Alongside our customers and employees, it is particularly politicians and society who influence our actions and expect us to deliver solutions for sustainable resource conservation. We are therefore in constant dialogue, characterised by fairness, openness and respect, with political players and civil organisations.
Conducting fair dialogue with politicians
Increasing energy efficiency is a key task for greater climate protection. For the cleanest, lowest priced and most eco-friendly energy is the energy that we do not consume. Given this fact, the European Union but also emerging markets such as China and Brazil are increasingly taking systematic action to improve energy efficiency. This also has a direct impact on our business model. For with the consumption-dependent metering and billing of energy and water, we offer a low-investment fundamental solution for saving energy in multi-family buildings.
Submetering is therefore part of the solution for a climate-conscious, sustainable energy concept. We campaign for this at political level and enter into dialogue with a wide range of political players as well as government and non-government organisations in all our markets. Our aim is to further establish ourselves as a reliable contact and expert.
In order to further intensify this continuous, transparent and solution-oriented dialogue with political decision-makers, Corporate Communications was expanded to include the “Public Affairs” segment in 2014.
Furthermore, for the first time, we have also explicitly taken into account the opinions of political players as part of a materiality analysis to determine the contents of this report. The survey was initially limited to Germany but we are planning to extend it to international stakeholders next year.
All our public affairs activities are subject to very strict transparency and compliance rules. ista supports the “transparent politician” project and is entered in the transparency register of the European Commission. We never make donations to political parties.
Supporting the Energy Efficiency Directive
The implementation of the European Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) continued to play an important role in the reporting period. The directive prescribes, among other things, the individual metering and billing of energy consumption in multi-family buildings using appropriate metering equipment. We are committed to the punctual, sustainable and cost-efficient transposition of the directive into national law for the benefit of our customers and their tenants and we campaign for this at the European institutions and in our European core markets.
ista sets great store by active association work. We value associations and interest groups as platforms to critically discuss issues with like-minded people and get new angles on subjects. At the same time, we campaign together on common concerns.
The European Association for Energy Cost Allocation (E.V.V.E.) is the key European representative of the industry. The aim of its activities at European level is to promote systems for saving energy and water in buildings – with ista as an active member company. In 2014, ista CEO Walter Schmidt was elected its President for the third time in succession and regularly attends conferences and consultation rounds as the key representative of the entire industry in Europe.
In Germany, ista is a member of the trade association, Arbeitsgemeinschaft Heiz- & Wasserkostenverteilung e.V. (ARGE). The objective of this association is to foster cooperation with authorities, business and other institutions and to actively participate in the preparation and implementation of statutory measures.
We are also actively engaged in the energy efficiency initiative of the Federation of German Industries (BDI) as well as in the initiative of German energy efficiency businesses (DENEFF).
We maintain regular dialogue at international level with real estate associations and work in various national interest groups and bodies in key European markets such as France, Spain, Sweden and Italy but also in Turkey, for example.
Environmental protection and social engagement are integral parts of ista’s corporate culture: we want to make a contribution to sustainable development above and beyond the scope of our core business. We therefore support initiatives and organisations which resonate with our values and corporate objectives. In 2014, we supported an SOS Children’s Village in Romania with our Christmas donation to enable them to buy a suitable heating system.
Through our engagement in “Initiativkreis Ruhr”, we support numerous projects in the area near the company’s headquarters in order to generate important momentum for structural change in the region around Essen and to sustainably promote its economic and ecological image. The promotion of young talent is particularly close to our hearts: we support the “Dialogue with Youth” event series and the “Ruhr Fellowships” programme and give pupils and students a practical insight into our company.
For us, it is a matter of routine to also campaign for the environment outside our direct business activities. We are therefore a member of the German network of engaged companies and non-profit intermediary organisations (UPJ) as well as the environmental initiative, Bundesdeutscher Arbeitskreis für Umweltbewusstes Management e.V. (B.A.U.M.). This also means that we recognise the B.A.U.M. Code of Ethics for environmentally aware company management.
Employees assume responsibility
The respect we have for the environment and our stakeholders is also reflected internally in our new Corporate Volunteering Programme, “grow – great respect for our world“. With grow, we encourage our employees worldwide to get involved in environmental protection projects which have a sustainable impact. So each individual can make a positive contribution to the environment and society.
On the Essen Corporate Volunteering Day in autumn 2014, some 80 head office employees cleared storm damage in a public park. Their engagement was honoured by the Ministry for Family, Children, Youth, Culture and Sport of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia as the “Engagement of the Month November 2014“. In addition, our employees are engaged in environmental education. They teach primary school children in a playful way about what we stand for: the responsible use of water and heating energy.
Picture credits: grasundsterne