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 2021, our primary energy requirement amounted to 6,150 MWh (including commuter mobility). Compared with the previous year, this figure has increased by 5%, partially due to the weather and the pandemic. Commuter mobility accounts for about half of the primary energy demand. The rest is divided into about 40% for buildings and a good 10% for occupational mobility. The primary energy demand for occupational mobility continued to decrease (-15%), resulting in an overall decrease in our greenhouse gas emissions.
The Greenhouse Gas Protocol 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.
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 help efficient energy use and CO2-free energy systems achieve a breakthrough. 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 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.
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 employee full-time equivalent, space heating consumption 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 of optimising the energy operation (eBO) of the technical building systems were tackled in close cooperation with the building owner and are achieving initial success.
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 was reformulated 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.
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 and held it in 2021. With the exception of wind power, we purchase electricity from domestic production.
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 2021, all branches together consumed around 2,264 MWh/a of final energy and 2,389 MWh/a primary energy respectively. Of this, 1,234 MWh/a were used to heat the rooms and 1,155 MWh/a for lighting, IT, etc. 57% of the total final energy consumption was covered by renewable sources, which significantly helps to keep our ecological footprint low.
2021 was a relatively cold year with an average of 17% more heating degree days compared to the previous year. As in 2020, corona-related changes in the use of office space (home office) led to unrepresentative changes in energy consumption and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions. The offices were less occupied, which meant less internal waste heat and an increase in space heating requirements. Last but not least, the data basis was adjusted at one location. The increasing electricity demand is due in particular to the switch from district heating to heat pumps in connection with the relocation of the Geneva site. For the buildings, the primary energy demand for electricity increased by 27%, and that for heat by 16%. While the purchased electricity is 100% renewable, over 70% of the heat in the buildings is still generated using fossil fuels.
Calculation basis: Greenhouse Gas Protocoll GHG
Greenhouse gas emissions
Greenhouse gas emissions (total GHG) in 2021 amounted to around 209.4 tonnes of CO2 equivalents. Of this, 209.3 tonnes of CO2 equivalents were generated through the heating of our offices. We required 0.1 tonnes of CO2 equivalents for electricity. Greenhouse gas emissions increased by 5% compared with 2020 due to higher energy consumption and adjustments to the district heating mix that were partly beyond our control. For example, the share of gas and oil in the Zurich district heating supply had to be increased as a result of the closure of the waste incineration plant at Josefstrasse.
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. For example, the potential of bicycles and e-bikes should be fully exploited at all sites as well as simplifying the booking of SBB tickets, company and mobility vehicles and further reducing 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 In 2021, 3 electric vehicles were added, which means that every second company vehicle of the A+W Group is now powered by renewable electricity. The Geneva site is already fully electric and 9 out of 10 company vehicles at the Zurich site are electric.
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, Lucerne and Zurich. E-bikes are also available at the sites in Zurich, Geneva, Lausanne and Lucerne. 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 2021, our employees travelled 1,573,000 kilometres for business purposes. This is around 12% less than in the previous year and 32% less compared with 2019. Occupational mobility has decreased for all mobility solutions. Whereas up to and including 2019 around half of journeys were made by public transport, in the Corona years 2020 and 2021 it was only 35%, respectively 38%.
Primary energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions
The primary energy demand of occupational mobility amounted to 733.8 MWh in 2021. This corresponds to 735 kWh per full-time job. The corresponding greenhouse gas emissions in 2021 were 126.3 t CO2 equivalents. This corresponds to 126 kg CO2 equivalents per full-time position. A fifth of the greenhouse gas emissions of the occupational mobility is attributable to the company fleet (2020: 27%).
Our employees not only use different means of transport for business appointments, but also for the journey from home to work. For this purpose, a commuter survey is conducted every 2 years. In 2019, train, tram and bus were used for around 66% of the journeys to work (in km), motorised private transport for around 26%, and the remaining 8% of journeys were made using muscle power. The branches in Bern, Geneva and Zurich participated regularly in the Bike to work campaign. Teams are formed within the company to cycle part or all of their way to work in June. Unfortunately, the campaign was cancelled in 2021 due to Corona.
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 2021, a total of 1’000 Swiss Half Fare card vouchers were purchased.
Energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions
The data refer to the last survey in 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 2019, 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 2021, the companies of the Amstein + Walthert Group purchased a total of 4,016 m3 of water from the municipal water supply. This corresponds to around 155 litres per square meter of energy reference area, or around 16 litres of water per employee full-time equivalent (FTE) and working day. In 2020 this value was around 18 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 Geneva, Lausanne, Zurich and Frauenfeld, have already switched to using recycled paper for printing paper.
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. Since 2017, we have been able to gradually reduce our printer paper requirements.
The Corona pandemic in 2021 led to supply bottlenecks and price increases, which is why a stockpile was created in good time, which is reflected in the exceptionally high order quantity. During the reduction of the stock, corresponding shortages are expected. 2021, external A3 and A4 plots were also taken into account for individual sites. In 2021, we procured a total of 23,715 kg of printer paper (A4, A3 and plotter paper). This corresponds to 23.7 kg of printer paper and around 0.6 kg of envelopes per full-time equivalent and year.
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.
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 local menu, a clima menu, a daily special and the pizza corner. The whole offer is rounded off with a hearty salad buffet. The menus are cooked on site by Catering Services Migros. The climate menu shows the CO2 footprint precisely and transparently.
All fresh meat from veal, beef, pork and chicken comes from Switzerland. Only meat from ducks, rabbits, turkey, game or lamb can also come from abroad.
By placing the emphasis on swiss meat 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 49% 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 2021, the companies of the Amstein + Walthert Group produced around 15 tonnes of company waste, which was incinerated. This corresponds to almost 15 kg per full-time equivalent per year. Measures are continuously being implemented at various sites to reduce waste.
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 2021, 1 tonne 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 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.