Partnership and responsibility are core Union Investment values
The cooperative principle has always been rooted in the idea of working together to solve economic and social problems. As part of the Cooperative Finance Group we have a special responsibility towards our investors, tenants and business partners – and also towards our employees and society. We fulfil this responsibility by taking ecological and social aspects into account in our business activity alongside economic factors.
Opening educational opportunities, protecting nature and the environment
Corporate responsibility is a key plank of our overarching group strategy. Our employees can rely on Union Investment as an employer. For the companies we invest in, we are an engaged partner who delivers a secure future. We support and help people in our society through projects and funding. In the real estate segment, we focus on education, the environment and social issues, with a special emphasis on children, young people and adolescents in Hamburg, our headquarters site. We also support our employees in their voluntary work.
Responsibility towards society
On of our aims is the commitment to improve the educational opportunities and job prospects of disadvantaged children and young people. Environmental projects, e.g. for climate protection or biodiversity, are also important for us. We are committed to diversity and promote advancement and further training opportunities for women in the real estate industry. Here you will find a selection of the projects and organisations we support.
Imke is a joint project of Union Investment and Stadtbienen e.V. Our aim is to strengthen the population of bees in this country. In 2020 we have therefore started to settle the first bee colonies, in so-called bee boxes, at suitable places on the roofs of our properties.
The settlement as well as the ongoing care is taken over by professional beekeepers of the non-profit association Stadtbienen e.V. They have checked the suitability of the locations in advance and will continue to regularly look after our honey bees in the future. Their tasks include monitoring health and development, treating diseases and preparing the bees for wintering. Ecological beekeeping and the well-being of the bees are the main focus of "Imke". Our beekeepers harvest only surplus honey with which we give pleasure to our employees, partners or customers.
JOBLINGE is a training initiative which offers career prospects for young people with limited schooling or a difficult family background.
In a course lasting approximately six months, participants acquire key qualifications on the job, practice their social skills and work towards gaining an apprenticeship or job. The aim at the end of the course is to find each “jobling” a training position or employment. Union Investment has supported the Joblinge initiative in Hamburg since 2015 and many Union Investment employees act as volunteer mentors to the “joblings”.
Teach First pursues the vision that every child in Germany should leave school with a degree and a firm belief in their own success. To this end, university graduates from various fields of study work as Fellows at hotspot schools throughout Germany. As additional teaching staff in lessons and all-day schools, they support pupils especially where they often fail: at transitions in the education system.
The Fellows are selected for the assignment according to a strictly selective procedure, receive several months of intensive training and are then closely monitored and further trained for two years.
Union Investment supports the implementation of the Teach First Fellow Programme with a Fellow at the Ilse-Löwenstein-Schule in Hamburg. The Fellow is deployed in the "Safe Transition" programme and, over the two years of her deployment in the 9th and 10th grades, supports pupils in leaving school with a school-leaving certificate and making the transition to vocational training or secondary level II.
The Children for Tomorrow foundation was launched in 1998 by former world-class tennis player Steffi Graf. Based close to Eppendorf University Hospital, psychotherapists and educationalists work with traumatised children and young people who have suffered severe mental suffering as a result of war and loss.
In June 2017, the foundation launched the project "HonigHelden! - Making children strong for tomorrow" project. The aim of this project, which is unique in Germany, is to offer traumatised children with experience of flight directly on site at primary school a package of therapeutic measures specially tailored to their needs. With its contribution, Union Investment especially supports the movement therapy in the context of the project "HonigHelden!" at the primary schools. Movement therapy supports trauma processing with the help of resource-oriented body perception, expression and movement design.
Under the motto "Hamburg packs it in", the initiative of companies from Hamburg and the region helps people in Greater Hamburg who are in need as a result of the pandemic and its consequences. The goal: 25,000 bags with basic care products for people in Hamburg who are particularly hard hit by the Corona crisis, even in the long term.
From hygiene articles, clothing and food to coloured pencils, tesafilm and magazines, the bags contain everyday items for families with small and older children, single parents, the elderly, the homeless, refugees and students. The initiative currently consists of 25 Hamburg-based companies. The partner Hanseatic Help e.V. ensures that the bags are packed according to need and then handed over to social institutions and organisations for further distribution. This ensures that people receive targeted care that is adapted to their needs.
“Women Talk Real Estate” is a non-profit organisation headquartered in London which is dedicated to increasing the visibility of women in the real estate sector.
It connects female professionals with speaking and media opportunities in Europe and offers women training to build their stage and media presence. The goal is to improve business and career progression opportunities for women in the real estate industry, to challenge stereotypes and to provide role models for the benefit of the whole industry. Union Investment has supported the initiative since 2017.
The non-profit association REal Foundation e.V. which was established on the initiative of Union Investment and other Hamburg real estate companies, launched a new master's degree program in "Real Estate & Leadership" in Hamburg in 2015. The course is run by ebs European Business School and sponsored by the REal Foundation.
Since the winter semester 2017/18, students from various disciplines can participate in the master's program with the specialization "Real Estate & Leadership". The program is designed in particular to enable young professionals in the real estate industry to think in an interdisciplinary and cross-interface manner and to provide participants with a broad range of practical knowledge.
As part of the GemüseAckerdemie educational program run by Acker e. V., schoolchildren grow their own vegetables on the school field. The aim is to give children and young people a holistic understanding of natural interrelationships and food production. Union Investment makes such a school field possible for the Alsterredder school in Hamburg-Wandsbek.
During an arable year, the children plant, care for, harvest and market around 30 types of vegetables and deal with broader issues such as food waste and biodiversity. The aim is to lay the foundations for a generation that values nature and food, eats healthily and consumes sustainably. The responsible organization, Acker e. V., is a non-profit social enterprise that works to increase society's appreciation of nature and food and to counteract the increasing alienation from nature.
Responsibility towards our employees
Taking responsibility for the people who work in our company is hugely important to us. Our employees are the foundation of our success and our corporate culture. We seek to provide them with a work environment in which they feel valued, supported and fairly treated.
Responsibility towards the real estate sector
Through our involvement in trade associations and networks, we support a range of corporate social responsibility activities along the entire real estate industry value chain. We contribute financially and also share our knowledge. In 2016, for example, Union Investment helped to draw up guidelines for the Initiative Corporate Governance (ICG), which promotes effective corporate social responsibility in the real estate industry.