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 the 2020 financial year, the energy consumption of the new location at the Nordring in Bern was also monitored for the first time. This means that all our locations are included in the report. We also report greenhouse gas emissions according to the methodology of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG). This methodology distinguishes between three areas of influence, so-called Scopes. Scope 1 contains the direct greenhouse gas emissions in our area of influence. Since we rent offices at all our locations, only the emissions from our fossil fuel company vehicles are included in Scope 1. Emissions caused by our electricity requirements for office operations and the electric company fleet are included in Scope 2. All other indirect greenhouse gas emissions are included in Scope 3. These are the emissions from the heating in office buildings, occupational mobility with all means of transport except the company fleet and those from commuter mobility.
In 2020, our primary energy requirement amounted to 5,863 MWh (including commuter mobility). Compared with the previous year, this figure has decreased. The primary energy requirement for electricity fell by 5%. This is due to efficiency improvements in electricity consumption as well as lower demand due to the Corona pandemic and the increase in homeworking. The primary energy requirement for occupational mobility (-10%) has also decreased. This is also due to the consequences of the pandemic. The primary energy demand for heating buildings (+1%) increased slightly. Overall, occupational mobility has been reduced. The reduction in energy demand for travel on public transport was the largest at around -45%.
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 a call to take action. 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 greenhouse gas emissions. Insights into projects towards net zero can be found in our blog article.
From 2015 to 2017, Amstein + Walthert AG ran 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 monitored 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 were 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 enhancing measures and through energetic operational optimisation. The management has appointed an energy officer who is supported by a qualified team 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 employeefull-time equivalent, space heating consumption, key figures for the energy efficiency of the data centre or primary energy consumption of professional mobility. These data are regularly collected and assessed in a management review. This enables progress to be evaluated and allows benchmarking. As a result of the relocation to the new main building in the Andreasturm at the end of 2018 with 450 workplaces, the targets and energy reference figures for all areas were 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. In addition to the previous year, this sustainability report also includes the energy consumption of our branch at Nordring 4 in Bern.
Share of renewable and domestic electricity
The goal is to use exclusively renewable and domestic electricity in all branches. In terms of renewability, we reached our target in 2020 for the first time. Due to the switch to more ecological electricity products at the Zurich and Aarau sites, the share of domestic electricity has also increased to 93.4%.
Primary and final energy demand
Final energy is the energy that reaches the consumer, for example in the form of fuel or electrical energy. 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 energy demand at our locations varies greatly due to the mixed building structure. In 2020, all branches together consumed around 1,992 MWh/a of final energy and 1,969 MWh/a primary energy respectively. Of this, 1,062 MWh/a were used to heat the rooms and 906 MWh/a for lighting, IT, etc. The further reduction in primary energy consumption from 2.1 MWh/FTE in 2019 to around 1.9 MWh/FTE is due to the impact of the pandemic.
54% of the total energy consumption was covered by renewable sources, which significantly helps to keep our ecological footprint low.
Calculation basis: Greenhouse Gas Protocoll GHG
Greenhouse gas emissions
Greenhouse gas emissions (total GHG) in 2020 amounted to around 193 tonnes of CO2 equivalents. Of this, 192.8 tonnes of CO2 equivalents are generated through the heating of our premises. We require 0.2 tonnes of CO2 equivalents for electricity. Greenhouse gas emissions dropped by 3% compared with 2019 due to the lower energy consumption.
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 keep our ecological footprint as small as possible with our mobility solutions.
The Zurich site has had a mobility concept since 2001. It defines the principles for using the various forms of mobility. From 2015 to 2019, Amstein + Walthert also participated in the "Mobility Management for Companies" programme of the Swiss Federal Office of Energy. A site-specific mobility concept was developed for the sites in Bern, Geneva, St. Gallen and Zurich Oerlikon. The concept for the Zurich site was rewritten on the occasion of the move to the Andreasturm at the end of 2019. Based on this, measures to promote sustainable mobility are defined and implemented on an ongoing basis. For this purpose, employees are asked to complete a comprehensive mobility survey every 2 years addressing possible improvements at their site. We are currently working on the development and implementation of the measures from the survey of March 2020. For example, the potential of bicycles and e-bikes has not yet been fully exploited at all sites. Another goal is to simplify the booking of SBB tickets as well as company and mobility vehicles in order to further reduce the use of private cars. Finally, we want to use the experiences with mobile working and learning made during the lockdown and the home office obligation, to shorten our routes overall. The tools and formats developed for digital training and meetings will be continuously improved.
The following means of transport are available to our employees for occupational mobility:
Public transport forms the basis for covering our mobility needs. Accordingly, many of our employees use public transport (see occupational mobility). Most of our sites are in the immediate vicinity of major railway stations.
Whenever it is necessary or more practical for efficiency reasons, employees can use company cars. We have selected vehicles that are as efficient as possible. After the Zurich and Gampel sites switched to electric vehicles in 2020 and the Geneva site increased its existing stock, one out of three company vehicles in the A+W Group is now electric. The sites in St. Gallen and Lucerne have been using electric vehicles for some time already. The Bern site uses hybrid cars, while the Lausanne site uses Smarts because they have low CO2 emissions and require little space.
In addition to company cars, our employees can also use mobility vehicles if necessary. They are used, for example, if the journey can be easily combined with public transport or if no company car is available.
Company-owned bicycles are available to our employees at our sites in Bern, Lyon and Lucerne. E-bikes are also available at the sites in Zurich, Geneva and Lausanne. They are well suited for shorter distances in the city.
If the use of the private vehicle results in significant time or cost savings, it can be used for business purposes.
In 2020, our employees travelled 1,788,168 kilometres for business purposes. This is around a quarter less than in the previous year. Just as unsurprisingly, public transport and air travel were used less, while the share of journeys made by company and especially private cars increased. Usually about half of the trips are made on public transport, but in 2020 this changed to just a third due to the Corona pandemic.
Primary energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions
The primary energy demand of occupational mobility amounted to 839.3 MWh in 2020. This corresponds to 822.9 kWh per full-time job. The corresponding greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 were 155.3 t CO2 equivalents. This corresponds to 152.2 kg CO2 equivalents per full-time position. A good quarter of the greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to the company fleet.
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, the rail, tram and bus options 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 human-powered transport.
The branches in Zurich participated in the Bike to work campaign in 2020. 18 teams were formed. They cycled part or all of the way to work in September. In total, the participating teams covered around 13,700 km by bike.
As part of our mobility management, we are committed to further increasing the share of environmentally friendly forms of mobility. For example, all our employees with a minimum workload of 50 % and an employment period of more than 6 months receive a free voucher for a Swiss Half Fare card. In 2020, a total of 1’279 Swiss Half Fare card vouchers were purchased.
Energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions
The commuter survey is conducted every 2 years. The data therefore refer to the year 2019. The primary energy demand for commuter mobility amounted 3’055 MWh or, in relation to the number of jobs, 3’134 kWh per full-time job.
The greenhouse gas emissions induced by commuter mobility amounted to around 448 t CO2 equivalents in 2020, which corresponds to 439 kg CO2 equivalents per full-time job. The emissions from commuter mobility are attributed to the indirect emissions in Scope 3. 95% of the emissions are attributable to motorised commuter traffic (car, motorbike, scooter).
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", i.e. our water resources would not be sufficient to produce all the products and food we consume in our country. In addition, water treatment and wastewater purification require a great deal of energy and resources. We therefore feel obliged to use water with care.
In 2020, the companies of the Amstein + Walthert Group purchased a total of 4,639 m3 of water from the municipal water supply. This corresponds to around 178 litres per square meter of energy reference area, or around 18 litres of water per employee full-time equivalent (FTE) and working day. In 2019 this value was around 19 litres per employee full-time equivalent and working day.
The water purchased is fed as process water (grey and black water) to the on-site wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) and treated accordingly.
Our company is embedded in the natural environment with its resources, which form a central basis for our activities. We therefore use natural resources carefully, respect the Earth's life-sustaining capacity of the environment and ecosystems and minimise our ecological footprint as much as possible. This can be seen, 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. Within the framework of our ISO 50001 certification, we have established a procurement guideline for the Zurich site. This states that the selection and evaluation of inventory, IT components and vehicles must be carried out according to functional, energy-related and sustainable standards. 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 the watercourse. The use of certified paper and recycled paper can greatly reduce the impact. Some sites, such as Sion, Geneva, Lausanne, Zurich and Frauenfeld, have already switched to using recycled paper for printing paper.
In 2020, we purchased a total of around 14,410 kg of printer paper (A4, A3 and plotter paper). This corresponds to 14.1 kg of printer paper and around 1.2 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 are getting closer to this goal, step by step. Compared with 2017, we were able to reduce our total printer paper consumption by around 7,293 kg or 46.6%. In 2017, this value was around 26.4 kg.
Stationery and office furniture
We purchase our office materials and furniture in Zurich 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 accompanied by 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 having a balanced diet. Fruit is available free of charge to employees at many locations. We make sure to source regional, seasonal and certified organic fruit. In addition to mobility and buildings, nutrition and its emissions also have a major impact on the climate. Around 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions are caused by food.
Breaks always offer opportunities for exchange and networking among employees. The companies of the Amstein + Walthert Group offer the right environment for this purpose in the form of break rooms and cafeterias. We are pleased to see that these facilities are appreciatively used for shared 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 new daily 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 with a hearty 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 sites 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 Waste section.
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 sites.
We recycle around 47% of our waste. The reason for the low recycling rate in 2018 was due to the relocation of our headquarters in Zurich to the Andreasturm. During the move, a lot of material was disposed of without implementing separate collection.
Company waste, paper and cardboard
In 2020, the companies of the Amstein + Walthert Group produced around 18 tonnes of company waste, which was incinerated. This corresponds to almost 18 kg per full-time equivalent per year. Measures are continuously being implemented at various sites to reduce waste. The replacement of plastic packaging with reusable tableware at the Basel and Zurich sites, for example, is having a visible effect: the amount of company waste per full-time equivalent was reduced by a third across the company compared with 2017.
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 recycled.
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 produce gas. In 2020, 1,000 kg of organic waste was converted into biogas through consistent collection in Zurich.
Waste glass, PET, aluminium and batteries
Waste glass, PET and aluminium containers are separated from household waste at our sites and recycled. Waste glass is largely processed into new glass packaging but is also used as foamed glass gravel—an insulating material in the construction industry. PET containers are used to make new bottles, recycled PET film, packaging, textiles, backpacks and sports shoes. The use of recycled aluminium saves up to 95% of the energy originally used. The Nespresso capsules are returned to the manufacturer in Zurich, Frauenfeld, Bern and Lucerne.
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 sites in Zurich, Frauenfeld, Bern and Lucerne, the Nespresso capsules are collected and recycled by the manufacturer. Biogas is produced from the coffee grounds. The aluminium is melted down and used, for example, to make window frames, bicycles or engine blocks.
Batteries have a high environmental impact but are nevertheless necessary for many applications. They are collected and recycled.