Sustainability in real estate: for regulations or users?

In our latest webinar, Arnstein Stamnes from Mustad Eiendom joined Hildur, CEO of Defigo, to discuss sustainability within real estate, and whether there is more focus on meeting regulations than on the user.

In our latest webinar, Arnstein Stamnes from Mustad Eiendom joined Hildur, CEO of Defigo, to discuss sustainability within real estate, and whether there is more focus on meeting regulations than on the user.

This article summarizes the answers of Arnstein for seven of the questions.

For the full webinar in Norwegian, click here.

1. Can you tell us a little about Mustad's sustainability vision, and what measures you have put in place?


We start with one simple vision, which is that we have to be considerate of each individual and each meter.

We have worked very hard to figure out how to include sustainability in our urban development, and we ended up with five sustainability strategies.

- The first is defined by nature. We have a lot of nature, and we build cities with a strong focus on nature.

- Our second strategy is that we have a 150 year perspective. In other words, we must be able to vouch for what we offer our clients for the next 150 years.

- We have a strategy for low emissions. Reuse of materials is a major focus.

- We have a strategy that focuses on well-being and quality of life. This is about the people that are there, and points towards the social part of sustainability.

- The last one is cooperation and curiosity. We want to include and share with others what we do, to get them involved in easily solving the sustainability challenges that we have.

From all of these strategies, we have created a set of 17 goals.

We have spent three or four years learning how to measure these things, and it is something we will continue working on in the future.

Our focus is to understand and find out how we can contribute to building a greener world and achieve the major goals that the international community has set.

2.  Can you tell us about when you started your focus on sustainability and how you started the work?

We have been working on sustainability for a long time. It goes back probably 10-15 years. But to begin with, the greatest focus was on the environment. We had an environmental focus and we made a number of environmental measures. There has been a gradual change. It has actually developed in line with the fact that we are going to develop Lilleakerbyen into a city. We feel a very big responsibility to build a place that we can be proud of, that we can look back on in 50 years and say that we are proud of all of it.

I would say the real driving force came when we managed to organize ourselves and our own resources to start this work. At the same time, it is important to say that it is not one resource that has created this entire plan, it has been an interaction between many people in the company. I think it is important to spend plenty of time understanding what challenges you as a company face, how this relates to other strategies in the company, and whether you have a short-term horizon. If you have a short-term horizon, what you can achieve is perhaps limited, and therefore a disadvantage.

Good craftsmanship is important in relation to customer experiences, and so we believe that developing for the 150 year perspective is actually to our advantage.

3. How do you proceed when choosing suppliers?

We are a company of about 50 employees who have to  handle a huge number of things, so we are completely dependent on suppliers.

This also comes across in the sustainability reports that suppliers are a focus area. We only want to work with the best suppliers, and we want the suppliers to understand our sustainability strategies. All the suppliers must read our sustainability report, and we will select and work with the types of suppliers who help us achieve our goals.

It’s been important for us to create these sustainability strategies and to report in a language that the suppliers also understand.

4. Is your focus more on digitization or on the reduction of CO2 ?

We focus on both parts. I think it is so closely related. Everything is connected. In relation to CO², we have a separate race around this to establish the energy solutions of the future.

We work actively in relation to the reuse of materials. Among other things, we have set up a recycling warehouse which has turned out to be one of the largest in Norway, without us really being aware of it. All our projects must visit Mustad Recycling warehouse to assess what they can reuse before they start their projects. We are an organization which dares to take some action, and we are working and learning an incredible amount.

Digitization is a key to succeeding in this, so I think these sustainability solutions and the digital solutions are very closely linked.

5. How do you feel that the authorities and the industry are working together towards the sustainability goals?

I feel that we have the same ambitions. Everyone has ambitions to succeed. We are a very efficient organization, we get things done. We can start a recycling warehouse and get it up and running within a few months. Unfortunately, it is the case that in the public sector that you encounter a substantial set of regulations.

Time and again we were met with “the regulations say this and that and this and that”. We feel it is a brake on carrying out the major changes we have to make. The authorities are welcome to come and see how we think and work and we are happy to share.  

6. How do you work at Mustad to ensure a good user experience and at the same time safeguard your sustainability goals?

Customer service and customer experiences are linked to sustainable digitization. This is essentially the new way of running a property. We are conscious of working with, and offering our users much more than they have traditionally received.

We have completely turned our organization around to become, to a greater and greater extent, customer care workers instead of doing what we did before. We have a large program in relation to having and offering activities and events in our area. We work to offer the most seamless customer journeys possible and so on.

We are essentially a service organization. We also believe that just by living in Lilleakerbyen, by being a customer with us, they get a lot of good, sustainable solutions.

We have many initiatives and measure them with customer satisfaction.

7. The EU taxonomy requirements and conditions do not include users (e.g. tenants). What do you think about this? Should users be included in the requirements? 

The users are the real value in our buildings, and I believe that it is the users who can tell how good a landlord is. In relation to the EU taxonomy, businesses that are tenants with us are met with the same requirements that we are met with. I think we can achieve a lot together. I also think that the EU taxonomy from the authorities' side, and from the financial industry, is run with a regime around reporting that is simply difficult for many to understand.

To learn more about digitizing your property with Defigo, contact our sales team.

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