Our actions are based on set values and clear rules. We are convinced that environmental laws and economic laws go hand in hand: they are two sides of the same coin. This belief feeds into our vision and gives rise to the goals we want to reach. We also make sure nothing is lost in the process of reaching these goals. Waste is something we do not want, particularly in the midst of the bureaucratic pressure that comes in the wake of ever-increasing compliance requirements. We act carefully, precisely, truthfully and attentively, and create value. We accept responsibility towards our customers, partners, employees and the environment, and create value.
It’s a first: you are reading the Model Group’s inaugural Sustainability Report. And if it bothers you, your immune system will suffer and you will live less sustainably than someone who’s happy to read it. Joy is what endures – and it does a better job of it than many currencies. I’m writing this in a country where the central bank constantly creates new money from nothing. Work has not yet been performed in exchange for this money, and savers are expropriated through manipulated financial rewards – in this case, negative interest rates. A currency cannot survive if it is pulled apart in the tension between the state’s Monopoly money and global currency markets, with its citizens wondering why they need to work for money when it can be obtained at the touch of a button. This country is surrounded by countries that are part of a politically motivated currency experiment that is divorced from reality. It takes just a few years for an indebted country to become a global export champion because the currency is weaker than its own. Plus, other countries from the south have to be ‘rescued’ with hefty transfer payments because the currency is stronger than it should be. At the same time, the money is too cheap, leading to debt. The European Central Bank is threatening additional ‘rescue measures whatever the cost’. Now, almost all central banks are shielding their respective domains with a version of the planned economy. This lowers the threshold to deny citizens the freedom of trade and commerce when a pandemic breaks out, and in turn the public sector’s over-indebtedness spreads to the private sector. There is fear that the confusion between money and capital will continue until the capital is completely eaten up by a pension-consuming society when the financial floodgates are fully open. Societies that are damaged to this extent, or in other words parasitic societies incapable of learning, will see a desire for sustainability take root – and that is reason for hope!
I work for a company that has been operating for 138 years, and this gives me a greater sense of commitment to sustainability than the (too loud) calls to issue a report. In short, I confess that I doubt the sustainability of an insistence on a sustainability report. Isn’t this precisely an issue we should set aside so we can focus on action, instead? Indeed, truth will out at some stage.
However, this presupposes a fundamental sense of trust, and in the present climate this trust has been banished by fear. Simply speaking out in favour of silence is viewed with suspicion. The strange times in which we find ourselves are turning the saying ‘speech is silver, silence is golden’ on its head. With the increasing pressure to conjure up reports of any kind, are people really trying to say that silver is worth more than gold? I am delighted that the price signals from the global interplay of supply and demand shore up this ageless saying, and not the zeitgeist!
This clamour for speech could also be fuelled by the fact that our mouths are constantly in a state of shock at being outnumbered by our two ears. They are more than happy to be lured towards a sense of equality, with the consequence that both sides suffer. Our mouths need to say more than they are predisposed to, so sounds emerge that are hollow, lacking in reflection, faltering or sheathed in lies. Our ears then need to hear more than they can stand, and they start to switch off. A striking number of people look forward to the weekend, to working from home and to holidays, so they can ‘switch off’.
And here’s my last confession: I can write what I want here. I have yielded to the pressure to create a Sustainability Report primarily because I can be brief about it. We never stop turning old, used and discarded items into new, attractive and important ones, which exemplifies the process of sustainable value creation. It helps us appreciate our customers, employees and fellow humans; in fact, life, the world and creation overall. We believe that the economy and ecology belong to the same family.
Weinfelden, April 2020
We develop, manufacture and supply high quality display and packaging solutions made of cardboard and corrugated card.
As a family-run company, we have been dealing with the challenges of the present and the future for several generations. Since we want our sustainable fundamentals to stay that way, ongoing changes, improvements and adjustments to the most effective points are necessary; in terms of individual integrity, the paper cycle, product quality, resource efficiency, supply chain, occupational safety and our employees.
We do not act sustainably in order to receive certificates, even though we have them. We do not act sustainably in order to comply with the law, even though we do. We act sustainably because it’s in our nature to do so. The same is true of our deep-seated desire for constant improvement: we go beyond what the law stipulates or what’s necessary to meet requirements. We write our own laws.
Our Code of Conduct acts as a guideline for responsible corporate behaviour relating to social, environmental and economic matters. It is based on the UNGC’s (United Nations Global Compact) 10 principles. The UNGC is a global alliance between international companies and the UN, and aims to shape globalisation at a social and ecological level.
We use the SEDEX (Supplier Ethical Data Exchange) online platform to provide up-to-date information on the status of our processes related to sustainability – and our customers can also access it. We have been audited under the SMETA (Sedex Members’ Ethical Trade Audit) procedure, which looks at issues such as environmental management, working conditions, occupational safety and hygiene.
We produce our products within a closed paper cycle. This was the principle our company was founded on in 1882, and even back then people realised that collection and recycling of used paper offered benefits of both a financial and environmental nature. Since then, we have never stopped trying to optimise this cycle.
Nowadays, 85% of our packaging is made of recycled material. If our customers request virgin fibre, we source it from Scandinavia, Russia or the US. We can produce our products from 100%FSC-certified fibre (Forest Stewardship Council) at all our factories.
Every action we undertake has an effect. If we want to understand these effects, we must identify and understand complex connections, some of which are not all that obvious.
We can rely on our customers to provide inspiration in this regard. They motivate us and challenge us, day in, day out, thanks to their high expectations of our products and services.
Our employees also drive forward our ability to come up with innovations. They have the freedom to put their skills into practice independently. This freedom allows them to unleash their potential so they can discover opportunities, take the initiative and make bold decisions.
…being a sustainable partner. Our Model Lean System helps us create leaner and more agile and stable processes.
Our processes are quick and efficient, and continuously optimised. We aim to achieve the highest security, quality, supply reliability and added value for our customers.
With every change we make, we strive to achieve resource-friendly growth, while also minimising any undesirable effects on the environment, society and our colleagues.
This Sustainability Report covers 2017 to 2020. It is our first in-depth report on the theme of sustainability.
This Sustainability Report encompasses all the activities and key figures of every company within the Model Group. Our reporting focuses on the steps taken by the Swiss organisation Model AG, as the Model Group’s paper mills are located in Switzerland, and they have the biggest environmental impact of our activities.
This report has been drafted in compliance with the GRI standards, ‘Core’ version. The Sustainability Report itself has not been reviewed by an external expert.
This report complies with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards and aligns the key aspects of the GRI with the four pillars of the Model Group’s sustainability strategy.