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Corporate sustainability in the German real estate sector

Rosemarie Stibbe (Department of Business Administration, Bonn-Rhine-Sieg University of Applied Sciences, Sankt Augustin, Germany)
Michael Voigtländer (Research Unit for Real Estate Economics, Cologne Institute for Economic Research, Cologne, Germany)

Journal of Corporate Real Estate

ISSN: 1463-001X

Article publication date: 4 November 2014




The aim of the study is to investigate the implementation of corporate sustainability (CS) in the German real estate sector.


The authors begin by outlining the framework set by the European Union and the German Federal Government for companies wanting to be classified as sustainable. After this, the relevance of sustainability for German real estate companies is discussed. Their empirical section contains an international comparison. Finally, they present an analysis checking the implementation of CS for the main 135 German real estate companies.


The present analysis shows that German real estate companies compare well with their international counterparts, in 2012 representing 15 per cent of all real estate firms reporting on the basis of the Global Reporting Initiative. However, of the 135 companies in Germany surveyed, only a small proportion classify themselves as CS and CSR (corporate social responsibility) enterprises. This number could be rapidly increased by better documentation of companies’ commitment to sustainability.

Practical implications

The study’s importance lies in the overview it provides of CS activities in the German real estate industry. In addition, it provides hints on how companies can improve their documentation to classify as CSR enterprises. Although the analysis concentrates on Germany, the results are also relevant for companies in other European countries.


This is the first study to offer a comprehensive overview of the CS activities of the German real estate industry.



The authors would like to thank Timo Pilger for his support and his valuable comments.


Stibbe, R. and Voigtländer, M. (2014), "Corporate sustainability in the German real estate sector", Journal of Corporate Real Estate, Vol. 16 No. 4, pp. 239-251.



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