Portrait Jens Breu 2017

CEO Statement

Dear readers

The COVID-19 pandemic posed major challenges to SFS Group and its employees. In contrast to other economic crises in the past, the protection of employees and their environment was an additional priority during the year under review. We had to cope with extreme fluctuations in demand, reduce our cost base, maintain our flexibility and supply capability, and steadfastly pursue our priorities in the field of sustainability. The progress made motivates us to continue down the path we have taken.

Major progress on transparency and towards long-term goals
As a signatory of the UN Global Compact, SFS is committed to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and currently prioritizes four goals: SDG 4 – Quality education, SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth, SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production, SDG 13 – Climate action. This prioritization reflects the material topics as determined in the materiality assessment conducted in 2019. During the year under review, we focused on achieving improvements in these areas and, above all, on making a significant contribution to the global SDGs through our goals.

One of these goals is sustainable value creation for all our stakeholders. The pandemic had a highly negative effect on business activity and, consequently, on our manufacturing output. Thanks to our well-balanced positioning, the contraction in business was limited. Net value added declined by –10.7% compared with 2019. For 2021, despite the economic uncertainty in connection with renewed global waves of COVID-19, we expect to show a positive development in our economic performance and thus in our value creation. Over a medium-term horizon, we are striving to achieve 3%-6% annual sales growth in local currency.

With respect to employee health and safety, we reduced the number of work-related injuries in 2020 by another –13.3% to 82 incidents (2019: 98) and have thus made further progress towards our mid-term goal of reducing the number of work-related injuries in 2025 by 50% compared with 2019.

SFS is a strong advocate of the dual-track system of vocational education and training. Our goal is to have 5%-7% of the workforce enrolled in a dual education program as apprentices or employees, and we achieved that goal once again in 2020 (5.0%; 2019: 6.3%). Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, it was not possible to introduce the vocational training programs or high training standards of the dual education system we have in German-speaking regions to other global regions where the Group is active. These even had to be partially restricted, which is the reason for the year-on-year decline. We intend to make progress on this front in 2021.

A particularly important milestone during the year under review was the development and approval of our environmental roadmap, which will ensure a continuous and measurable reduction in our greenhouse gas emissions. In specific terms, this means SFS has committed itself to reducing its Scope 1 and Scope 2 carbon emissions by ≥90% by 2030 (measured as tonne of CO2 per Swiss franc of value added). By 2040, Scope 3 carbon emissions will similarly be reduced by ≥90% (measured as tonne of CO2 per Swiss franc of value added).

The SFS Code of Conduct presents the company’s understanding of an exemplary, reliable and fair business partner and employer. To ensure adherence to the Code of Conduct, we have set up an effective compliance system that is evaluated regularly. During the year under review, as in the previous year, SFS Group was not subject to any socioeconomic compliance sanctions; this is also our objective for 2021.

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Sustainability success stories: making sustainability tangible
As a value creator, we develop ideas and solutions that generate added value in economic, environmental and social terms for you, our stakeholders. Last year, we wrote exciting new success stories that raised the issue of sustainability at SFS, making it more visible. In our article “Emission reductions and climate-neutral energy are the future”, we highlight the contributions, ideas and progress made at several sites as part of our company’s journey towards carbon neutrality. For example, we now use exclusively climate-neutral energy at all our production sites in Switzerland as of early 2021. The “1,000 days without an accident” success story relates to occupational health and safety and injury prevention, and serves as a role model for the entire Group. As can be seen, our success stories reflect the material topics of our materiality matrix and demonstrate how we live and integrate these in our everyday work.

Outlook: review of material topics in 2021
In closing, I would like to outline our plans for 2021 in addition to the above-mentioned goals. A continuous and direct dialog with our stakeholders forms the basis of our “Inventing success together” value proposition that we actively pursue inside and outside the company. SFS critically evaluates the relevance of its material topics and their position in the materiality matrix every two years. Extensive interviews with the identified stakeholder groups are scheduled to take place again in (autumn) 2021 and the results thereof will determine our future priorities; these will be presented in our Sustainability Report 2021.

We look forward to making further progress on our path towards a greener future with you at our side, as we continuously reduce the negative impact of our business activities and develop solutions that have a positive impact on the environment, society and the economy. I therefore encourage you to seek a dialog with us.


Jens Breu