Sustainability is part of Victorinox DNA
The issues of environmental protection and sustainability have already been high priorities at Victorinox for decades. Both at our own production centers as well as for suppliers, the family company is vigilant about the sparing and efficient use of resources and environmentally friendly production.
Consciously serving the environment for almost 50 years
As early as the 1970s – at a time when hardly any statutory provisions existed for industry at the national level –, Victorinox recognized the topics of dealing with environmental protection and sustainability issues as not only an entrepreneurial duty and social responsibility but also as an important factor for success. Today, the company’s innovative products and professional implementation of environmental and energy management stand for the purposeful long-term thinking of the traditional family enterprise.
Numerous awards confirm Victorinox’s commitment in matters related to the environment, sustainability, and responsibility toward employees and society.
The fact that the company’s management also assigns particular importance to concerns about resources and preserving the livelihood of future generations is also demonstrated by the company prize from the Schweizerischen Umweltstiftung [Swiss Environmental Foundation], received in 2008. Since 2007, our own «Green Shield» label has been making all employees aware of environmental protection concerns.
"Victorinox records significantly fewer employee lost-time incidents than the Swiss average. Even though Victorinox is an artisanal enterprise, few accidents occur."
"We also give our corporate culture credit for the low number of sick days."
Heating oil is now used only in emergencies
Victorinox pays special attention to the low consumption of heating oil, energy, and water. Thus a ventilation system that went into operation in 1980 in the production sites of Ibach, Schwyz functions with 50% less operating power. The ongoing optimization of machinery also contributes substantially to lower energy consumption. Victorinox is making a unique contribution to climate protection by means of heat recovery: the waste heat from production facilities provides up to 75% of the heat for all of the operational buildings at the headquarters’ location and for 120 apartments owned by the company.
For the toilet facilities of several production centers, we use rain water.
Thanks to this intensive use of waste heat and the ongoing renovation of buildings, the company reduced its demand for heating oil from over 30,’000 liters in 2014 to an average of 2,500 liters per year; in fact, since 2015, heating oil is now only being used in emergencies or in case of a water pump failure. Due to closed-circuit circulation systems, we’ve been able to reduce the quantity of fresh water needed to cool erosion and cleaning facilities by more than half. Also, rain water is used for the toilet facilities of several production centers.
"We were able to massively reduce the use of heating oil in recent years. A major contribution here comes from the recovery of heat from waste heat in production facilities."
Separate instead of burning – maintain instead of disposing
At Victorinox, the maxim «separate instead of burning – maintain instead of disposing applies throughout the company.» An integrated waste disposal plan for solid and liquid waste involves all employees in the recycling of resources and reduction of waste. Thus thanks to our in-house collection stations, we are able to send 55% of total waste to recycling already today. From production, substantial quantities of plastic and steel waste as well as grinding sludge are recycled, which results in the generation of significantly less industrial waste. Last but not least, thanks to careful maintenance and constant modernization, Victorinox’s production machinery has a very long lifespan, such that some of the machinery has already been in operation for 50 years.
We were able to reduce chlorinated hydrocarbon consumption from 108,‘000 kg to 236 kg.
Victorinox resolutely complies with and implements laws and ordinances regarding water protection, air purification, and the handling of chemicals and hazardous materials. Wherever possible, production does not use chlorinated hydrocarbons. By various measures, such as switching to water-based and CHC-free cleaning systems, we were able to reduce their consumption from 108,’000 kg to 236 kg, thus far below the legal limit. Waste water from production is pretreated in the internal cleaning system prior to being discharged into the municipal wastewater treatment system.
Sustainability is a priority in development and manufacturing
Packaging used for product protection is recyclable.
Along with their excellent quality, Victorinox’s pocket knives are characterized by their proven longevity, unlimited reparability, and sparing use of material. The Victorinox AG guarantee covers all material and manufacturing flaws for an unlimited period (except for two years for electronics). Damage caused by normal wear or improper use is not covered by the guarantee.
On both large scale and small – a continual process of improvement
Victorinox is not yet satisfied with what it has already accomplished. The family company focuses on a continual process of improvement that is firmly anchored in its corporate culture. Thus the intention is to improve energy efficiency even more with a photovoltaic installation on the factory building in Ibach (which since April 2016 is producing power for the company’s own use), the further development of the heat recovery system, the expansion of district heating for residential housing, and the renovation of building structures.
The buildings in Delémont, too, are being totally renovated and brought up to date in terms of energy technology. The 2,495 m2 of solar panels produce approximately 470,000 kWh per year. This is equivalent to the power demand of approximately 135 households. CO2 emissions were reduced by approximately 400 tons by switching from heating oil to a heat pump. But we also help individual employees do their part: Victorinox not only reimburses the costs for using public transportation to get to work but also plans to set up a charging station for electric vehicles on the Ibach site.
"Victorinox advocates sustainably produced electricity; therefore, all electricity is drawn from regional electricity producers who generate the electricity with their own hydroelectric power plants in our mountainous region."