Society and sustainable growth – 2020 sustainability report

Society and sustainable growth introduction

V-ZUG is a company deeply rooted in its local area and lives by Swiss values such as innovation, quality, reliability and sustainability. We have forged lasting relationships with our neighbours, business partners, civic organisations and authorities over the years. Our sponsorships support sports, culture and social organisations, and our site tours give visitors an insight into the work we do at V-ZUG.

Investing in our home advantage
High standards in education, ingenuity, advanced infrastructure, high quality of life and the ‘Swiss brand’ give us a competitive edge and allow us to bring the ‘Swiss-made’ label to the rest of the world. That is why we are making our design and production spaces fit for the future: the Tech Cluster Zug (TCZ) creates an integrated, sustainable district for innovation on our main site. We are also building a new refrigerator plant in the Swiss canton of Thurgau, and we are working on creating affordable and sustainable housing in Zug with ‘Project Pi’.

Responsibility throughout the entire value chain
Around 60 per cent of our suppliers are domiciled in Switzerland, with around 30 per cent based in the surrounding European countries. We source most of our electronic parts from highly specialised markets in Asia. We adhere to clearly defined quality and sustainability standards in our supplier management. Site visits and regular communication strengthen our cooperation and allow us to build sustainable partnerships. We mainly carry out audits ourselves, covering environmental and social factors as well as looking at aspects of ethical management. In the future we aim to have stronger relationships but with a smaller pool of suppliers, which fits in with our work to make our products modular.

Strong core values
V-ZUG operates in line with its core values: sustainable and long-term value creation, excellence and integrity in our business activities. They are embedded in our Code of Conduct, which all employees must follow, including members of the Board of Management.

As part of our digitalisation efforts, we process large volumes of data, and we take data protection and security very seriously. V-ZUG processes personal data in accordance with the applicable data protection laws, including the Swiss Federal Data Protection Act and the EU General Data Protection Regulation.

“It’s no longer a given that a company will choose Switzerland for the centre of its operations. With its commitment to the region, V-ZUG is securing attractive, diverse and innovative jobs in the canton of Thurgau. Its relocation to Sulgen is a milestone on the road to a successful future, both for V-ZUG and our local economy.”

Daniel Wessner, Head of Thurgau’s local office for economic and labour affairs (Amt für Wirtschaft und Arbeit)

Society and sustainable growth stories

High-quality sites for high-quality products
“Choosing our home region for the site was by no means a foregone conclusion, rather a logical consequence of our strategy and principles,” explains Andreas Albrecht, Managing Director of V-ZUG Cooling Technology Ltd, as he recalls the decision. When V-ZUG acquired Forster Kühltechnik AG in Arbon, Thurgau, almost eight years ago, the company began producing refrigerators itself and expanded the development unit. Our aim is to modernise production to get even more out of our innovative strength and meet environmental standards. The rented site without an option to buy limited our scope though, so we planned from the start to relocate the headquarters and build a new factory. In October 2020, we celebrated the new building’s topping out ceremony in Sulgen, which is around 20 km away.

The location was chosen at the end of a very thorough decision-making process. The decisive factors were the employees and their expertise. Being located in Switzerland also means we benefit from high standards in education across the board, a shared culture and common language, and we face minimal logistical risks. “We have professionalised the refrigerator division over the years and positioned it well in V-ZUG. To continue on this trajectory and manufacture first-class products, we need refined processes and top-quality employees,” adds Andreas Albrecht. With the new, sustainably built building complex, V-ZUG is investing in Switzerland as a manufacturing hub, bringing with it jobs for the region.

A unique ensemble of classical music and industrial architecture
Fresh new sounds filled the air at our factory site in summer 2020 as artists from the Sommerklänge music festival set up their instruments in the recently completed Zephyr Hangar. Notes from Bach, Mendelsson and Schubert echoed through the large wooden hall of our new production facility, which still stood empty. “We were worried that our chamber music festival wouldn’t be able to go ahead because of Covid. Thankfully V-ZUG offered us the Zephyr Hangar – a place that was big enough for us to comply with safety guidelines while providing a unique atmosphere with awesome acoustics,” beams Madeleine Nussbaumer, the festival’s Artistic Director.

This sort of interim use of the building is also a real plus for V-ZUG. We want to make our company accessible, including in the physical sense, and to tell others who we are, what we stand for and what we create here. Informal gatherings such as these are important and supplement the formal dialogue with our stakeholders. V-ZUG and its project partners place a great deal of emphasis on the public’s requirements when transforming sites. The new works enhance the district, strengthen neighbouring structures, build smart infrastructure for everyone and facilitate urban consolidation. This makes room for public spaces and other pedestrianised areas and actively strengthens the successful coexistence between industry and work, living and leisure spaces respectively.

Society and sustainable growth key figures

V-ZUG regularly audits its suppliers. There were considerably fewer audits in 2020 due to stricter supplier registration requirements and travel restrictions caused by Covid-19.

Graphic: Number of supplier audits with social and environmental criteria

Impact on SDGs 8, 9 and 12

Innovative solutions make us fit for the future. We have specific initiatives to develop our innovative strength internally and enhance it with external partnerships. This is reflected by our investments in a state-of-the-art, resource-efficient industry. We are developing sustainable and integrated infrastructure at our sites in dialogue with local stakeholders, bringing social, economic and environmental benefits. We are creating attractive industrial jobs and supporting local businesses by procuring our goods and services regionally. We promote environmental and social standards in our partnerships throughout the entire supply chain. We are also committed to implementing a sustainable business model. Our transparent product information allows us to help consumers make sustainable choices, inform users of environmental issues through the use of our appliances, help reduce food waste, and promote healthy eating.