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armasuisse 2020 Sustainability Report

As a competence centre for procurement, technology and real estate, armasuisse needs to take into account the ecological, economic and social sustainability dimensions in its activities. The 2020 Sustainability Report shows the environmentally related developments in its own company as well as in the areas of procurement and decommissioning. In addition, the first measures relating to the Swiss Confederation’s envisaged climate package have already been included in the report. armasuisse Real Estate’s Annual Report, which will appear separately, illuminates the sustainable development of the DDPS’s more than 7000 properties in 2020.

Nadine Schröder, specialist area Communications, Resources and Support; Philip Spengler, specialist area Enterprise Development and Controlling, Resources and Support

--50% used paper, -4% fuel consumption in the armasuisse service fleet of cars, +13% suppliers in the area of textiles with certificate


armasuisse takes its environmental responsibility seriously, in keeping with the DDPS’s slogan «a modern, efficient department is also an ecologically responsible department». The climate package to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions announced in 2019 and the associated measures have already had a positive impact on armasuisse’s 2020 Sustainability Report. For armasuisse, the project means that it must reduce its CO2 emissions by 40% in comparison with 2001 by 2030. armasuisse is certified according to the standards ISO 9001 (Quality Management), ISO 14001 (Environment Management) as well as recently with regard to the standard ISO 27001 (Information Security Management).

It is hardly surprising that the COVID-19 pandemic strongly influences the 2020 Sustainability Report. One prominent example is the massive decline in air travel. armasuisse employees flew 3,395,093 kilometres less in 2020. This corresponds to a decline of 84% compared with the previous year. This decline can be attributed in particular to the closed borders, but also to the instruction «Train not plane», which was issued as part of the climate package. Likewise, a reduction of 4% in the fuel consumption of armasuisse’s car service fleet and a reduction of around 50% in the quantity of waste paper in comparison with previous years was recorded.

The service vehicles which armasuisse procured for the Federal Office for Customs and Border Security (FOCBS) represent a small flaw as regards energy efficiency. Due to operational requirements for the vehicles, such as all-wheel drive, heavy payload and autonomy in operation, the CO2 emissions of the cars and lorries purchased up to 3.5 tons total weight increased by 20%. However, if these figures are considered across the board, it can be seen that with this procurement, older and more inefficient models are being replaced, and thus the environmental balance of the fleet actually in use is altogether improved. The new models and the clear specifications have resulted in the fact that the Federal Administration can now only procure vehicles with alternative power for vehicles up to 3.5 tones. A decline in CO2 emissions can thus be expected with the cars to be procured in the future.

Sustainability in disposal

Not only procurement, but also decommissioning and further use of a once procured commodity must be performed according to legal specifications. The purchasers already need to think of subsequent disposal at the procurement stage, by assessing the environmental relevance of disposal in an environmental checklist and recording the logistical master data and environmentally relevant data for the disposal process. The disposal of ammunition serves as an example here: Altogether, armasuisse disposed of 1,100 tons of ammunition and ammunition remnants last year. Of this, 970 tons of metal and explosives were recycled – in other words, supplied to the raw materials market. A further 130 tons of gunpowder, cardboard and refuse were burned in order to supply the site with district heating through the energy gained. Around one quarter of the costs generated through the disposal work could be covered by the sale of raw materials such as various metals and explosive generate. In addition, armasuisse regularly and systematically clears ammunition remnants from shooting ranges, thus also making a value contribution to environmental protection and personal security.

A glimpse into the future

Both the implementation of the climate package as well as the other environmental and sustainability measures which armasuisse sets itself annually improve ecological, economic and social sustainability on a continuous basis. The digital shift and the associated technical development also lead to the fact that more and more efficient systems are being introduced to the market. We can assume that the trend of virtual meetings will remain and that trips as well as, in particular, air travel will continue to be restricted to a minimum. The digitalisation strategy currently being developed will generate further measures from 2021, so that armasuisse will be able to act in an even more environmentally friendly manner. Last but not least, the revised Procurement Act, which came into effect in 2021, is contributing to further progress in the social and ecological areas. It provides the purchasers with more options for more sustainable procurement, by allowing them to give greater consideration, for example, to the labour and environmental conditions, in addition to the price, in the awarding of services and contracts.

armasuisse 2020 Sustainability Report