“You can only fulfil expectations if you know what they are”

Implenia committed itself to sustainable development seven years ago. Time to take stock. The company staged a “stakeholder dialogue” session to find out how it was viewed from the outside and to determine priorities for the ­future.

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Social commitment and compliance

Implenia takes its social responsibilities seriously. The company is committed to high ethical principles and has a Code of Conduct to ensure that employees comply with our standards. Implenia also maintains a regular dialogue with stakeholders and communicates transparently with the public.

What we achieved in 2014 / 2015

Our goals for 2017

  • We are implementing a Group-wide compliance management system and setting up a Compliance Committee for systematic risk assessment.
  • We are continuing to conduct dialogue with representatives of politics, business and civic society, and are establishing such dialogue in our new home markets.
  • We are encouraging young talents in Switzerland in sporting and ­cultural fields relevant to Implenia.

5.1Revised Code of Conduct shows the way

Implenia has set out its principles as a responsible corporation in its Code of Conduct. The Code governs the way employees relate to each other, but also the way they act towards business partners, authorities and the environment. The company has made a commitment to its stakeholders that it will keep to the ethical principles defined in the Code: respect, integrity, honesty, openness, fairness and sustainability. The Code of Conduct forms an integral part of Implenia’s employment contracts and thus is binding on all staff.

The Code of Conduct was revised during the period under review in order to bring the content into line with the latest laws and standards. The review process also involved an attempt to harmonise the rules of conduct for the whole of the Group, as well as to firm up the points relating to sustainability and environmental protection.

All office staff had to familiarise themselves with the updated version of the Code using an e-learning platform. Their knowledge was then tested in a final exam. The e-learning programme, which covers the most important principles and legal requirements, is available in all company languages and is mandatory for all new entrants.

Implenia also established a compliance organisation during the period under review, so all Business Units now have their own compliance officers who are in charge of implementing the Code of Conduct. Employees can turn to them if they have any questions or if they suspect or witness misdemeanours. The compliance officers guarantee that whistle-blowers are protected and that the accused are treated fairly.

5.2Pro-competition, anti-corruption

Competition within the construction industry is fierce. Implenia is committed to competing by fair means. Implenia also supports all the relevant anti-corruption rules and regulations, and forbids employees from granting or accepting unjustified benefits of any kind.

Implenia has put risk analysis in place at project level to ensure the continuous assessment of internal guidelines and external rules relating to corruption risks. The company also has a controlling system to counter corruption. The most important component of this system is the “two-pairs-of-eyes” principle. Auditors also regularly check the books for any signs of corruption as part of the regular auditing process.

Some years ago, in spite of these efforts, two Implenia units came under suspicion of having broken competition law. At the end of 2012 the Competition Commission (CoCom) opened an investigation into illegal anticompetitive agreements at the Zernez office in Canton Grisons. CoCom launched a second investigation into suspected anticompetitive agreements in Canton St. Gallen in April 2013. These cases concerned markets for roadbuilding, civil works and surfacing work in which Implenia was thought to be involved. Both cases are still pending and Implenia is cooperating fully with the authorities to resolve them.

In order to make employees more familiar with antitrust law and to prevent infringements, during the period under review Implenia issued an internal competition directive, which sets out clear group-wide instructions on how to act and prevent misunderstandings. For example, it makes clear that oral and non-binding arrangements can still violate competition law, and it shows employees how to conduct themselves correctly.

In 2014 Implenia sponsored the European athletics championships in Zurich – the largest sponsorship commitment in the company’s history.

­Implenia expects its employees to comply strictly with the law and to actively fight against bribery and other corrupt practices. To this end, Implenia also issued a group regulation on integrity during the period under review, which adds further detail to the general principles set out in the Code of Conduct. This regulation includes concrete rules on accepting or offering personal gifts, for example. It sets out country-specific threshold monetary values, above which personal gifts either have to be approved or are completely forbidden. Tougher rules apply here to public officials than to private business partners.

As a further measure against corruption and violations of competition law, Implenia has also set up a compliance reporting unit. Employees with questions or concerns can call and report – anonymously if preferred – suspected or actual infringements.

5.3Sponsoring sport and culture

During the period under review Implenia strengthened its presence among customers and the general public through its sponsorship activities. The company mainly supports sports events, but also does some general event and cultural sponsorship. The highlight in 2014 was Implenia’s sponsorship (as national partner) of the European Athletics Championships in Zurich. This was the largest sponsorship commitment in the company’s history.

As well as sponsoring sports and cultural events, Implenia also promotes innovation as a longstanding partner of the Swiss Venture Club. This organisation recognises innovative companies whose outstanding performance has led to significant and sustainable economic success.

5.4Social commitment

As the largest construction company in Switzerland, Implenia wants to play its part in promoting social cohesion, so it regularly supports community projects either by providing funds or benefits in kind.

­In its social sponsorship activities, Implenia takes a long-term, partnership approach. Since 2013 it has worked closely with sheltered workshops for disabled people. The company gives work to these institutions, buys their products and makes donations. It goes beyond one-sided giving and fosters a genuine exchange on the personal level. Implenia employees visit the workshops and join in with activities for a day. And people from the disabled organisations come and spend some time at Implenia to experience working life in a big business (see box). The aim is to foster mutual understanding.

Luca from the Rümlang workshop shows Farrid some timber construction skills.

Internship in wood construction

­Implenia partners, promotes and supports a number of sheltered workshops throughout Switzerland. The idea is for the partnership to work in both directions. It started with ­Implenia employees getting the opportunity to work at one of the workshops for a day; but now Implenia is trying to complement this by allowing disabled people to sample working life at Implenia. For example, during the period under review Farrid Oppliger did an internship at Implenia Wood Construction in Rümlang. He is attending a practical training course at the Zurich-based Stiftung RgZ foundation under the aegis of the National Association of Institutions for People with Disabilities.

The company adheres to strict ethical standards when engaged in sponsorship or making donations. Its integrity rules state that political organisations or individual politicians can only be supported if this is done transparently and within the bounds of the statutory regulations. Payments to other organisations also have to be open and cannot be intended to influence pending decisions.

 

Implenia is working with the following institutions:

  • Zurich region: Stiftung RgZ, Zurich
  • Grisons region: Hosang’sche Stiftung Plankis, Chur
  • Bern Region: Humanus-Haus Beitenwil, Rubigen
  •  Basel Region: WohnWerk, Basel
  • Ticino region: Fondazione Diamante, Lugano
  • Geneva / Lausanne region: PRO, Geneva
  • Valais region: Fovahm, Saxon

Staff party for a good cause

In May 2014, Implenia organised a huge party for all its employees at the Letzigrund Stadium in Zurich just before the European Athletics Championships. As well as live music and party food there was a programme of sports and games to get everyone in the mood for the big event. Employees gathered points by taking part in a series of team competitions in different parts of the stadium. The points weren’t just used to determine the winner; for every point won Implenia also donated one franc to its partner workshops.

5.5Talking to stakeholders

Implenia wants the public to know all about its activities and concerns, and wants to participate in debate about social matters. Open and direct communication is, therefore, vitally important. The company reports regularly and transparently on its activities and includes all stakeholders in the dialogue.

­During the period under review, for example, Implenia promoted public debate by staging a series of six to ten discussion evenings a year. These events bring together around a dozen leading figures from the worlds of politics, business and wider society to talk with Implenia representatives about political and social issues.G4-25

Stakeholder events and the issues discussed

Topics that should be reported on were defined and assessed together with internal and external stakeholders at two events towards the end of 2015 (see article: “You can only fulfil expectations if you know what they are”).

Altogether, around 128 opinion leaders from all over Switzerland took part in these debates. In 2014 the overall theme was “Justice”, and the debates focused on the question of whether society, politics and business were drifting apart in Switzerland. In 2015 the key question was framed as “Thinking about Tomorrow’s Switzerland: what kind of country do we want in future, and how do we achieve this?”.

As preparation for this sustainability report, Implenia carried out a dialogue with internal and external stakeholders in accordance with Global Reporting Initiative guidelines. On two occasions at the end of 2015 the subjects to be reported on were identified and evaluated (see report “You can only fulfil expectations if you know what they are”). It turned out that the internal and external experts had very similar views on the priorities.G4-25

5.6Regular communication with stakeholders

5.6.1Employees

All of Implenia’s managers are required to foster active dialogue with their staff. One major vehicle for this communication is the target-setting meeting, which has been intensified as part of the management-by-objectives strategy and which is supported by a web-based employee management tool. In addition to this direct dialogue, the company uses various internal communication instruments and channels, including the employee magazine “Impact”, the intranet, regular staff events and an electronic newsletter. The CEO regularly writes an internal CEO letter to employees; he sent 25 of these in 2014 and 2015. The electronic GEBO post box gives employees an opportunity to contact the Group Executive Board directly. Implenia actively manages a variety of internal and external social media platforms that aim to increase contact between employees and encourage their identification with the company. These platforms include Yammer (internal), LinkedIn (external) and Instagram (external).G4-24, G4-25

5.6.2Customers

As well as all the customer contact that occurs within individual projects, during the period under review more than 100 non-project-specific customer meetings were held. Customers appreciate this direct contact as an opportunity to exchange ideas and suggest improvements. To improve customer support at the strategic level, monthly management meetings are held to agree on the leadership of cross-departmental projects and to coordinate customer contacts. The “One Company” approach launched during the period under review also helps to optimise customer care and support.G4-24

5.6.3Shareholders and investors

Implenia communicates its strategy and results to shareholders openly and quickly. Contact is not just limited to the General Meeting and the annual letter to shareholders. The CFO also presents Implenia’s result twice a year at roadshows staged for major shareholders and potential investors. Implenia’s Investor Relations department deals with shareholder matters. Attractive and informative business and sustainability reporting is a high priority for Implenia.G4-24

5.6.4Suppliers

­When selecting suppliers, Implenia looks for companies that share and put into practice its own core values. It applies this principle through its supplier management system and through its revised Code of Conduct. The supplier management system makes business relationships more transparent and ensures that all parties are communicating with each other as equals. “Supplier days” are held to encourage dialogue and deepen partnershipsG4-24

5.6.5Public authorities

­Implenia is a willing partner of governmental institutions. It runs public sector construction projects in close cooperation with the authorities and prefers to hold architecture competitions to ensure that important works meet the highest possible standards. The company carefully weighs up the different designs and construction techniques suggested by competition participants, and seeks a solution that balances sustainability, functionality and aesthetics.G4-24

5.6.6Swiss Builders Association and the trades unions

As a leading business in Switzerland, Implenia has a great responsibility to its employees. The Group Executive Board thus maintains active contact with the company’s social partners, mainly to exchange information regularly and clarify requirements. Implenia representatives also work within the regional builders’ associations.G4-24

5.6.7Media

­Implenia uses press releases and news reports to inform the media actively about important events concerning the company. The Group’s media unit responds to journalists’ questions and provides information in a timely manner. Journalists are also invited to regular information events and are informed about business activities and projects. For example, press conferences are held twice a year – in February and in August – to present the annual and interim results. In this way, Implenia creates transparency towards the public and its stakeholders in accordance with its corporate values.G4-24

5.6.8Society

Providing the media with information is only one part of Implenia’s communications strategy. Direct contact with people – residents, users and the general population – is crucial when widespread support for a project is needed, so Implenia also organises regular public information events and site visits.G4-24