What we care about
As a service company, we need energy in many different forms: for heating our buildings, for operating our electrical equipment and systems or for our mobility.
The use of energy is always associated with environmental damage. Above all, non-renewable energy sources such as heating oil, gas or petrol have a strong impact on the climate. We therefore reduce our own energy requirements as much as possible, give preference to renewable energy sources and ensure through ongoing monitoring and controlling that energy is used efficiently and not wasted.
In 2019, our primary energy requirement amounted to 2,935 MWh. The primary energy requirement for electricity fell by 15%. This is due to efficiency improvements in electricity consumption, but also to the outsourcing of, for example, servers at several locations. In contrast, the primary energy requirement for heating buildings (+11%) and for occupational mobility (+20%) increased. Reasons include the increase in the number of employees, the additional location in Lucerne and the air travel included for the first time. Energy requirements for commuting to work by public transport increased by 8.8%, and those for travel by car by 17.5%. Accordingly, total greenhouse gas emissions increased by 22% compared to the previous year. Business air travel accounts for 1% of primary energy demand and 2% of greenhouse gas emissions.
Climate change: risk or opportunity?
Greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the use of fossil fuels have risen massively in recent decades and are causing our climate to change. We see this development as a risk and derive a need for action from it. With our range of services we have the opportunity to promote the use of renewable energy sources and to achieve efficient energy use. We are committed to making careful use of high quality energy, exergy, and better use of low quality energy, anergy. Together with our clients, we try to develop sustainable solutions that take into account ecological and economic conditions. In this way we contribute to counteracting climate change and reducing CO2 emissions. In 2019, we were able to save many times our own greenhouse gas emissions by optimising our customers' operations.
Energy Management System
From 2015 to 2017, Amstein + Walthert AG had a certified energy management system (EnMS) in accordance with ISO 50001 at its Andreasstrasse 11 location in Zurich. From 2018, the system was no longer audited, but the processes were continued and continuously improved. With the energy management system, energy consumption is methodically recorded and evaluated. The aim is to continuously increase energy efficiency. The energy management system complements the energy controlling system, which has been in place since 2007.
Structure and organisation
The definition and creation of the EnMS documents and processes was based on the existing quality management (ISO 9001). The energy policy of Amstein + Walthert is anchored in the mission statement. We are committed to continuously improving our energy-related performance by means of efficiency enhancement measures and energetic operational optimisation. The management has appointed an energy officer. He is supported by a team with members from energy-related business areas. This ensures that the EnMS is introduced, implemented, maintained and continuously improved.
Collection of energy key figures
With the introduction of the EnMS, detailed energy performance indicators have been redefined, such as final energy consumption per full-time equivalent, space heating consumption, PUE from the data centre or primary energy from professional mobility. These data are regularly collected and assessed in a management review. This enables progress to be evaluated and allows benchmarking. With the move into the new main building in the Andreasturm at the end of 2018 with 450 workplaces, the targets and energy reference figures for all areas must be completely adjusted and redefined. The future possibilities for energy-related operational optimisation (eBO) of the building services installations are limited by the tenancy.
Implementation of measures
Thanks to recurring monitoring and evaluation, preventive and corrective measures can be triggered to ensure that objectives are achieved.
From 2007 to 2017, the voluntary target agreement EnAW for the Andreasstrasse 11 site in Zurich represented a voluntary commitment to energy efficiency in the building sector. So far, the reduction target path has always been adhered to. As a result of the move to the Andreasturm, the target agreement for the Andreasturm will be revised in 2020.
The measures implemented include adjustments to the operating times of the lighting and ventilation systems and the reduction of the outlet temperature of the refrigeration machines.
The ecological footprint of a company is significantly influenced by the choice of its energy sources. The use of fossil fuels such as oil or natural gas causes considerable greenhouse gas emissions. We are therefore committed to the sustainable use of energy and apply this principle wherever possible in our offices. For the first time, the current sustainability report also includes building energy data for the Lucerne location.
Share of renewable and domestic electricity
In the Amstein + Walthert Group we try to use as many renewable energy sources as possible. The share of renewable energy sources such as hydropower, wind and solar energy and biomass is practically 100%. The share of renewable energy could be increased by 12 percentage points compared to 2015. The rest is made up of nuclear energy, fossil fuels (e.g. oil), non-renewable waste and non-verifiable energy sources. The aim is to use only renewable and domestic electricity in all branches. The share of domestic electricity consumption is 86%. The 2019 target was thus clearly missed. Already at the beginning of 2020, the electricity product at the Zurich location, to which the deterioration is primarily attributable, was adjusted again.
Primary energy demand
Primary energy refers to the original form of energy, such as coal, oil, wind or sunlight. The term primary energy thus describes the energy requirement including all upstream process chains of a product. All processes of raw material extraction, conversion and distribution are included. With the help of primary energy factors, the final energy consumption can be converted into the primary energy demand.
The primary energy demand at our locations varies greatly due to the mixed building structure. The merging of the four Zurich locations, which were partly heated with heat pumps and partly with natural gas, into the Andreasturm, which is heated with district heating, at the end of 2018 makes the comparison with the previous year even more difficult. In 2019, all branches together consumed around 2,006 MWh/a of primary energy. Of this, 1,051 MWh/a was used to heat the rooms and 955 MWh/a for lighting, IT etc. The further reduction in primary energy consumption from 2.3 MWh/FTE in 2018 to 2.1 MWh/FTE is due to the change in heating systems at the Zurich site and the further overall reduction in electricity consumption. However, the change from heat pumps to district heating at the Zurich site also means that the share of renewable heat from the Amstein + Walthert Group will decrease from 20% to 14%.
53% of the total energy consumption was covered by renewable sources, which significantly helps to keep our ecological footprint low.
Greenhouse gas emissions
Greenhouse gas emissions (total GHG) amounted to around 216 tonnes of CO2 equivalents in 2019. Of this, 201 tonnes of CO2 equivalents are generated by the heating of our premises. We need 15 tonnes of CO2 equivalents for electricity. Greenhouse gas emissions rose by 19% compared to 2018, as the consumption of the Lucerne site was also taken into account for the first time. At the Zurich site, on the other hand, greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by 34% with the move to the Andreasturm due to lower electricity requirements and the switch to district heating.
Our employees are often on the move: on the way to work, to construction sites, customers and partners. However, mobility, with its energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, represents a considerable environmental burden. We therefore try to minimise our ecological footprint with our mobility solutions.
A mobility concept has existed for the Zurich location since 2001, which lays down the principles for the use of the various forms of mobility. Since 2015 Amstein + Walthert has also been participating in the "Mobility Management for Companies" programme of the Swiss Federal Office of Energy. A site-specific mobility concept was developed for the Bern, Geneva, St. Gallen and Zurich Oerlikon sites. That of the Zurich site was rewritten on the occasion of the move to the Andreasturm at the end of 2019. In a second step, ongoing measures to promote sustainable mobility are now being defined and implemented. To this end, employees are asked every two years in a comprehensive mobility survey about, among other things, possible improvements at their location. The evaluation of the 2020 survey and the development of further measures to reduce energy requirements and greenhouse gas emissions in the context of mobility will be an important focus in the current year.
The following means of transport are available to our employees for occupational mobility:
Public transport forms the basis for meeting our mobility needs. Accordingly, many of our employees use public transport (see job mobility). Most of our locations are in the immediate vicinity of major railway stations.
Where it is necessary or useful for reasons of efficiency, company cars are available to our employees at most locations. In each case, we decide on the most efficient vehicles. In St. Gallen and Geneva, an electric vehicle is used and the Berne site has a hybrid car. At the Lausanne and Zurich Oerlikon sites, we have opted for Smarts because they have low CO2 emissions and take up little space. From March 2020, however, the Smarts will be gradually replaced by electric vehicles at the Zurich site.
In addition to company cars, our employees can use Mobility vehicles if required. These are used, for example, if the journey can be easily combined with public transport or if no company car is available.
Our employees at the Bern and Geneva sites have access to company-owned bicycles. Since 2017, both company-owned bicycles and e-bikes have been available at the Zurich location. These are well suited for shorter distances in the city and are in heavy use.
If the use of the private vehicle results in significant time or cost savings, it can be used for business purposes.
In 2019, our employees travelled some 2,280,700 kilometres for business purposes. This is almost 12% more than in the previous year. They covered around 51% of the distance by public transport (1 percentage point less than in 2018), the remaining 49% with their own vehicle, the company fleet or Mobility vehicles.
For the first time in 2019, air travel as part of occupational mobility was also surveyed. In total, around 44,000 km were flown in 2019.
Primary energy demand / greenhouse gas emissions
Accordingly, the primary energy requirement for occupational mobility increases to 929 MWh. This corresponds to 953 kWh per full-time job. 88.8% of the demand is covered by fossil energy sources.
The greenhouse gas emissions induced by occupational mobility amounted to around 223 t CO2 equivalents, which corresponds to 229 kg CO2 equivalents per full-time job. The previous year's figure, excluding air travel, was 196 kg CO2 equivalents per full-time employee.
Our employees not only use different means of transport for business appointments, but also for the journey from home to work. According to the third commuter survey at the beginning of 2020, the modal split has hardly changed at all compared to 2017. Rail, tram and bus are used for around 66% of commuting to work (in km), motorised private transport for around 26%, and the remaining 8% of journeys are made with muscle power.
The branches in Geneva, Bern and Zurich took part in the 2019 Bike to work campaign. Teams were formed within the company, which in May/June covered part or all of the way to work by bike. In total, the participating teams covered around 24,900 km by bike, a quarter more than in the previous year.
Water is also a very precious commodity in Switzerland, even if it seems to be available in abundance. For example, as Swiss consumers we are net water importers: our water resources would not be sufficient to produce all the products and food we consume in our country ourselves. In addition, water treatment, for example, requires a great deal of energy and resources for both the extraction and purification of process water. We therefore feel obliged to use water with care.
In 2019, the companies of the Amstein + Walthert Group purchased a total of 4'668 m3 of water from the municipal water supply. This corresponds to around 194 litres per square metre of energy reference area, or around 19 litres of water per employee full-time equivalent (FTE) and working day. This corresponds to a reduction of 2 litres per FTE and day compared to 2018.
The water purchased is fed as process water (grey and black water) to the on-site waste water treatment plant (WWTP) and treated accordingly.
Our company is embedded in the natural environment with its resources, which form a central basis of our activities. We therefore treat natural resources with care, respect the carrying capacity of the environment and ecosystems and minimise our ecological footprint as much as possible. This is expressed, for example, in the procurement of our products and in our use of water or recyclable materials. We also attach importance to sustainability in the energy consumption of our buildings and in our mobility.
As a service provider, Amstein + Walthert primarily procures office supplies and IT components. As part of our ISO 50'001 certification, we have drawn up a procurement guideline for the Zurich location. This states that the selection and evaluation of inventory, IT components and vehicles must be based on functional, energy and sustainability criteria. The processes and responsibilities were defined. In a second step, the guideline is to be introduced in all companies of the Amstein + Walthert Group.
Paper and printed matter
The production of paper pollutes the environment. It requires large quantities of wood, energy and water and can lead to the discharge of hazardous chemicals into watercourses. The use of certified paper and recycled paper can greatly reduce the burden. Some sites, such as Sion, Geneva, Lausanne, Zurich and Frauenfeld, have already switched to using recycled paper as printing paper.
In 2019, we purchased a total of around 19,625 kg of printer paper (A4, A3 and plotter paper). This corresponds to 20.1 kg of printer paper and around 2.1 kg of envelopes per full-time equivalent and year. Our goal is to continuously reduce paper consumption and to work paperless in the future. We have already taken a small step towards this goal. Compared to 2017, we were able to reduce our total paper consumption by around 2,100 kg. This corresponds to a reduction of 6.3 kg per full-time employee, or around a quarter. In contrast, envelope consumption is increasing. There are several reasons for the increase in plotter rolls. In addition to new plotters at the Zurich site with wider rolls and methodological adjustments, the increase is due to an innovation in data collection. The paper consumption of external plotting orders is now also taken into account. In 2019, this information was already collected at individual locations, but from 2020 this will be the case in all companies.
Office materials and office furniture
At our Zurich location, we purchase our office materials and office furniture from suppliers who attach great importance to sustainability criteria. The companies document their efforts for sustainable production in their sustainability reports.
Evaluation criteria for the procurement of PCs and other electronic devices are primarily based on the scope of functions and performance. Sustainability criteria according to the procurement guidelines are also taken into account.
Food / Catering
Balanced nutrition with mutual exchange
A healthy diet is an important prerequisite for physical and mental well-being. It is therefore important to us to support our employees* in achieving a balanced diet. Fruit is available free of charge to employees at many locations. Attention is also paid to where the fruit comes from. Regional, seasonal and certified organic fruit helps to reduce the ecological footprint of our catering. In addition to mobility and buildings, food and its emissions have a major impact on the climate. Around 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions are caused by food.
Catering is not just about eating, it is also an opportunity for exchange and networking among employees. The companies of the Amstein + Walthert Group provide the appropriate setting with their break rooms and cafeterias. We are pleased that these facilities are gladly used for joint breaks and lunch.
At our largest site in Zurich (around 500 employees), our employees* can enjoy meals in the AWlino staff restaurant. Four menus are available every day. The daily changing menu consists of a "Globetrotter" menu with meat, fish or poultry, a local and a vegetarian menu, and alternately a pasta dish or pizza. The whole offer is rounded off by a rich salad buffet. The menus are cooked on site by Catering Services Migros.
For menus with meat and fish, the selection criteria of Catering Services Migros apply with regard to origin. Veal, beef, pork and chicken come from Switzerland (exception: fine cuts of beef). By placing the emphasis on the three types of meat of Swiss origin in the menu, local agriculture is supported and long transport routes are avoided. Since domestic production is not sufficient for some types of meat, meat from foreign production is also offered. The fish and seafood on offer is based on the recommendations of the WWF. This guarantees that no products from endangered stocks or environmentally harmful breeding are used. Pangasius and tropical shrimps come from environmentally friendly breeding in Vietnam.
The apples for the apple campaign in the winter season are purchased directly from local farmers.
The food also generates waste - whether organic or through packaging. You can find more information on this in the entry Waste.
Not only the manufacture and use of products, but also their disposal leads to a burden on our natural environment. It is therefore important to us to reduce waste wherever possible and to recycle secondary raw materials and return them to the material cycle. It is our declared aim to systematically separate waste at all company locations.
We recycle around 48% of our waste. The reason for the low recycling rate in 2018 was the move of our headquarters in Zurich to the Andreasturm. During the move, a lot of material was disposed of without implementing separate collection.
Industrial waste, paper and cardboard
In 2019, the companies of the Amstein + Walthert Group produced around 19 tonnes of industrial waste, which was incinerated. This corresponds to almost 20 kg per full-time equivalent per year. Compared to 2017, the value fell by 7 kg or around a quarter per full-time employee. This massive decline is probably also due to the high volume of waste in connection with the move to the Andreasturm in 2018.
The operational waste of A+W Zurich is used for energy recovery in the Hagenholz waste-to-energy plant. Paper and cardboard are collected separately at all locations and sent for recycling.
At some company sites, organic waste is also collected separately. In Zurich, for example, the organic waste from the AWlino staff restaurant is used by a specialised company to generate gas. In 2019, 1,560 kg of organic waste was converted into biogas through consistent collection in Zurich.
Waste glass, PET, aluminium and batteries
Waste glass is not yet completely separated from industrial waste glass at all our sites.
PET containers are collected and sent for recycling. In addition to new bottles, recycled PET film, packaging, textiles, backpacks or sports shoes are produced from them.
Aluminium cans are not yet collected separately at all locations. Separate collection makes sense from an energy point of view and with regard to the conservation of resources. The extraction of aluminium from the raw material bauxite is very energy-intensive. The use of recycled aluminium can save up to 95% energy. The aluminium waste also contains the coffee capsules. At the Zurich site, for example, the Nespresso capsules are collected and recycled by the manufacturer. Biogas is produced from the coffee grounds. The aluminium is melted down and used to make window frames, bicycles and engine blocks, for example.
Batteries have a high environmental impact, but are still necessary for many applications. They are collected and recycled.