FY2015 marks our third Sustainability Report, and again reflects a year of evolution for the business.
It is with great pride and satisfaction that I am able to report our continued measurable progress year on year and reflect upon our progress and achievements of FY2015.
We have continued to build upon strong foundations, optimising our opportunities, and maximising outcomes for our stakeholders. FY2015 was characterised by continued focus on creating shared value for all our stakeholders and building vibrant communities, by cultivating a culture of insight, creativity, sustainability and customer focus.
Building on the momentum of the 2013 strategic reorganisation, Investa Land continues to independently demonstrate capability beyond it’s resources. In FY2015, we invested $150M into local economies, employing 1350 construction jobs, to create 716 new home, and 53 new business sites nationally.
In FY2015, we continued to build on our Diversity and Inclusion objectives, working with the industry group Male Champions of Change to address unconscious bias within the business. We supported the establishment of the Women’s Leadership Initiative, through the Urban Land Institute promoting the advancement of women throughout their careers.
We launched our flexible work policy, which seeks to optimise flexible work arrangements across the business. With this in mind, we trained all senior management staff in identifying and addressing unconscious bias. The result of this work was an 11% increase in flexible work arrangements.
In FY2015, we continued to deliver on our strategic pillars of Place Making, Education, Infrastructure and Affordability. Our key sustainability achievements for this year included the roll out of our Place Making Policy with whole of business training, and launch two education programmes, to empower smarter choices for staff and customers.
We launched a tailored Sustainability Diploma course for staff, and created bespoke customer experience iConnect, which delivers our insights directly to our customers.
This year, our Board began the planned process of divesting Investa Land, and we took great pride in demonstrating the business capacity and proven track record across four states in 18 projects nationally. As I pen this letter, we are putting the final signatures on the sale of the business, and are excited about the future of our business.
We are proud of our achievements this year, and look to the future of Investa Land with confidence and anticipation of great progress and achievement.
Our FY2015 Report marks our third consecutive Investa Land Report, and again, demonstrates a commitment to voluntary integrated reporting. And in keeping with our paperless office policy, we are proud to deliver our very first digital report.
FY2015 was very much characterised by preparing for the sale of the business, and we were immensely proud to demonstrate our capacity and ability to an international market. In particular, our proven track record in community and local economic engagement demonstrated our broad and adaptive capacity across industrial and residential land development.
We very much look forward to the year ahead under the new ownership structure.
National Sustainability Manager
Addressing Diversity and Inclusion at Investa Land
In FY2015 our Managing Director Jonathan Callaghan joined the industry group for diversity, Male Champions of Change. The group is comprised of 20 property CEO’s, each of whom have committed to diversity reporting, and promoting equality in leadership positions.
A variety of global research demonstrates that gender diversity among a company’s leadership ranks is correlated with improved performance as compared to non-diverse peer organizations. Economic research also illustrates the potential increased productivity possible if nations and industry sectors fully utilize the female population within the workforce.
Yet the available statistics for the Australian property industry show that its companies have generally less gender and ethnic diversity than other industries. Investa Land has worked tirelessly to address these inequities in a considered and measured way.
The Male Champions of Change programme has pledged to address industry challenges such as female speaker representation at conferences, flexible working arrangements to support working families, and role modelling. Importantly, the group will agree to industry reporting standards to create more transparency, and set appropriate targets to collectively lift the performance of the industry holistically.
In FY2015, Investa Land launched our flexible work policy, which seeks to optimise flexible work arrangements across the business. With this in mind, we trained all senior management staff in identifying and addressing unconscious bias. The result of this work was an 11% increase in flexible work arrangements.
To promote the advancement of women, throughout their careers, we chose to support the establishment of the first Urban Land Institute Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI). Since launching late 2014, the WLI has successfully recruited a national Chair, Vice Chair, and NSW Committee, and orchestrated several large events with all female panels. We look forward to the future successes of the organisation.
FY2015 we demonstrated an increasing awareness of diversity challenges in the property industry, and a general willingness to take action. We are proud to support the industry groups seeking to interrupt the status quo. Importantly, we are willing to define our own course to address diversity issues in workplace. We look forward to the year ahead, and the opportunities before us to support diversity in our industry.
Given that more than 70% of our residential customers are owner occupiers, we know they are making a choice to build their family home in an Investa Land development. For us, place making is about creating places where neighbours want to belong.
This year we are focussing on working collaboratively on every active project to determine opportunities to connect neighbour to neighbour. This year we will develop a set of Public Domain Guidelines, to clearly define our expectations of open space, community development, public art and streetscape design.
This year we implemented a new customer experience which focusses on sharing our industry knowledge with our customers. We surveyed 625 of them to gather feedback on our continual progress.
We ran the first 6 units of the Sustainability Diploma for Investa Land Staff, equating to 9 hours sustainability training for every staff member.
We recognise that more than 25% of our residential customers are first home buyers, and that finance is their primary concern. Indeed, finance is often the first consumer element to be addressed, prior to considering location, when purchasing or building a new home. This year, our focus is on defining our measures of affordability. We will continue to conduct customer research to establish clear measurable targets for our national development asset base with regard to value and affordability.
In the next five years, Investa Land has $441.2 million committed in infrastructure provision, incorporating amenities, services and delivery of open space and parklands. This year, we will embed the principles of resilient cities to our delivery platform, ensuring we are investing that $441.2 million to deliver prepared and more resilient communities. We will collaborate with industry partners to offer smarter, adaptable solutions for natural disaster preparedness.
Health and Safety
Now in it’s second year of operation, the Breezes Muirhead Aboriginal Landcare Education Programme (ALEP) is a unique collaboration between Defence Housing Australia (DHA), Investa Land (IL), and Greening Australia (GA). The programme was initially designed to secure endemic and consistent plant supplies to our Darwin residential development Breezes Muirhead. However, the outcomes have far exceeded our expectations.
The program provides an opportunity for at risk indigenous youth to be trained in implementing best practice landcare management. The Breezes Muirhead ALEP has most importantly been the stepping stone for twenty three successful graduates to date; providing many with rewarding, long-term career opportunities.
This year, we are particularly proud to demonstrate the achievements of the programme, via the successes of the students themselves. The partnership has supported 33 students to date, with 7 moving into further education, 15 into gainful employment, and 4 in particular are working as landcare Rangers.
What we are most proud of, are the outcomes we had not expected or dared to imagine. Graduates from our programme have demonstrated tenacity and determination beyond our wildest dreams. We have students who are formally furthering their studies in under graduate degrees at Charles Darwin University, forever shifting their career trajectories. We have students who have returned to country, to work as land care rangers in their community. This role enables them to learn ancient knowledge with elders, and take part in a stewardship thousands of years in the making. They work as mentors with the younger community members, sharing their wealth of knowledge with the next generations.
When we initially designed this programme to solve a local endemic plant supply challenge, we never dreamed we could be so proud of the outcome. By partnering with Greening Australia, we have been able to draw upon both their local and cultural knowledge, to ensure the success of the programme. We are extremely grateful to Greening Australia for their commitment to delivering shared value outcomes for all investors in the programme. We very much look forward to the continued successes of the programme, and to seeing these bright students continue to flourish.
Our Governance Structure
Group Audit Committee and RSC:
Senior decision making body for Safety, Risk and Sustainability
Responsible for Safety, Risk and Sustainability procedures and reporting. Group represents HR, safety, Salas and Marketing, Finance, Legal Counsel, Developments and Sustainability. Safety and Sustainability are standing items on meeting agendas.
Sustainability and Safety are standing items on monthly cross functional Project Control Group meetings