Interview with Philippe Amon, Chairman and CEO
What does sustainability mean for SICPA?
It means assuring the long term continuity and success of our business by taking full account of the environment and the communities we operate in. We do this through our Corporate Social Responsibility programme.
How important is it for the company?
Very important. It is deeply rooted in our culture and values and has a strong social and community component. For decades we have helped our customers to build trust in cash, value documents and sensitive goods. Billions of people around the world benefit from SICPA protected products ranging from banknotes, ID cards and transport tickets to pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and beverages.
We are now putting greater emphasis on our sustainability approach because social and environmental issues are becoming increasingly important in our markets and to our key stakeholders, in particular our customers. Our aim is to demonstrate systematically and consistently our commitment to environmental and social issues.
What does your approach consist of?
Our Corporate Social Responsibility approach is closely linked to the way we conduct business and operations in general. It is based on four main pillars: interaction with markets, commitment to our people, engagement with communities and environmental impact.
What do you do to preserve the environment?
We work to address environmental issues in a number of ways. We are constantly seeking to develop more environmentally friendly products, such as “Green Inks” and “Eco Design” for our technologies and equipment. Our new production facilities are built according to the latest environmental standards. The new premises in Brazil are a good example of this. They have renewable energy and closed water cycles to minimise the use of resources. In addition we are implementing energy efficiency and waste management projects for existing operations. And last but not least, we participate in environmental projects: from reforestation in Brazil and Colombia, to biodiversity and conservation in Switzerland.
You mentioned that there is a strong social and community component in the company’s culture. What does this mean in practice?
We have a tradition of working in partnership with customers on a long-term basis and developing relationships of trust and mutual understanding. Most of our projects last for 5, 10, 20 and more years. We cannot afford to be short-term in our approach. So we need to ensure that our employees are committed and motivated in the long run to sustain business continuity and success. In addition, we stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship by encouraging diversity and providing development and learning opportunities. The positive impact of this is demonstrated by our low turnover rate.
In terms of communities, we engage actively with the local community in the places where we conduct business and operate. For example in 2013, we supported and contributed to over 35 educational, welfare, cultural and scientific projects in North and South America, Sub-Saharan and South Africa, and South East Asia.
SICPA is a founding member of the Banknote Ethical Initiative (BnEI). How important is ethics to your business?
Ethics and integrity are fundamental to our business. But we have realised that this is a battle we cannot fight and win on our own. This was a key reason for us to become a founding member of the BnEI and setting high standards for the industry.
How does CSR fit with your company’s long-term strategy?
Assuring sustainability through our CSR approach is crucial to achieving our long term strategic goals. This requires us to constantly adapt to new challenges, but we aim to do this whilst respecting the company’s heritage and culture.
What is your vision for sustainable development in the future?
We cannot close our eyes to what is happening in the world today, natural disasters, community tragedies and social uprisings. Each one of us has a responsibility towards society and the environment. At SICPA we aim to play a positive role through identifying and focussing on issues where we can make a real difference.