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Using resources like electricity and water sparingly is an important way in which every one of us can help to protect the environment. AXA is systematically focusing its consumption on sustainability with a view to steadily improving its ecological performance.   

It has succeeded in cutting its use of energy, water, and paper as well as its carbon dioxide emissions year after year. In fact, we were able to meet our environmental targets for 2020 as early as 2017 and have achieved further improvements since then. Here’s how our results from last year compare with those from 2012: 

AXA Switzerland’s environmental figures for 2019 (compared with 2012)

Energy consumption

AXA’s total energy consumption in 2019 was 15.9 GWh (3,541 kWh per full-time equivalent). Electricity made up 9.3 GWh of this. For the past ten years, we’ve been supplied with electricity from 100% renewable sources, including Swiss hydroelectric power plants and our own photovoltaic installations on the roofs of our office buildings.

CO2 emissions

We managed to reduce our CO2 emissions by 42% compared with 2012, thanks mainly to our lower electricity consumption and the changeover from heating oil to district heating grids. CO2 emissions averaged 600 kg per full-time equivalent in 2019.  Half of our CO2 emissions are generated by business travel, with flights and journeys by car each contributing around 150 kg per full-time equivalent to our carbon footprint. It is encouraging to note that the number of kilometers flown fell slightly, and there were fewer business-class flights (only allowed if the flight is longer than six hours) compared with the prior year. All CO2 emissions resulting from business travel are offset through climate protection projects in Switzerland and abroad. However, since it is better to reduce than to offset, further measures have been defined and implemented to promote rail over air travel. AXA also supports innovative climate protection and energy efficiency projects among SMEs in Switzerland and Liechtenstein as a partner of the Swiss Climate Foundation. The aim here is to ensure that SMEs can also reduce their CO2 emissions further.

Paper consumption

Thanks to the digital revolution, less printing, and the switch to digital document delivery, we’ve cut our paper consumption by more than half. Whereas we were still using 35 kg of office paper and 92 kg of marketing paper per full-time equivalent on average back in 2012, these figures had fallen to 15 kg and 43 kg respectively by last year. Our paper is either recycled or FSC-certified.

Water consumption

In 2019, AXA’s total water consumption was 36,952 m3 or 8.25 m3 per full-time equivalent. This represents a 31% reduction compared with 2012, which was made possible largely by a new building strategy. 

Five energy-saving tips 

You too can reduce your CO2 emissions and preserve resources thanks to these five simple tips for the home. 

1. Turn devices off, don’t leave them on standby

Shut down your computer when you finish work and turn your TV off completely when you go to bed. Unplug chargers after use. Electronic devices use electricity when left on standby. If you cut their power off instead, you can save up to 235 kg of CO2 a year.

Our tip: use a switched power rail with multiple sockets so you can turn all the devices plugged into it off with a single press. 

2. Air rooms briefly but thoroughly, don’t leave windows tilted

Open the windows wide every two to three hours instead of leaving them in the tilted position for hours on end. This way, you only need to air a room for a few minutes at a time. It can save up to 610 kg of CO2  a year compared with leaving the windows tilted all the time when it’s cold outside.

3. Turn the thermostat down by one degree

Turning the thermostat in each room down by just one degree reduces your energy consumption by 5-10% and your CO2- emissions by around 450 kg a year.

4. Place your refrigerator and freezer somewhere cool 

Install your fridge and freezer in a cool place, i.e. not next to a radiator, oven or dishwasher. Chest freezers are best placed in the cellar and set to -18°C.  The best temperature for keeping food cool is 6-7°C. Setting your fridge to seven degrees instead of five can save around 20 kg of COa year. Defrost your freezer or freezer compartment regularly. Doing so twice a year, for example, saves 25 kg of CO2 a year.

Tip: move your fridge away from the wall slightly to give its cooling system space to work properly and put as little as possible on top of it so that heat can escape upward.  

5. Heat water in a kettle, not on the hob

Always heat water in an electric kettle. It’s quicker than a pan on the hob and uses less energy. By heating one liter of water a day using a kettle rather than on the hob, for example, you’ll cut your CO2 emissions by 90 kg a year.

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