VP Bank’s business ecology
Business ecology data are currently compiled only for the Liechtenstein site, which represents approximately 65 per cent of all employees. In 2018, values were recorded for our locations in Zurich, Luxembourg and Singapore for the first time. Comparative figures will also be available here from 2020.
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 mailed only at the express request of the client. In recent years, this practice has led to a considerable reduction in the use of paper for forms and vouchers. For example, the number of printed forms declined steadily from 655,000 in 2005 to 323,500 in 2018. The number of envelopes used was reduced from von 1.5 million in 2004 to 638,226 last year.
Paper consumption decreased from 68.03 tonnes in 2004 to 36.78 tonnes in 2018, including a 5.67 tonne reduction just in the past year. Electronic banking has contributed greatly to this long-term trend, thanks to its e-post functionality, which is growing in popularity even as paper use declines. Paper consumption per employee was 0.06 tonnes in 2018, the lowest amount since 2004 (0.15 tonnes).
VP Bank prints its publications – including this Annual Report – on environmentally certified paper. FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification guarantees that the paper is produced from wood harvested in exemplary, environmentally friendly forestry operations. Since 2010, payment order forms have also been printed on FSC-certified paper. When choosing printing firms, VP Bank gives preference to those which offer climate-neutral printing services.
The number of printed copies of the Bank’s annual and semi-annual reports has declined by more than 78 per cent over the past ten years thanks to the introduction of order cards and references to digital documents. The print runs for these publications fell from 7,000 in 2007 to just 1,500 in 2017.
For the Vaduz and Zurich locations, the number of e-mailed digital documents has steadily increased: from approximately 130,250 in 2007 to more than 1,204,603 in 2013, then 2,060,375 in 2016 and finally 2,116,247 last year. As to the number of e-post transmissions, the 25 per cent increase recorded in 2014 was followed by further rises of 11 per cent in 2015, 23.4 per cent in 2016, 2.7 per cent in 2017 and 9.3 per cent in 2018. Since 2010, all VP Bank Group communications include the tagline “Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail”.
Water consumption trended steadily lower from 2008 through 2014, although in recent years it rose again slightly due to the increased number of employees. Water consumption per employee decreased continuously from 15.3 m³ in 2009 to 9.6 m3 in 2015 before posting a modest increase in the ensuing years. The slight increase in per-employee consumption in 2017 and 2018 (10.0 m³) was due to above-average hot weather in the summer months of June through August as well as the installation of water coolers as part of the participation in the “Drink & Donate” programme (see “Responsibility as an Employer”, p. 48).
VP Bank Group has introduced numerous initiatives to promote responsible energy use. They include the environmentally friendly renovation of the Bank’s headquarters in Vaduz and construction of the new service centre in Triesen, the use of geothermal energy for heating and cooling and the implementation of motion-activated lighting. In 2016, renovation work began on the more than 20-year-old ventilation system in the Giessen building, which was replaced by an energy-efficient installation with heat recovery in 2017.
At the Liechtenstein facilities, most of the lighting is regulated by a control system with motion detectors. This technology reduces power consumption by anywhere from 20 per cent to 40 per cent compared to manually activated lighting. When replacing or procuring lighting fixtures, preference is given to high-efficiency LED technology. In 2014, LED bulbs were purchased instead of the once-customary fluorescent tubes, and the old ceiling light fixtures are being gradually replaced. In 2017, the company also began to replace floor lamps with LED lamps. The energy savings afforded by LED lighting over traditional lighting sources amounts to roughly 75 per cent.
Total energy consumption per employee at the Bank’s Liechtenstein facilities has fallen from 9,755 kWh in 2010 to 5,928 kWh currently. Power consumption at the head office had been declining from 2008 to 2017 thanks to efficiency-enhancing measures and increased in 2018 only slightly by 6,800 kWh. The replacement of the central heating system and renovation of the building’s ventilation system also contributed to the reduced energy use. Modern ventilation systems recover and reuse waste heat from the offices and working areas.
For the past 24 years, a photovoltaic solar power generator has been in operation on the roof of the building in Vaduz. It supplies environmentally friendly energy that is fed into VP Bank’s power grid (2017: 3,731 kWh, 2018: 20,181 kWh). Thanks to upgrades of the control system for this installation, solar power generation increased continually from 2009 to 2011. However, over the past five years it has declined mainly due to defective modules. In 2017 the solar installation at the Giessen building was renovated and expanded, which increased its performance by 133 per cent compared to the old installation. In 2018, the new plant increased its output by 541 per cent. The installation of a further system on the roof of the main building is planned for 2019 and a new system on the roof of the administration building in Triesen is planned for 2020. The self-generated solar power contribution will thereby increase steadily.
Since January 2017, the power supplied to VP Bank by Liechtenstein utilities has come exclusively from hydro and solar power sources. The related “LiStrom Natur” energy product consists entirely of renewable Liechtenstein energy, of which 85 per cent is generated through hydro and 15 per cent through solar power sources.
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 integrated into the measures for fine-tuning the Bank’s overall energy supply. In 2017 this concept was largely completed following the renovation of the ventilation system at the Giessen facility.
The energy supply project is also based on the use of leading-edge technologies that enable heating through heat recovery systems. A new central cooling system in operation since 2014 affords both operational safety and energy efficiency. The waste heat from this system can also be reused 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 for the use of groundwater in Vaduz. Through this initiative, existing groundwater can be used for cooling in summer and heating in winter. Discussions with the environmental protection agency have already been held and two pilot holes were drilled. The environmental protection agency has examined the viability of the plan. Further measurements and implementation steps are planned from 2020.
A separate, more detailed energy report for the Liechtenstein facilities is produced each year and can be accessed on the VP Bank website under “About us / Sustainability”.
Waste reduction and paper consumption
Since 2004, waste separation has been the order of the day at VP Bank 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. In 2014, a 167 tonnes total waste volume generated reached its lowest level since 2004, but has since increased slightly as from 2015 due to the larger number of employees and showed 242 tonnes in 2018. The renovation of the building in Vaduz in 2018 played a major role in this development, which on the one hand led to a one-off increase in the amount of hazardous waste (plus 13 tonnes) and on the other almost doubled the amount of paper waste due to archive clearance.
Unnecessary printing is one of the largest sources of paper waste. A majority of documents are prepared in digital form but still printed, as in the past.
Through measures such as digital invoicing, employee self-service for holiday planning and online boardrooms, VP Bank has already introduced key initiatives to reduce paper consumption. Currently, the volume of printouts per employee at VP Bank’s Liechtenstein office is around 9,800 per year, which corresponds to 20 reams (500 sheets) of paper.
VP Bank’s goal was to reduce paper consumption by 10 per cent over the course of 2018. The “think before you print” sticker was placed on printers at the Liechtenstein facility at the start of the year and was intended to encourage employees to consume less paper. We have achieved this goal: While a total of 5,968,689 sheets were printed in 2017, the consumption figure in 2018 was 10.79 per cent lower at 5,324,750 sheets.
VP Bank’s discarded waste paper is shredded in an in-house recycling unit and compressed into briquettes. With this process, roughly 36 tonnes of paper briquettes were produced at the Liechtenstein location in 2018. They were collected by a local recycler and put to new uses.
The existing printers in Liechtenstein are getting outdated. We are taking this as an opportunity to replace the entire printer infrastructure and set it up again in order to ensure uniform, secure and cost-effective operation. The focus is on ease of use and efficiency.
The new printers can be managed centrally, trigger the reordering of toner cartridges independently and provide support with little effort. They also have a "follow me" function that allows employees to pick up their printouts with their badge at any printer in the future.
By using these modern multifunction devices, we can reduce the existing 180 devices by half. The replacement will start in spring 2019.
The Facility Management & Services unit is responsible for the Bank’s environmental sustainability. VP Bank is a member of the Swiss Network for Sustainability and Management.
VP Bank also participates actively in Mobility Management working group of the Liechtenstein Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).
VP Bank is a member of Öbu, the Swiss think tank for environmental, social and management topics and network for sustainable business operations.
VP Bank’s operational mobility management aims to stimulate and promote efficient and socially compatible mobility. More than ten years ago, we 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 motivates employees to form carpools. VP Bank also offers the free use of Mobility Cars, an arrangement that has met with an enthusiastic response. The total number of kilometres driven for business purposes with the Mobility Cars was 15,742 in 2018, slightly less than the 18,216 km travelled in 2017. The use of a videoconferencing system has helped to reduce employees’ business travel to the VP Bank’s international locations. In addition, every employee has the ability to organise in-house discussions with other employees using online meeting tools so that the contents of documents can be viewed and modified simultaneously on multiple screens.
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 amongst others used for the reimbursement of the pass. In 2018, 123 employees took advantage of this offer.
The Mobility concept is a success. It has achieved its goals of reduced automobile use, greater environmental awareness and support for public transportation. This concept has set an example for the region, and in 2011 was awarded the “Zurich Climate Prize”, which honours measures to improve energy efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions.
In 2015, VP Bank acquired an all-electric passenger vehicle. It is available for regional trips between Zurich and Vaduz as well as for accompanying clients. Since 2015, this vehicle has logged an annual average of between 8,000 and 10,300 kilometres. Starting in 2019, charging stations for electric cars of clients and employees of VP Bank in Liechtenstein are planned.
In 2018 as in previous years, many VP Bank employees took part in the “Bike to work” event sponsored by the Liechtenstein Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In September 2018, VP Bank again participated in the European Mobility Week and in doing so supported the “Car-free – Care-free” campaign, which seeks to promote the ease of commuting to work using public transport instead of by car or motorcycle.
Through its “Tailwind” campaign, the Principality of Liechtenstein certifies bicycle-friendly businesses. VP Bank, too, endorses the use of two-wheelers as an integral part of business mobility and has received this certification on numerous occasions. Employees in Liechtenstein often travel between the buildings in the neighbouring towns of Vaduz and Triesen for meetings and training, with bus passes made available to them for this purpose. In the summer of 2016, VP Bank also acquired four electrobikes, which are available to employees at no cost and are widely used.
Ride-sharing is another means by which VP Bank seeks to further reduce automobile travel. The online platform Comovee provides contact information for all registered employees in the vicinity and enables all employees to form carpools. The smart map overview enables users to select potential ride shares on a geographic basis. VP Bank Ltd and other large companies in Liechtenstein use this platform, which thereby offers a broad range of potential ride-sharers. This initiative helps to reduce commuter traffic and parking problems and is good for the environment.