They year 2021 was another very dynamic one for the SFS Group. In addition to high demand and bottlenecks in the supply chain, the COVID-19 pandemic remained the dominant topic. The health of our employees and their environment, and thus the regular adjustment of our protection concepts, was once again our top priority last year. In business terms, SFS seized the opportunities that were offered and was able to increase value thanks to the great commitment of its employees, the high level of competitiveness and cost discipline. Despite considerable operational pressure, the focus remained on implementing the environmental roadmap presented last year. The current report serves as an initial assessment of the current situation in order to provide you with transparent information on how far we have progressed in achieving our ambitious 2020 targets.
Additional key topic identified in dialog with stakeholders
As a member of the UN Global Compact, SFS is committed to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and is currently prioritizing six goals: SDG 3 – Good health and well-being, SDG 4 – Quality education, SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth, SDG 9 – Industry, innovation and infrastructure, SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production, and SDG 13 – Climate action. This prioritization also reflects the material topics identified in the materiality assessment. In this context, SFS reviews and questions the relevance of its material topics and their position in the materiality matrix every two years. As announced, extensive interviews and surveys of the stakeholder groups identified were once again carried out in 2021. Dialog with them has shown that the key issues to date remain the most relevant and that we are therefore still on the right track. The issue of human rights, which we discuss in detail for the first time in this report, is new and has therefore been added. SFS currently reports on the following six key topics:
- GRI 201: Economic performance
- GRI 305: Emissions
- GRI 403: Occupational health and safety
- GRI 404: Training and education
- GRI 412: Human rights
- GRI 419: Socioeconomic compliance
Progress made toward achieving the goal
In terms of economic performance, SFS has set itself the goal of continuously increasing value added and distributing it evenly among its stakeholders. Net value added came to 45.4% in 2021, which is significantly higher than the previous year’s figure of 42.0%. As a result, net value added increased by CHF 144.6 million year on year. Furthermore, owing to the healthy project pipeline and solid positioning, we expect the company to remain on its positive trajectory and to continue increasing value added.
In the area of emissions, our goal for Scope 1 and Scope 2 is to reduce CO2 emissions (measured in tonnes of CO2 per Swiss franc of value added) by ≥90% by 2030 compared with 2020. CO2 emissions for Scope 1 and 2 were reduced by 4.5% in the year under review. Using a like-to-like approach, the improvement was actually 11%. The most important drivers were the purchase of green energy and the expansion of our own electricity production through the installation of photovoltaic systems. By 2040, the aim is also to reduce CO2 emissions for Scope 3 by ≥90%. Last year, the data quality for Scope 3 was significantly improved. Further progress is expected by 2023.
In the area of occupational health and safety, we were able to reduce the number of work-related accidents by 12.8% and are one step closer to our goal of halving accidents by 2025. In order to take into account the dynamic growth of the SFS Group, accidents are now measured and compared using the relative key figure of accidents per million working hours.
SFS attaches great importance to the dual-track system of education and training. The long-term target of 5–7% of permanent employees worldwide being on training programs was met once again last year (5.1%, compared with 5.0% in the previous year). Owing to the pandemic, it was once again impossible to extend the training activities and/or the standard of dual-track training to other areas of the Group. We are intensifying our efforts to increase the attractiveness of dual-track education and training again in 2022.
Compliance with human rights is indispensable and non-negotiable for us, which is why we also expect our business partners to guarantee respect for human rights. In the year under review, there were no reports of human rights violations at SFS. This will continue to be our aspiration in the future, which we are emphasizing with the publication of our sustainability guidelines, thereby clearly positioning ourselves on the topic of human rights.
The SFS Code of Conduct describes the basic principles for being an exemplary, reliable and fair business partner and employer. We have established an effective compliance system to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Code of Conduct. In the year under review, the SFS Group was not affected by any sanctions in the area of socioeconomic compliance. This is also the clear expectation for 2022.