VP Bank’s business ecology
Paper and water consumption
As a general rule, VP Bank sends out client asset statements only once a year; daily and quarterly statements are printed and dispatched only at the express request of the client. In recent years, this has led to a considerable reduction in the use of paper for forms and vouchers. For example, the number of printed forms has declined steadily from 655,000 in 2005 to 264,780 in 2016. The number of envelopes was lowered from von 1,500,000 in 2004 to 699,142 in the past financial year.
Paper consumption has decreased from 68.03 tonnes in 2004 to 46.90 tonnes in 2016, whereas the latter amount was admittedly 3.79 tonnes higher than in the previous year. e-banking has contributed greatly to this long-term reduction thanks to its e-post functionality, the trend of which is diametrically opposed to that of paper use. The increase over 2015 was attributable to the larger number of employees and a greater flow of communications pertaining to new products and services.
VP Bank prints its publications – including this Annual Report – on environmentally certified paper. FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification guarantees that the paper originates from wood harvested in exemplary, environmentally friendly forestry operations. Since 2010, payment order forms have also been printed on FSC-certified paper. In its choice of printing firms, VP Bank gives preference to those which offer climate-neutral printing services.
Thanks to the introduction of order cards and referral to documents in electronic form, the number of printed copies of the Bank’s annual and semi-annual reports has declined by more than 76 per cent over the past eight years: while a total of 7,000 copies of those publications were printed as late as 2007, that number has declined to a mere 1,700 in 2013.
For the Vaduz and Zurich locations, the number of e-mail documents has increased continuously: in 2007, the total was approximately 130,250; by 2011 it had risen to more than 696,270; in 2013 it reached 1,204,603; by 2015 it stood at 1,669,433 and reached a total of 2,060,375 this past year. As to the number of e-post transmissions, the 25 per cent year-on-year increase recorded in 2014 was followed by a further rise of 11 per cent in 2015 and a full 23.4 per cent in 2016. Since 2010, the electronic communications of VP Bank Group include the footnote “Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail”.
Water consumption trended steadily lower from 2008 through 2014 but, due to the increased number of employees, rose by 8 per cent in 2015 and by another 3 per cent in 2016. Water consumption per employee has decreased continuously from 15.3 m3 in 2009 to 9.6 m3 in 2015 and remained constant since then. This reduction is spread equally over all facilities of VP Bank in Liechtenstein.
Through numerous initiatives, VP Bank Group is focusing on the prudent consumption of energy. The measures extend from the environmentally friendly manner in which the renovation of the Bank’s headquarters in Vaduz and construction of the new service centre in Triesen were accomplished, to the use of geothermal energy for heating and cooling, right through to the use of motion-activated lighting. In 2016, the more than 20-year-old ventilation system in the Giessen building was renovated and will be replaced by an energy- efficient installation with heat recovery in 2017.
At the Liechtenstein facilities, most of the lighting is regulated by a light control system with motion detectors. This technology can reduce power consumption by 20 to 40 per cent compared to manually activated lighting. In the replacement or procurement of lamps, preference is given to today’s very efficient LED technology. In 2014, LED lamps were purchased instead of the once-customary neon tubes. They successively replaced their predecessors during the course of 2015/2016 and will continue to do so. The energy savings afforded using LED lamps rather than traditional lighting sources amounts to roughly 75 per cent.
Total power consumption per employee at the Bank’s Liechtenstein facilities has been on the decline for six years and, although roughly unchanged versus 2015, the latest reading is still far below the level seen in 2004. Electricity consumption at the head office has fallen steadily since 2008 thanks to efficiency-enhancing measures: in 2014, the central heating installation was replaced and the renovation of the building’s ventilation system in 2016 led to a further 10 per cent reduction of overall energy consumption despite the unchanged headcount. The 5.6 per cent increase at the Triesen service center is attributable to the larger number of employees there.
For more than 15 years, a photovoltaic power generator has been in operation on the roof of the building Giessen in Vaduz. It supplies environmentally friendly energy that is fed into VP Bank’s power grid. Owing to a rejuvenation of the control system for this installation, power generation from photovoltaics increased continually from 2009 to 2011. However, over the past five years it has declined mainly due to defective modules. As part of the general concept for all VP Bank buildings in Liechtenstein, this trend will be reversed through the installation of a more efficient system. Implementation is scheduled for 2018.
VP Bank meets a small portion of its demand for electricity through renewable energy provided by ESB (Energy Service Biel, Switzerland). As of January 2017, Liechtenstein Electric Power (LKW) will supply VP Bank with electricity from water power and photovoltaics.
As a result of the switch from fuel oil to gas, natural gas consumption at VP Bank in Liechtenstein was recorded for the first time in 2015 and declined by 12 per cent in 2016. Modern ventilation plants with heat recovery systems use heat waste from offices and workspaces.
The differing types of buildings at VP Bank Group call for an overall concept that brings every one of its Liechtenstein facilities up to the same level in terms of power technology. The goal of this concept is to harmonise the existing installations, optimise the distribution of power and efficiently exploit any ambient heat loss. To that end, energy flow meters were installed in 2009 in order to record and optimise the flows of energy from heating and cooling. The evaluation is adjusted to take seasonal fluctuations into account, and the results are heeded in the measures for fine-tuning the Bank’s overall energy supply. This concept will be rounded out in 2017 with the renewal of the ventilation units at the Giessen facility.
The energy supply project additionally foresees the continued use of leading-edge technologies that enable heating on the basis of heat recovery. A new central cooling aggregate in operation since 2014 affords both operational safety and energy efficiency. Each of the two units is equipped with an electronic control system that steers two distinct cooling peripheries. With the help of this control mechanism, the equipment can adapt its functions much more precisely that ever before to the climate conditions in individual areas. The by-product is warmth, which can then be recycled for heating purposes.
With the implementation of this system, the lion’s share of the overall concept has been realised. The next step is to plan the use of groundwater in Vaduz. Through realisation of this measure, the existing subterranean water can be applied for cooling purposes in summer and heating in winter. Discussions with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have already been held and two pilot holes drilled. The EPA has examined the viability of the plan; the formal approval and realisation is expected in 2018.
A separate, more detailed energy report for the Liechtenstein facilities is produced each year and can be accessed on the website of VP Bank.
Ever since 2004, waste separation has been the order of the day at VP Bank Group in keeping with its waste disposal concept. Newspapers and magazines are collected and recycled separately from the other types of paper. Glass, cardboard, polystyrene, PET bottles and green waste each have their own receptacles. The total amount of waste generated in 2014 (167 tonnes) was the lowest since 2004, but it has increased in 2015 and 2016 due to the larger number of employees.
The residual paper discarded by VP Bank is shredded in an in-house recycling unit and compressed into briquettes. With this process, roughly 33 tonnes of paper briquettes were produced at the Liechtenstein location in 2016. The briquettes are collected by a local recycler and taken to an appropriate facility.
Responsibility for the Bank’s environmental sustainability is borne by the Facility Management & Services unit. VP Bank is a member of the Swiss Network for Sustainability and Management.
The Mobility Management Workgroup of the Liechtenstein Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) is a further body in which VP Bank actively participates. VP Bank is a member of Öbu, the Swiss think-tank for environmental, social and management topics and network for sustainable business operations.
Nine years ago, VP Bank introduced a mobility concept at the head office in Vaduz. It features financial incentives for using public transportation, as well as a graduated fee structure for employee parking spaces. The concept is self-financing: rental proceeds from the car park are used for bonus payments to employees who forgo the use of personal cars and therefore do not occupy parking spaces.
This concept also motivates employees to form carpools. In addition, VP Bank Group offers the cost-free use of Mobility Cars, an arrangement that has met with an enthusiastic response. A favourable trend was to be seen over the past four years in the total number of kilometres driven for business purposes with the Mobility Cars: in 2016, it was 11 per cent higher than in 2015. The use of a videoconferencing system has helped to reduce employees’ business travel to the VP Bank’s international locations.
Employees using public transport are also offered a free pass for bus and railway transport within Liechtenstein. The revenues from the Bank’s mobility management are in part used for the reimbursement of tickets. 101 employees benefited from this in 2016.
The bottom line of the Mobility concept is successful. The goals were achieved – a reduction of automobile traffic, the fostering of environmental awareness, and the promotion of public transportation. This concept is exemplary throughout the region. In 2011, VP Bank Group’s mobility management approach was awarded the “Zurich Climate Prize”, which honours measures aimed at improving energy efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions.
In 2015, a passenger vehicle with an all-electric drive was acquired by VP Bank. It is available for regional trips between Zurich and Vaduz as well as for client pick-up service. With this vehicle, some 8,500 kilometres were travelled in 2105; in 2016, the total came to 10,300 km.
As in the year before, quite a few VP Bank employees took part in the 2016 “By bike to work” competition organised by the Liechtenstein Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In September 2016, VP Bank participated in the European Mobility Week and in doing so supported the “Car-free – Have fun at the same time” campaign, this with the aim of getting to work without the use of a car or motorcycle and instead experiencing the attractiveness of public transport.
With a campaign entitled “Tailwind”, the Principality of Liechtenstein certifies bicycle-friendly businesses. VP Bank, too, endorses the use of two-wheelers as an integral part of corporate mobility and, as was the case already in 2013, received a silver certificate for its efforts in this regard. Moreover, within the LCCI Mobility Management Workgroup, discussions have been held on the introduction of an inter-company carpooling platform, the launch of which is scheduled for 2017. It is intended as a means of achieving a further reduction/improvement of commuter traffic, parking problems and the environmental impact of people getting to and from work.
Be it for meetings, training sessions or any number of reasons, VP Bank employees in Liechtenstein are frequently on the move between the offices in Vaduz and Triesen. And for that, they have free bus tickets at their disposal. Also, in the summer of 2016, VP Bank purchased four e-bikes which employees may use at no cost. These measures should lead to a further reduction of automobile traffic.