Sustainable Innovation

Real Estate Investor and Developer Redevco is driving sustainable property development in The Netherlands and abroad

For the Dutch property investor and developer Redevco, Sustainable Buildings is key. In its highly competitive and international market, new shopping centers and offices will only be accepted by customers if they match the highest standards for sustainable building.  The company is active contributor to the Dutch Green Building Council and has contributed to develop the European and Dutch BREEAM guidelines. Also in Turkey and Germany Redevco has built and renovated exemplary Sustainable Buildings certified against the BREEAM standard. 


Derk Welling is Redevcos Manager for Sustainability, Energy & Environment. The civil engineer with a PhD in business economics has been working as consultant purchasing management before joining Redevco in 2007. Welling explains about Redevcos historical roots, the logic behind the companies conviction about Sustainable Property Development and the companies specific initiatives. 

1. Redevco : European Property Investor & Developer with a strong retail footprint

Redevco has its roots in the Dutch C&A fashion retail chain. The real estate part of the Group, rebranded called ‘Redevco’ has become independent from C&A Group in 2001 and is now owned by Cofra Holding AG in Switzerland. The company employs 300 employees. The portfolio comprises over 750 properties on top locations throughout 20 countries. Its main office is located in Amsterdam (1). 


Redevco has its roots in the real-estate part of the C&A Fashion Group. The Paris (France) and Edinburough (UK) are examples of C&A shops in Redevco’s Portfolio (2). 

Traditionally, a large part of Redevco property portfolio consists of retail real estate (high street, retail parks and shopping centers). About 15% consists of offices and industrial sites. Redevco and its predecessor started the development of the property portfolio in Western and Northern Europe, but in the last year this has been expanded to Eastern Europe, Turkey and Asia (with a main focus on China). (2) 


Redevco’s portfolio largely contains retail properties (82%). The company focussed initially on Western and Southern Europe. Now the scope has extended to Eastern Europe, Turkey and Asia. (2) 

An important upcoming market is Turkey, where Redevco started to develop its own retail portfolio as of 2006. One of them is the ERZURUM shopping center near Anatolia. 


Turkey is one of the new countries in which Redevco is active and developing its own property portfolio as of 2007. The shopping center ERZURUM has recently been opened (32,000 m2), situated close to Anatolia (3) and obtained the BREEAM ‘Very Good’ certificate (4). 

2. Corporate Responsibility at Redevco

Welling explains how the objectives for Sustainable Development are a logical derivation of the companies mission statement. The Property Developer has put as its mission to ‘make the right type of property available’ and ‘create sustainable retail solutions in an urban environment which is inspiring and appealing for the future generation’. Redevco’s CR approach, can best be summarised by our key principle: Business in Balance. Welling: ‘Balance is the keyword both in how we do business and in the activities we carry out for our clients. We strongly believe that a balanced approach to business ensures the best results, both commercial and personal, in the long term’. According to Welling, ‘Business in Balance’ means combining People, Planet and Profit in a balanced way. In this vision, people and the world around them are inseparably connected.  

Energy efficiency and Carbon Intensity is an important aspect of making buildings appealing for future generation: 

1)       For the existing buildings : Finding ways to reduce energy consumption and associated carbon emissions 

2)       For the new buildings : Developing zero-energy building using Low or Zero-Carbon technologies(5)   

A policy of small steps is being created to bring environmental, social and economic advantages. Specific actions are undertaken related to :  

(1)     Reducing of Business and Commuter Travel, alternatives to air and car travel, using videoconferencing and telecommuting when possible, using car fleets with lower carbon emissions 

(2)     Reducing carbon emissions, energy, water consumption in the Redevco offices. 

(3)     Maintaining Carbon Neutrality (since 2006) : after having made every effort to reduce emissions, by offsetting residual carbon emissions. 

These are corporate related actions. 

As of 2008 a first public Corporate Social Responsibility Report was published, following GRI guidelines (self-declared, level C).  

The CSR report communicates the energy generated on-site : In total 1,23 GWh was generated by reneweable technologies not requiring imports of fossil fuels and 144 MWh by low-carbon technologies. Though small (0,2%) compared to total estimated consumption, the proportion is expected to grow. Energy providers need to be prepared to accept an energy surplus in the future when building users can generate more energy than consumed. 

Redevco maps the economic vs environmental performance of its building properties. Though collecting relevant data from tenants remains a challenge according to Welling, Redevco has managed to calculate the carbon emissions of its properties based on the GHG Protocol and map this with financial performance. The resulting dashboards show ecological and financial performance on one figure (see illustration) which allows to identify the exemplary and future proof projects, or, to the contrary the projects that need urgent revision from economical and ecological viewpoint. 


Financial and Environmental performance mapped to identify Futureproof Projects 

Building play a very important social role in society. The people’s well-being, their quality of life ánd productivity are closely related to the built environment. The quality of air, light, ventilation and heating system, the usability and accessibility are very important indicators whether a building is a pleasure to work or live in. Which has an important spin-off to the local communities. Redevco practices this knowledge by closely involving  stakeholders early in the process of building development and renovation. For instance, in cooperation with civilian represenatives it prioritises listed buildings in communities for renovation 

Redevco believes that corporate giving can be a useful action to enhance the position of the local communities, adding value to the retailers-customers and bringing in motivation for its own employees. The company donates to local projects in e.g Rumania and is donating to European projects. Among the projects are a cooperation with the Amsterdam based ‘Good Company’ for local voluntary work by Redevco employees. 

3. How can Corporate Responsibility be a motor for Innovation for Redevco ?

The Turkish projects have proven to be an important driver of Sustainable Development within Redevco. Redevco wanted to develop this new Turkish retail projects according to the latest ‘Sustainability Standards’. The guidelines of the Building Research Establishment (BREEAM) considered to be the most appropriate in Europe, according to the sustainability working group from the International Council of Shopping Centers Sustainability Working Group (ICSC). However these standards had not been adapted yet to local (retail) standards, nor Turkish Sustainable standards were available. Redevco decided to assist in the development of the BREEAM Europe Retail guidelines. 

Also closer to home, in the Netherlands, Redevco and ABNAMRO Bank and other partners have created an independent council, the Dutch Green Building Council (DGBC). This private initiative aims to encouraging the use of the Dutch equivalent of the international BREEAM method (BREEAM-NL). The BREEAM-NL norms exceed the Dutch regulated norms and are aiming for the best ecological and economical standards of building development As of 2009, over 250 organisations have become member, all profiting from an exchange of BREEAM trainings, certifications and sustainable building innovation. 



The Dutch Green Building Council, official member of the World Green Business Council 

Redevco is using its knowledge to build and renovate buildings around Europe now. The C&A Store in Mainz in Germany, for instance, has been renovated according to the Redevco Virtual Eco-Store concept. Principles of the Virtual Eco-Store are : Principle 1 : Reduce energy demand : better insulation, new lighting concept, more efficient ventilation, wind traps (double doors), Results : over 50% energy reduction and a CO2 emission rate is down 88%. Principle 2 : On-site energy sourcing : PV panels and the district heating system of Mainz keep the netto energy consumption low. Pinrciple 3 : Source remaining demand responsibly : In this case : hydropower. The Mainz C&A Eco-Store has been certified ‘Very Good’ by independent BREEAM auditors in 2008. 


Germany, Mainz, C&A Eco Store built and owned by Redevco  

The International Sustainability Alliance 

Redevco also became a founding member of the ISA – International Sustainability Alliance ( The ISA will join forces with international companies, Green Building Councils, research institutes and other stakeholders in the real estate chain to achieve a common goal: driving an international sustainability standard for the built environment. ISA now has over 20 Founder Members (BNP Paris Bas Real Estate, EDF Group, Unibail-Rodamco, Corio, Dutch Green Building Council, CSTB, BRE Global, C&A and Sonae Sierra) and is focusing on: 

  • measuring the environmental performance of buildings and the economic impact and added value of a corporate sustainability strategy (data from over 2,600 buildings across 29 different countries is already being collated)
  • encouraging consistency of metrics and reporting
  • providing world class, secure, internet-based tools to collect, benchmark and intelligently report on building data
  • accelerating progress through independent research, measurement and evaluation of economics and new innovations, technologies, processes and techniques
  • ensuring that consistent, transparent sustainability standards achieve maximum reach, continue to grow in scope and advance in value as new knowledge is gained

The database can be used for multiple purposes, such as internal & external reporting on KPIs, benchmarking and certification. 

4. Does the economical crisis change the Sustainability Objectives of Redevco ?

The economical crisis certainly has its impact on property development. Projects have been postponed or cancelled. However, the projects that remain are characterised by clear ecological and economical advantages : better insulation, good ventilation, energy efficiency and a pleasant working environment. 

Redevcos business focus is on managing its existing properties, but remains to invest in new buildings. With respect to Sustainability, for its existing properties, energy efficiency practices such as insulation and new ventilation methods as applied in Mainz, remain the key objectives. 

5. What are trends and outlooks in the sector with respect to Corporate Responsibility ?

Welling expects that all (retail) companies will be obliged to become transparent about their energy consumption and carbon footprint. Notably the international organisations such as the International Sustainability Alliance will play an important role to define the relevant information to be exchanged in the building construction value chain, such as energy consumption and carbon emissions. 

The environmental footprint of the total value chain will be more clear : The Building industry will be able to identify even better which buildings and building practices are sustainable, from an economical and ecological viewpoint. 

Welling adds that the International public-privte bodies have an important role to create the industry standards. For instance, BREEAM is becoming the European standard for Sustainable Buildings now accepted by an increasing number of European cities of which The Netherlands, Spain, UK, France, Norway, Sweden and Turkey. Country reference cheest are being made with local bodies to elaborate on international standards combined with country specifics such as local norms, national legislation and translations in the national language.

Property investors will be expected to play a pro-active and reponsbile role through the value chain. This means a clear demonstration of business ethics, code of conduct and integrity as well as  certification and sustainable purchasing. Corporative giving could also be an important signal to retailers and local communities.  

Sources : 1.; 2. ; 3. ; 4. ; 5. Corporate Responsibility Report 2008, september 2009.  



3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Very interesting.


Comment by L

That’s a concrete and serious engagment from a Company.
Hope it would become soon not an exception.

Comment by catherine Provost

I agree with the following:

In its highly competitive and international market, new shopping centers and offices will only be accepted by customers if they match the highest standards for sustainable building.

Comment by Donate Your Car

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