Challenge us for a sustainable world
Corporate Social Responsibility lies at the core of the ICT business model. With our Smarter solutions we aim to make the world a bit smarter, which is always explicitly or implicitly linked to sustainability. Sustainability is embedded in our Code of Conduct where we state: “Sustainability is a natural part of our organization. ICT wishes to work with integrity and transparency towards all its stakeholders, including shareholders, customers, local communities and its employees.”
Sustainability is not a fixed concept. It is dynamic and therefore we continuously challenge ourselves to improve every day. We challenge ourselves by benchmarking our sustainability program with (peer) research and global trends, and by actively engaging with our stakeholders. Our stakeholders, customers, employees, governments, NGO’s, suppliers, partners and investors, fuel our ambition and insights to further enhance our sustainability program. This means that sustainability is an ongoing process, not an end in itself.
Together with our stakeholders ICT defined four main sustainability areas as being material (meeting the GRI-4 standards) to our business.
1. Ecological; reduce our carbon footprint by, among others, making use of our sustainable innovations.
2. Social; create a working environment that increases the well-being of our employees as well as a solid platform for our contribution to the society.
3. Technology; we use our technological skills to create more sustainable innovations for our customers.
4. Economic; ICT generates sustainable profit.
In 2012 ICT started several Carbon reduction projects in terms of energy consumption, housing and mobility. By the end of 2015 all our offices are making use of green energy. All new offices have to meet nowadays emission standards, being label A at the minimum. This was the case with our new offices in Eindhoven and Groningen and will continue with the move from low labelled offices in Oosterhout and Gorinchem to a label A office in Oosterhout early 2017. Existing offices will be upgraded to meet those standards as much as possible.
Our biggest challenge is reducing our footprint in mobility. In order to achieve that ICT participated, as a test, in the Low Car Diet program of Urgenda to get acquainted with possibilities to reduce CO2 emissions and to strengthen the consciousness on this subject among our employees. During this two month test the CO2 emission was reduced with a promising 48%. This project learned us that the CO2 emission reduction should be achieved by less driven km’s per employee, maximizing the use of green km’s, like public transport, e-bikes, and by using lease cars with a lower CO2 emission. The CO2 emission reduction in 2016 is achieved by reducing the CO2 norm of new lease cars and by promoting electrical vehicles. It is our aim, that in 10 years from now we only drive zero-emission lease cars.
ICT launched an electric lease pilot program to promote the lease of zero-emission cars. As we are replacing every year approximately 20% of our fleet, we aim to replace every year 5% of our fleet with full electric vehicles. In addition, in 2017 we start a pilot with Smart Mobility for Employees. We urge employees to travel less and make use of modern communication technologies. And when travelling we promote the use of public transport, electrical vehicles, e-bikes and carpooling. Based on the announced programs it is our objective to reduce emission per employee by 2% year on year. This target has not yet been met in 2016.
While these programs are all aimed at reducing our own CO2 emission, we also work on projects to help our customers and/ or their customers to reduce emissions. We aim to participate in at least three projects a year that contribute to this. In 2016 we contributed to the following projects:
Community Flex BZO
A project on energy awareness in the SME-sector (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises). A community of SME’s in Groningen will locally balance electricity demand and supply, using the flexibility in production processes, heating, cooling and EV charging to match the (local) availability of sustainable energy. Goal of the project is to validate the business case for demand response in the SME-sector. ICT will deploy its Smart Energy Service Platform to create access to all devices and processes, to collect data that will form the basis for a control strategy, and to provide feedback to the community.
ICT energy community
In 2014 ICT started with an energy community with its own employees. This community is used as testbed for new customer propositions and services. Also data is collected through this community. All participants have an app to monitor their own energy generation and consumption. The ICT energy community serves as a blueprint for so-called ESCo services. In 2016 the ICT energy community was extended with peer-to-peer supply, which already has led to commercial spin-off. A second community will soon be opened for external relations.
The project “Energiekoplopers Heerhugowaard” is a smart energy neighbourhood of approximately 200 households in which energy use within the neighbourhood is optimised. The households have innovative equipment enabling flexibility in the energy supply and demand. The whole project is based on the Universal Smart Energy Framework (USEF). Heerhugowaard is therefore the first pilot applying the USEF reference implementation. The consortium consists of Alliander, Essent, IBM, ICT, NRG031 and the Municipality of Heerhugowaard.
ICT is responsible for the IT infrastructure. ICT’s SESP platform provides the basis for the IT solution, ensuring access to the smart meters and equipment in the homes, data collection and storage, and residents’ feedback through portals and apps.
ICT is about technology, but our people are the real value drivers of ICT. ICT therefore strives to create a healthy working environment where people feel safe and engaged and where they can develop themselves. One of the metrics to measure this is illness. ICT strives to have an illness percentage of 2% below the national average. In 2016 the average was 3%, while ICT reported an illness percentage of 2% (2015: 2%)
Employee satisfaction with regard to the working environment is also a focus point. The company has again conducted an employee survey in 2016 to measure employee satisfaction on a number of items. The objective for employee satisfaction related to the working environment is set on a score of 7.5 on a scale from 1(poor)-10 (excellent). With an overall score of 7.4 the score was marginally under par. However, substantial improvement was realized compared to the previous survey (with a score of 6.6 on employee satisfaction on working environment). Continuous efforts will be put in further optimizing the working environment. Sustainable employability is the third objective. Lifelong learning, a wider range of training, and stimulating our professionals to develop themselves resulted in an increase in training. In 2016 25% more trainings where followed by our employees. The use of the training platform of our company Improve Qualities BV also contributed to this. The fourth objective is diversity. ICT believes diversity is important for employees and the business. Diversity in age, gender and culture are important to get new insights and new network relations. Although the average age of our employees decreased, we have an all-time high in jubilees. In our industry, the participation of women is traditionally low, among other due to the low number of female graduates with a technical background. We do our utmost to improve this.
Innovation is one of the main drivers of ICT’s business model, and also the area in which ICT can make the highest sustainability impact. ICT made a commitment that each new solution should have a positive sustainability impact. ICT has a clear focus on three themes, in which sustainability is deeply embedded;
1) Smarter Cities – Technologies to enhance the quality and performance of urban services and at the same time reducing costs and resource consumption, thereby contributing to lower CO2 emissions.
2) Smarter Industries – Intelligent manufacturing technologies both embedded as well as process automation, supporting the digital transformation and the further robotisation of the industry, thereby enhancing efficiency and effectiveness.
3) Smarter Health – Software solutions to enhance exchange of data in the healthcare sector enabling synoptic reporting and faster diagnosis. Next to contributing to people’s health in general, ICT’s smarter Health solutions contribute to lowering Healthcare costs and to optimizing the use of medical facilities.
In developing the Smarter Solutions, ICT believes that co-creation is an important contributor. Creative workshops are regularly organized to share knowledge with employees and with customers and partners.
ICT is part of a number of innovative sustainable energy initiatives, including the Universal Smart Energy Framework (USEF). USEF delivers the market model for the trading and commoditization of energy flexibility, and the architecture, tools and rules to make it work effectively. ICT is one of the founding partners of the USEF Foundation. Last year we have set-up the Aggregator Work stream to find out how the Aggregator – as market party that bundles and trades flexibility – should be encompassed in the energy market organization. Their results were published during the European Utility Week in Barcelona.
Our long-term success depends on our ability to innovate and respond to the changing demands from the market and the society. 1.5% of revenues is invested in R&D, in technology that has a sustainability impact. Next year we will start a “Dragons’ Den” program to stimulate our employees to think about innovation in relation to these projects and to review these investments on sustainability.
ICTs strategy is aimed at achieving added value, thereby safeguarding the continuity of the business. Healthy annual earnings growth per share, by organic turnover growth or growth through acquisitions. Achieving strong positions in the three main themes the company focuses on, Smarter Cities, Smarter Industries and Smarter Health, also contribute to this growth. Objectives are continually measured and, where necessary, adjusted.