How V-ZUG makes sustainability a reality

For Marcel Neiderberger, Global Head of Sustainability at V-ZUG, there are two words that come to mind when discussing sustainability. The first? Respect. The second? Humility. This self-effacing attitude might appear unusual in the business world, but Marcel puts this all in perspective when he adds: “We are part of nature, and we should act like that.”

The Swiss maker of high-quality household appliances sets itself apart with its values-led agenda. For Marcel, noteworthy among these is: “Aspiring towards perfection. This is a great philosophy that I really share.”

V-ZUG strives for this across its extensive product range, which spans from the kitchen to the laundry room. It’s also no wonder, then, why its Excellence Line of kitchen appliances offers “Swiss perfection for your home”. Appealing, yes – but accurate too, because that’s just the V-ZUG way.

“I’m not interested in selling fantasy visions, patting ourselves on the back or presenting vast amounts of information, but in providing the financial markets and our customers with a solid basis on which they can make decisions,” explained CEO Peter Spirig in the company’s 2021 Annual Sustainability report.

“At V-ZUG, we don’t just talk about it. We also do it,” Marcel notes. He cites a triple bottom line approach evidenced through initiatives like a voluntary, internal ecological incentive tax on CO2. “This enables us to finance sustainable projects and initiatives” the company details.

Another example of a planet-first project is V-ZUG’s partnership in a reforestation project in Scotland, in collaboration with the Ripa Gar Foundation. Or its goal to replace its entire service fleet with electric vehicles by 2030.

“We do not just report what we have done. We’re now looking into the future and set ourselves targets and measure ourselves on that,” Marcel shares.

Part of looking to the future for V-ZUG also involves designing with circularity principles and integrating these into the R&D department. In 2021, V-ZUG created the first life cycle assessment for three of its production sites. “The whole topic of the circular economy is very important,” Marcel explains.

It can safely be said that V-ZUG’s sustainability approach is nothing short of ambitious. Marcel attributes this to the company’s interdisciplinary Sustainability Workforce, comprised of representatives from a range of different departments. “It’s not that I have to do everything by myself!” Marcel adds with a laugh. “It’s a team approach.”

Notably, this collegiality extends beyond the organisation itself. “To make progress on sustainability, it’s not something you can just achieve yourself. Partners are required in your supply chain, upstream and downstream,” Marcel elaborates. V-ZUG is in close collaboration with recycling companies to make the most of its end-of-life products, and Marcel embraces sharing best practices in sustainability with competitors.

“I always say I embrace collaboration,” Marcel says. “Get inspired by others.” As a business with such dedication to making a positive contribution to the planet, there’s a high likelihood that the result would be mutual.