Sustainability is central to Zurich Airport Group's corporate strategy. Accordingly, the company focuses on the long-term horizons of its business activities and takes its governance, environmental and social responsibilities very seriously.
Flughafen Zürich AG has defined value creation and sustainability as the overarching goals of its corporate strategy. It believes that corporate value can only be increased over the long term by adopting sustainable business practices. In this report, which has been drawn up in accordance with widely used guidelines for sustainability reporting – the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards – the company has recorded its various impacts on the environment and society. It sets out both the positive and negative impacts of the group's business activities at its various sites and what action Flughafen Zürich AG is taking to mitigate adverse impacts and enhance positive effects along its value chain.
Guidelines and implementation in the company
The Zurich Airport Group has been committed to human rights and socially and environmentally responsible management from the very outset. The Board of Directors therefore resolved to sign up to the UN Global Compact (UNGC) in 2021. In the year under review, the ten principles of the UNGC relating to human rights, labour standards, the environment and preventing corruption were consequently integrated into the revised (Code of Conduct). The Code of Conduct applies to all Flughafen Zürich AG consolidated companies. Available in English, German, Portuguese and Spanish, it constitutes the core document to ensure staff act responsibly in accordance with the law. It forms part of the contract of employment for all employees of the consolidated companies, and infringements may have disciplinary consequences. Where subsidiaries adopt their own codes of conduct, at a minimum these must also comply with the requirements of group's Code of Conduct.
The Code of Conduct is based on the precautionary principle and stipulates minimum requirements with respect to behaviour and reporting, including non-financial matters as described in the present report. It references human rights as set out in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A particular focus is the prevention of child labour. In order to perform due diligence in this regard, Flughafen Zürich AG is developing a suitable system of management, which is likewise described in the Code of Conduct and covers all the majority-owned companies.
In addition, the company also has numerous other guidelines on specific topics. In Zurich for instance, there are guidelines on sustainability, environmental protection in general, on climate protection, and on employees, as well as on safety and occupational safety. See the respective individual sections on each topic for further information.
The Board of Directors of Flughafen Zürich AG exercises ultimate oversight of responsible business conduct as well as compliance with the UNGC's ten principles and the Code of Conduct. The Management Board and the various heads of divisions are then responsible for implementation. They all bear equal responsibility for ensuring that the principles and guidelines of the company are followed in their respective divisions. The head of the Finance & Services division, along with the directly subordinate departments “Sustainability & Environmental”, “Legal, Risk & Compliance”, and “Financial Services”, are responsible for coordinating and developing sustainability-related matters. Together with the head of division, representatives from these departments steer the implementation of sustainability policies in close coordination with the relevant departments in the line organisation.
Sustainability strategy: newly formulated ambitions and goals
After initially identifying all its environmental and social impacts during the previous year, the focus for the reporting year was on firming up the company's strategy as regards material topics. A group-wide ambition was formulated for each of these topics (regional contribution, noise, climate, occupational and aviation safety, and business ethics). These ambitions set out the company's fundamental aspirations and objectives for each topic. The second step was to formulate one or more goals for the company's Zurich site. These are set out in the respective sections of this report. These ambitions and goals were approved by the Board of Directors in July 2022 and declared binding. The goal formulation process for the other majority-owned subsidiaries is still underway and is scheduled to be completed in 2023.
An overview of the topics and ambitions is shown in the graphic below. The circular diagram is intended to underscore the fact that responsible management can only be mapped by addressing all five topics as complementary. Corporate governance is likewise fundamental to the sustainability-oriented management of the company and represented accordingly in the diagram.
Sustainability ambitions of Zurich Airport Group
The corporate governance guidelines of the group were also reviewed and revised during the reporting year and approved by the Board of Directors. Further information on these may be found in the Corporate governance section.