103 Management Approach
Approach and evaluation of material topics

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The section covering the management approach explains in more detail the issues considered material to the company, identifies their impact and assesses how each issue is addressed and promoted.

103-1: Explanation of the material topic and its Boundary

Material topics for the report were determined by using an internal and external stakeholder survey and presented in the relevance matrix for Post CH Ltd and PostBus Ltd (see aspect 102-46).

Material topics which have an impact within Swiss Post’s company boundaries include employment and working conditions, health promotion and workplace safety, diversity and demography, climate and energy, as well as air pollutant and noise emissions with directly generated emissions, economic performance and company value, value distribution, data and information protection, and social contribution and commitment.

For some topics, the extent and influence on the impact are outside Swiss Post’s company boundaries. Important examples of material topics are indirectly generated greenhouse gas, air pollutant and noise emissions, working conditions at suppliers and social contribution and commitment. As far as is possible, improvements to Swiss Post’s sustainability performance with respect to these topics are already being achieved indirectly.

103-2 as well as 103-3: The management approach and its components as well as evaluation

The Corporate Responsibility (CR) department is responsible for coordinating and implementing the Group’s corporate responsibility strategy. It also helps the units to implement all material topics related to sustainability. In cooperation with the Sustainability Technical Committee and specialist groups, it develops, implements and reviews the effectiveness of measures for the CR strategy. Members of management from each business and function unit sit on the Sustainability Technical Committee.

The corporate responsibility strategy was developed in association with internal and external stakeholders and implemented together with the units. In the current strategy period from 2017 to 2020, Swiss Post is placing particular emphasis on the following five areas of action: responsible procurement, climate and energy, employees, circular economy and corporate citizenship.

A broadly-based network of sustainability ambassadors from across the entire company presents, discusses and promotes issues related to corporate responsibility. This is a vibrant community open to all employees, and it enjoys a great deal of popularity. Innovation Management gives all employees the opportunity to submit their personal ideas for improving Swiss Post’s environmental and social efforts.

Economic Performance, company value, value distribution, and market presence

In order to meet customer requirements now and in the future, Swiss Post is pursuing a transformation strategy until 2020. Its aim is to complete a transformation by 2020 that will enable it to offer solutions that meet the customer requirements of the future. Swiss Post’s strategy is based on its statutory mandate, the strategic goals set by the Federal Council and Swiss Post’s vision. The strategy consists of four strategic thrusts for achieving the specified targets (Swiss Post’s strategic goals): transformation, growth, optimization and regulatory conditions. Swiss Post is considering growth options that could be achieved through new business models in seven growth and business development areas.

Changing customer requirements are the basis for Swiss Post’s actions. Based on its capacities in communication, logistics, financial services and passenger transport, Swiss Post increasingly represents integrated solutions and continues to offer individual products and services in modular form. Swiss Post regards the world as interlinked and builds bridges between physical and digital channels. It wants to win over customers by offering them products that are both easy to access and easy to use, while creating a consistent customer experience across all its points of contact. This will enable Swiss Post to develop and maintain a high-quality universal service.

In order to implement its vision, Swiss Post’s actions are guided by its core values “reliable”, “value-enhancing” and “sustainable”.

Effectiveness and results

In the first year of strategy implementation, Swiss Post not only defended its leading market positions, but also successfully developed them. Switzerland benefits from an efficient universal service offering postal services and payment transactions. The value added by other products and services is communicated to the general public and other companies. Swiss Post trains more than 2,000 apprentices each year.

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Local Communities

Swiss Post is a regionally anchored company. It is an important employer in mountain regions and other rural areas, offering just under 18,000 jobs – in delivery, in branches and in customer service. It makes its contribution to striking a balance between town and country and between economically stronger and weaker regions. Where major transformations to Swiss Post are required and in the customer-oriented ongoing development of the network of access points, Swiss Post involves key stakeholders early and intensively. To accommodate this, it is further expanding communication in the regions.

Employment and working conditions, diversity and demography

Swiss Post’s HR policy defines the rules for fair interaction in a spirit of partnership and lays down binding HR policy guidelines. At the same time, it sets out what Swiss Post expects as an employer from its management, its line managers and its employees in Switzerland and abroad. All employees receive the “Swiss Post Code of Conduct” with their employment contract. Suppliers must sign the Code of Ethics and Social Responsibility, which includes the Fundamental Conventions of the International Labour Organization.

Swiss Post creates an operating framework which empowers staff members to combine the different aspects of their lives, to continue developing, and to remain fit and efficient in a rapidly changing working environment. As a founding member of the Work Smart Initiative, Swiss Post actively promotes flexible and location-independent forms of work. These include flexible working models such as part-time work, teleworking and job sharing, which are used by more than half of employees. Swiss Post also contributes around 1.3 million francs towards external childcare, helping employees to achieve a good work-life balance. Swiss Post consistently advertises management positions with an employment level of 80 to 100 percent, with the particular intention of promoting part-time work and the percentage of women in management roles.

It also implements a number of measures to ensure that Swiss Post’s increasingly ageing workforce remains healthy and employable. These include flexible models for retirement and the promotion of bridge employment and flexible working time models. In 2019, special focus will be placed on options for employees in physically demanding positions. Measures for operational staff of all ages are evaluated with regard to health promotion, qualification and advanced training, internal mobility, work design and working time models.

In accordance with the provisions set out in the Postal Services Organization Act, Swiss Post negotiates the framework conditions for the relationship between company and employees with the contracting trade unions syndicom and transfair. The labour law principles governing Swiss Post staff are based on the Swiss Code of Obligations (with reference to the Employment Act, or the Working Hours Act for PostBus). The majority of employees have signed one of the current nine collective employment contracts (CECs), which are continually being developed in partnership and are accessible to the public. The cooperative relationship between employer and employee associations allows for consensual solutions. In conjunction with its social partners, Swiss Post is always seeking forward-looking solutions in the interests of customers, employees and the company.

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Working conditions at suppliers

As one of the five areas of action in the 2017–2020 corporate responsibility strategy, responsible procurement is a top priority at Swiss Post. It falls under the responsibilities of the procurement organization. Responsible procurement is also anchored in the procurement strategy as one of five strategic thrusts and is therefore part of the responsibilities of all employees in Swiss Post’s procurement organization. In all product groups and along the entire Swiss Post value chain, social, ethical and environmental criteria play an important role, in particular procurement practices, child and forced labour, human rights and social and environmental assessment of suppliers. As part of the process of developing Swiss Post procurement into a leading, responsible procurement organization, Swiss Post prefers partners who base their business policy on a holistic approach. Unsustainable procurement involves risks along the entire value chain for people, the environment and Swiss Post alike.

The majority of suppliers have already signed Swiss Post’s Code of Ethics and Social Responsibility or undertaken to produce a more far-reaching code of their own. Among other things, the Swiss Post code calls for respect for human rights, the prohibition of child labour, adequate remuneration, and observation of Swiss Post’s ecological principles. In addition, the Code of Ethics and Social Responsibility points to further Swiss and international standards for the protection of workers with respect to services rendered in Switzerland or abroad. For clothing suppliers, it also contains the contact addresses of the Fair Wear Foundation for complaints. These suppliers are required to display the Code of Ethics and Social Responsibility at their premises in the respective national language.

In 2017, general corporate responsibility criteria and criteria specific to product groups were defined and integrated consistently into the procurement criteria catalogue for each product group. Since 2017, these criteria have been integrated into all public invitations to tender. Also since 2017, Swiss Post has been working with EcoVadis, an independent organization where suppliers are assessed and state their position on their social and environmental business practices. Over the course of the next few years, this will enable Swiss Post to carry out standardized risk analysis and assessment and to continue developing cooperation with its partners. The aim is for the most important suppliers from a strategic perspective, of which there are around 240, to be assessed by 2020. The process has already been completed for over half of them (as at end of 2018: 121 suppliers). Swiss Post plans to integrate the findings into the Corrective Action Plan and to use them to develop measures to improve suppliers’ corporate responsibility performance.

Given that in the clothing sector in particular the risks in terms of socially responsible procurement are high, Swiss Post has taken far-reaching measures in this area, becoming the first major Swiss company to join the globally active Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) in 2012. Since 2014, Swiss Post has been awarded Leader status every year. By becoming a member of the FWF, Swiss Post is committed to strict inspection and sustainable implementation of social standards at its clothing suppliers. It has raised awareness of the FWF Code of Labour Practices among management and employees alike. The FWF carries out inspections of social standards and training on behalf of Swiss Post in the high-risk country of Bulgaria, which accounted for 35 percent of the procurement volume for clothing in 2018. In low-risk countries, which account for 65 percent of the procurement volume, both social standards inspections and training on the Code of Ethics and Social Responsibility and the FWF’s Code of Labour Practices are conducted at factories every three years by Swiss Post itself. The remaining inspection work and training is done by Better Work, a programme by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), in Jordan. This accounts for six percent of total volume.

Social and ecological criteria have also been verified during audits in the transport sector since 2016.

In 2019, Swiss Post plans to continue its internal training sessions to raise awareness within the procurement organization and is investigating the possibility of focusing these sessions on ISO 20400 in order to further optimize procurement processes. The planned integration of sustainability criteria into target agreements was postponed until 2019.

Effectiveness and results

The suppliers of key product groups have signed the Swiss Post Code of Ethics and Social Responsibility. Responsible procurement is an integral part of our approach to risk management in the context of supplier management. Building on this, corporate responsibility criteria were formulated and have already been incorporated into the procurement processes. There are criteria catalogues for specific product groups that make it easier for buyers and suppliers to make more sustainable decisions.

By the end of 2015, 100 percent of the Swiss Post procurement volume for work clothing was inspected, and this inspection is repeated at least every three years. During visits to local production facilities, Swiss Post also provided training for employees regarding their rights and the eight ILO standards. Swiss Post performs well: the work conditions at the production sites are good; the entire supply chain – from the material to the finished item of clothing – boasts full cost transparency, and no complaints have been reported to the FWF or Swiss Post by workers in the factories of Swiss Post’s suppliers. At PostBus, 100 percent of all subcontractors have been audited, and at PostLogistics, the figure is 83 percent.

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Health promotion and occupational safety

Ensuring the health and safety of employees is a key concern at Swiss Post. It relies on a number of measures to preserve and increase employees’ working capacity in the long term. Workplace health management aims to promote and maintain employee health. It is essential to establish a healthy management and working culture based on appreciation, respect and transparency. Management training courses are therefore at the very top of Swiss Post’s agenda for the next few years. The same applies to the prevention of absences and rapid reintegration after illness. These measures are supplemented by well-established health circles and ambassadors, possibilities for career reorientation and internal company counselling, which can help resolve private and professional conflicts and concerns neutrally and confidentially.

Swiss Post runs a so-called operating group solution to guarantee safe jobs for all Swiss Post employees. This ensures compliance with all the legal requirements relating to occupational safety and health protection. The operating group solution has been agreed with the trade unions and certified by the relevant authorities. It is constantly verified during external inspections by cantonal labour inspectors and the Swiss National Accident Insurance Fund (Suva). It is implemented in the occupational safety systems of the Group units, which are managed and developed by trained occupational health and safety specialists (ASGS). These systems are also certified in accordance with OHSAS 18001 at Real Estate Management and Services and PostLogistics. The relevant specialist units are coordinated by specialist groups, which meet on a monthly basis. An annual meeting of representatives is held in order to allow information to be exchanged between Swiss Post, the trade unions, external occupational safety and health specialists and the supervisory bodies.

The relevant Corporate Security unit conducts annual system audits to verify the effectiveness of the operating group solution, while the units carry out regular safety audits and training courses on their sites. Accident and illness figures are evaluated monthly as well as being included in annual consolidated Group reporting.

Effectiveness and results

Presence management helps line managers to approach employees promptly in the event of repeated short- or long-term absences and to define measures (in association with HR consulting where appropriate) that allow employees to return to their original or a new workplace quickly and in an appropriate manner. Key indicators, such as the number of occupational accidents per 100 full-time equivalents and the number of lost days per occupational accident, are analysed at least once a year by the ASGS specialist units. Tripping and falling remains by far the most common cause of accidents, but targeted awareness-raising measures are having an effect. In 2017, after a thorough and independent review of the implementation of health management by Health Promotion Switzerland, Swiss Post received the “Friendly Work Space” label for the third time in a row.

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Social contribution and commitment

As a government-owned company with a long social tradition, Swiss Post supports charitable projects and institutions, particularly in the corporate citizenship area of action of the corporate responsibility strategy. Swiss Post wants to contribute to solving social or environmental challenges and create added value for society.

The Federal Council expects Swiss Post to provide a high-quality universal service comprising postal services and payment transaction services throughout Switzerland. Swiss Post should offer a high standard of marketable, innovative products, services and solutions in both physical and electronic form in its core business in the communication, logistics, financial services and passenger transport markets. Within its operating confines, Swiss Post should pursue a corporate strategy committed to ethical and sustainable principles and take account of regional concerns in the various areas of the country in its organizational structure. Its human resources policy should be progressive and socially responsible, and its employment conditions attractive. In addition, Swiss Post must involve any community affected by the relocation or closure of a branch (see also 413-2).

Effectiveness and results

  • With its 2 x Christmas campaign for people in need in Switzerland and abroad, Swiss Post transports parcels free of charge to the Swiss Red Cross (SRK) logistics center, where donations are sorted by Swiss Post employees and volunteers.
  • “Santa Claus campaign”: Swiss Post helps Santa Claus to answer the letters of thousands of children each year.
  • “A second lease of life for Swiss Post clothes”: work clothing that is no longer used is collected and donated to the SRK; some items of clothing that can no longer be worn are made into bags or laptop covers.
  • Employees have a range of opportunities to volunteer, for instance by taking part in the 2 x Christmas campaign, carrying out maintenance work on Swiss hiking trails or working on the energy education project “Each cell counts – schools generate solar power!”
  • Swiss Post supports young Swiss artists, for example by maintaining its own art collection.
  • Swiss Post supports foundations such as Pro Patria or Pro Juventute as well as other projects and institutions with a focus on social, cultural or youth work thanks to its postage stamp fund or the issue of stamps with a surcharge.

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Climate and energy, air pollutant and noise emissions

The climate and energy goals are derived from the strategy, thrusts and goals. In particular, the Group goal is to increase CO2 efficiency by at least 25 percent by 2020 (base year 2010).

The units can submit applications for financial support for pilot and flagship projects to the Executive Management Committee Innovation, New Business & Sustainability. Furthermore, the funds from the redistribution of the CO2 levy are earmarked for reinvestment in climate protection. In addition, the management systems of the operating units Real Estate, PostLogistics and Swiss Post Solutions are certified in accordance with ISO 14001 and are thus committed to continuous improvement.

Effectiveness and results

Swiss Post’s climate goal is geared to the long term and is in line with the objective of stabilizing global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius by 2100 compared to pre-industrial levels. Swiss Post is thus fulfilling its corporate responsibility to reduce CO2 emissions for the benefit of the environment and society, and, in turn, helping to alleviate the effects of climate change. In addition, Swiss Post seeks to anticipate the risks of future climate change and exploit the opportunities in this regard. Swiss Post is safeguarding its commercial success by pursuing the following priorities in reducing CO2 emissions: sufficiency, efficiency, substitution (replacing fossil fuel sources) and offsetting of CO2 emissions.

Achievement of the Group objective “Increase CO2 efficiency by 25 percent by 2020 (base year 2010)” is on track. This is also reflected in external ratings such as the Environmental Measurement and Monitoring System (EMMS) run by the International Post Corporation (IPC), with Swiss Post registering a further improvement in its Carbon Management Proficiency Score and being awarded the gold rating for the third time in a row in 2018. Many key figures class Swiss Post as one of the leading companies within the IPC – for example, with regard to the proportion of renewable electricity and the use of alternative drive technologies in its vehicle fleet.

In the CDP Supply Chain Rating, Swiss Post achieved the second-highest status of A-. This is a substantial improvement for the company year-on-year and means that it lies well above the industry average. According to CDP, Swiss Post operates “coordinated action in matters of climate change anchored in management.”

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Compliance, data and information protection

The issue of compliance is one of the responsibilities of the Board of Directors and has a high priority at Swiss Post. Executive Management has set up a technical committee on the subject. The committee reports to Executive Management or the Board of Directors on a regular basis. The basic principles of ethical cooperation – as the basis of compliance – are set out in the Code of Conduct, which is binding for all employees.

The compliance portfolio drawn up by the technical committee is the result of a comprehensive analysis of the risks arising from the violation of prohibitory and regulatory standards which is carried out periodically. The portfolio currently covers the topics of data and information protection, anti-corruption, public procurement law, anti-trust law, postal law and subsidy law. Compliance programmes are developed for each topic covered by the compliance portfolio, in which the measures required to minimize the risks of breaches of standards and regulations are defined for each topic. At the heart of these measures are clear communication, systematic training in the individual topics and compliance controls. The compliance programmes are regularly reviewed in terms of their effectiveness and adapted.

The compliance management system has been continually built on and expanded since 2016. An audit carried out by an external company in 2018 confirmed its appropriateness and validated the planned development stages. Monitoring is currently carried out in constant dialogue with all affected units and in the implementation of the processes. In addition, exposed units are also ISO 9001- and ISO 14001-certified and are therefore externally audited at least once a year.

All management employees and selected technical specialists are trained and made aware of compliance issues via e-learning training courses, including learning assessments. The compliance management system is thoroughly documented and is accessible to all employees on the intranet. Executive Management and the Board of Directors are updated on the latest situation in a status report every six months. It is possible for all employees and customers to report violations anonymously.

Protection of customer, supplier and employee data is an important topic within the Swiss Post compliance system. Swiss Post has a comprehensive data protection programme which is compulsory for the entire Group. This includes a data protection organization that ensures that relevant laws and internal directives are adhered to.

Effectiveness and results

The effectiveness of the compliance management system is reviewed regularly and the necessary modifications are made. In 2018, no proceedings were opened in connection with data protection breaches at Swiss Post.

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Circular economy

The circular economy focuses on reusable materials and products that can remain in use for as long as possible. Swiss Post wants to promote and support a resource-friendly and circular economy with its products and skills, and is setting up new strategic business areas and partnerships for this purpose. Swiss Post’s services help to increase the recycling rate of resources, thereby ensuring that consumption in Switzerland is more responsible towards future generations. It is particularly committed to recycling selected reusable materials, repairing and reusing devices and work resources, and encouraging opportunities for sharing (known as the sharing economy). This enables Swiss Post to tap into new logistics potential.

Effectiveness and results

  • Swiss Post collects used Nespresso coffee capsules from customers’ homes for recycling. It takes back PET bottles, carrier bags and cardboard packaging when exchanging e-food orders (e.g. coop@home) and disposes of them correctly.
  • It collects used paper on behalf of municipalities and recovers everyday items and textiles for reuse and recycling in partnership with institutions such as Brocki or Texaid.
  • Anyone borrowing an item such as a drill on the Sharely platform can have it sent to them via the many access points Swiss Post offers.
  • Internal disposal processes are optimized. Swiss Post collects and recycles old Swiss Post clothing in cooperation with the Swiss Red Cross.
  • Swiss Post is conducting a pilot project in which old batteries from electric scooters are used as energy storage units in buildings with solar systems.

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