Schaffner Sustainability report 2019/20

  • Sustainability report

    Sustainability matters

    Sustainability report

    The Schaffner Group places a high priority on sustainability

Sustainability report 2019/20

Sustainability matters

Sustainable practices are a high priority for the Schaffner Group. Its corporate culture is marked by a holistic approach, based on honesty, respect, fairness and a sense of social responsibility as a global company. With innovative spirit and engineering excellence, Schaffner supports the efficient and reliable use of electrical energy. Systematic quality and environmental management ensure that international standards are met or exceeded.

Commitment of the Executive Committee

The Executive Committee of the Schaffner Group actively supports the efforts to improve sustainability. The relevant key performance indicators are regularly reported to the Executive Committee. It discusses the results and takes corresponding action as part of a continuous process of improvement.

Social performance

People make the difference: In its role as an employer, the Group pursues a socially responsible and progressive personnel policy. Schaffner promotes the diversity of employees in its international organization and supports them in the intercultural collaboration at work. With production centers on three continents, cross-cultural cooperation is practiced as a day-to-day reality at Schaffner. At the Swiss headquarters in Luterbach alone, people from 14 different nations work together and bring their unique perspectives to the work process. Language courses in German and English foster employee integration and facilitate cohesive work across international borders.

As a forward-looking and fair employer, Schaffner supports the compatibility of career and family life through family- friendly working conditions. Schaffner accommodates the social trend of a changing division of responsibilities within the family through a range of programs for female and male employees, including offering paternity leave and flexible part- time schedules. This enables fathers to participate equally in family care.

Employee development

Schaffner pursues active employee development, and expects employees to engage in their personal development and do their part to keep pace with the Group’s dynamic evolution. In turn, the Group is committed to supporting employees in their professional growth. Amid the digital transformation of business, the need to ensure continued employability is gaining in importance. Individual training and development goals are set together with the employees, who are supported in these objectives with funding, time, or both.

Hard lockdown at the Shanghai plant

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Schaffner experienced a hard lockdown at the Shanghai plant in February. The Chinese New Year holidays were extended for two weeks throughout China. For the gradual resumption of operations, strict measures were introduced for detecting the disease and preventing possible infections at work. With the insights gained in China, measures were immediately taken at the other plants and sites to minimize the risk and spread of any infections. This included ensuring the necessary distancing in the work- place, the move to home offices, taking production employees’ temperature before and after their shift, and training employees in hygiene protocols and in safe behavior both at and outside of work. Working from home was introduced early on worldwide and proved feasible from day one with almost no technical problems. A survey of employees showed a high level of satisfaction with the home office solution and made it clear that collaboration using digital tools worked well.

Completely new building was opened in Thailand

At the Group’s largest production plant, in Thailand, the completely new building was opened, replacing the one heavily damaged by fire in December 2017. It now houses the entire manufacturing operations of the Automotive division, as well as the administrative departments. The building, which features a “spirit house”, important in Thai culture, was consecrated and opened by monks according to local custom, with the participation of the staff. When designing the spaces, lean principles were followed in planning the material flow and optimizing the production environment for high efficiency in the plant. Given all the efforts to also design the building with the staff ’s well-being in mind, it is no surprise that employees feel comfortable and safe there; they are provided with ergonomic workstations, more recreation areas and two spacious cafeterias.

LTA per 250,000 work hours*

*For the fiscal year from October to September.


Schaffner conscientiously promotes employee health and workplace safety. Regular compliance checks are carried out at the Group sites. The results are analyzed and, as part of the continual advancement of workplace safety and employee health, the findings are used in setting the health and safety objectives both for the Group and the individual sites. Schaffner maintains an occupational health management system, for which a focus topic is chosen each year. The injury rate at the plants was further reduced in fiscal year 2019/20 compared with the year-earlier period. Continuous training and investment in safety measures thus brought the expected improvements.

Sharing of value generated

Schaffner employees receive a significant share of the value generated by the Group. In fiscal year 2019/20, Schaffner’s value generation amounted to CHF 69 million. Of this total, 87% was directly or indirectly paid to employees and 1% went to the public sector in the form of corporate income tax. Two percent is available for distribution to shareholders (subject to their approval at the Annual General Meeting) and 9% remain in the company as depreciation, amortization and retained earnings.

Sharing of value generated in 2019/20

Energy consumption - KWh per CHF '000 of sales*

* July to June

Environmental performance

Schaffner is progressively making the operating business along its whole value chain more effective and efficient. A particular focus of these efforts is on reducing energy consumption in and CO2 emissions from its business activities. In this way, Schaffner contributes to the reduction of climate-harming greenhouse gas emissions. Overall, the Schaffner Group’s energy costs amount to less than 1% of its sales.

In the development of new products, the use of materials and processes responsible for the production of greenhouse gases is avoided to the extent possible. For example, in the EMC and Automotive divisions, filters were marked with labels in- stead of ink, thus reducing the use of solvents to a minimum. The Schaffner Group’s transformer plant in the USA offers customers the capability to rewind old transformers on the existing structure and thus extend their service life. The old copper is collected and recycled.

Total energy consumption fell in the past fiscal year, due in part to the Covid-19-driven decrease in production. However, owing to the plants’ low capacity utilization, the energy requirements of buildings and infrastructure relative to production were higher. Energy consumption in relation to production volume therefore rose despite strong control efforts. In addition, over a period of four months in Thailand, manufacturing was done in parallel in the new building and in the rented temporary premises.

CO2 emissions from production

Kg per CHF '000 of sales*

Water consumption

L per CHF '000 of sales*

CO2 emissions from transport

Kg per CHF '000 of sales*

Waste generation

Kg per CHF '000 of sales*

The global presence of the Schaffner Group, with production centers in Asia, Europe and the USA, substantially reduces transport costs. For the transport needs that do arise, the share of air freight is continually and systematically lowered in favor of sea freight, which allows a further decrease in CO2 emissions (per unit of weight and distance). Due to high demand amid the Covid-19 pandemic, there is limited available capacity for sea freight. As a result, for time-critical orders, air freight often had to be used in order to maintain customer service, thus leading to an increase in CO2 emissions. Air freight from China to Europe was gradually replaced with rail transport by the summer. Here too, capacity bottlenecks regularly lead to a switch to air freight.

The amount of CO2 emitted in connection with business travel fell sharply in fiscal 2019/20. Beginning in February, visits to the plants were no longer possible due to travel restrictions.

*July to June

The demand for drinking water at the plants fell compared to the prior year due to a lower number of employees. Relative to production volume, however, consumption was flat.

The amount of waste generated in the plants was reduced by about one-quarter in the year under review compared to one year earlier. The proportion of hazardous waste rose slightly. A large part of it can be recycled. Such recyclable, so-called secondary materials were returned to the material cycle.