Stories – People & Planet
People & Planet – How Comet is solving for what’s next
Mission ongoing: supporting change for a sustainable future.
Comet must assume even more social responsibility than before and do its part for a more sustainable future. At the beginning of 2021, we therefore integrated the numerous individual initiatives existing in the Group into a global ESG program, and we are now working systematically to evolve further in this area.
“Sustainability is an essential attribute of the high-performing organization we strive to be.”
CEO of the Comet Group, Flamatt, Switzerland
“Sustainability is an essential attribute of the high-performing organization we strive to be,” says Kevin Crofton, CEO of the Comet Group. “Going forward, responsible practices in the environmental, social and corporate governance spheres will therefore also be entrenched in our organization globally through the use of measurable, demonstrable and attainable targets. To this end, Comet launched an official sustainability program at the beginning of 2021.
Many initiatives already underway
Comet is not new to the quest for sustainability, with many initiatives already in place across the Group. “Much of what we now do under the banner of “ESG”, we have actually been doing for years,” points out Ulrich Steiner, VP Investor Relations and head of the ESG program, “in the form of a multitude of initiatives in the divisions and at the individual Group sites.” To prepare for a structured and global approach to sustainability in the future, our first step in 2021 was to take stock of where the Group stands now. We report on this in our first integrated annual report.
Next, in 2022, we will look at which areas we can do more in and what additional topics we should tackle. As our consulting ESG expert Matthew Gardner aptly points out in the interview published in this report, no company is able to do everything at once. “That’s true for Comet, too,” says Crofton. “We need to focus where we can make the most difference and set clear goals in those areas, ensure that progress is made measurable, and improve incrementally.”
As the following examples show, many actions on ESG topics are already well underway at the Comet Group. On some, we have been working for many years.
“The use of renewable energy is front and center for us in the continuous improvement of our environmental performance.”
Environmental Management and
Data Privacy Officer, Hamburg, Germany
Making efficient use of renewable energy
The manufacturing of Comet’s products, and also their use by customers, requires, first of all, large amounts of electrical energy. The same applies to the day-to-day operation of the Group’s sites worldwide. Efforts to use energy more efficiently and employ renewable energy have therefore long been a high priority in the Comet Group. At the headquarters in Flamatt, Switzerland, for many years now we have been using only electricity from renewable sources (certified by Groupe E AG). “Saving energy is very important to us,” says Fritz Scheidegger, Director of Facility Management in Flamatt, “so we have also invested in various optimization measures for the building and the infrastructure in recent years.” We are also continually working to make our production processes more and more energy-efficient.
The pursuit of greater sustainability is already very well established at our X-Ray Systems (IXS) site in Hamburg. Every year, several new projects are started here that focus on reducing raw material consumption, waste, emissions, and especially on energy efficiency. Since the ISO 14001 certification in 2020, these initiatives are also firmly integrated in an annual environmental management plan. “The use of renewable energy is front and center for us in the continuous improvement of our environmental performance,” says Tina Walloschek, Environmental Management and Data Privacy Officer at IXS. “We have begun to lay the groundwork by using our own photovoltaic system.”
Promoting education and knowledge in the technology space
Comet aims to contribute to a more sustainable future with its technologies. Innovation in the technology sector requires a great deal of knowledge and highly trained people. The training of apprentices, interns and young specialists has a long tradition at Comet and is continuously being expanded; a current example of these efforts is a new training center for apprentices of the X-Ray Modules division in Flamatt. Continuing education is also encouraged.
Comet’s commitment is not limited to its employees, however; we also assume social responsibility beyond our ranks. In addition to various local projects, we supported UNICEF’s global education program with a worldwide campaign of our own at the end of 2021, as we did in 2020. “We believe that fair access to education is a cornerstone of a more equitable and cohesive society,” remarks Kevin Crofton, CEO, Comet Group, “and at the same time is the most important prerequisite for sustainable technological progress.”
A more recent engagement in this arena is Comet’s collaboration with universities. Thus, we invest in young researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich and at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
“Seeing the children’s smiling faces was a happy and unforgettable experience for us.”
Lay Yen Yeoh
Senior Human Resources Manager, Penang, Malaysia
Global company, local community member
We are not only a global company in a global society, but also a local employer at our sites around the world and are thus part of the local community there. Engaging where they live, our employees show great initiative in supporting disadvantaged people nearby.
Last year, for example, we reported on Comet Technologies USA’s established commitment to a charity’s back-to-school drive and to Second Harvest (Annual Report 2020: Engaged for the next generation). Out of our Swiss headquarters in Flamatt, we support Young Tinkerers (a national organization that fosters youths’ interest in technology and science), as well as Technorama, the Swiss Science Center. Both in Switzerland and at our locations in Germany, we also participate in the national Future Day, a long-standing initiative for bringing one’s children to work and widening their perception of the range of choices they will have in choosing a profession.
This year, the staff at our new facility in Malaysia donated blankets, pillows, clothes, toys and food to the Pusat Jagaan Kasih Abadi orphanage. “We had the opportunity to get to know the kids and play with them. Seeing the children’s smiling faces was a happy and unforgettable experience for us,” says Lay Yen Yeoh, Senior Human Resources Manager, Comet Technologies Malaysia. “Thank you to all Penang employees who took part!”
“The team simply couldn’t stand by and do nothing in the face of all the misery caused by the floods.”
VP Human Resources, Hamburg, Germany
During the catastrophic flooding in Germany in the summer of 2021, our employees spontaneously collected donations for the “Aktion Deutschland Hilft” disaster relief alliance, and were immediately supported in this by the local management team in Hamburg and the global teams. “The team simply couldn’t stand by and do nothing in the face of all the misery caused by the floods,” says Alexandra Fotteler, VP Human Resources, X-Ray Systems. “I really appreciated how swiftly and unbureaucratically we were able to act. I hadn’t been with the company for long at that point, and this initiative immediately made me very proud to be part of the Comet family.”
We want to hold on to this spirit in the Comet Group and nurture it globally.
For more details on Comet’s ESG program, please see the GRI report.