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credit: Via Outlet
credit: Via Outlet

VIA Outlets Achieves Top 5-Star ESG Rating for Fourth Consecutive Year in 2023 GRESB Benchmark Report

VIA Outlets, has achieved the highest 5-star rating in GRESB’s 2023 Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark Report for the fourth consecutive year, placing the company 7th in the “Europe, Shopping Center” category and 11th in the “Retail Europe” classification.

VIA Outlets’ overall GRESB Score of 92 out of 100, a one-point improvement on 2022, surpasses both the peer average (82) and GRESB average (75). A maximum Management Score of 30 out of 30 puts VIA Outlets first in that category out of more than 1,000 other organizations. VIA Outlets scored top marks this year across multiple areas, including Leadership, Policies, Reporting, Risk Management, Stakeholder Engagement, Risk Assessment, Data Monitoring & Review, and Brand Partners & Communities.

Geert Paemen, Group Sustainability Director, said: “Securing a GRESB 5-star rating once again demonstrates VIA Outlets’ determination to reach our 2050 Net Zero Target and be a good global corporate citizen. Each of our 11 European fashion outlets is working on a 2030 investment plan to ensure we achieve our intermediary targets on all relevant issues, including additional data collection on scopes of emissions, studies and databases on sustainable materials, on-site renewable energy projects, alternative business models for heating and cooling, and mobility action plans. Energy intensity targets are also part of our employees’ annual objectives, further strengthening our efforts towards our sustainability targets.”

GRESB provides validated environmental, social and governance performance data, and peer benchmarks of retail assets for investors and managers to improve business intelligence, industry engagement and decision-making. The GRESB Assessments are guided by what investors and the industry consider to be material issues in the sustainability performance of retail asset investments and are aligned with international reporting frameworks, goals and emerging regulations. The resulting benchmark scores are based on a rigorous, consistent methodology so investors and managers can evaluate the ESG performance of a given fund.

In June 2023, VIA Outlets received a Level 2 ESG Rating by global ratings firm Fitch, the second-highest achievable. Fitch rated the progress VIA Outlets is making in its portfolio and value chain-wide ‘Beyond Sustainable’ strategy, which is based on the four pillars of Sustainable Buildings; Resilient Communities; Conscious Consumers; and Engaged Stakeholders. As part of the strategy, VIA Outlets aims to reduce the energy intensity of its outlet centers by 50% and achieve a 55% absolute greenhouse gas emission reduction by 2030. Advances in VIA Outlets’ on-site renewable energy programme are central to the goal, with photovoltaic installations already in place in its fashion outlets in Oslo, Seville, Lisbon, Porto and Mallorca, with new additions to be in place in Prague, Zweibrucken and Landquart by Q1 2024.

Otto Ambagtsheer, CEO of VIA Outlets, added: “Achieving a GRESB Benchmark 5-star rating for the fourth year running is a testament to the progress we are making on our short and long-term sustainability targets. Over the past year we have made concerted efforts to collaborate with brand partners on sustainability issues such as resource consumption, shop-fits, renewable energy consumption, waste management and the sustainable characteristics of the products sold in our fashion outlets. And we continue to work closely with our brand partners’ strategic and operational-level teams on our initiatives to ensure our destinations become even more sustainable.”