2.4 Responsible business conduct towards the environment

Relevance of the topic to SZKB and goals

SZKB’s commitment to sustainability also includes its own operational ecology. SZKB requires a variety of resources in order to provide its services, which inevitably result in emissions and other environmental impacts. The following aspects are particularly relevant to SZKB:

  • Direct and indirect energy consumption during operation
  • Share of renewable energies in energy consumption
  • Consumption of the resources of paper and water
  • Share of office paper and toilet paper from recycled sources
  • Waste produced

These relevant aspects may adversely affect SZKB’s stakeholders through impacts such as increased CO2 emissions and potential environmental pollution.

SZKB has established the following goals for ethical business conduct in regard to the environment:

  • By 2027, SZKB will reduce its operational CO2 emissions by 15.8%, or 145.0 t (base year 2021), to 770.0 t..
  • Raising employee awareness of resource consumption (e.g. paper, heating, light and electricity).
  • By 2030, all bank buildings (solely) owned by SZKB will cease using oil or gas heating systems, provided that it is economically feasible and technically viable to do so.
  • By 2030, SZKB will have installed photovoltaic systems on all bank buildings (solely) owned by SZKB, provided that it is economically feasible and technically viable to do so.

Management approach

Even if the consumption of resources and the associated environmental impact at SZKB (as at all financial companies) are significantly lower than with undertakings such as industrial companies, operational sustainability management is still of great importance to SZKB. Responsibility for identifying, analysing and implementing measures was integrated into the line in 2023. Two organisational units are of central importance here: the Real Estate/Services department and the Contract/Partner Management department.

In 2023, SZKB calculated its carbon footprint for the financial year 2022 in accordance with ISO 14064-1 and the Greenhouse Gas Protocol for Scope 1, 2 and parts of Scope 3 in cooperation with the consulting firm Swiss Climate (see Appendix «Disclosure of the methodological basis, Chapter 1.6 Operational CO2 emissions»). An external auditing company conducted an audit of the carbon footprint and awarded the «Certified CO2 optimised by Swiss Climate» label. The certification guidelines for this «Silver Label» require not only an annual survey and audit of the company’s own carbon footprint but also the establishment of a target path and measures to reduce CO2 emissions.


In 2022, SZKB’s total emissions amounted to 916.9 tCO2, which are distributed across the consumption areas listed above.

Procurement is also an important issue for a service institution like SZKB. SZKB endeavours to keep the added value of the services it procures in the Canton of Schwyz or in Switzerland wherever feasible. This ensures that the local economy in the canton benefits from the procurement activity. The distances are short, resulting in lower CO2 emissions from transport and delivery to SZKB.

In its procurement activities, SZKB adheres to principles that include the following: product-specific requirements, consideration of local business partners, transparency and partnership-based cooperation, social responsibility (including respect for human rights), environmental responsibility and economic efficiency.

Key measures:

  • Heating
  • Materials (paper, water, waste)
  • Electricity
  • Refrigerants
  • Procurement
  • Promotional materials/campaigns


Emissions from heating systems (including water heating) at the headquarters and in the branches account for 116.7 tCO2, or 11.7% of the total.

Energy sources for the heating systems include district heating (42.6%), natural gas (21.6%), heating oil (14.9%), electric heat pumps (13.4%) and wood (7.5%). This means that 63.5% of the heating energy is generated primarily from renewable energy sources.

Materials (paper, water, waste)

In recent years, SZKB has continuously reduced its paper and toner consumption. By default, clients receive transaction notifications as well as account and custody account statements only as electronic documents. The figure below shows the downward trend in physical client output (with 2005 = 100% taken as a basis).

In 2022, greenhouse gas emissions for paper and printing accounted for 81.3 tCO2, a share of 8.2% of the total footprint, with the share of recycled paper making up 22.8%. In 2022, SZKB made the decision to systematically transition to using recycled products for its toilet paper and all office paper starting from 1 January 2023.

SZKB collects, separates and disposes of numerous consumable materials, including paper, cardboard, plastics/films, IT equipment, PET bottles, coffee capsules and household rubbish. Around 56.7% of this waste was recycled in 2022.

Across the entire Bank, 2.2 t of CO2 emissions were generated in the water category, accounting for 0.2% of total emissions.


At 13.3 tCO2, SZKB’s electricity consumption accounts for just 1.3% of CO2 emissions. The carbon footprint takes into account the power consumption of the actual Bank premises (headquarters and branches), an external computer centre and the 13 cashpoints located at third-party sites.

A total of 93.8% of the almost 2.2 GWh of electricity comes from renewable energy sources. Due to rental agreements, the exact composition of the remaining 6.2% is not conclusively known.

Outdated and inefficient light sources for indoor and outdoor lighting are gradually being replaced by LEDs and other energy-saving lamps.


In the 2022 carbon footprint, 25.5 tCO2e were attributed to refrigerant losses. The tightness of air conditioning systems is subject to annual fluctuations: Even with regular maintenance, a specific appliance could still develop a defect that results in loss of refrigerant. In 2022, there were leaks of this kind in two systems, resulting in a total of 16.0 kg of refrigerant escaping (2021: 0.0 kg). Since refrigerants are typically very harmful to the environment, one kilogram of refrigerant has the impact of 1.6 t of CO2e.


In the Bank’s sustainability management, the procurement of products and services plays a not insignificant role. SZKB awards contracts worth several million francs every year. It is important to SZKB that sustainability aspects are also included in the award criteria.

In 2022/2023, SZKB carried out an analysis and risk assessment to identify the procurement areas in which violations of ESG criteria could occur. Environmental, social and governance aspects were taken into account, with an assessment then made as to whether child labour might have occurred in the supply chain, as required under CO Art. 964k (1) (2). One of the outcomes of this analysis was the restructuring of the process for procuring client gifts (see the following section on «Promotional material/campaigns»).

Procurement areas with an elevated risk of violating social criteria include client gifts and promotional items, while areas with an increased risk of violating environmental criteria include vehicle procurement. SZKB sought to raise awareness among its responsible purchasers in regard to the elevated ESG risks.

In 2022 and 2023, SZKB did not receive any reports of environmental or social responsibility standards being violated in procurement, nor were there any cases of employees being involved in corruption.

In 2023, SZKB launched a new contract management application to systematically and regularly evaluate both new and existing contractual partnerships. This enables SZKB to conduct in-depth, system-led due diligence on key business partners, including the evaluation of ESG-related matters.

Promotional material/campaigns

In regular internal training sessions, employees entrusted with the procurement of promotional materials are trained on SZKB’s procurement principles. In periodic exchange inside and outside the organisation, expenditure on promotional and campaign material is critically scrutinised, and the related procurement is put to the test on a regular basis.

SZKB’s business activities include the production of various informational and promotional materials. These include printed materials such as flyers, brochures and booklets, as well as various promotional and advertising items and giveaways. There is a process for printed materials that clarifies in detail whether printed materials are necessary at all and whether they can be dispensed with. Starting from autumn 2022, all printed materials have been produced using only 100% recycled paper. SZKB pays contributions to suppliers for all print orders so that the suppliers can make climate protection contributions to offset the emissions generated during printing and transport. The printers with whom SZKB works are all located in Switzerland.

Place of production Number Volume in CHF Share in %
Canton of Schwyz 109 226,808 71.9%
Switzerland 17 88,053 27.9%
Outside Switzerland (purchase of images online) 2 719 0.2%
Total 129 315,580 100.0%


When it comes to promotional items and giveaways, SZKB sees value and quality as extremely important. Promotional gifts are sourced exclusively from suppliers in Switzerland, with most of them coming from the Canton of Schwyz. Care is taken to ensure that the promotional items and gifts are manufactured in Switzerland or Europe. SZKB requires its suppliers to ensure that fair conditions prevail during production and that resource-efficient materials are used. When manufacturing promotional items, SZKB seeks to work with institutions that offer employment opportunities to people with disabilities where possible. In this context, SZKB cooperates with the BSZ Foundation in various ways.

Place of purchase of promotional gifts and items  Number Volume in CHF Share in %
Canton of Schwyz 44 98,587 41.9%
Switzerland 41 136,899 58.1%
Outside Switzerland 0 0 0.0%
Total 85 235,486 100.0%


SZKB also prefers to work with local providers when it comes to advertising campaigns. The foreign share of the campaigns results exclusively from the advertising presence on digital channels. Otherwise, the money spent on SZKB’s advertising campaigns benefits Switzerland and the Canton of Schwyz.

Key figures on operational ecology

The key figures on operational ecology are listed below.


Key figures on operational ecology

 Einheit 2022 20211 Veränderung
in %
CO2 emissions (GRI 305) tCO2 996.1 916.9 8.6%
Total emissions     
 thereof Scope 1 – direct emissions  102.0 98.4 3.7%
 thereof Scope 2 – indirect emissions  15.9 16.5 –3.6%
 thereof Scope 3 – other indirect emissions  878.2 802.0 9.5%
Emissions per employee tCO2/FTE 1.89 1.76 7.4%
Energy consumption (GRI 302-1)     
Total energy consumption MWh 3,142 3,322 –5.4%
   thereof electricity2  2,238 2,181 2.6%
   thereof heating oil  135 146 –7.5%
   thereof natural gas  195 285 –31.6%
   thereof wood  68 72 –5.6%
   thereof electric heat pump  121 112 8.0%
   thereof district heating  385 526 –26.8%
Energy intensity (302-3)     
Consumption per energy reference area in m2 MWh 0.15 0.16 –6.3%
Energy consumption per employee MWh/FTE 6.0 6.4 –6.3%
Paper consumption (including printing and toilet paper) (GRI 301-1)     
Total paper consumption kg 77,602 61,326 26.5%
   thereof recycled paper  11,734 3,891 201.6%
 thereof climate-neutral printing  5,782 4,539 27.4%
Paper consumption per employee kg/FTE 148 118 25.7%
Water consumption (GRI 303-5)     
Total water consumption m3 5,076 6,314 –19.6%
Water consumption per employee m3/FTE 9.7 12.1 –19.8%
Waste (GRI 306-1)     
Total waste kg 17,743 17,029 4.2%
   thereof recycled  10,053 8,767 14.7%
 thereof not recycled  7,670 8,078 –5.1%
 thereof hazardous waste  20 184 –89.1%
Branches (own standard)     
Total branches incl. headquarters Number 22 22 0
In sole ownership  13 13 0
   of which heated with fossil fuels  5 7 –2
  of which with PV system  4 4 0


1 = reference year.
2 Of which 93.8% from renewable energy sources.

Assessment of effectiveness

Various measures to reduce operational CO2 emissions were successfully implemented in 2022/2023. Nevertheless, overall emissions could not be reduced compared to the previous year. SZKB therefore continues to see potential for improvement in the area of the environment.

SZKB’s operational CO2 emissions increased by 79.2 t from 916.9 t in 2021 to 996.1 t in 2022. This is primarily due to the rise in emissions as a result of the return to normal commuter behaviour after the pandemic and refrigerant losses.

On the other hand, there were major reductions in CO2 emissions in the categories of heating (–17.5%), IT equipment procurement (–42.2%) and water consumption (–19.6%).

No specific measures were implemented in 2023 with regard to the goal «Raising employee awareness of resource consumption (e.g. paper, heating, light and electricity)».

The Gersau and Tuggen branches replaced their fossil-fuelled heating systems with a heat pump and a woodchip heating system in 2023.

In 2023, an outside expert was hired to conduct a detailed analysis of the potential for photovoltaic (PV) energy generation on all Bank buildings (solely) owned by SZKB.

Further development and next steps

SZKB aims to achieve the defined goals for reducing its CO2 emissions by continuing to pursue its chosen approach and systematically taking advantage of its options for reducing these emissions. For this purpose, SZKB will prioritise the implementation of the following actions:

  • Fostering a sense of personal responsibility and raising awareness among employees of the necessity of further reducing material and energy consumption on an ongoing basis.
  • Ongoing conversion to more environmentally friendly heating systems at branch properties (solely) owned by the Bank.
  • Development and implementation of a master plan for the installation of PV systems on Bank-owned properties.