This year, VIA Outlets scored top marks across areas such as Leadership, Policies, Reporting, Risk Management, Stakeholder Engagement, Risk Assessment, Data Monitoring & Review, Targets, and Brand Partners & Communities. Geert Paemen, Group Sustainability Director, commented: “This five-star rating from GRESB demonstrates again VIA Outlets’ continued commitment to engaging with our Brand Partners on sustainability issues. In addition to existing consumer-and brand-facing initiatives, we are also focusing on how we can support our brand partners with the fit-out and upgrade of their stores. Our progress in this area is reflected in VIA Outlets recently obtaining the ISO 14.001 environmental management certification—and BREEAM recertification across all our centers.”
The focus of VIA Outlets’ sustainability initiatives for 2022 has been on energy efficiency, which includes HVAC replacement at the landlord and shop-fit level, monitoring of brand partner consumption, and brand engagement based on these metrics. Other initiatives that have strengthened VIA Outlets’ sustainability strategy include PV (photovoltaic/solar) projects and obtaining the ISO 14.001 building certification.
Looking ahead, VIA Outlets is planning to work on expanding rainwater harvesting to all centers, as well as improving waste management. VIA Outlets’ sustainability efforts also extend to on-the-ground engagement via brand surveys, the very successful Green Bond issuance, and other responsible consumption initiatives—such as the Re. Love initiative launched in Q4 of the sustainable pop-up initiative offered sustainable collections and initiatives from existing brands—and new brand partners—at VIA Outlets’ Freeport Lisboa Fashion Outlet and Batavia Stad Fashion Outlet locations.
Otto Ambagtsheer, Chief Executive Officer, added: “Being awarded a 5-star rating in the 2022 GRESB Benchmark for the third year running is a great indicator that VIA Outlets continues to lead in ESG and long-term sustainability impact. We are committed to improving the sustainability of our centers—and our business as a whole—through a concerted effort that targets different areas within our ‘Beyond Sustainable’ framework.”
In 2021 VIA Outlets launched its sustainability strategy ‘Beyond Sustainable’ to guide corporate activities to create an even more positive and regenerative approach to outlet shopping. The strategy is based on a 4-pillar approach encompassing a range of identified issues: Sustainable Buildings, Resilient Communities, Conscious Consumers, and Engaged Stakeholders.