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Review of the 2020 results

Excellent 2020 Results

BKW increased revenue and EBIT in a challenging year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The expansion of the Services business, along with the positive impact of the price rise in the Energy business, were the main drivers of the sales growth which rose by 9 % to CHF 3.1 billion, despite now decommissioned Mühleberg Nuclear Power Plant no longer contributing. At EBIT level, the Services business increased its share and in the Energy business a convincing result achieved by trading was only slightly below the previous year’s record. Together with the one-off compensation from Swissgrid, reported operating profit was CHF 475 million (+ 10 %). Without this one-off effect, EBIT amounted to CHF 436 million, thus exceeding the record result in 2019. Operating net profit before the performance of the decommissioning and waste disposal funds was CHF 349 million, 22 % above the previous year. Funds from operations achieved a new record value at CHF 649 million.

Excellent operating profit: Previous year’s records exceeded again

At CHF 474.7 million, reported EBIT is 10 % higher, or around CHF 40 million more than in the previous year. The concluding compensation from Swissgrid awarded to BKW by ElCom for the handover of the transmission grid had a one-off effect on EBIT of around CHF 39 million. Even ignoring this one-off effect, EBIT was CHF 436 million. Therefore, BKW closed the 2020 financial year with an extremely strong operating EBIT, even exceeding the previous year’s record value and securing a new high since the company was listed.

In addition to the further expansion of the Services business which once again increased its EBIT contribution significantly despite the coronavirus crisis, it was primarily the very successful trading business and the positive impact of the higher hedged electricity prices that contributed to this excellent result. Operating profit of the Grid business is developing steadily as expected.

Operating net profit (net profit before the performance of the decommissioning and waste disposal funds STENFO) was CHF 349.0 million, a net rise of 22 % over the previous year. Without the one-off effect of the Swissgrid compensation, operating net profit climbed by 9 % in relation to 2019. Reported net profit (after STENFO) was CHF 382.4 million and was below the record level reported in 2019. Despite a difficult first half year, the funds exceeded the specified target returns. Nevertheless they were clearly below the record returns of the previous year.

Higher sales and operating profit

CHF millions

2019

2020 (comparable)

Adjustments 1

2020

% change

Sales

2,866.6

3,089.9

38.7

3,128.6

9 % 

Energy procurement/transport

– 796.0

– 790.1

– 790.1

Operating costs

– 1,392.2

– 1,659.5

– 1,659.5

EBITDA

678.4

640.3

38.7

679.0

0 % 

Depreciation, amortisation and impairment

– 280.7

– 243.3

– 243.3

Income from associates

35.7

39.0

39.0

EBIT

433.4

436.0

38.7

474.7

10 % 

Financial result excluding change in value of state funds

– 103.6

– 73.8

– 73.8

Income taxes excluding change in value of state funds

– 44.4

– 50.9

– 1.0

– 51.9

Operating net profit2

285.4

311.3

37.7

349.0

22 % 

Change in value of state funds net of tax

118.2

33.4

33.4

Net profit

403.6

344.7

37.7

382.4

– 5 % 

1 The adjustment in the 2020 revenue figure relates to the one-off compensation payable to BKW by Swissgrid for its expropriation of the transmission grid in 2013, on the basis of an ElCom decision.

2 “Operating net profit” has been introduced as a new key performance indicator. This corresponds to the net profit before proceeds from the state decommissioning and disposal funds and is more suitable as a measure of operating performance than the reported net profit, since the proceeds from these funds are not operational in nature and BKW has no direct influence on how they are invested.

Sales growth due to the further expansion of the Services business

In the 2020 financial year BKW increased revenue by 9 % and more than compensated for the reduced volume arising because of the decommissioning of the Mühleberg Nuclear Power Plant. The continued strong growth specifically in the Services business and in the higher hedged electricity prices contributed to this rise in revenue.

Rise in employee numbers as a result of acquisitions

Operating costs at Group level increased by 19 %, as a consequence of expansion in the Services business. The acquisitions completed in the year under review added some 270 new employees to BKW’s ranks. In the established Energy and Grid businesses, consistent cost management led to cost reductions of 3 %.

Efficiency improvements were also achieved in the central corporate functions with employee numbers falling by about 5 %. At the end of 2020 BKW had about 10,250 employees. BKW takes its responsibilities seriously regarding training and apprentices. The company currently employs over 900 apprentices across all areas of business.

The main reason for the decrease in depreciation, amortisation and impairment is the discontinuation of the power generation at the Mühleberg Nuclear Power Plant which has led to a corresponding reduction.

Financial result improves as a consequence of lower interest rates

In the 2020 financial year the comparable financial result (ignoring performance of the state decommissioning and disposal funds) was CHF – 73.8 million, CHF 29.8 million better than in the previous year. This development was the result of lower interest expenses. The compounding of nuclear provisions decreased due to the amendment passed by the Swiss Federal Council in 2019 regarding the parameters in the decommissioning and waste disposal funds ordinance (SEFV) and interest expenses from bond liabilities also fell. At the end of July 2019 the 3.75 % bond of CHF 350 million was refinanced with a Green Bond of CHF 200 million with an interest rate of 0.25 %.

The reported financial result was affected by the change in value of the state funds. Returns on investments in these funds amounted to 3.2 %. Despite the huge price falls due to the coronavirus in the first half year, the projected required return of 2.1 % pursuant to the SEFV ordinance was exceeded. Nevertheless, when compared to the previous year, performance was lower by around CHF 106 million due to the record returns of 12.6 % achieved in 2019.

Funds from operations at record level: Record values from the previous year significantly exceeded again

CHF millions

2019

2020

% change

Funds from operations before utilisation of nuclear provisions

647.5

781.8

21 % 

Funds from operations

583.9

649.1

11 % 

Cash flow from operating activities before utilisation of nuclear provisions

532.5

662.2

24 % 

– Payments for decommissioning and disposal

– 63.6

– 132.7

Cash flow from operating activities

468.9

529.5

13 % 

Cash flow from investing activities before reimbursement from state funds

– 302.5

– 274.8

+ Reimbursements from decommissioning and disposal funds

46.6

86.5

Cash flow from investing activities

– 255.9

– 188.3

Cash flow from financing activities

– 341.1

– 197.0

Liquidity as at 31.12

910.8

1,036.0

14 % 

Funds from operations, cash flow before the change in net working capital and income taxes paid, again exceeded the previous year’s record by CHF 65.2 million and reached a new high of CHF 649.1 million. Before utilisation of provisions for nuclear decommissioning and waste disposal, funds from operations peaked at CHF 781.8 million (+ 21 %).

The reported cash flow from operating activities includes not only cash flows from operating activities, but also the utilisation of provisions for nuclear decommissioning and waste disposal. Most of these utilisations lead to refund claims against the state-run decommissioning and waste disposal funds. To improve comparability and interpretability, BKW therefore uses the indicators “funds from operations before utilisation of nuclear provisions” and “cash flow from operating activities before utilisation of nuclear provisions”. This cash flow, which is relevant for evaluating cash generation, amounted to CHF 662.2 million, 24 % higher than in the previous year. Reported cash flow from operating activities of CHF 529.5 million is also significantly higher than the previous year’s comparative value (+ 13 %). Current liquidity, including current financial assets, rose slightly to around CHF 1.0 billion as at 31 December 2020.

BKW invested around CHF 250 million in the 2020 financial year (previous year: CHF 575 million). The funds generated from operations therefore exceeded the investments by a factor of more than 2.5. The lower investment values are attributable to the big acquisitions in 2019. Due to the pandemic there were fewer acquisition activities in 2020. In the reporting year, growth investments in the Services business (acquisitions) and the construction of small hydroelectric power plants and district heating projects made up around 25 % of investment volume. Total maintenance/replacement investments at CHF 187 million were slightly higher than in the previous year. The majority of the maintenance/replacement investments at CHF 124 million were made in the distribution grid.

Continued strong equity and financing situation: financial and operational flexibility is assured

CHF millions

2019

2020

% change

Current assets

2,038.5

2,191.5

8 % 

Non-current assets

7,200.0

7,236.6

1 % 

Current liabilities

1,287.1

1,351.9

5 % 

Non-current liabilities

4,216.2

4,086.8

– 3 % 

Shareholders’ equity

3,735.2

3,989.4

7 % 

Balance sheet total

9,238.5

9,428.1

2 % 

Due to the very good annual results the balance sheet total increased in relation to the previous year by 2 % to CHF 9.4 billion and equity increased by 7 % to CHF 4 billion. The equity ratio has climbed to 42.3 % (previous year: 40.4 %). The reason for the reduction in the non-current liabilities is the decommissioning of the Mühleberg Nuclear Power Plant which began in January 2020 and is progressing as scheduled. In the reporting year, works amounting to CHF 132.7 million were performed and existing provisions were used accordingly. CHF 86.5 million have already been reimbursed from the decommissioning and waste disposal funds.

BKW’s financing situation remains solid. Net debt (financial liabilities less current financial assets and cash and cash equivalents) was lower by CHF 123.5 million at year-end, at a level of CHF 502.1 million. The reason for the improvement in this figure is the strong cash generation from operating activities. Net debt in relation to EBITDA therefore fell further and was 0.7 (previous year: 0.9). In addition, BKW continues to have access to an unused syndicated loan totalling CHF 250 million. The financial framework necessary for implementing and safeguarding financial and operational flexibility is sufficient and thus ensured at all times.

Dividend increase to CHF 2.40 per share

Based on the net profit adjusted by the one-off compensation arising from the ElCom ruling and the performance of the decommissioning and waste disposal funds, a dividend increase to CHF 2.40 per share, or + 9 % compared with the previous year, will be proposed to the General Meeting. This is equivalent to a payout ratio in the target range of 40-50 % on adjusted net profit and constitutes the second increase within two years. Along with the rise in the share price, strong total shareholder return of 42 % were achieved in the 2020 financial year. The dividend proposed by the Board of Directors is based on the stable principles of BKW’s dividend policy.

CHF

2019

2020

% change

Dividend

2.20

2.40

9 % 

Total shareholder return

7 % 

42 % 

Outlook 2021

For the 2021 financial year, BKW expects an operating EBIT in the range of CHF 420 to 440 million. Thereby the profit forecast is at the previous year’s level. This outlook is based on rising electricity prices and further profitable growth in the Services business along with a normalisation of the trading result. The drop in production volumes due to the announced major overhaul of the Leibstadt Nuclear Power Plant have also been taken into account. However, uncertainties regarding further economic growth due to coronavirus persist and could have a significant impact on future forecasts. Nevertheless, BKW’s robust position will continue to be advantageous in 2021.

Energy: Excellent trading business again, decommissioning of the Mühleberg Nuclear Power Plant leads to drop in sales

The Energy business area is consistently focused on the opportunities and challenges of a changing energy market. It is responsible for the production, sales and trading of electricity, certificates and energy-related commodities.

In the reporting year, BKW entered the gas market and will now supply its customers with both electricity and gas. The objective is not to replace other energy sources with additional gas consumption, but to present attractive supply offers to existing gas consumers. The BKW offer is mainly oriented to industrial operations, SMEs, property management companies and gas supply companies. With bundled services, BKW can support its end customers into the future of sustainable energy in an optimal way. It is offering special package solutions for gas and electricity procurement to gas distributors.

Previous year’s strong result almost equalled

CHF millions

2019

2020

% change

Total operating income

1,315.4

1,175.1

– 11 % 

Energy procurement

– 704.4

– 695.3

Operating costs

– 281.2

– 204.2

EBITDA

329.8

275.6

– 16 % 

Depreciation, amortisation and impairment

– 126.8

– 74.0

Income from associates

24.2

16.2

EBIT

227.2

217.8

– 4 % 

Employees

850

800

Investments

51

42

Revenue affected by the decommissioning of the Mühleberg Nuclear Power Plant and the coronavirus situation

Revenue in the Energy business in the 2020 financial year was particularly affected by the end of production at the Mühleberg Nuclear Power Plant and by a decrease in electricity sales caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The higher hedged electricity prices could not compensate for these effects. At CHF 1,175.1 million, total operating income was 11 % lower than in the previous year. Electricity sales fell amongst business customers due to the coronavirus crisis, particularly in the first half year. In contrast, revenue from the regulated distribution business remained stable. The negative effects of warmer weather on household consumption were offset by somewhat higher usage caused by people working from home.

The management and trading result once again closed above average and confirms BKW’s robust trading position. In the 2020 reporting year both the wholesale market and the end customer market were affected by the uncertainties of the coronavirus pandemic. These were in addition to the continued effects of the further expansion of renewable energies, the partial phasing out of nuclear energy and coal-fired power generation and the potential impacts of the European Clean Energy Package. Specifically in spring this led to a steep fall in demand, which also pulled the spot electricity price downwards along with the clean dark spreads and the clean spark spreads in a trend that continued beyond the early summer period. The political confrontation between the USA and China, coordination difficulties among the OPEC+ countries and the existing oversupply of gas coupled with low temperatures at the start of winter in Asia also contributed to the accentuated price fluctuations in the fuels utilised to generate electricity. In this uncertain, volatile market environment, BKW’s trading business has once again successfully delivered a strong result.

Lower energy procurement and operating costs

Energy procurement costs decreased only slightly by 1 % to CHF 695.3 million. The significantly lower performance of the state decommissioning and waste disposal funds at the Leibstadt Nuclear Power Plant when compared to the previous year led to an increase in procurement costs from this power plant, preventing any higher reduction of energy procurement overheads.

In the last year BKW produced a total of 9 TWh of energy, which corresponds to a decrease of 3.4 TWh or 27 % in relation to 2019. The reason for the decrease is the decommissioning of the Mühleberg Nuclear Power Plant. The dismantling work at the Mühleberg Nuclear Power Plant has been ongoing since early 2020 and is mainly being carried out by BKW’s employees. Several milestones have already been reached as planned and despite the coronavirus pandemic the project is on budget and on schedule. The 2020 annual financial statements from the Energy business, when compared to the previous year, are significantly impacted by the decommissioning of the Mühleberg Nuclear Power Plant. On the one hand revenue from the sale of around 3 TWh of electricity was lost, and on the other hand there were no more operating costs which are now offset against the existing provisions. In 2020, works amounting to around CHF 133 million had been carried out and charged in full to the corresponding provisions. After the decommissioning of the Mühleberg Nuclear Power Plant, in 2020 BKW still generated revenue of around 3 % of total revenue of the BKW Group due to its electricity procurement of 2.2 TWh from the Leibstadt and Cattenom Nuclear Power Plants.

The thermal power plants produced 1.2 TWh in 2020 and were used to a lower extent to the previous year (1.5 TWh) due to the price situation. In contrast, the favourable wind conditions and the commissioning of two wind farms in Norway (Fosen) led to a rise in production volumes from new renewable energy to 1.8 TWh (+ 12 %).

With 3.8 TWh, hydroelectric power plants generated a production volume at the previous year’s level. In the reporting year, construction continued on several small hydroelectric power plants with construction on the Augand (Kandertal) Power Plant starting in April and in August on the Sousbach (Lauterbrunnental) Power Plant. The most progress has been made in the construction of the Wiler-Kippel (Lötschental) Power Plant which is scheduled to commence operations in autumn 2021. Ongoing small power plant projects have an installed capacity of around 24 MW (BKW proportion around 15 MW), an expected annual energy production of around 80 GWh (BKW proportion around 50 GWh) and a planned total investment amount of CHF 132 million (BKW proportion around CHF 83 million).

Energy business with higher profitability

At CHF 217.8 million, operating profit was just 4 % lower than the previous year’s strong figure. The positive effects from electricity prices hedged at a higher level than in the previous year were offset in EBIT by the higher procurement costs of the Leibstadt Nuclear Power Plant (STENFO performance).

Grid: Stable earnings contributions and investments in renewables

The Grid business builds, operates and maintains BKW’s distribution grid. The grid not only transports the electricity from the power plant to consumers, but also measures production and consumption, transforms the voltage, monitors, analyses and controls the grid loads and flows, and integrates distributed production plants such as PV and wind farms.

Stable result and positive one-off effect

CHF millions

2019

2020 (comparable)

Adjustments 1

2020

% change

Sales

527.3

528.1

38.7

566.8

7 % 

Energy transport expense

– 91.7

– 95.0

– 95.0

Operating costs

– 186.7

– 192.2

– 192.2

EBITDA

248.9

240.9

38.7

279.6

12 % 

Depreciation, amortisation and impairment

– 86.7

– 89.7

– 89.7

Income from associates

11.5

22.8

22.8

EBIT

173.7

174.0

38.7

212.7

22 % 

Employees

600

610

Investments

121

124

1 The adjustment relates to the one-off compensation payable to BKW by Swissgrid for its expropriation of the transmission grid in 2013, on the basis of an ElCom decision.

Comparable revenue in the Grid business overall is around the previous year’s value. However, earnings from distribution grid usage fees did fall by 1 %. The decrease is due to slight tariff adjustments and to coronavirus, as well as temperature-related lower distribution volumes in the first half year. The decline in demand occurred primarily at the higher grid levels due to the commercial and industrial lockdown in March and April. Although the general requirement for working from home led to increased consumption at the lowest grid level, this could not compensate for the negative impact in the first six months. Around the middle of the year the coronavirus situation improved again. Volumes of distributed power largely returned to normal in the second half, and were even higher than the previous year in the cold fourth quarter as heating demand increased. Considering the year as a whole, there was only a small reduction in total consumption.

The one-off compensation awarded of CHF 38.7 million from Swissgrid in connection with the concluding ElCom rulings relating to transmission grid assets transferred to Swissgrid on 1 January 2013 had a positive impact on revenue. Most of this payment had not yet been translated into cash in 2020. The corresponding cash flows are expected in 2021 and 2022.

Operating costs were higher chiefly due to the increased costs of maintaining voltage in the distribution grid. Balancing the grid is becoming increasingly challenging due to the rising proportion of variable energy production (photovoltaic and wind). Swissgrid is now charging proportions of these increased costs for voltage maintenance to the distribution system operators.

The income from associates rose to CHF 11.3 million, once again meeting expectations. In 2019 Swissgrid recorded a one-off correction to its annual financial statements due to a concluded ElCom legal process. This had a correspondingly negative impact on the proportionate result for BKW in the previous year.

At CHF 174 million, operating profit remained the same as in the previous year and therefore at an expected stable level. This result means that BKW’s Grid business helped to stabilise the Group’s results during the 2020 reporting year, despite ongoing uncertainty. The company maintained the operational safety of the distribution grid at all times throughout the entire year and in particular, also during the coronavirus lockdown period.

High investments in continuous renewal

Every year BKW invests significantly more than CHF 100 million to ensure the secure, efficient and high-performance operation of its distribution grid. The current investment activities are focused on grid infrastructure in the Bernese Oberland and Seeland. A range of substations and lines are being replaced. Work on the substations is being planned using new 3D Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology. This enables buildings and infrastructures to be planned and designed with the utmost efficiency.

Services: strong growth despite the adverse coronavirus situation

The Services area mainly comprises BKW Engineering (engineering design and consultancy), BKW Building Solutions (building technology) and BKW Infra Services (services for energy, water and telecommunication networks). The strong network of specialised companies with their different fields of expertise ensures that BKW is a relevant supplier of comprehensive services in the buildings and infrastructure sector.

Resilience in the limiting coronavirus environment

CHF millions

2019

2020

% change

Sales

1,106.8

1,465.5

32 % 

Operating costs

– 987.0

– 1,321.4

EBITDA

119.8

144.1

20 % 

Depreciation, amortisation and impairment

– 47.6

– 59.8

EBIT

72.2

84.3

17 % 

Employees

7,920

8,500

Investments

371

63

Despite the coronavirus crisis, which especially in the first half placed intense demands on the Services business, revenue grew by a significant 32 % to CHF 1,465.5 million. The growth is mainly based on the acquisitions made in the second half of 2019. The new acquisitions at that time, namely ingenhoven architects (BKW Engineering), swisspro Group (BKW Building Solutions) and LTB Leitungsbau GmbH (BKW Infra Services) contributed significantly to this growth. But even with disruption to some business areas between March and May, the drop in revenue in this period was contained. The solid and diversified positioning of BKW’s Services business proved its worth again during the coronavirus crisis, enabling the business to deliver stable results. The situation improved again in the middle of the year and in the second half the Services business performed significantly better than in the previous year.

In addition to the broad diversification, comprehensive expertise and range of customer segments, the rapid and focused response with the measures taken by the Group Executive Board also helped to minimise the cost implications of Covid-19. Due to the lower profitability due to the coronavirus, in particular regarding work on building sites, a slightly reduced EBIT margin had to be accepted. The margin in 2020 was 6 % and includes all development, acquisition and integration costs.

Development of the main competence areas

BKW Engineering

BKW Engineering covers engineering requirements in building construction, transportation and engineering construction, water and environment as well as energy in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Expert assessments and inspections for major construction and infrastructure projects along with special services such as risk and safety analyses also form part of their remit. In Germany BKW’s engineering network is a market leader. BKW Engineering only operates in general planning and inspection. Since it is not involved in project implementation, the business risk can be kept correspondingly low.

In 2020 BKW secured various important and prestigious projects. Examples of this are the new Tesla factory near Berlin and the VW factories in Poland and Russia. With the flagship “Kö-Bogen” sustainability project in Düsseldorf (cover picture), ingenhoven architects, part of BKW Engineering, have further reinforced their world-renowned supergreen® label.

In January 2021 BKW further expanded its engineering network by acquiring R&P Ruffert GmbH. With about 130 employees, the company provides engineering and expert assessment services at several sites in Western and Eastern Germany, whereby its main focus is on structural engineering and planning. It achieves annual revenue in the low double-digit million range. Through this acquisition BKW Engineering is expanding the expertise within its network and strengthening its competitive position against multidisciplinary market leaders.

BKW Infra Services

BKW Infra Services provides comprehensive services in the energy, telecoms, transport and water sectors across Switzerland. It is thus a leader in constructing key infrastructure and has growth potential. Since last year BKW has also been providing grid infrastructure services in Germany. Acquired in the fourth quarter of 2019, LTB Leitungsbau GmbH (LTB) is a market leader in the construction and maintenance of energy infrastructure in Germany, an important growth market. The main market driver is the intensive expansion of renewable energies and the associated need to transport electricity from the power-generating regions in the north to industrial and population centres located further south. The high demand for upgrades and maintenance of existing grid infrastructure is also driving growth. In 2020 LTB again secured several major contracts (EUR 25 – 50 million) as part of the expansion of the German high-voltage grid. The requirement for additional grid capacities remains high and BKW Infra Services is well placed for this thanks to its large network of expertise.

BKW Building Solutions

As a network of regionally well-established companies, BKW Building Solutions offers a comprehensive portfolio of expertise in the buildings technology market from a single source. The services include planning, installation and maintenance for private houses, commercial and industrial properties, new buildings and renovations in Switzerland. In the 2020 financial year, BKW further extended its building technology presence in the installation sector and with Elektro Nikolai GmbH it has added to its offering in the electrical installation business in Valais. In air conditioning and ventilation technology it expanded its network with the addition of Gloor Planzer AG, a specialist in climate control, cooling and ventilation installations for complex buildings. Its competences are a targeted addition to the BKW network.

BKW Building Solutions is also a leading supplier of integrated solutions for electrical engineering, building ICT and automation. In the 2020 financial year, Sigren Engineering AG, a specialist in automation solutions, became part of BKW signifying another important step forward in the growth areas of smart buildings and smart infrastructure.

swisspro Group acquired in 2019 (about 1,100 employees) performed very positively and contributed considerably to the revenue growth.

Sustainable solutions for a future worth living

Issues such as climate change, urbanisation, habitat loss and globalised business relationships are challenging us as a society. These matters demand far-sighted solutions. As an international and future-oriented energy and infrastructure service provider, BKW believes that these challenges also present opportunities. The development of forward-looking and sustainable solutions for a future worth living is a key element of its strategy.

Energy, infrastructure and the environment have always been core issues for BKW. Therefore, BKW is investing in a renewable, smart energy supply and in innovative storage and control solutions. It is developing design concepts for resilient urban spaces and infrastructure. As a provider of comprehensive building technology solutions, it is installing smart and resource-saving solutions in buildings. It is thereby making a significant contribution to lowering CO2 emissions as well as reducing or even eliminating the dependency on fossil fuels altogether.

UN 2030 Agenda for sustainable development

BKW thinks holistically and is aware of its responsibility regarding sustainable development. This is why it is committed to the principles of the UN Global Compact and to the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda. Having considered its wide-ranging business activities, BKW has identified ten of these 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in which it can achieve the greatest impact. They form the basis of its sustainability work and are the foundation of its Green Bond Framework. Within this framework in 2019, BKW was the first Swiss listed industrial company to successfully launch a green bond.

graphic

BKW’s contribution to the SDGs

For the 2021 financial year BKW is focusing on making measurable progress on five SDGs that are currently of most concern to the company and society. The prolonged pandemic has brought the issue of health to the forefront and highlights contributions to SDG 3. Following the launch of its first Green Bond in 2019, BKW has set an expansion goal for renewable energies (SDG 7). Another relevant issue is climate change and the measures to combat it, which despite all the current developments, has lost none of its importance (SDG 13). Furthermore, by joining the UN Global Compact, BKW is committed to strengthening dignified working conditions and fair conduct throughout all its business activities (SDGs 8 and 16). By selecting these issues BKW is also complying with the requirements of the Swiss Federal Council’s counter-proposal to the responsible business initiative and is in a position to fulfil these shortly. In the current year BKW will define indicators, objectives and measures for the five selected SDGs and will present its progress and experiences in the Annual Report 2021 as part of its Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Report.

SDG 3 – Good health and well-being

BKW operates in demanding areas of activity which involve handling electricity, hazardous substances and heights on a daily basis. Therefore, the health and safety of its employees are of prime importance. The relevant officers at the individual companies are responsible for implementing occupational health and safety measures. Exchanges of information between the different companies take place regularly. The objective is to achieve tangible approaches for continuous improvement in occupational health and safety at BKW.

The occupational safety measures have been augmented by a company health management system, which aims through its diverse offer to boost the health literacy of its employees and promote healthy working environments. BKW takes its social responsibilities seriously and supports ill or injured employees with operational case management and reintegration positions.

BKW rose to the specific challenges that arose during the pandemic by providing extra support to employees, including an external company social counselling service and a counselling service to support children and family members. The extension into online health offers also enabled employees to remain healthy and productive in their home offices. The further development to a trailblazing company health management system has therefore been initiated and will be invested in further over the next few years.

SDG 7 – Affordable and clean energy

The growing demand for electrical energy requires an expansion of renewable capacities. BKW wants to proactively shape this expansion and thereby drive forward the necessary transformation of the energy supply. The aim is that by 2023 75 % of the installed capacity of BKW’s production plants should be renewable. The progress report on this objective can be found in the Green Bond Reporting on page 115 of the Annual Report 2020.

BKW is also continuing to invest further in smart grids and innovative storage and control solutions. These form the basis of distributed renewable production and are fundamental for the transformation of its energy supply. With its comprehensive building technology solutions, it increases energy efficiency, reduces energy consumption and makes a major contribution to reducing or even removing dependence on fossil fuels in buildings.

SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth

The BKW Suppliers’ Code already exemplifies its commitment to responsible entrepreneurship and resource efficiency. With the Sustainable Supply Chain initiative introduced in 2020, BKW has further intensified its efforts in compliance with recognised ecological and social standards. For example, it subjected the BKW Group’s supply chain to a comprehensive analysis to identify sustainability opportunities and risks. Relevant suppliers were systematically reassessed by means of a professional sustainability rating (EcoVadis) and collaboration was further developed on this basis. Using newly defined figures BKW will transparently measure, proactively manage and report on the evolution towards a sustainable supply chain.

SDG 13 – Climate action

Climate protection is a key element in BKW’s strategy. As a supplier of comprehensive energy and infrastructure solutions it makes a significant contribution to reducing CO2 emissions. A further strategic focus for the company is energy and resource-efficient building planning where it is committed to the highest standards for ecological construction and modern urban spaces. One example of this is the supergreen® concept from ingenhoven architects, a BKW Engineering company that reflects this comprehensively understood sustainability approach in architecture. BKW also helps build up the resilience of habitats and infrastructure against the consequences of climate change. BKW will report on its relevant greenhouse gas emissions and derived reduction measures for the first time in the Annual Report 2021 as part of the ESG Report.

SDG 16 – Peace, justice and strong institutions

BKW supports fair and non-discriminatory business practices and treats others with esteem and respect. In early 2021 BKW joined the UN Global Compact. This reflects its ambition to act responsibly and in accordance with sustainability principles. This means it will also comply ahead of time with the requirements of the Swiss Federal Council’s counter-proposal on responsible business. Breaches such as corruption, human rights violations, data misuse or negligent treatment of the environment contradict the company’s principles and code of conduct. Should employees or suppliers notice infringements or learn about such, they can contact a confidential compliance whistleblowing system. In the 2021 financial year BKW will further refine its approaches for reviewing these important issues and will examine their effectiveness.

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