Sustainability at Zühlke
We see innovation and technology as a means of combining economic success with having a positive impact on society and the environment. We live this outlook in our customer projects, our corporate culture and our operating procedures. We use sustainability to shape a future worth living in.
Positive project impact
Positive project impact is about helping people and the planet through the services we provide to our clients.
Everyone at Zühlke lives their values through their work. That’s why we prioritize projects that have a strong positive impact, and develop methods for addressing sustainability concerns across different types of projects.
Sustainability innovation and ecodesign
We help our clients make their products and services more sustainable – but we also help them improve the processes they use to create them.
Our sustainability innovation services help clients design more sustainable products, elongate product lifecycle, and transition to more sustainable business models.
We’ve even created our own key criteria for sustainable products.
In the energy sector, we focus on renewables, energy diversity, smart grid transmission, load shifting and other areas.
Using leading-edge technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), we help clients monitor and measure their waste and find ways to optimize resources and energy use.
We bring clients together to discuss sustainability best practices in areas like life-cycle assessment, ecodesign and sustainability design, eco-materials and sustainable business models.
In September 2021, we also invite clients to present their own sustainability initiatives at our booth at Impact Festival.
Mentoring for sustainable startups
Our “Boozt your Business” initiative connects ambitious and innovative startups with expert Zühlke mentors to pitch ideas, expand their network and meet investors.
With our mentors’ help, green startups have secured significant early-stage funding to bring their products to market.
We also offer scale-up coaching to startups, often through a competition format.
Green Energy Lab
Our Head of Competence, Barbara Hotwagner, is a member of the Green Energy Lab in Austria.
The Lab was founded by four leading energy firms, and brings together experts from business and academia to assess the sustainability of new innovations.
Our second pathway to sustainability is about making ourselves more diverse, in every sense, and reaching out to support the communities around us.
We work alongside charities, NGOs and social enterprises to offer our support to specific communities and wider society.
Employees who want to pursue their own initiatives receive full support from the rest of the Zühlke family, and can often obtain funding from the company too.
In Switzerland, Zühlke team members took part in the National Clean-Up Day. The day was part of the international anti-littering movement ‘Let’s Do It!’, which involves more than 96 countries around the world.
Encouraging the next generation of innovators
On our Mindstorms day, members of our teams went out to help school children in grades 4–7 learn the basics of programming and robotics. The children got to build and program their own LEGO robots, then use them to solve tasks.
In partnership with Aiducation International Switzerland and local partner Pathways to Higher Education, we held an Innovation Academy in the Philippines to teach Design Thinking to a group of 42 students.
Diversity and inclusion
Sustainability is a global project – it is strengthened by a diversity of voices and perspectives across race, culture, education, belief, physical ability and neurotype.
We provide a safe, supportive, inclusive workplace for all, no matter where they’re from, how they look or how they think.
Once people join our team, we provide plenty of opportunities for learning and development, with the potential to become one of our next leaders.
While we love the richness of face-to-face meetings, we also recognise that we have a duty to treat international travel responsibly.
Even before the pandemic, Zühlke had embraced distributed working. We’ve since developed our own guidelines for distributed meetings, allowing our teams and clients to collaborate across international borders in a safe and sustainable way.
Sustainable ways of working
Sustainability begins at home. Every member of the Zühlke family is committed to improving the impact of our day-to-day work.
We find every opportunity to eliminate waste and make better use of resources, from client-facing teams through to internal functions like finance and HR. We also keep on making improvements wherever we can, so we’re always moving closer to our goal. Several of our locations have embarked on initiatives to reduce CO2 or go completely carbon-neutral. Here are some examples.
Since 2019, we have been cooperating with Planetly to analyze our CO2 emissions for the Zühlke Germany team – consisting of 320 employees. From 2019 to 2020, we were (supported by home office and much less business travelling) able to reduce our CO2 emissions from 2,080 t to 859 t. To compensate the remaining CO2 emissions, we support a biogas project in Sichuan, the REDD+ Andean Amazon Project in Peru and a Cookstoves for Coffee Farmers project in Ethiopia.
In addition, the Zühlke team is developing measures to further improve the carbon footprint with the aim of being completely CO2 neutral as soon as possible.
In Serbia, the Zühlke team have calculated their carbon footprint and adopted a whole range of carbon-cutting initiatives, from reducing air travel and printing to planting trees and cycling to work.
Our UK branch has boosted their Cycle to Work scheme post-COVID, introduced digital payslips, provided more monitors to support working from home.
They’ve also extended the lifespan of equipment (for example, using phones for three years instead of two) and started using cargo bikes to move larger items around London.
As Head of Sustainability, Christoph Broecker works closely with the country firms in order to strengthen and further develop the sustainability offerings of Zühlke and to lead the Group’s efforts towards more sustainable operations. Christoph Broecker has worked in various roles at Zühlke since 2003 and successfully helped set up the Hong Kong office.