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

Sustainability in Turku Student Village Foundation

In our latest annual and sustainability report, you can find information about our sustainability program, our sustainability goals, the progress of our sustainability work, and our activities from the previous year. The report has been prepared in compliance with the international GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) standards and guidelines in its basic scope (core).

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.

In 2022, the economic occupancy rate of Governance is Transparent apartments was 97.2% (96.6% in 2021). The economic utilisation rate increased from 2021, which is partly due to the easing of the coronavirus pandemic.

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.

A strategy objective is to keep rents 15% to 20% below market rents. The realisation of this objective is actively monitored.  The rental comparison will be carried out by an external operator, the last of which was done in 2021. According to this, the Foundation’s rents are below market rents in accordance with the target. The next rental comparison will be made in spring 2023.

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.

In 2022, the foundation paid taxes and taxlike payments totalling approximately 5 M€ and received grants totalling 2.3 M€, which means that the tax footprint for 2022 was a total of 2.7 M€ (in 2021, approximately 2.3 M€).

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.

In 2022, the Foundation acquired products and services from hundreds of different suppliers. Procurement exceeding the procurement limit is tendered in accordance with the Public Procurement Act. With regard to smaller product and service procurements below the procurement limits of the Act on Public Contracts,
the aim is to invite tenders from more than one supplier.

During 2022, hundreds of people work in the Foundation’s properties and related tasks, for example in maintenance, servicing, cleaning and on-site work, working with service providers, suppliers and suppliers providing expert services. It is important for TYS that service and contract contracts meet the need and are dimensioned correctly. Ordering additional work is often more expensive than including the work in the contract and, on the other hand, in order to save resources, it is also essential that the ordered work is dimensioned correctly and that no unnecessary or unnecessary work is done or ordered. The status of service
contracts is assessed during the contract period and at the end of the contract period.

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.

In the latest personnel survey, conducted in early 2023, in which the personnel assessed the Foundation’s activities for 2022, 89% of the respondents gave an excellent or good rating (90% in 2021), the average was 4.4 (4.4 in 2021).

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.

The total number of training days in training organised by an external party was 78 days in 2022, an average of 3.5 days per person (59 days in 2021, 2.5 days per person). The target of 3 training days/person was exceeded in 2022.

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.

An initiative form has been posted on the intranet for the personnel to submit their development proposals and initiatives related to the foundation’s operations. Initiatives can be submitted anonymously, and they are published to all personnel. During 2022, the initiatives were made visible in the personnel Teams and their progress could be monitored from the platform. The design of the reward model for the initiatives will continue in 2023.

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.

During 2021, a working group of employees updated common rules for the foundation’s new office. The rules were visualised and communicated to the personnel in late 2021. During 2022, the functioning of the rules has been evaluated in the new office premises and clarified in accordance with the received proposals and feedback.

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. The goal is, for example, that at least 97% of tenants messages are answered during the next working day.

Results of the customer satisfaction survey for 2022 showed that the condition and quality level of TYS’ apartments was 4.09 with a target of 4 (3.98 in 2021).

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.

Customer satisfaction has been monitored by both an extensive annual customer satisfaction survey and a monthly moving-out survey. During 2022, the measurement of tenant satisfaction was developed in such a way that the survey was sent monthly to the tenants of a few locations. During the year, the survey reached the tenants of all locations.

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.

In 2022, the foundation carried out apartment renovations in its housing locations for 0.72€/m2/month. In 2023, 0.62€/m2/month has been budgeted for apartment renovations.

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.

Tenants’ opinions on the Foundation’s communications are inquired monthly in the tenant satisfaction
survey, which is sent out to different housing locations, and once a year in the communications survey.
In the 2022 tenant satisfaction survey, communication by TYS received a grade of 4.

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.

In May 2022, the Tyyssija common space TYS n’ Chill was opened. Tenants of Aitiopaikka, Ikituuri, Nummenranta, Tyyssija, Student Village West and Student Village East can use the space freely. The space is not reservable but serves as a common study place and living room for the tenants.

In 2022, tenant committees were established in the new Tyyssija housing location and the tenant committee was reactivated in five housing locations.

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. 

In 2022, the carbon footprint of the Foundation’s own operations was approximately 15% lower than in the
comparison year of the Foundation’s carbon neutrality target for 2020 (4,250 t CO2-eq) and approximately 22% lower than in 2021 (4,612 t CO2-eq).

The decrease in the carbon footprint was due to a clear decrease in energy consumption emissions. The year 2022 was warmer than 2021, which contributed to the decrease in district heat consumption. The emission factor for district heating also decreased from 2021 to 2022. In addition, the solar panels installed in Nummenranta and the heat pump introduced in Tyyssija in conjunction with the RESPONSE project have increased the energy efficiency of the locations and the amount of renewable energy. In 2022, the Foundation had no new construction or renovation projects, which reduced the Foundation’s indirect emissions.

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. According to Turku Energia, in 2022, 100% of electricity will be produced from renewable energy sources (100 % in 2021). Of district heat 78 % was produced using renewable energy sources (75 % in 2021).

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.

During the year, solar panels were also installed in Student Village West’s 5 A-D buildings (252 pcs) and Nummenranta’s 17 C and D, 18 A, 19 A and B and 20 A buildings (454 pcs) as part of the RESPONSE project.

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.

At the moment, 72%, i.e. almost ¾ of the Foundation’s apartments are using the new electronic locking system (66% of apartments in 2021).

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