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COMPANY

COMPANY

Sustain and gain! Translating sustainability into action is certainly not an easy task. But some companies in Switzerland are taking it seriously and already profiting from it A new face of sustainability and it's maker Frank M. Rinderknecht

“As an entrepreneur I want to leave a positive footprint, that’s why I decided to engage in sustainable mobility.” By Matthias Müller*

Kathrin Amacker, head of corporate communications of Swisscom

“The profit of sustainability is longterm economic success, a sustainable work and lifestyle and a mutual trust binding customers and Swisscom.” 80

SWISS BUSINESS · July – October 2011

Forget the old war between the idealists – whose defense that investments in sustainability are essential in order to save the world, humanity and the business – and the realists, who wait for the regulation to come, then adapt it quickly, therefore, saving costs. This discussion is over, at least for a group of companies in Switzerland which have already understood that there are no chances of building or maintaining a profitable business without putting sustainability into practice. “The profit of sustainability is longterm economic success, a sustainable work and lifestyle and a mutual trust binding customers and Swisscom”, explains Kathrin Amacker, head of corporate communications and member of the group executive board of Swisscom Ltd. A study by Verdantix named Swisscom, this June, as one of the five most sustainable telecom enterprises in Europe. One reason for this nomination can be found in the efforts of the company to reduce energy consumption for cooling the network. Swisscom designed a solution called Mistral which reduces energy consumption by up to 90%. Do such investments pay off? Amacker answers: “Swisscom has experienced very rapid return on investment with efficiency measures and with its green ICT services portfolio in less than a year. Other investments in sustainability are driven by standard economic consideration like positive net present value or short payback times and environmental consideration

(energy savings, CO²-reduction) and thus pay double.” In a study published in 2008 Bank Sarasin contradicts that “... voluntary ecological and social initiatives of enterprises destroy economical value and stock performance.” The bank concludes: “Sustainability influences the stock price in a positive way.” And it points out the benefit of risk management. “Sustainable enterprises can avoid longterm ecological and social risks which can become financially relevant.” Of course not every enterprise can release large-scale investments in sustainability like Swisscom. For instance Rinspeed, the company of car inventor Frank M. Rinderknecht, is quite small but with its concept cars, it attracts global attention: “I can’t change the world of car production but I can present prototypes which encourage and release forward thinking.” For him the sustainable car has become the major issue. “As an entrepreneur I want to leave a positive footprint, that’s why I decided to engage in sustainable mobility. But in no way am I interested in being considered the fool of the industry.” Another example is Jost Druck AG in Hünibach near Thun. It is the first enterprise to get the full certification of the tough Swiss PSO standard. According to Beat Hodler, managing director, his company invests with conviction and pride. “Firstly, the certification differentiates ourselves in the market. Secondly, it has www.swissbusinessweb.ch

a positive effect on the motivation of our co-workers. They love the company they are working for and this enriches our customer relations as well.”

Fit for the future

Concepts which make the future present Business can extract inspiration also from sustainability concepts which can no longer be abandoned as idealistic thinking. Albin Kälin, CEO of EPEA Switzerland, promotes the Cradle-to-Cradle approach which considers waste as a concept of yesterday and the no-waste-concept as much more efficient production-wise and in cost-saving and, therefore, profitable. Kälin sees himself as an industrialist. There is also the model developed by the non-profit organisation The Natural Step, which helps communities and businesses better understand and integrate environmental, social, and economic aspects. The Swiss branch of this global network is to be built up by Stanley Nyoni in Geneva. “Our strategy is based on providing measures which produce adequate Return on Investment (ROI). Business and entrepreneurs are the main drivers of sustainability”, explains Nyoni. If we listen to Swiss business people nowadays it seems obvious that sustainability has become an important factor for creating profit. So it is not anymore a question of being either a realist or an idealist – it is just a question of who gets there faster.

www.swissbusinessweb.ch

and society should look like. Our partners come from science, business, politics, NGO’s, culture. We aim to develop the future in an interdisciplinary dialogue. Blue-Tech consists of two major events: a congress in the Casino Theatre Winterthur over two days, and a public exhibition where new products and services are presented.

Christian Huggenberg

Christian Huggenberg founded the BlueTech congress in 2008. The event, which will take place in Winterthur from 15 to 17 September, has become a major national platform for sharing information, discussing solutions and news concepts in sustainability. Huggenberg worked as an economics journalist and communication consultant before he founded his own consultancy Taktform AG. He is also member of the advisory board of Briner AG. What is Blue-Tech? Christian Huggenberg: It’s a platform for dialogue and its main topic is energy. It’s a place where people share and discuss their ideas and findings and where we develop how the future for business, environment

There are several events in Switzerland concerned with sustainability, like Natura or Energissima. What is the specific benefit Blue-Tech can provide? We focus very much on the topic of energy and energy supply. In that respect I think we can provide a unique event in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. This is possible thanks to our contributors like the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and diverse universities of Applied Sciences. We also offer a platform for concepts, approaches developed outside Switzerland, which enhance our discussions. Our current motto – “The way to the new city – Is it all Utopia?” (Der Weg zur neuen Stadt – alles Utopie?) – has become a hot topic during the last weeks and months. After the events at Fukushima a lot of cities are trying to cut down the use of nuclear power and they need some orientation SWISS BUSINESS · July – October 2011

81


COMPANY

COMPANY

Sustain and gain! Translating sustainability into action is certainly not an easy task. But some companies in Switzerland are taking it seriously and already profiting from it A new face of sustainability and it's maker Frank M. Rinderknecht

“As an entrepreneur I want to leave a positive footprint, that’s why I decided to engage in sustainable mobility.” By Matthias Müller*

Kathrin Amacker, head of corporate communications of Swisscom

“The profit of sustainability is longterm economic success, a sustainable work and lifestyle and a mutual trust binding customers and Swisscom.” 80

SWISS BUSINESS · July – October 2011

Forget the old war between the idealists – whose defense that investments in sustainability are essential in order to save the world, humanity and the business – and the realists, who wait for the regulation to come, then adapt it quickly, therefore, saving costs. This discussion is over, at least for a group of companies in Switzerland which have already understood that there are no chances of building or maintaining a profitable business without putting sustainability into practice. “The profit of sustainability is longterm economic success, a sustainable work and lifestyle and a mutual trust binding customers and Swisscom”, explains Kathrin Amacker, head of corporate communications and member of the group executive board of Swisscom Ltd. A study by Verdantix named Swisscom, this June, as one of the five most sustainable telecom enterprises in Europe. One reason for this nomination can be found in the efforts of the company to reduce energy consumption for cooling the network. Swisscom designed a solution called Mistral which reduces energy consumption by up to 90%. Do such investments pay off? Amacker answers: “Swisscom has experienced very rapid return on investment with efficiency measures and with its green ICT services portfolio in less than a year. Other investments in sustainability are driven by standard economic consideration like positive net present value or short payback times and environmental consideration

(energy savings, CO²-reduction) and thus pay double.” In a study published in 2008 Bank Sarasin contradicts that “... voluntary ecological and social initiatives of enterprises destroy economical value and stock performance.” The bank concludes: “Sustainability influences the stock price in a positive way.” And it points out the benefit of risk management. “Sustainable enterprises can avoid longterm ecological and social risks which can become financially relevant.” Of course not every enterprise can release large-scale investments in sustainability like Swisscom. For instance Rinspeed, the company of car inventor Frank M. Rinderknecht, is quite small but with its concept cars, it attracts global attention: “I can’t change the world of car production but I can present prototypes which encourage and release forward thinking.” For him the sustainable car has become the major issue. “As an entrepreneur I want to leave a positive footprint, that’s why I decided to engage in sustainable mobility. But in no way am I interested in being considered the fool of the industry.” Another example is Jost Druck AG in Hünibach near Thun. It is the first enterprise to get the full certification of the tough Swiss PSO standard. According to Beat Hodler, managing director, his company invests with conviction and pride. “Firstly, the certification differentiates ourselves in the market. Secondly, it has www.swissbusinessweb.ch

a positive effect on the motivation of our co-workers. They love the company they are working for and this enriches our customer relations as well.”

Fit for the future

Concepts which make the future present Business can extract inspiration also from sustainability concepts which can no longer be abandoned as idealistic thinking. Albin Kälin, CEO of EPEA Switzerland, promotes the Cradle-to-Cradle approach which considers waste as a concept of yesterday and the no-waste-concept as much more efficient production-wise and in cost-saving and, therefore, profitable. Kälin sees himself as an industrialist. There is also the model developed by the non-profit organisation The Natural Step, which helps communities and businesses better understand and integrate environmental, social, and economic aspects. The Swiss branch of this global network is to be built up by Stanley Nyoni in Geneva. “Our strategy is based on providing measures which produce adequate Return on Investment (ROI). Business and entrepreneurs are the main drivers of sustainability”, explains Nyoni. If we listen to Swiss business people nowadays it seems obvious that sustainability has become an important factor for creating profit. So it is not anymore a question of being either a realist or an idealist – it is just a question of who gets there faster.

www.swissbusinessweb.ch

and society should look like. Our partners come from science, business, politics, NGO’s, culture. We aim to develop the future in an interdisciplinary dialogue. Blue-Tech consists of two major events: a congress in the Casino Theatre Winterthur over two days, and a public exhibition where new products and services are presented.

Christian Huggenberg

Christian Huggenberg founded the BlueTech congress in 2008. The event, which will take place in Winterthur from 15 to 17 September, has become a major national platform for sharing information, discussing solutions and news concepts in sustainability. Huggenberg worked as an economics journalist and communication consultant before he founded his own consultancy Taktform AG. He is also member of the advisory board of Briner AG. What is Blue-Tech? Christian Huggenberg: It’s a platform for dialogue and its main topic is energy. It’s a place where people share and discuss their ideas and findings and where we develop how the future for business, environment

There are several events in Switzerland concerned with sustainability, like Natura or Energissima. What is the specific benefit Blue-Tech can provide? We focus very much on the topic of energy and energy supply. In that respect I think we can provide a unique event in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. This is possible thanks to our contributors like the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and diverse universities of Applied Sciences. We also offer a platform for concepts, approaches developed outside Switzerland, which enhance our discussions. Our current motto – “The way to the new city – Is it all Utopia?” (Der Weg zur neuen Stadt – alles Utopie?) – has become a hot topic during the last weeks and months. After the events at Fukushima a lot of cities are trying to cut down the use of nuclear power and they need some orientation SWISS BUSINESS · July – October 2011

81

Sustain to gain  

Swiss enterprises show how the investments in sustainability pay.

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