date, we have taken action on 8 Shopping Centres, focusing in particular on improving their energy efficiency also by utilising eco-sustainable materials.

Environmental certifications play an important role in this process: having 88% of our Italian portfolio UNI EN ISO 14001 certified and 5 of the 8 key assets already Breeam or Breeam in use certified (the certification of the other 3 will reach completion in 2020), is something that guarantees us an efficient method for the environmental management of our properties.

2019 also witnessed the continuation of two important projects: electric mobility and «Waste 2 Value» concerning circular economy. With regard to the former, we signed an agreement with a specialised company to install 32 EV charging stations in 18 of the Shopping Centres in our portfolio; 10 have already been installed, the rest will be so by the end of 2020. With regard to the latter, following the prototyping and testing phase, we have discovered how it is possible to produce a soil improver by using coffee grounds and orange peel coming from the restaurant/bar in one Shopping Centre. This project will continue in 2020 with the identification of the appropriate ways in which this product can be used by following a circular economy approach within the Shopping Centre itself.

Our commitment to act in a «Responsible» manner towards people continued in 2019. Our corporate workforce grew even more: at the end of 2019 we had 177 employees (counting both Italy and Romania), calling for the creation in IGD of a new role in order to cover specific skills regarding digital innovation. Furthermore, for the third year, the Corporate Welfare Portal was active and updated: 100% of our employees made use of it, bearing witness to the overall appreciation felt by all towards this initiative.

We orient our conduct, as we do that of our stakeholders, to comply with «Ethical» principles and those of legality. For this reason, we decided to voluntary undertake the process to obtain ISO 37001:2016 certification regarding anticorruption. Having completed in 2018 the process that led to the certification of our subsidiary Win Magazin (first company certified in Romania), we have now begun the adaptation of the procedures to obtain in 2020 the same result also in Italy. To reinforce our commitment towards  responsible business practises and to bear witness to IGD’s commitment to implement, disseminate and promote the Ten Principles of the United Nations in the areas regarding human rights, labour, environmental sustainability and anticorruption, it is our intention in 2020 to become a member of Global Compact, the world’s most important initiative on these issues.

We also proceeded with our primary commitment, which is to constantly make our Shopping Centres «Attractive», increasing their status of «Spaces to be lived in», also by means of an important communication campaign which, on the basis of this concept,  portrays the Shopping Centre as a place in which people have the possibility of making their dreams come true; from which the claim “I’m possible, the place without boundaries” arises. This campaign was carried out in 7 Shopping Centres and the outcome in terms of footfall and tenant sales was good. The portrayal of the Centres as «Spaces to be lived in» also continued by way of the organisation of events: we carried out 716, on average one every two weeks, free of charge, inclusive and exclusive, open to all, for a total cost for the Shopping Centres of €3.8 million.

We also intend to continue being attractive by means of the focus we place on constant innovation. The forms of innovation we are currently working on are: technological (with chatbots active in 3 Shopping Centres; social/environmental («Waste2Value» and «Social Borgo»); that regarding services (e-bike charging stations connected to photovoltaic system in Clodì Retail Park and Amazon Lockers in 21 Shopping Centres) and digital (with a new strategy to manage social networks and with focus on digital strategy in 2020).

We continue to carry out our business «Together» with our stakeholders. We engaged with all of them during the year and with several we began an extremely innovative process called «Social Borgo». We wanted to understand if it was possible to replicate inside a Shopping Centre the dynamics of a social street (social phenomenon which originated in Bologna and which is now widespread around many cities, not only Italian ones), by creating a participatory process capable of identifying the needs of a community and of providing responses from a social, cultural,  recreational etc. point of view. We decided to launch this process in Borgo Shopping Centre, the long-standing Shopping Centre in Bologna. The project is currently underway and the first results are positive: the Shopping Centre is becoming established as a civic centre, a place for gatherings and participatory planning. The model will be tested in 2020.

To conclude, we are very pleased to observe how our commitment which began 10 years ago is continuing to produce good results. In reference to one of these, at international level, we are extremely proud to have received for the fifth time running the “EPRA sBPR Gold Award” for our Sustainability Report and to have obtained for the second time the “EPRA BPR Gold Award” also for our Consolidated Financial Statements.

We undertake to keep focusing on this issue, even more so in this day and age where sustainability is at the centre of a worldwide debate. For this reason, it is our intention to continue investing in it, mindful that the work carried out to date enables us to address this debate fully aware that many of the results have already been achieved (and that increasingly demanding targets await us in the coming years).