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Taking the industry forward

Sponda develops methods and practices in the real estate sector in the areas of services, economic reporting and energy efficiency through active participation in collective industry projects and through its activities in different organisations. In addition to organisational activities, the company takes the industry forward with its own development operations.

Why is this a priority?

Through organisational activities and its own research and development, Sponda promotes sharing of information and expertise and develops its own operations and those of the real estate industry from the perspectives of environmental, social and economic responsibility.

In Finland, buildings are responsible for around one third of the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions. For this reason, Sponda’s development work takes the energy efficiency of properties and controlling climate change into particular consideration.

As a responsible property company, Sponda also participates in the development of cities in terms of its own areas and properties, in cooperation with cities and other property owners. The vitality of the city environment is also an important factor for the appeal and occupancy rates of Sponda’s own properties.

Companies, organisations and authorities in the construction and real estate industry also have an important role in protecting against the grey economy and commercial crime. This role is emphasised particularly during periods of recession, when commercial crime often increases. RAKLI ry (the Finnish Association of Building Owners and Construction Clients) estimates that the damages due to grey economy in the construction industry alone amount to around EUR 500 million each year.

Responsible operation modes are also advanced in cooperation with Sponda’s subcontractors. The company requires transparent operations on the part of subcontractors, as well as open and up-to-date communications. By cooperating exclusively with reliable partners, Sponda also ensures the viability of its own operations.

Taking the industry forward at Sponda

The key aspects of the priority are:

  • Active participation in development work in real estate and construction industry organisations
  • Sponda’s own research and development work
  • Sharing of expertise and professional competencies

Involvement with industry organisations

In addition to its own development work, Sponda promotes best practices in the real estate industry by participating in projects and organisational activities with organisations and companies in the industry.

Sponda is involved with the following organisations and projects:

  • WWF Finland, main partner in cooperation
  • Finnish Green Building Council (FiGBC), founding member
  • Russian Green Building Council (RuGBC), member
  • RAKLI (the Finnish Association of Building Owners and Construction Clients), member
  • Elävä Kaupunkikeskusta (Living City Centre) ry, member
  • Finnish Business and Society ry (FiBS ry), member
  • Finnish Council of Shopping Centres, member
  • European Real Estate Association (EPRA), member
  • Helsinki City Markkinointi (Helsinki City Marketing) ry, member
  • Design District Helsinki, supporting member
  • Projects of the Association of Finnish Civil Engineers (RIL)
  • European Association for Investors in Non-listed Real Estate Vehicles (INREV)

Developing the real estate industry

Sponda participates actively in the Finnish Association of Building Owners and Construction Clients (RAKLI), where the President and Chief Executive of Sponda has acted as head of the electoral committee for several years. The association is an opinion leader in the real estate and construction industry, which strives to actively develop the industry, promote networking of experts and communicate information about the economic situation.

Sponda is a member of the association’s Business Premises executive group as well the Construction Clients and Contracting committee. The company is also an active member of the Finnish Council of Shopping Centres, which develops shopping centre activities and whose practical activities are overseen by RAKLI.

Sponda aims to reduce the environmental load caused by the real estate industry in cooperation with WWF Finland and by participating actively in the activities of Green Building Council Finland (FiGBC) and the Russian Green Building Council (RuGBC).

Sponda promotes responsibility in corporate activities as a member of FiBS (Finnish Business and Society) ry. Consistency and transparency in financial reporting for the real estate sector the company develops through its activities in EPRA, the umbrella organisation for listed European property investment companies.

Participation in the development of cities

Sponda participates in the development of cities through several different organisations. Sponda is a member of Elävä Kaupunkikeskusta (Living City Centre) ry, whose goal is continuous development of city and municipal centres into more vital, comfortable and competitive environments.

Sponda is also involved in Helsinki City Markkinointi ry, a cooperative association of centrally located property owners, entrepreneurs and city authorities, the goal of which is to increase the comfort and appeal of the city centre. The company promotes the enlivening of the city centre as a supporting member of the Design District Helsinki city district association.

Read more about Sponda’s cooperation with WWF

Read more about how Sponda participates in the development of cities

Measures taken in 2011

Active participation in RAKLI

In 2011, Sponda participated actively in the projects of RAKLI. The company was involved with the organisation’s Green Lease Practices development project, whose goal is to develop operational models and tools for contracts between property owners and tenants as well as service providers, thereby promoting energy and environmental efficiency in properties. A checklist tool for environmental efficiency along with contract templates for project participants are among the activities completed this past autumn.

Another project that got underway during the autumn was the Alueelliset energiaratkaisut (Local Energy Solutions) clinic, also organised by RAKLI, with the goal of developing the requirements for local exploitation of renewable and surplus energy through dialogue between parties in the public and private sectors of the industry. In addition to Sponda participants in the project include the City of Espoo and other cities, other public sector entities, the energy industry and the real estate and construction industries. The project will continue in 2012.

RAKLI’s committee for Construction Clients and Contracting, in which Sponda is active, prepared a recommendation for measures to be taken by tenderers when registering contract documents and agreements in order to prevent commercial crime. The committee also promoted the development of energy efficiency guidelines for renovations and solutions for use of renewable energy.

Activities of the Finnish Council of Shopping Centres, which develops shopping centre operations, concentrated in 2011 on land use matters, changes in building legislation, the opening hours of shopping centres and environmental matters.

Energy efficient cooperation

In 2011, Sponda joined a voluntary property sector agreement related to an action plan to promote the energy efficiency of business premises (TETS). The agreement is a framework agreement between the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Employment and the Economy and RAKLI with the goal of making energy use more efficient between 2010 and 2016.

Sponda joined the agreement with 124 properties whose energy consumption it can affect. The company is committed to an energy savings of 6 percent, as outlined in the agreement, by 2016. The ultimate goal is to achieve an energy savings of 20 percent by 2020, according to the energy and climate policies of the European Union. Sponda’s Energy Efficiency Programme, which began in 2009 and which includes the majority of the company’s properties, supports the achievement of TETS’ goals.

The cooperation between Sponda and WWF Finland, which began at the end of 2010, aims to promote the energy efficiency and environmentally friendly use of properties. In 2011, environmental communication directed at Sponda’s customers was planned and developed, with the goal of guiding the users of premises to engage in environment-positive activities, such as sorting waste and reducing energy consumption.

The goal of Finnish Green Building Council (FiGBC) is to promote practices for sustainable development in the real estate and construction industry along with environmental classification of properties, to communicate information and expertise and to activate discussion. In 2011, the activities of the organisation concentrated on increasing environmental awareness and on setting activities in motion. Sponda is also a member of the Russian Green Building Council (RuGBC).

Participation in energy efficiency projects

Sponda is involved in a development project of KTI Kiinteistötieto Oy (Property Information) entitled “Kiinteistöjen eko- ja energiatehokkuuden mittarit ja -tunnusluvut” (Indicators and Key Figures for Environmental and Energy Efficiency in Properties). The project, which wrapped up at the end of 2011, involved development of consistent energy efficiency indicators for buildings. The project will continue in 2012 with the Kohti kestävää liiketoimintaa (Toward Sustainable Business) project, which concentrates on management and measuring tools.

In 2011, Sponda was involved in a project to compose guidelines for construction of a low-energy commercial building. The project was coordinated by the Finnish Association of Civil Engineers (RIL), which published guidelines for low-energy commercial construction in early 2012. Sponda will also continue developing its own low-energy concept based on the RIL guidelines.

Developing the customer experience and supporting sustainable city planning

A project which began in 2010 and aims to increase the level of positive customer experiences by developing service innovations for premises, technology and users of premises is currently underway at Sponda. The project is supported by Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation. The project, which will end in 2012, is part of the Premises programme at Tekes, which strives to promote the premises-related business and international competitiveness of Finnish companies. The planning, development and testing of innovations will continue at Sponda after the project has ended.

In spring 2011, Sponda was the main partner in cooperation for Aalto University’s Master of Arts (MoA) 2011 exhibition. The event, which was organised in the Sponda-owned Salmisaarentalo building, provided new graduates with opportunities to interact with society, prospective employers, the media and other influencers. As MoA’s main partner in cooperation, Sponda wanted to support future space and city planners and encourage them to engage in sustainable planning. At the event, Sponda granted Minna Piironen an award for her final project “Making use of roofs in city farming”, which presented possibilities for balancing weather phenomena and increasing the comfort of cities through green roofs and growing on roofs.

In brief

  • Sponda was actively involved in the activities of RAKLI (the Finnish Association of Building Owners and Construction Clients), including the Eco-efficient Contractual Practices development project.

  • Sponda joined a voluntary property sector agreement related to an action plan to promote the energy efficiency of business premises (TETS)

  • The company participated in a project to plan a low-energy commercial building coordinated by the Finnish Association of Civil Engineers, RIL

  • Sponda is currently running a Tekes-supported project concerning the development of service innovations related to premises, technology and users