Responsible – as private individuals and as an employer
We introduce four mail carriers who live sustainably and explain some of Swiss Post’s commitments in the different units.
Katrin Aeschlimann (43)
Marketing Communication Concepts at PostFinance, hopes to raise awareness
“The way we treat the environment, nature, the available resources and animals is something I care about greatly. As a result, I pay close attention to my lifestyle, separate my waste and collect cork and plastic, both for myself and others. If I see some litter as I’m walking along the Aare River, I throw it in the nearest bin. I drink tap water, am vegetarian, use public transport and avoid flying. At night and when I’m away from home, I switch my devices off completely, and I use only the absolute essentials. I consciously forgo things and live frugally – for the sake of the environment. If my enthusiasm inspires others, then that makes me very happy. Many people are stuck in their old ways, either due to laziness or, unfortunately, a lack of awareness. Everyone can rethink their consumption, forgo certain things, make reductions and do some good for our environment.”
Recirculation of recyclable materials: the delivery staff visit more than four million homes a day on their rounds and take recycling goods with them, for example for second-hand shops. Old clothes, PET bottles and used Nespresso capsules are also taken away for recycling. A second lease of life: used Swiss Post clothes are collected and donated to the Swiss Red Cross. To ensure that as many clothes as possible can be recycled, care is already taken during the design phase to guarantee that they can easily be broken down into the original materials. For PostBus blouses, for example, the post horn is no longer stuck but sewn on. Clothes with logos that cannot be sold on are made into bags and laptop cases.
Recycling letter crates: the bottoms are removed from crates that are no longer in use. Mail carriers use the plastic frames as attachments for their scooters to prevent bending of large-format mail items.
Sivan Räfle (18)
Third-year commercial apprentice at PostalNetwork, active as a youth worker in his free time
“The Heiliggeist reformed church community in Berne holds a children’s week every spring. The programme is aimed at children aged four and above and is open to all denominations. I have been a member of the main leadership team for three years and am responsible for a fixed part of the morning programme. We make a fire with the children and cook together. In the afternoons, we help them to do arts and crafts. At the end of the week, the artworks are sold and the proceeds donated to a charitable project in another country. I am familiar with this holiday activity as I attended it myself from my second school year. Later, I helped out as a junior leader. I don’t have any regrets about the loss of income for the five days of leave I take to lead the camp. I experience what sustainability involves every single day. In fact, for the final year of my apprenticeship, I applied to the Sustainability team at PostalNetwork. It’s great!”
Voluntary work: during their apprenticeships, logistics and retail sector apprentices do a social week with their classes, and commercial apprentices are recommended to take part in a social project. The apprentices’ social placements are currently being redesigned. In French-speaking Switzerland, activities include a pilot project with myclimate. Swiss Post employees can volunteer to help with the installation of solar panels in schools, the maintenance of Swiss hiking trails and the packing and sorting work involved in the 2 × Christmas campaign.
2 × Christmas: Swiss Post supports this campaign with free logistics services for the distribution of Christmas presents to people in need.
Promoting the arts: Swiss Post’s art collection aims to promote young Swiss artists. The artworks adorn the rooms of Swiss Post’s administrative buildings and branches or are located in public spaces as part of percent-for-art projects.
Climate and energy
Reto Clavadetscher (49)
Head of the Bienne Letters Delivery Region, has been driving to work in an electric car for three years
“I travelled to work by bike and train for a decade. When I took on a new role at work that demanded more flexibility in terms of mobility, I decided to buy an electric car. I couldn’t stand the thought that the oil or petrol for my car had to be transported to Switzerland from Saudi Arabia, above all because we have clean solar power here which can easily be used to charge an electric car’s battery. For ecological reasons, I also intentionally only have one mobile phone for Swiss Post, my secondary occupation and my private life. When possible, I spend my holidays in Switzerland, offsetting CO2. Despite this, my footprint is undoubtedly much bigger than that of a simple farmer in Africa – we must be under no illusions there. Swiss Post began tackling the topic of sustainability a few years ago and recognized early that it is relevant – I think that is worthy of praise. That being said, we will surely need further strong performances to achieve the climate goals set out by the Federal Council.”
E-mobility: PostLogistics uses 29 electric delivery vans for parcel deliveries, and smaller electric vehicles are being tested and introduced in city logistics. PostMail has been delivering solely with three-wheeled electric scooters since 2017. PostBus uses electric Postbuses at four locations. Post Company Cars is actively pushing ahead with the expansion of its electric vehicle fleet, and Post Real Estate is installing charging stations for electric vehicles at Swiss Post sites and other locations.
Renewable energy: Swiss Post sources 100 percent of its electricity from renewable, naturemade-certified energy sources in Switzerland.
Raising awareness: at this year’s e-mobility days, some 330 Swiss Post employees tested a wide range of electric vehicles in day-to-day use over several days.
“pro clima” shipment: all addressed letters and PromoPost consignments within Switzerland are carbon neutral.
Photovoltaic systems:11 systems on the roofs of the letter and parcel centers feed around six gigawatt hours of electricity into the public grid every year. A further five systems produce electricity for Swiss Post’s own use. A total of 22 systems are planned by the end of 2020.
Heating: 90 percent of all fossil-fuel heaters are to be replaced by 2030. Since 2017, Swiss Post has renovated 18 properties and installed heat pumps, pellet heating systems and district heating connections. This alone saves 600 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Energy-efficient construction: since 2019, Swiss Post has been committed to the integrated and sustainable DGNB construction standard as adapted for Switzerland in its new buildings and modernization projects. Swiss Post headquarters are DGNB-certified, and six DGNB-standard project plans have been launched this year.
Energy optimization: heating, air conditioning, electricity and water costs are to be permanently reduced in the properties managed by Post Real Estate. More LED lighting is also being used, for instance at the Frauenfeld parcel center.
Francesco Galante (35)
PostLogistics Mail Carrier in Sitten, produces most of his food himself
“My wife and I renovated our house ourselves. For cost reasons, the architect recommended that we knock down the house and rebuild it from scratch, but we rejected this idea for the sake of the environment. We have a garden in which we grow fruit and vegetables for our own use, and we also own goats and hens. We make cheese and collect the hens’ eggs. This enables us to reduce the amount of waste we create. In addition, I wear most of my clothes for years and have been driving the same car for 15 years – a Toyota Aygo, which was once regarded as environmentally friendly. We try to use items for as long as possible and avoid products that wear out quickly. This principle was passed on to me by my father. He lived through the Second World War and taught me how to be careful with my possessions. Today, I am passing on the same principle to my daughters. I think Swiss Post is on the right track when it comes to sustainability, and that pleases me greatly.”
Risk management: Swiss Post works with EcoVadis, an independent organization where suppliers state their position on their social and environmental business practices and are assessed. So far, 168 of the 240 strategically most important suppliers have been assessed. Improvement measures have been initiated at all 168, with 40 percent of the initiatives already complete.
Sustainability criteria in service tenders: the general and product-group-specific criteria for all public service tenders have been complied with consistently since 2017.
Transparency along the supply chain: clothing procurement is a perfect example. Swiss Post has been a member of the Fair Wear Foundation organization since 2012 and is one of just a few companies to have held Leader status since 2014. With its Code of Ethics and Social Responsibility, it ensures that its suppliers comply with all social standards and respect environmental principles.
Circular economy approach: the procurement of compostable shirts and blouses and plastic bags made of potato peel is being examined.
And what is your contribution to sustainability? Tell us about it in the comments section!