Kungsleden, one of Sweden’s largest listed property companies, has been named the winner of the inaugural EPRA Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Award.
The award was presented to Biljana Pehrsson, CEO of Kungsleden, at Westminster County Hall during the EPRA Sustainability Summit 2019, which took place in December last year.
Addressing the audience of more than 200 attendees, Perhsson cited the importance of D&I initiatives to the success and sustainability of business in modern society, and implored business owners to carefully consider the D&I strategy within their own organisations.
The award was presented by Peter van den Tol, Fund Manager of Listed Real Estate Securities at MN Services, who together with Janine Cole and Rachel Aylett (Great Portland Estates) composed the judging panel. The panel assessed the merits of a number of listed property company award entries across criteria, ranging from gender diversity and social inclusion to employees’ mental health and wellbeing.
Van den Tol highlighted Kungsleden’s overall dedication to following through on a broader D&I strategy for the business, which he described as “incredibly impressive”. According to the panel, the business demonstrated the top-to-bottom dedication demonstrated by only those companies most committed to making a real difference to D&I in the workplace in listed real estate.
Kungsleden’s vital statistics present a telling story of the business’s aim to mirror Swedish society. Of the company’s 110 employees, 52% are female and almost 10% are from foreign backgrounds, both exceeding the diversity in Sweden, at present.
Underlying Kungsleden’s overall strategy were several core initiatives that the panel determined to be truly industry leading. Among the most influential of these initiatives has been the business’ cooperation with Fryshuset, a non-profit organisation in Sweden working to improve the career and employment prospects of underprivileged and out of work young people by providing them with the opportunity to intern within one of a number of divisions within Kungsleden.
Additionally, Kungsleden was commended for its choice of recruitment suppliers, selecting a number of facility maintenance staff through recruitment business Just Arrived, which sources employment opportunities for recent migrant candidates with a variety of qualifications.
“I am truly delighted to accept this award on behalf of everybody at Kungsleden,” said Pehrsson. “We have worked hard to ensure that D&I are part of the company DNA now. It is something that has brought us together and truly engaged every member of the company, who is endowed with the collective responsibility of making this place a better place to work and contributing positively to our society.
“This award is a great recognition of the fantastic work that my colleagues do, and I would like to thank everyone one of them for their contribution.”