Communications and Transparency<p>​<img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Misc.%20Banner%20Images/CSR/Communication-2800x934.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px;" /></p>Communications and Transparency00

 

 

Communications and TransparencyCommunications and TransparencyCommunications and Transparency1

 

 

CSR Communications and Transparency content​​<span style="color:#009b48;font-family:proxima-nova, sans-serif;font-size:2.2rem;">Disclosing and communicating environmental, social and governance initiatives and performance publicly via reputable reporting frameworks/standards.</span> <div> <font color="#ec802b" face="proxima-nova, sans-serif"> <span style="font-size:35.2px;"> <br></span></font> <span style="color:#ec802b;font-family:proxima-nova, sans-serif;font-size:2.2rem;"> <span> <h2 style="color:#478299;font-family:ff-tisa-web-pro, sans-serif;font-size:2rem;font-style:italic;">Political Spending</h2> <p style="color:#626366;line-height:1.75;font-family:proxima-nova, sans-serif;font-size:1.6rem;font-style:normal;"> Policies and management system for political contributions and total contributions made to each source.</p> <p style="color:#626366;line-height:1.75;font-family:proxima-nova, sans-serif;font-size:1.6rem;font-style:normal;"> <br> </p> <h2 style="color:#478299;font-family:ff-tisa-web-pro, sans-serif;font-size:2rem;font-style:italic;">Community Engagement</h2> <p style="color:#626366;line-height:1.75;font-family:proxima-nova, sans-serif;font-size:1.6rem;font-style:normal;"> Proactively communicating with communities, engaging and educating them on environmental, social and governance issues and providing activities in or around properties.</p> <p style="color:#626366;line-height:1.75;font-family:proxima-nova, sans-serif;font-size:1.6rem;font-style:normal;">It is critically important for Forest City to maintain clear, open channels of communication with our stakeholders to allow us to attain common goals and create and sustain vibrant communities. Ongoing communication with investors, community members, tenants, residents and associates builds trust and identifies new business opportunities that keep our properties competitive and attractive for the long term. Because public-private partnerships account for a significant majority of our new development projects, transparency and communication are essential to achieve public alignment.</p> <p style="color:#626366;line-height:1.75;font-family:proxima-nova, sans-serif;font-size:1.6rem;font-style:normal;">Forest City is in a unique position to help our core markets enhance urban access to key amenities such as jobs, public transportation, green spaces and places to live, work and shop. Through effective design and management of our projects, we achieve meaningful environmental improvements to existing infrastructure and economic improvements to surrounding communities.</p> <p> </p> <h2 style="color:#478299;font-family:ff-tisa-web-pro, sans-serif;font-size:2rem;font-style:italic;">Communities, Cities and Government Partners</h2> <p style="color:#626366;line-height:1.75;font-family:proxima-nova, sans-serif;font-size:1.6rem;font-style:normal;"> The many elements involved in developing and maintaining an effective mixed-use property require significant planning, teamwork and execution. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to major urban development projects. Each project requires an understanding of the unique needs, challenges and opportunities of the particular building or neighborhood involved. Forest City actively seeks to enter into lasting public/private partnerships and embraces early opportunities to engage with local residents and officials to explore each potential development. The success of our projects begins with a willingness to communicate in an open and honest way during the early planning phases so that everyone is aware of the realities of each development.</p> <p style="color:#626366;line-height:1.75;font-family:proxima-nova, sans-serif;font-size:1.6rem;font-style:normal;">We engage key stakeholders to help us identify and execute the elements that shape how a project can go forward. This can include activities such as soliciting input from community members, gaining governmental or regulatory buy-in, achieving needed zoning and entitlement flexibility, and leveraging available incentives to obtain financing at an appropriate cost of capital in order to make a project economically feasible.</p> <p> </p> <h2 style="color:#478299;font-family:ff-tisa-web-pro, sans-serif;font-size:2rem;font-style:italic;">Political Activity</h2> <p style="color:#626366;line-height:1.75;font-family:proxima-nova, sans-serif;font-size:1.6rem;font-style:normal;"> Forest City supports candidates and ballot issues at the local, state and federal levels that align with our strategic objectives and core values. We pursue a bipartisan strategy and provide aid to members of both major political parties with contributions from the company, where allowable, and from our political action committee, Forest City United for Sensible Government Political Action Committee, or FOCUS PAC. Candidates who receive political contributions from Forest City must demonstrate alignment with our core values and a commitment to the economic vitality of the communities where we operate. </p> <p style="color:#626366;line-height:1.75;font-family:proxima-nova, sans-serif;font-size:1.6rem;font-style:normal;">We scrupulously monitor all political activity to ensure we remain in full compliance with all relevant laws and regulations. Our Legal Department reviews all political giving requests prior to approving any contributions. In addition, the Audit Committee of the board conducts an annual review of all lobbying and political spending activities. </p> <p style="color:#626366;line-height:1.75;font-family:proxima-nova, sans-serif;font-size:1.6rem;font-style:normal;">We target our lobbying and political spending to drive economic vitality in the markets we serve and to benefit initiatives that create value for our stakeholders. In 2015, the majority of our political contributions went to ballot initiatives for arts and culture, health and human services, secondary education and housing.</p> <p> </p> <h2 style="color:#478299;font-family:ff-tisa-web-pro, sans-serif;font-size:2rem;font-style:italic;">Community Investment</h2> <p style="color:#626366;line-height:1.75;font-family:proxima-nova, sans-serif;font-size:1.6rem;font-style:normal;"> Our business thrives when we have strong collaborations between our associates and our stakeholders. We develop meaningful relationships and create shared value by supporting important initiatives and forging lasting partnerships with nonprofit organizations and community residents.</p> <p style="color:#626366;line-height:1.75;font-family:proxima-nova, sans-serif;font-size:1.6rem;font-style:normal;">One way we provide social benefit is through corporate philanthropy. Our goal is to generate significant, enduring and positive impacts in our communities. In 2015, Forest City began to refocus its philanthropic efforts to better align with our business. Going forward, our four areas of focus will include economic development, workforce preparedness, educational attainment and diversity and inclusion efforts in the communities where we operate. We support organizations making a difference in these areas through grants and sponsorships as well as in-kind donations and volunteering. </p> <p style="color:#626366;line-height:1.75;font-family:proxima-nova, sans-serif;font-size:1.6rem;font-style:normal;">Our associates bring our core value of community involvement to life. Collectively, our workforce donates thousands of volunteer hours each year working with nonprofit organizations. In 2015, more than 1,100 associates put our core values into action by taking part in Forest City's 12th annual Community Day, a companywide day of service. In addition, many associates serve our communities through nonprofit board positions and volunteering. We are proud of the dedication our associates demonstrate in improving the well-being of our communities. </p> <p> </p> <h2 style="color:#478299;font-family:ff-tisa-web-pro, sans-serif;font-size:2rem;font-style:italic;">Tenant and Resident Communications</h2> <p style="color:#626366;line-height:1.75;font-family:proxima-nova, sans-serif;font-size:1.6rem;font-style:normal;"> To strengthen the sense of community within our developments, we actively engage our tenants and residents on a regular basis, particularly within our residential properties. Each of our properties utilizes several means of communicating to organize and advertise community events or activities and to promote new amenities. Individuals and families are able to follow Forest City properties on social media, where our associates post news items and information on upcoming events. Our social media accounts are also valuable channels for feedback on how to improve engagement activities across our portfolio.</p> <p style="color:#626366;line-height:1.75;font-family:proxima-nova, sans-serif;font-size:1.6rem;font-style:normal;">In addition to social media engagement, each Forest City property utilizes a tenant communication system called Active Building. Using this system, we can connect with all tenants on a group or individual basis. Active Building messages can range from event reminders to maintenance notices or safety alerts. Tenants can also use Active Building to track package deliveries, request repairs and other services, reserve building amenities and submit guest authorizations. Some of our newer properties also display useful real-time data, such as current local traffic conditions, arrival times of public transportation and weather reports.  </p> <p> </p> <h2 style="color:#478299;font-family:ff-tisa-web-pro, sans-serif;font-size:2rem;font-style:italic;">Investors</h2> <p style="color:#626366;line-height:1.75;font-family:proxima-nova, sans-serif;font-size:1.6rem;font-style:normal;"> Effective communication of our activities enhances trust from our existing shareholders and potential investors. We continually look for ways to provide increased transparency in our financial disclosures so they may better understand the strength of our diverse portfolio and the strategic focus. </p> <p style="color:#626366;line-height:1.75;font-family:proxima-nova, sans-serif;font-size:1.4rem;font-style:normal;">In particular, we have greatly increased the amount and level of transparency in our annual Proxy statement. For example, within Corporate Governance, we detail the qualifications and expertise we require for our directors who fulfill each qualification.</p> <p style="color:#626366;line-height:1.75;font-family:proxima-nova, sans-serif;font-size:1.6rem;font-style:normal;">Additionally, we expanded the Compensation Discussion and Analysis section to provide greater transparency to our commitment to pay for performance and alignment with shareholder interests. Forest City has been very purposeful in these efforts to provide greater transparency, not only in our proxy, but also in quarterly and annual financial statements, presentations and filings, and we consistently receive positive feedback on our progress, both in direct comments from investors and in published reports by investment analysts who follow the company.</p> <p style="color:#626366;line-height:1.75;font-family:proxima-nova, sans-serif;font-size:1.6rem;font-style:normal;">Forest City also continues to enhance our stakeholder transparency through more detailed and robust CR reporting. We began formally disclosing our CR activities three years ago and progressed to a GRI G4 Core level for this report. In 2015, we began expanding our reporting activities by submitting to the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) annual Real Estate Assessment for a non-public evaluation of our sustainability performance. In this first submission to GRESB, Forest City received a Green Star rating for performing in the top quartile among participants in our sector. In 2016, we will submit to GRESB and have our results disclosed to investors for the first time.</p> <p> </p> <h2 style="color:#478299;font-family:ff-tisa-web-pro, sans-serif;font-size:2rem;font-style:italic;">Office of the CEO, Board and Associates</h2> <p style="color:#626366;line-height:1.75;font-family:proxima-nova, sans-serif;font-size:1.6rem;font-style:normal;"> In early 2016, Forest City completed conversion to a real estate investment trust (REIT), marking an important milestone in the company's ongoing transformation from a company known primarily as a real estate developer to one with a balanced focus on owning, operating and developing high-quality properties in core urban markets. We believe the REIT structure supports our strategic direction as a company and enhances our ability to create value for all stakeholders, including our residents, customers, partners, associates, investors and communities. We are excited about this new chapter in Forest City's history and look forward to leveraging our strength in creating transformational real estate and dynamic, mixed-use communities. </p> <p style="color:#626366;line-height:1.75;font-family:proxima-nova, sans-serif;font-size:1.6rem;font-style:normal;">In recent years, we have seen a marked increase in sustainability awareness among our stakeholders. Forest City partners and investors are increasingly interested in our performance and management of key ESG topics. In response, we have strategically enhanced our internal and external approach to CR activities. As a result, in 2015, Forest City's executive leadership identified CR as a critical topic for the long-term success of the company. </p> <p style="color:#626366;line-height:1.75;font-family:proxima-nova, sans-serif;font-size:1.6rem;font-style:normal;">One way in which we are improving our sustainability performance is through enhanced internal transparency with Forest City executives and the board of directors. Moving forward, our CR team will report their activities and progress directly to the Office of the CEO. We plan to expand the sustainability team's interactions with the Board of Directors over the next few years. These new internal processes will foster integrated CR strategies that contribute to reduced long-term risk and improved top-line growth.  </p> <p> </p> <h2 style="color:#478299;font-family:ff-tisa-web-pro, sans-serif;font-size:2rem;font-style:italic;">Internal Communications</h2> <p style="color:#626366;line-height:1.75;font-family:proxima-nova, sans-serif;font-size:1.6rem;font-style:normal;"> In 2015, we implemented a comprehensive change-management communications program. This program made use of several internal lines of communication and served to keep associates apprised of all major updates during our REIT transition and organizational restructuring process. For example, we launched "5 Minutes with Dave," a regular email from David LaRue to all associates providing updates and reflections on our journey as an organization. These emails had an average open rate of 74 percent of all associates and approximately 85 percent of managers, including an 80-plus percent open rate for leadership members. In addition to the all-associates "5 Minutes" emails, we launched a regularly scheduled message to the leadership team from David LaRue, which also achieved an open rate greater than 85 percent. During 2015, we published approximately 35 messages from David LaRue to Forest City associates. </p> <p style="color:#626366;line-height:1.75;font-family:proxima-nova, sans-serif;font-size:1.6rem;font-style:normal;">Forest City associates utilize our MainStreet intranet and the quarterly Driving Forward newsletter as resources for organizational updates, industry news and trends and professional growth. Driving Forward provided updates on ongoing implementation of our strategic plan and key organizational and process changes. It also clarified the many things that would not and have not changed, such as our commitment to our core values. </p> <p style="color:#626366;line-height:1.75;font-family:proxima-nova, sans-serif;font-size:1.6rem;font-style:normal;">During our REIT conversion in 2015, these tools were vital in increasing the amount of clear and consistent communication across our company. For example, we saw a 24 percent increase in page views for Driving Forward from 2014 to 2015, a significant accomplishment that demonstrates that Forest City's communications are reaching more associates and that associates are referencing these messages more frequently. </p> <p style="color:#626366;line-height:1.75;font-family:proxima-nova, sans-serif;font-size:1.6rem;font-style:normal;">In 2015, we published 164 articles in MainStreet with nearly as many announcements and other content features. Executive leaders provided frequent progress updates to associates and highlighted key milestones throughout the year. These progress updates also served as opportunities to recognize our associate teams for their hard work in transforming Forest City to a REIT. </p> <p style="color:#626366;line-height:1.75;font-family:proxima-nova, sans-serif;font-size:1.6rem;font-style:normal;">As is common during a major corporate reorganization, we eliminated a number of positions as a part of the transformation process. Early in the process, we committed to providing timely notifications to associates who were impacted. We followed through on this commitment that closely aligns with our core value of Integrity & Openness. For associates whose positions were eliminated, we provided severance packages based on years of service with the company. Severance packages include salary continuance, subsidized COBRA and outplacement services to assist in career transitions.</p> <p> </p> <h2 style="color:#478299;font-family:ff-tisa-web-pro, sans-serif;font-size:2rem;font-style:italic;">Change Sponsor Program</h2> <p style="color:#626366;line-height:1.75;font-family:proxima-nova, sans-serif;font-size:1.6rem;font-style:normal;"> During 2015, we established the Change Sponsor program to provide us with a meaningful representation of associates' overall mood and outlook about Forest City. The Change Sponsor program and survey helped illustrate the overall success of our communications and change management efforts surrounding our organizational transformation and REIT conversion. The survey program established baseline scores around understanding, communication, leadership, behavior and morale. Over the initial months of the Change Sponsor program, Forest City's communications efforts drove major improvements in associate scoring of leadership (nearly 1 full point on a 10 point scale) and understanding and communication (nearly 2 full points on a 10 point scale). The baseline scores from 2015 will be used to measure the program's progress in 2016. </p> <p> </p> <h2 style="color:#478299;font-family:ff-tisa-web-pro, sans-serif;font-size:2rem;font-style:italic;">Supplier Diversity</h2> <p style="color:#626366;line-height:1.75;font-family:proxima-nova, sans-serif;font-size:1.6rem;font-style:normal;"> We adopt a purposeful approach to using local and minority-owned suppliers wherever possible in our construction projects and for operations and maintenance of our buildings. We begin the process by reviewing the city or regional goals that exist and then try to exceed those goals where we can. This approach helps broaden our ability to generate positive change in our communities. </p> <p style="color:#626366;line-height:1.75;font-family:proxima-nova, sans-serif;font-size:1.6rem;font-style:normal;">We constantly strive to improve the communities in which we operate. One way we achieve this is by hiring from within the community. For example, in developing <a href="http://fcewebsite.qa.forestcity.net/portfolio/our-properties/Mixed-Use/The-Yards">The Yards</a> in Washington, D.C., we encouraged our larger contractors to subcontract part of their agreements to smaller local builders. This effort helped us to satisfy a project requirement that 35 percent of contracts go to small, local or disadvantaged firms. We also worked with local stakeholder groups such as labor unions, educational institutions and social services agencies to help match retail businesses in The Yards with local residents seeking work. Through efforts such as these, Forest City developments become an opportunity for small businesses to expand their technical knowledge and grow, and for unemployed and under-employed local residents to find new or better jobs.</p> <p style="color:#626366;line-height:1.75;font-family:proxima-nova, sans-serif;font-size:1.6rem;font-style:normal;">In 2015, we also piloted an internal program for construction projects without supplier diversity requirements. At our Axis apartment project in Los Angeles, we targeted a 10 percent goal for utilization of diverse-owned contractors. Working with local chapters of the National Minority Supplier Diversity Council and the Women's Business Enterprise National Council, we held a webinar to introduce local diverse vendors to the project and the general contractor and invited them to apply to participate. We are confident that we will reach our goal when this project is complete. As a result of this successful project, in 2016, Forest City will begin setting internal supplier diversity and hiring goals for all construction projects without supplier diversity requirements.</p></span></span></div>Communications and TransparencyCSR Communications and Transparency content0Generic Page Content Text0