We continue to strengthen its governance structures and policies in support of our strategy and to enable us to identify and manage ESG risks and opportunities.
In line with our overall ESG roadmap we have set out five governance objectives to support us in delivering on our overall ESG ambitions and targets. We conduct our business in an honest and ethical manner, aligned with our purpose and values, and always strive to provide high levels of transparency and accountability.
In our roadmap, we developed the following objectives to support our governance goal:
- encourage and support the development and management of ESG through appropriate structures and programmes;
- put processes in place to identify and manage ESG-related risks and opportunities;
- effectively engage with employees, shareholders, tenants, suppliers and business partners to promote our ESG objectives and ambitions;
- ensure all our activities and procedures are in line with best practice and account for relevant UK/German corporate regulations and codes; and
- provide clear, consistent and transparent communications and reporting.
This year, we have continued to ensure robust governance processes, both of the business and the ESG programme, driven and managed with clear oversight from the Board and executive level. The Board remains responsible and accountable for managing climate-related and social risks and opportunities, ensuring ESG issues are discussed at each meeting. As the Chair of the Sustainability and Ethics Committee, the CEO regularly informs the Board about ESG matters and collaborates with executive management to develop policies and strategies that enhance the Group’s environmental and social performance. Furthermore, the Board receives updates from the ESG Committees in Germany and the UK, and the TCFD Working Group, led by Kremena Wissel, the Chief Marketing and Impact Officer.
Linking ESG to remuneration
Executive Directors and members of the Senior Management Team will continue to be set annual objectives on ESG matters which are supportive of the identified corporate ESG objectives, with new objectives expected to be formalised in May 2023. As we develop more detailed environmental and social targets, for example on our decarbonisation and net zero pathway, it is our intention that these will be considered as part of the management review and remuneration processes and disclosed accordingly for full transparency.
Risk management and governance processes
We have a transparent approach to risk, with management and reporting overseen by our Board and Audit Committee. We will ensure our risk management process and framework account for ESG-related factors and timeframes, with regular reviews.
During the last financial year, the Board also approved updates to certain governance documents and processes to better align with the ESG framework. This included a Board paper and presentation on the initial plan for accomplishing net zero in Germany as well as how to achieve the required portfolio EPC ratings in the UK and to set biodiversity targets. The Board and senior management also received an update of the Section 172 criteria and requirement for all future Board papers (where relevant, such as recommendations for acquisitions, disposals and capex programme) to include considered ESG impact, benefit, and opportunity assessments. The Group HR Director also presented on our people and culture, outlining where we are now and where we are aiming to be in terms of staff and achieving our ambition of being an employer of choice.
These updates also comprised changes to Committee terms of reference, for example the Sustainability and Ethics Committee’s terms were changed so that the Committee Chair would be responsible for developing and leading ESG and climate change, including resilience to climate change. The Nomination Committee’s terms were amended to ensure candidates have experience in and commitment to ESG matters and the new Director induction programme was updated to increase focus on the ESG journey.