The journey starts with Celeste and Jack, two young vloggers driving around the country in an electric powered VW Kombi, dropping in on some retail town centres, retirement villages and workplaces, to have a chat with the locals. The message is a simple one – Living for the future – and it’s the title of property group Stockland’s 2030 Sustainability Strategy that aims to “…regenerate the environment, ignite inclusive prosperity, and inspire people to thrive.’’
The Strategy is the result of eight years’ work, reflecting Stockland’s engagement with sustainability through the design, delivery and operations of its assets and its communities. Critical to that work – and the new vision – is Stockland’s CARE Foundation that supports communities around its housing developments, through a focus on health and well-being, plus a strong collaboration with its partners on mental health.
While the Strategy reflects the company’s experience and expertise, it also points to a bolder view about how best Australia can thrive in the face of confronting environmental challenges. And in that sense, the Sustainability Strategy shows how some Australian companies are taking a leadership role on sustainability.
Stockland’s National Manager, Group Sustainability, Amy Hogan, says: “Stakeholder expectations regarding corporates addressing sustainability issues are increasing.
Studies such as the Edelman Trust barometer show that Australians expect companies to take the lead on addressing societal issues, rather than wait for government to impose regulation.’’
That translates into corporations taking leadership on understanding the issues that affect the sustainability of their business and impact on their stakeholders.
“They (corporations) are often best placed to innovate, test and challenge the status quo and importantly engage across sectors and with government to address barriers to success,’’ Amy says.
“Ultimately, it is good business sense to take the lead as these initiatives contribute to operational savings, greater resilience, talent attraction and much more.’’
The Sustainability Strategy document outlines how the company has moved from an early focus on “doing the right thing’’, being “a good corporate citizen’’ and communicating a sense of “corporate responsibility’’ to the next stage of the sustainability journey. It states that during the past eight years, the company has sought to get the balance right between social, environmental and economic outcomes.
In practical terms, that’s led to a $123 million annual savings through Stockland’s energy efficiency program; a $33 million investment in renewables through the solar roll-out in commercial properties and the development of the Community Partnership Impact Tool to assess social and business value generated through community partnerships.
The company also proudly identifies the $45 million its invested in local health, well-being and educational initiatives since 2014.
Now, that the cornerstones are in place, Stockland is ready to take the next step.
“We have a responsibility to leave a positive and enduring legacy in the communities we create,’’ Amy says. “We have a responsibility to create places and spaces that are sustainable, livable, resilient, accessible, affordable, comfortable and connected.’’
The Care Foundation is a key part of the approach.
“The role of the CARE Foundation is to deliver infrastructure, programs and initiatives that improve the health, well-being and education of communities in and around our assets,’’ Amy says. “The Foundation works with our partners to amplify our existing community contributions.’’
“Our three focus areas support the intent of CARE, whether its customer activations around healthy and connected living, or employee programs focused on inclusive and accessible living,’’ she says.
“Our CARE Foundation partners – RUOK?, Reach Out and Redkite – and the focus of our collaborative partnership on mental health and well-being is incredibly important to our vision of Living for the Future – and the outcome being thriving people and thriving communities.’’
Behind the just-launched strategy is Stockland’s understanding that people care about their local communities and how those community members need to feel empowered and proud of where they live and work.
“We have been on this journey for some time,’’ Amy says. “Embedding sustainability goals and targets in BAU processes and collaborating with partners who share our vision for the future is the key to our success.’’