Human rights - Compliance as a managerial responsibility recognized
Based on the group-wide compliance testing results reported as of 30 September 2017, there is no specific need to take action within the area of human rights. Nevertheless, as an internationally active company, there is a latent risk that human rights might be violated. As a preventive measure, everyone on the SFS workforce completed an appropriate training on the Code of Conduct in 2017. Moreover, in a pilot project a number of managers underwent 360 degree feedback reviews that covered issues relating to integrity and role model of managers in ethical behavior. Use of this tool will be intensified during coming years.
Anti-corruption efforts - Commitment to fighting corruption reinforced
SFS’s anti-corruption policy came into effect in 2016 and corresponding training was provided. In 2017, employees throughout SFS Group frequently contacted the Compliance Officer with ethics-related questions; i.e. regarding invitations to certain events. The increase in the number of such queries is a clear indication that employee awareness of corruption issues has risen and this is regarded as a positive development.
Labor standards - Diversity seen as an opportunity
Given the international presence and size SFS, a distinctive diversity is a natural outcome that is embraced as positive and enriching. The internships of several weeks that SFS apprentices are offered in other cultural and language regions and the international training programs for management to promote intercultural collaboration are examples of how SFS champions diversity. It is a matter of concern to SFS to foster diversity in the organization’s administration, management and supervisory bodies in terms of age, gender, educational and professional background.
Environment - Environmental management system certified
All Automotive and Electronics divisions and a number of the Industrial and Riveting divisions sites are ISO 14001 certified. This certification commits a site to set specific environmental objectives, which are assessed every year. Certification of further sites is planned. At SFS sites around the world, solutions that preserve the environment have been implemented, such as a new LED-based lighting at Heerbrugg (CH). A concept called “mobility@SFS” was launched in Switzerland with the aim of improving commuter behavior of SFS employ ees and protecting the environment. About 40% of employees took advantage of the opportunity to buy an electric bicycle for half the price – about 1,000 e-bikes were ordered. In 2018, an incentives system to promote more ecological commuter behavior will be launched.
In the materiality matrix elaborated last year by SFS, the most important sustainability issues were identified. To ensure that we achieve the desired progress in each of these six priority topics, specific goals and action plans were drawn up and approved by the Group Executive Board.
Our primary objective is to collaborate closely with customers to achieve mutual success – according to our claim “Inventing success together”. Close partnerships presuppose a spirit of mutual trust. Therefore, we periodically measure the satisfaction of our key accounts and identify potential for further improvement. In 2018, we intend to consolidate the existing divisional approaches and to harmonize the efforts.
Economic value creation and distribution to stakeholders
SFS’ commitment to fair partnership is created in various ways, in the form of the wages the company pays to its employees, through the dividends that shareholders receive and the taxes that the company pays into the public purse. Besides maintaining a balanced distribution of value among the various stakeholder groups, we want to increase the various stakeholder groups’ share of value in absolute terms and define a guideline for the future value distribution. Moreover, we will continue to refrain from aggressive tax avoidance practices.
Occupational health and safety
Employee safety and health is a top priority to SFS. In 2018, we will take action to further improve safety at all sites currently certified to ISO 14001, among other measures. Quantitative goals will be verified and new goals formulated. The employee satisfaction surveys we conduct on a periodic basis also give us valuable feedback on employee safety, health and satisfaction. The results lay the cornerstone for further improvements in (workplace) conditions. Regular performance and career development reviews SFS’s sustained success is largely the work of its employees. Every employee is invited to an individual performance review at least once or twice a year. We aim to fill more than 70% of all open managerial positions with internal candidates.
Programs for skill management and lifelong learning
The 11 peer groups are an important platform where knowledge can be exchanged on a continual, internal basis. The peer groups consist of one representative from each division. They meet at regular intervals to discuss new developments or crucial information. These groups are a very useful and efficient means of sharing knowledge within SFS Group and using that knowledge to bring about improvements. Moreover, every employee can take advantage of an increasing range of professional development opportunities.
Training and education
SFS is already actively involved in professional development activities. In Switzerland, every employee is entitled to invest on average four days a year in training and development. The dual education and training system is also vital to SFS: We would like 5–7% of the worldwide workforce to be apprentices. To reach this target, we will intensify our efforts to promote dual education programs internationally.
Please find the entire sustainability report in our 2017 annual report.