Message from the CEO
Dr. Achim von Leoprechting
Chief Executive Officer
The dominant theme of 2020 was clearly the pandemic triggered by the novel coronavirus, which continues to dominate us even now. However, 2020 also became a year in which Tecan's contribution to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goal "The health and well-being of all people" was more visible than probably ever before. Our products have been instrumental in supporting the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic, particularly in the area of automated PCR testing. Studies and models have now shown that COVID-19 tests play a key role in reducing the virus's reproduction rate and thus in containing its spread. As a result, there are fewer hospitalizations and ultimately fewer deaths.
Despite other highly relevant topics such as climate change or the diversity and inclusion of all employees being temporarily out of the public focus, they are still current and perhaps more important than ever. I am pleased to be able to report on various activities and good progress at Tecan in this regard as well.
Corporate purpose more visible than ever before
Tecan's corporate purpose is to advance the understanding of disease, support the development of new medicines and help bring these insights and technologies to broad clinical diagnostic applications worldwide through scalable solutions. This corporate purpose motivates me personally and our staff every day. I'm incredibly proud of how our staff coped with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and supported our customers with tremendous commitment. Our first priority was to ensure the health and safety of our staff by implementing a wide range of measures. Overall, we were successful in this regard.
Other measures were designed to avoid or limit interruptions in the supply chain and in freight transport to ensure business continuity – these were necessary steps to enable sustainable growth. Here too, we reacted effectively and proactively.
Trust-based workplace culture is crucial
We firmly believe that a trust-based workplace culture makes a crucial difference in helping us become a successful business in the long term. Consequently, in an effort to keep on improving with our growing number of employees, we took part for the first time in 2020 in the TrustIndexTM Employee Survey by the international research and consulting company Great Place to Work®. In an anonymous survey, mutual trust is measured as a basis for workplace culture, values practiced, leadership quality, potential maximization of all employees and the resultant innovative power and value creation. We are delighted to have already achieved an excellent score of 70% in our first participation in this type of employee satisfaction survey. The statement "All in all I can say that this is a great place to work" was endorsed by 75% of all employees. They particularly appreciated the areas of diversity and inclusion as well as health and safety at work. Over 90% of employees said that sexual orientation, skin color or even any physical disability, for example, make no difference in how people are treated. The values achieved are already above-average against different comparison groups. However, one of our corporate values is ambition, so our challenge is to compete with the top companies. It spurs us on to continually improve based on the findings of the employee survey and the Great Place to Work culture audit.
The fact that we were already officially certified as a great place to work in January 2021 shows that we are on the right path.
In May 2020, the violent deaths of several African American citizens through police brutality in the US profoundly shocked us. We believe deeply in the need for a diverse and inclusive corporate culture with equal rights and opportunities for all. That is why we have made a clear commitment to diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity, which I would like to explicitly reiterate at this point. The events had a particularly strong impact on our employees in the USA. We therefore very much welcomed and supported the establishment of a dedicated ERG (Employee Resource Group) by employees. The Tecan Committee of African American Professionals (Te-CAAP) aims to engage in a dialogue on the topic of diversity and inclusion, provide education, raise awareness of racial discrimination and ensure an environment of tolerance and mutual respect. The professional development and career opportunities of African-American employees are also to be promoted in a targeted manner.
The topic of gender diversity and equal opportunities for women is also very important to us. In 2020, we therefore joined the WeAdvance organization, which is a network of more than 100 companies in Switzerland. The organization's mission is to actively increase the percentage of women in executive positions in Swiss companies with concrete measures. As a member, we can also offer our employees participation at various events and workshops. Furthermore, we have begun dedicated programs aimed at promoting equal opportunities, such as offering flexible working hours.
Tecan celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2020. Unfortunately the original celebration plans had to be scrapped because of the pandemic. However, at the end of 2019, we had conducted an employee survey to find out what activities should be implemented as part of the anniversary. Many of our employees wanted to get involved in helping others and giving something back to society. The selection of four recognized charitable organizations to be supported also came from the ranks of the employees. Suggestions for the selection were also based on personal fates and experiences. As a business, Tecan made a financial contribution, but this was also coupled with the personal involvement of employees as part of "Tecan Gives Back". So throughout September, teams of four "collected" kilometers, either by walking, hiking or jogging. Overall, several hundred employees covered a distance equivalent to almost four times round the Equator. This is an enormous achievement and renewed confirmation that we have exceptional employees and a positive corporate culture! All in all, we donated CHF 60,000 in total to the four organizations.
Taking responsibility for climate protection
Despite climate protection receiving less public attention in 2020 because of the pandemic, it remains arguably mankind's most urgent challenge. As a company, we also want to continue to meet our responsibilities. This is the only way that global targets can be achieved, as defined, for example, in the Paris Climate Agreement (COP21). In the 2020 business year, we once again implemented or initiated a number of measures, such as installing photovoltaic panels on the roof of the main building of our company headquarters and connecting them to the electricity grid in July. In future, we will be able to produce around 140,000 kilowatt hours of electricity every year, which will almost cover 10% of our annual consumption on this site. For the remaining electricity consumption, we consistently switched the contract with our electricity provider to 100% renewable energies in the reporting year. Further sites will follow.
At our Männedorf site, we significantly expanded the number of separate parking spaces with charging stations for staff with electric vehicles. Overall, more than 10% of all parking spaces have now been fitted with new charging stations which employees can use for free.
As a company, we are aiming to become climate-neutral over the medium term. We hope to achieve this by continuing to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and fully compensating for the remainder. In 2020 we worked together with ClimatePartner, a solution provider for climate change, and comprehensively calculated Tecan's carbon footprint. We were then able to gain climate-neutral certification for our Männedorf site for the first time through recognized climate protection projects. Männedorf is not only our company's head office, but also the largest development and production site with around 600 of our approx. 2,000 workforce. To do this, all direct emissions (Scope 1) and indirect emissions through purchased energy (Scope 2) as well as upstream and downstream emissions in the process chain (Scope 3) were offset, such as emissions generated by employees coming to work or business trips.
We also calculated and compensated for all CO2 emissions that are unavoidably generated in the process chain for the production of our leading Fluent automation platform. CO2 emissions of the product were calculated based on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Product Life Cycle Accounting and Reporting Standard (GHG Protocol) following the cradle-to-customer plus waste approach. This means that the lifecycle phases cover the acquisition of raw materials and packaging, relevant logistics processes, production of the product, delivery of the goods to the customer's factory gate as well as relevant disposal emissions of the product and packaging.
Responsible corporate management
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 2020, we again submitted a summary of our continued progress and activities and published it on our website as part of our annual Communication on Progress.
As a signatory to the UN Global Compact, we are committed to taking steps to counter all types of corruption, including extortion and bribery. To do this, we also use new processes and tools.
Since the beginning of 2021, Tecan employees and partners can now report potential cases of misconduct via a special whistleblowing platform operated by specialist provider EQS. The technology it uses guarantees whistleblowers the highest standard of confidentiality.
We also work together with distributors and third-party agents in some countries. In order to automate background checks on legal disputes and criminal proceedings, for example, and to enable real-time detection, we signed an agreement in 2020 with EthiXbase, a leading technology and data analysis company. EthiXbase was also recently awarded the Singapore Apex Corporate Sustainability Award, an initiative organized by the Singapore section of the UN Global Compact.
This is only a summary of the various key activities and our news from the reporting year. The following 2020 Sustainability Report contains more interesting information on the various topics that are of particular relevance to us. As I said in last year's message: Sustainability is a mindset!
We hope that Tecan can demonstrate this to you over the next few pages. Enjoy reading but above all, stay healthy!
Dr. Achim von Leoprechting
Chief Executive Officer