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Turku Student Village Foundation has published it´s first sustainability report

Sustainability in Turku Student Village Foundation

During 2020, the foundation carried out a responsibility mapping that identifies the impact of TYS operations on society and interest groups and maps the current state of responsibility. Based on this mapping and taking the special features of the operational environment into account, four essential responsibility themes were identified: transparent and profitable operations, well-being work community, satisfied customers, and sustainable housing.

The responsibility themes cover the perspectives of financial responsibility and good administrative practices, social responsibility, and environmental responsibility. Indicators and objectives for each responsibility theme have been defined and their levels of realization are reported annually.

Transparent and profitable operations

The responsibility theme “Transparent and profitable operations” covers themes related to financial viability, good governance and partnership. This is monitored in the strategy with housing occupancy rates. Rental income from apartments normally accounts for approximately 97% of the foundation’s income, and changes in the occupancy rate quickly affect the operating conditions and opportunities to implement other strategy objectives and aspects of the responsibility program.

TYS operates economically efficiently and profitably

Economically efficient and profitable operation culminates in the break-even cost rents, the efficiency of the renting process and the active maintenance of the property and loan portfolio. Within its organizational form and area of operation, TYS already bears significant responsibility for the surrounding society by providing affordable housing for students.

Administration is transparent

Transparency of TYS’s administration refers to responsible use of TYS’s assets and operations in accordance with good governance. New construction and renovation are financed by ARA’s subsidized loans and investment grants, i.e. public funds. A significant part of the tenants receives housing allowance from Kela.

TYS is a reliable partner

TYS adheres to the Act on the Contractor’s Obligations and Liability when Work is Contracted Out (1233/2006) and the Act on Public Procurement and Concession Contracts (1397/2016) in its operations.

External services are procured for the maintenance and upkeep of properties and outdoor areas, cleaning, repairs, and new construction and renovations. In addition, many different expert services are procured, such as IT services.Procurement that exceeds the procurement limit is tendered in accordance with the Act on Public Procurement and Concession Contracts 2016/1397.

Well-being work community

The responsibility theme “Well-being work community” encompasses the organization and personnel: the development of personnel competence, well-being and equality. A prosperous work community contributes to enabling operational efficiency, good customer service experience, and realizing service promises and other responsibility themes. The strategy monitors this with an overall personnel rating of the workplace. The objective is that a commendable or good (4-5, scale 1-5) rating would be given by more than 85% of the personnel.

TYS invests in developing the personnel’s expertise

Different backgrounds, competence and abilities are taken into account in the operations. The development of the personnel expertise concretizes as investments in training and developing expertise as part of day-to-day work.

TYS invests in the well-being of its personnel

The well-being of the personnel is monitored in the personnel survey on the basis of several indicators. The personnel influence the foundation’s operations, for example, in team and entire personnel meetings, as well as e.g. through the initiative channel and the activities of the cooperation committee.

Everyone is equal

Fostering equality and non-discrimination is an important part of TYS’s responsibility. There is zero tolerance for inappropriate behaviour, workplace bullying and all forms of discrimination.

Satisfied customers

The responsibility theme “Satisfied customers” encompasses customer-related perspectives: customer service and service promises, communication, comfort and quality of housing, and community spirit. The strategy monitors this through service promises. The foundation’s service promises were announced in 2018.

TYS is committed to customer- oriented service and given service promises

The objective is to reach potential tenants, know the needs of the customers, respond to demand with suitable apartments and be the number one choice of the students. Customer satisfaction has been monitored through both an annual extensive customer satisfaction survey and a monthly moving out survey.

Customers are served equally regardless of gender, age, nationality or other background. Tenant selection is based on ARA’s tenant selection guidelines.

TYS provides high-quality and cosy apartments

Comfortable and high-quality apartments materialize in the monitoring of the quality of maintenance, as well as in investments in repairs and in taking tenants’ suggestions into account in repairs. The resolution of housing problem situations, i.e. the resolution of fault reports, is monitored.

In addition to renovations, the apartments are repaired and refurbished as needed, for example when tenants change.
Proposals for renovations are collected annually from the tenant committees when preparing the budget.

TYS communicates with the tenants proactively and timely, and the contents of communication is accurate

It is important for TYS to communicate proactively and timely. This requires engaging all personnel in customer communication and increasing understanding of the need for timely communication and the entire communication process. Information must flow internally for customer communication to be timely. In the future, communication will be monitored with a separate communication survey. The foundation pays sufficient attention to the content of the communication so that the content is accurate and clear, understandable and meets the customer need.

TYS provides its tenants communality opportunities

Communality is an important part of student housing. Communality and tenant influencing opportunities are realized, for example, with communal spaces, through tenant activity and in tenant and stakeholder events.

Tenant activities are carried out both in the form of tenant committees, the tenant committees’ advisory board and events organized by TYS. The tenant committees organize e.g. various events and take care of the loan items of the housing location.

Sustainable housing

The responsibility theme “Sustainable housing” includes issues related to environmental aspects: emissions from energy and water consumption and energy consumption in housing, investments in waste management, sustainable development, and comfort and safety aspects of housing. The strategic measure of sustainable housing is the carbon footprint of housing, which is based on the energy consumption of the foundation’s properties and emission-compensated waste management. The foundation has stated in the strategy to be carbon neutral in 2029. The aim is to make a carbon footprint calculation, refinements and clarifications to the carbon neutrality objective, as well as a roadmap for achieving carbon neutrality during 2021.

TYS aims for its part to reduce the energy consumption and carbon footprint of housing, and will be carbon neutral by 2029

Climate change mitigation is one of TYS’s key responsibility objectives. Much of the emissions from properties are due to energy consumption and waste. TYS aims to reduce the energy consumption and carbon footprint of the apartments and increase the use of renewable energy. Guiding tenants is important in the responsible actions of day-to-day living. Encouraging energy and water saving as well as waste sorting is part of TYS’s ongoing communication.

The foundation procures district heating and electricity from Turku Energia and according to Turku Energia, in 2020 approximately 80% of district heating and electricity was produced from renewable energy sources. As of October 2019, the waste management of all the foundation’s locations (with the exception of Auringonnousu and Iltakajo) has been carried out in a carbon-neutral manner, i.e. the emissions from waste management have been offset.

TYS invests in sustainable development solutions

Sustainable development solutions are concretized as investments in, for example, solar panels, and taking sustainable development into account in renovation and new construction. The roof of Aitiopaikka, which was completed at the turn of 2018-2019, has more than 500 solar panels and the Ikituuri and Haliskylä locations utilize geothermal energy. Solar panels and e.g. electric car charging station will be installed at the Tyyssija location under construction.

TYS encourages its tenants to use sustainable means of transport, such as bicycles, public transport and shared cars. Shared cars from an external service provider can be leased in the Student Village area. In the vicinity of the properties located in the Student Village and the city centre, there are Turku region public transport Föli bicycle stations.

TYS takes care of the living environment and safe living

An important part of living is the safety of the apartments and neighbourhoods. The location locking systems will be modernized in stages. With regard to living environments, TYS contributes to safety, e.g. by security guarding.

TYS invests in architectonically interesting new construction and pays adequate attention to cultural-historically significant and protected buildings.