Construction companies can make a real difference to the environment, economy and society. This brings a great responsibility. Implenia acknowledges this responsibility and takes account of all the aspects of sustainability when developing, planning and building its projects.
As one of Implenia’s five corporate values, sustainability is firmly anchored in the Group’s culture. Implenia always thinks about sustainability holistically and tries to take a lead in all its aspects – environmental, financial and social. One of its strategic focuses is on the real estate development projects over which it has complete control from the planning stage to hand-over. When it has such control, the Group can utilise its skills to maximum effect, and set its own sustainability standards. Implenia’s commitment to sustainability is also reflected in its close collaboration with the Network for Sustainable Construction Switzerland (NNBS) and the WWF; it participated, for example, in developing the “SNBS – Swiss Sustainable Construction Standard”and “SEED – Next Generation Living” certification systems for sustainable neighbourhoods.
Five environmental, social and economic priorities
Implenia’s sustainability goals are divided into five priorities across environmental, social and economic dimensions. The interaction between these dimensions is important: we continuously develop environmentally friendly solutions that also make economic and social sense. The priorities have guided us since 2010, reflecting both our long-term commitment and the ongoing relevance of the priorities themselves:
1 . Sustainable products and services: e.g. sustainable development and sustainable building, supplier management
2 . Respect for the environment: e.g. during construction, use of machines, CO2 emissions, recycling
3 . Attractive working environment: e.g. reduction of accidents at work, promotion of diversity and integration
4 . Social commitment and compliance: e.g. support for development projects and social responsibility
5 . Financial and operational excellence: e.g. ratings, Lean Construction, BIM (Building Information Modeling), digitalization
In 2020 Implenia set itself ambitious long-term sustainability goals based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The new goals are for five years rather than for two as previously, and are being worked on between 2021 and the end of 2025. As part of its commitment to transparency, the Group now continuously reports on its progress and level of achievement through a goals dashboard within the Sustainability Report. The dashboard also shows the sub-goals, derived from the main targets, for each Division and global function. These sustainability goals are integrated into operational business and are woven into day-to-day working life.
Strong sustainability governance
There are three levels of governance for sustainability at Implenia: A Sustainability Committee was set up as early as 2012. In 2018, this committee was adjusted and its remit expanded to include a representative from each of the four Divisions as well as from global functions such as HR, Procurement, Finance, Marketing/Communications and Compliance. The Sustainability Committee (SusCom) meets quarterly to discuss current issues, define sustainability goals, take strategic decisions and launch Group-wide initiatives. It also monitors and reviews sustainability reporting.
Secondly, a global Sustainability Team has the task of anchoring sustainability within the company and supporting site managers and project managers on large-scale projects. Everyone in the team is responsible for several sustainability issues, but the sustainability agenda still has to be promoted locally by individual departments and functions. Thirdly, there are local sustainability delegates, who often also work as environmental protection officers, at the Division and country unit level.
This triad of SusCom, global experts and delegates has proved to be a very successful operational model. Meanwhile, the Board of Directors provides oversight, and executive management is heavily involved: Anita Eckardt, Member of the Implenia Executive Committee (IEC), is Chairwoman of the Sustainability Committee and represents its decisions on the Executive Committee. The Board of Directors, in turn, is responsible for approving the sustainability strategy.
External recognition reflected in top ratings
Implenia performed outstandingly in various sustainability ratings during the year under review, thus building on its leading position in the sector. Sustainalytics, a global leader in research and ratings for environmental, social and governance issues, awarded Implenia an outstanding 84 points for 2020. This confirms the Group’s position as industry leader in “Construction & Engineering”, which we have been since 2018, and is 5 points more than in the previous year. Implenia is ahead of its competitors in all three areas – environmental, social and governance. In 2018 Implenia became the first industrial company in Switzerland to link its credit margin to its sustainability performance as measured by Sustainalytics. This means that the many years of sustainability work is also having a financial effect: thanks to its currently very good rating, Implenia can source funding on more favourable conditions, making it a pioneer of “green” credit financing.
EcoVadis, the world’s largest provider of sustainability ratings, also ranks Implenia higher. After 52 points in the previous year, the Group achieved 60 points in 2021, moving it up from bronze to silver status. This makes Implenia one of the best 15 per cent of the more than 75,000 companies rated by EcoVadis. EcoVadis ratings are used by more than 600 sustainable procurement programmes within global value chains, while the number of customers who ask for EcoVadis ratings in project acquisitions is also constantly rising. These include major public clients such as Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) and Deutsche Bahn, as well as private clients such as Johnson & Johnson. In addition, MSCI increased its ESG rating for Implenia from AA to AAA in December 2021.
Implenia has been publishing a Sustainability Report in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) since 2012. The current Sustainability Report is available here. Among other things, it contains the Sustainability Goals for 2025, sustainability indicators and reports on concrete implementation.