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.  



Eneco teaming up to supply 100% renewable energy by 2030 and generate 70% of this

The Dutch energy provider Eneco want to supply 100% renewable energy by 2030, of which 70% generated by its own facilities.  30% is expected to be generated decentrally by households and enterprises. New technical capacities (such as smart grids) are under development and new business models are being explored.


 Martijn Verbeek is Manager Sustainable Innovation at the Dutch Energy Provider Eneco

Eneco is one of the top 3 energy providers in the Netherlands. The company has been founded in 1995 from a merger of local energy companies (Rotterdam, The Hague and Dordrecht). The shares of the company are now owned by 60 Dutch municipalities (1). Enecos Head Office is located in Rotterdam. The company employs 7,000 employees and creates an annual turnover of 5,2 billion euros (2009) (2).

The Eneco Group consists of the Energy Company, with the business units Eneco Supply (Business & Retail in the Netherlands and Belgium), Éneco Installation Companies, Eneco Energy Trade, Eneco Heat Companies, Eneco Wind, Eneco Solar, Bio & Hydro and Eneco Strategic Assets and Joulz (infrastructure company) and Stedin (gas and electricity network management). (Energy Trade is trading energy and carbon emissions, see also the earlier article about Philips and the joint project Luz Verde).

Within the Eneco Energy Company, the Departments Eneco Wind and Eneco Solar, Bio & Hydro are responsible for the sustainable production strategy, both large-scale as well as decentralised projects, based on energy created by wind, biomass, sun and water.


Eneco initiates the development of large-scale and decentralised renewable energy projects such as solar energy and wind energy sites

Martijn Verbeek is Manager Sustainable Innovation Retail

Verbeek holds a degree in Business Economics and has covered different marketing, sales and business development positions in the Energy and Telecom market. Verbeek was appointed as Manager Consultant Sustainable Energy as of 2007. In this role he is leading development of renewable energy projects in close cooperation with private and public partners as well as knowledge institutes.

 1.      What are the CSR & Sustainability Objectives of Eneco ?

The annual report of 2008 states : Eneco wants to have a leading position in North-West Europe in future oriented sustainable energy supply, energy available and affordable for everybody. It wants to be a source of inspiration to others by demonstrating that a swift transition for fossil to sustainable energy is both technically possible and viable’. (4)

To reach the position of thé exemplary renewable energy provider, Eneco has chosen 3 strategy pillars (3) :

1. Become leading in Sustainable Energy Solutions : As of 2012 20%, as of 2020 70% and in 2030 100% of the energy of Eneco should be generated in a sustainable matter, by large-scale and decentralised energy solutions, expanding district heating networks and facilitating third party sustainable energy products. Eneco will use wind-, solar-, bio- and hydro-energy combined in the first decades with gasplants. In 2008, 33% of Eneco’s energy was generated by its own plants; in 2009 this was 47.5% (52.5% is bought from other suppliers), with the ambition to develop this to 70% in 2012, Therefore, the switch is feasible, explains Verbeek.

Examples of the various renewable energy projects developed and maintained by Eneco  in Netherlands and Belgium: solar, wind, bio, geothermic energy projects. (5).

2. Strengthening the vertical integration : increasing gas facilities as the stepping stone towards full renewable energies, positioning trade of gas as a core activity. Eneco would like to keep control over the whole value chain, which means it wants to be involved in energy generating, trade and distribution. See picture below.


The Energy Value chain with activities of Eneco Energy Company (Energiebedrijf), Joulz (infrastructure/distribution) and Stedin (gas and electricity network management) (5)

 3.       Excellent Supply Activities : cost control & working capital, customer satisfaction  

To illustrate Eneco’s strategy, the company has made a firm statement about the, to its opinion, insufficient Dutch governmental commitments with respect to renewable energies by not signing the Energy Convenant in 2008. This convenant was drafted between the Dutch Government and Energy Providers. Thought the convenant contains a calendar for wind and solar energy, Eneco opposes the choice for coal plants instead of gas as a transitional electricity means. Eneco believes that The The Netherlands is making itself too much dependant on the large-scale implementation of new coal plants which will be eventually much more expensive and worse for the environment than gas, the alternative transition energy.

 2.      How does Sustainability lead to Innovation at Eneco ?

Verbeek has identified seven trends in the energy sector  that are all endorsing innovation and new business at Eneco :

1.       Energy supply is moving towards a decentralised energy exploitation model : Households,  companies and energy providers will start to generate locally their energy. Solar panels, wind mills, heath and warmth storage and heath and energy units will reduce the total volumes of electricity and gas to be transported to the individual homes and enterprises. Some homes and enterprises will even generate more energy than needed. Energy infrastructure providers will be generating renewable energy and will also be obliged to buy the ‘surplus’.


Example of decentralised energy generation by a Combined Heath and Power (CH) system that produces heath and energy for a house or even a district (6). 

2. Real time energy information : It will be important to have real time information available on energy consumption and generation. This is needed for a proper billing, but also for informing customers the right price and energy mix at a given time (develop consciousness in energy use). Interactive thermostats including a display will become common practice to inform the users about their energy spend (KwH and costs). These will be connected to the in-house energy meter and/or the central heating system. Intelligent functions of this new displays are foreseen like a central meter and switch that automatically switches on the washing machine when solar energy is locally produced and energy cost are relatively low.

3. Upcoming electrical cars in cities. Eneco is adapting to the trend of the upcoming electrical cars that would need energy loading points in the city. The first four energy spots NRGSpot’ have been created in Rotterdam (7). Eneco is playing a leading role in the development of EV, with the NRGSpot that hold both a load- and payment platform.


The Eneco NRG Spot, loading points for electrical cars and scooters in Rotterdam (7)

4. Co-creation with customers.  Verbeek explains how Eneco is using interactive sessions with customers to develop new solutions to define user requirements and to create citizen acceptance. An example is the configuration of the windmills of the newly built ‘Prines Amaliapark’ 23 km outside the coast of IJmuiden (60 turbines, 120 MW, 400 MWh/a). Citizens and companies have advised about the formation of the mills with respect to the scenery and harbour entrance. The park is generating about 1,5% of the total Energy supply, enough for more than 125.000 of Eneco customers (9). Comparable consultings with households that live in the direct neighbourhood take place in onshore Wind projects.


 Prinses Amaliapark, 120 MW, 23 km outside Dutch coast, west of Amsterdam (8)

5. Cooperation with civilian associations. Citizens and companies can make the choice to purchase only wind energy by choosing Eneco’s ‘Windstroom’ (11) that garantees 100% Dutch wind mill electricity. With the product ‘MijnWindstroom’, Eneco is targeting the households that live in the surroundings of on-shore Windparks, by supplying them the Wind energy from these specific windturbines.

Eneco is also supporting associations of citizens, companies and public organisations aiming for a self supply with renewable energy. An example is the ‘Windvogel’ (wind bird) (12). The association is managing 4 windmills in region of Zuid-Holland, west of Utrecht. Costs are beared by the citizens who are members of the association, subventions and loans. An estimation is that with the windmills about 1600 households can be supplied with renewable energy. The association has started with local organisations and Eneco a pilot for selfsupply. Eneco is facilitating this by offering supply, knowledge and services. Simultaneously it is increasing its knowledge about this new kind of public-private-citizen initiatives that are likely to become common in the future.

Another example is the participation of residents in The Hague in the Scheveningen Windturbine, bundled with the supply of the wind energy it generates (opening May 19th).


 Cooperative association ‘De Windvogel’ that aims to create renewable energy projects that are self supplying with one of its windmills ‘De Windvogel’ in Bodegraven (12)

Another example is the cooperation with ‘Zeekracht’. This association is also initiated by civilians together with the ONG ‘Natuur & Milieu’ and business partners ASN Bank and Eneco. It has a high ambition to speed up the development of new windmill parks (6000 MWh) in the North Sea to ensure the future energy supply in The Netherlands (13). The initiative has been endorsed by a well known Dutch television man, Beau van Erven Dorven. The world famous architect Rem Koolhaas (known from Parc de la Vilette 1982, Dutch Kunsthal 1992) has developed the lay-out of an international supergrid, that connects the offshore Windparks in the North Sea. Dutch citizens can become Zeekracht member and owner as of 10 euro per year. Zie ook


Zeekracht Association of NGO ‘Natuur en Milieu’, civilians, ASN Bank and Eneco, endorsed by Famous Dutch Television Personality Beau van Erven Dorven

Design of an Offshore supergrid, by Rem Koolhaas (OMA)

‘Zeekracht’ Cooperation of Dutch civilian-members developing off-shore windmills endorsed by Dutch TV personality Beau van Erven Dorven (left) (13)

6.       Cooperation with municipalities. Eneco has its roots in municipalities structures and still cooperating closely with local bodies. In The Hague West, for instance, it is actively participating in the project to heat over 4000 houses by using the earth warmth found 2,2 km below surface, reducing CO2 emissions of 5000 ktons/year (14). See also the article about the Municipality of The Hague. Other projects are the renovations of the district heating system (Delft), windmills (The Hague) and Barendrecht (sun energy).

Eneco is one of the partners of The Hague Geothermic project to heat 4000 houses by using earth warmth of 2,2 km depth (14).

7.       Cooperation with Industry Partners. The last of the seven trends mentioned is the increasing cooperation between industry partners that aim for holistic solutions. For instance, in Libramont (Belgium) Eneco realised together with Bio Energie Europe a sustainable energy island for industrial partner l’Oreal. In 2009 the installation was started to deliver all electricity and heat that l’Oreal needs for its factories in the Ardennes. The installations (  run on biogas made out of biomass achieved from the nearby farmers.

Biogasinstallation in Libramont (B)

Eneco is one of the founders of the Dutch Green Building Council, that has the objective to communicate about sustainable business solutions and endorse BREEAM NL as the Dutch standard for sustainable properly development. 


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

3. What are the effects of the economical crisis on the Sustainability policy ?

Enecos Sustainability Policies are not changed because of the economical crises. The plans to invest in central and decentral renewable energy projects remain.

Though competitors have  recently been bought by foreign energy companies (Nuon bought by the Swedish Vattenfall and Essent by the German e.ON), Eneco is pursuing an independent strategy. . It has made a clear choice and will focus on investments in solar, wind, biomass energy projects. Which means it won’t invest in new coal plants.

4.   Which trends do you foresee for the near future ?

Eneco’s role will develop from an energy supplier to a facilitator. Energy suppliers have to be prepared for decentrally generated energy, in cooperation with customers. First of all, this means a technological challenge. New features need to be added to the core energy network including real time information supply. Secondly, the customer relationship will change incredibly. Eneco will need to facilitate, assist and help its customers. The provider will become more and more an energy consultant, advising its customers on their energy and heat projects.

Different factors remain difficult to predict : the speed of which fossil fuels become scarce, the governmental subventions and the performance coefficients of new technologies. The factors will largely influence the performance and cost, and thus the adaption of renewable energies. No matter what the speed or governmental subventions, Verbeek is convinced that Eneco will be very well placed thanks to its early experiences with renewable energy projects currently undertaken.

Sources : 1 : Eneco Corporate Brochure ‘Moving Ahead’, 2009 ; 2. ; 3.; 4.    Eneco Holding Annual Report 2008 ; 5. Eneco Algemene Presentatie 2009, Duurzame Energie voorziening voor iedereen, 6. 7.; 8. ; 9.  10. www.favelafabric.coml; 11. Pages/windstroom.aspxl; 12.; 13. ; 14.