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 2021.
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 332,000 in 2020. The number of envelopes used was reduced from 1,500,000 in 2004 to 602,685 last year.
Paper consumption decreased from 68.03 tonnes in 2004 to 32.71 tonnes in 2020, including a 3.1-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 as paper use declines. Paper consumption per employee was 0.05 tonnes in 2020, the lowest amount since 2004 (0.15 tonnes).
VP Bank prints its publications 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 10 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 1,300 in 2019.
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 3,218,212 in 2020. 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 14.2 per cent in 2020. 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. In 2020, a slight decrease to the level from 2015 was recorded. 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. While a slightly higher figure of 10.0 cubic metres was achieved for 2017 and 2018, consumption in 2020 dropped to 8.4 m³ per employee per year. This is probably also due to the increased use of home offices since spring 2020.
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 client 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 offices, 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 2019, the measures to replace the previous floor lamps with LED luminaires were completed. 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 offices has fallen from 9,755 kWh in 2010 to 6,057 kWh currently. Power consumption at the head office had been declining from 2008 to 2017 thanks to efficiency-enhancing measures and has only increased slightly since 2019. 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 percent. In 2019, the installation of a further system on the roof of the main building was completed and the total yield from the two systems was increased to 50,051 kWh in 2019. The installation of a new system on the roof of the administration building in Triesen was completed in 2020. The new photovoltaic systems made it possible to achieve a significant increase in solar energy generated in-house to 202,799 kWh.
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 82.3 per cent is generated through hydro and 17.7 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 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 steps towards implementation were taken in 2020, and the project will be further advanced in 2021.
A separate energy report for the Liechtenstein facilities is produced each year.
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. The total amount of waste fell to 150 tonnes in 2020, the lowest value since 2004. Due to the increased number of employees, it has experienced a slight rise from 2015 to 2018, but the figure has now fallen again since 2019.
Unnecessary printing is one of the largest sources of paper waste. Most of the 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.
VP Bank’s discarded waste paper is shredded in an in-house recycling unit and compressed into briquettes. With this process, roughly 19.14 tonnes of paper briquettes were produced at the Liechtenstein location in 2020. They were collected by a local recycler and put to new uses.
The existing printers in Liechtenstein were getting outdated. In 2019, we took 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.
Through the use of these modern multifunctional devices, the existing 190 devices were reduced to just 100 printers. The replacement of the devices, which took place in spring 2019, made it possible to achieve a significant reduction in printouts of approximately 25 per cent. In 2020, VP Bank recorded 2,865,874 printed pages.
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 is designed to encourage and promote efficient and socially acceptable mobility. More than a decade ago, we introduced a mobility concept in Liechtenstein that includes financial incentives for using public transport and a tiered fee system for employee car parks. The concept pays for itself, with the proceeds from rented parking spaces applied to bonuses given to employees who forgo a parking space.
Employees who use public transport are reimbursed for their public transport fare cards for their commute to work up to a maximum of CHF 1,200. The proceeds from mobility management are also applied to these reimbursements. In 2020, 111 employees benefited from this system.
The mobility management concept also encourages employees to form carpools. It also offers free use of mobility cars, a very popular initiative. The total number of kilometres travelled on business in 2020 was 11,865 km, 8.75 per cent lower than in 2019 (13,004 km). The reduction in kilometres driven is presumably due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the increase in people working from home.
The use of a videoconferencing system helps reduce employee travel to both VP Bank’s regional and international sites. Every employee also has the possibility of using online meeting tools to organise in-house web conferences at which documents can be reviewed and edited directly and simultaneously by multiple users.
The mobility concept has proven to be a success. The goals of reducing automobile traffic, creating environmental awareness and promoting the use of public transport have been achieved. The concept is exemplary for the region and earned the Zurich Climate Award in 2011. This award recognises measures aimed at promoting energy efficiency and CO2 emissions reductions.
As in previous years, numerous employees participated in the 2020 “Ride to Work” challenge sponsored by the Liechtenstein Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI). Employees in Liechtenstein often travel back and forth between the office buildings in Vaduz and the neighbouring town of Triesen for conferences and training. VP Bank is committed to the use of bicycles as an integral part of operational mobility. To that end, four electric bicycles were acquired in 2016 that can be used free of charge by employees and are very popular. In addition, employees have the option to travel by bus between the Vaduz and Triesen locations free of charge. To do this, they can request a code for FAIRTIQ, an automatic ticketing app.
In 2019, four electric vehicle charging stations were made available for clients and employees. Additional charging stations were installed in 2020, and a total of 10 such parking spaces are now available. In 2019, an electric vehicle was purchased for in-house travel between the office buildings in Vaduz and Triesen.