We keep our word and deliver on our promises – both strategically and financially. We launched our "Aareal 2020 – Adjust. Advance. Achieve" programme for the future in 2016 to continue creating sustainable value for all our stakeholders now and in the future, despite an extremely challenging business environment. And we are very much on track with implementing the programme. We enhanced our operating business, drove forward our transformation and optimised processes and structures as planned in the reporting period.
Strengthening our business in this way also contributes to achieving the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. Our smart finance and digital solutions offerings for the property and housing industries and the energy and utilities sectors have a positive impact on the "Sustainable Cities and Communities", "Decent Work and Economic Growth" and "Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure" goals, while our responsible human resources strategy and specific investments in education and training do the same for "Gender Equality" and "Quality Education".
In addition, trust is a key foundation for our business model. This is why we set the strictest standards for the integrity of our own behaviour and that of our business partners. Highly secure IT systems and client data protection go without saying for us, as does our aim of being an attractive employer. We support the implementation of the UN Global Compact's Ten Principles, ensure a high level of transparency both internally and externally, and are reliable and predictable in our dealings with stakeholders. This also includes a sustainable dividend policy.
Taking our twelve core action areas as a guide, this Sustainability Report explains how we are laying the groundwork for our continued success in a rapidly and constantly changing market and competitive environment. Are we addressing the right topics? Do you have any suggestions for us? We would be delighted to hear from you.
Yours, Hermann J. Merkens