Message from the CEO
What issue could be more important for a business than sustainable development? It is only by following ecologically and socially sustainable principles as well as economic ones that a company can prosper and secure its long-term existence. Sustainability in this context is a mindset and therefore much more than a series of individual measures. This mindset must be deeply embedded in the business, its structures and procedures – in other words, in its corporate culture. This is the case at Tecan.
Given our fields of activity, our company is in a privileged situation. Our products enable us to bridge the gap between life science research and clinical diagnostics. We support our clients in researching the biology of diseases, the development of effective drugs through to implementation of improved and personalized diagnosis procedures.
As such, we directly support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as defined by the United Nations, which are aimed at improving the living standards of people alive today as well as of future generations. Nearly all of Tecan’s sales are generated in areas defined in the individual SDGs. For us, this is not only our corporate purpose, but it also spurs us on every day to do everything we can to stand up for these goals.
We are in a favorable position when it comes to climate protection. From the very beginning, we have been part of a group of companies that emit relatively few greenhouse gases thanks to our area of activity and business model. Our facilities therefore do not emit any greenhouse gases during the production process. At a number of locations, direct emissions are generated solely by the burning of natural gas for heating purposes. This means that the largest proportion of our emissions – which are generally low – stems indirectly from the energy we buy and consume in the form of electricity. And yet we can do better here and so have taken further measures.
Dr. Achim von Leoprechting
Chief Executive Officer
Tecan has long encouraged the use of modern and energy-efficient technologies. As our largest development and production site worldwide, the head office building we moved into in 2000 was fitted with pioneering technologies during the construction process. For example, the main building has hot and cold water lines in the ceiling as a source of heating and cooling. Processed wastewater from the local wastewater treatment plant supplies the heat pumps with energy. In the last few years, we put more energy-saving measures in place, such as installing several thousand LED lights in an effort to reduce our future energy consumption too. We also plan to install photovoltaic panels on the roof of our main building in 2020; this should help us cover around 10% of our future annual electricity consumption on site ourselves.
We agree that greater attention should be paid in the public domain to environmental and climate protection issues, as we believe that companies must take responsibility here. This is the only way that global targets can be achieved, as defined, for example, in the Paris Climate Agreement (COP21).
Apart from various measures that have already been implemented or introduced, we have therefore also set ourselves real quantitative reduction targets for the first time to encourage us to purposefully continue along this path. In an initial step, we are looking to reduce by at least one third our absolute direct and indirect emissions (Scope 1+2 on a comparable basis) in the next three years (2020-2022).
Some activities that are necessary for our business operations, such as flying, also generate greenhouse gas emissions (Scope 3). Here too, we are working on reducing them, such as increasing the use of videoconferencing for discussions across different locations. We are aiming to compensate for the climate-damaging effect of the remaining travel that is necessary. We have therefore chosen two specific projects to offset the overall climate effect of all long-haul flights, originated in Switzerland, taken by us in 2019, for which we are working with an internationally recognized organization. The projects ensure that we not only offset the direct effect of burning fuel, but also the intensifying effect produced by other gases and by the reflection of rising heat on the cirrus clouds produced. In one of these selected projects, we promote the installation of biogas units in Nepal that provide private households with environmentally-friendly energy. In a second project, we support the procurement of highly efficient cook stoves in Rwanda, which help make an 80% saving in the amount of firewood previously consumed.
In addition to business travel, the freight transport division also represents a significant source of emissions. This applies to both the transportation of unfinished materials and components of supplier companies to Tecan as well as to the conveyance of finished products to our customers. Here too, we began to offset the emissions generated for a proportion of all transport in October 2019.
As a company, we are aiming to become climate-neutral over the medium term. We hope to achieve this through a reduction in our greenhouse gas emissions and by offsetting the remaining negative effect. To do this, we are working on a series of measures and evaluating whether, how and when we can achieve and implement this aim.
In other environment-relevant areas, we are also continually doing all we can to reduce our footprint, either by recycling materials, avoiding waste at our sites or through innovative products and packaging.
Apart from environmental and climate issues, compliance with social principles and awareness of social responsibility are also very important for sustainable development. This applies to everyone involved in the value creation chain of our products and business processes, but also very specifically to our own employees and customers.
At Tecan, we foster an open culture based on dealing with one another respectfully as well as on high demands for innovation and significance of our products and quality of our customer relationships. As a global company, we believe deeply in the need for a diverse and inclusive corporate culture with equal rights and opportunities. As such, origin, gender, religion or personal ideology, disability, age or sexual orientation play no role in our recruitment process and in careers in the company. For us, clear acknowledgement of diversity and equality is a basis for success and progress.
By signing the UN Global Compact in 2018, Tecan committed to supporting and implementing, within our sphere of influence, the ten fundamental principles relating to human rights, labor standards, the environment and the fight against corruption: At the end of 2019, we submitted a summary of our activities and published it on our website as part of our annual Communication on Progress.
In 2019, we invested further in the development opportunities for our employees by expanding and restructuring the range of internal and external professional training measures. We also started a global talent management program for the first time entitled NextGen Tecan. The first next-generation managers of this one-year program will come through in 2020.
In order to attach particular importance to employee and talent development activities, key elements were also adopted as a criterion for management’s variable remuneration.
Another key factor for successful and sustainable company development is customer satisfaction. Open communication is essential in order to guarantee high satisfaction levels over the long term, which also boosts loyalty to Tecan. We actively seek constructive criticism and have integrated this into continual improvement programs to form the basis for ongoing improvements. The expansion of our broadly supported customer satisfaction program and implementation of measures leading to an improved customer experience represented a key point in the year under review. As a result, we have also adopted relevant figures on customer satisfaction for 2020 as another component of management’s variable remuneration.
We have added topics to this 2019 Sustainability Report by including a great deal of information that is particularly relevant to us. Sustainability is a mindset! We hope that Tecan can demonstrate this to you over the next few pages.
Dr. Achim von Leoprechting
Chief Executive Officer