Rieter has been committed to sustainability with regard to the environment, social issues and corporate governance (ESG) for many years. ESG is an integral part of the company’s corporate strategy.
Key Data on the Environment, Social Issues and Corporate Governance 2020
Sustainable spinning processes thanks to Rieter technology
Rieter technologies stand for sustainable spinning processes that have a major impact on the lowest possible consumption of energy, water and chemicals. These technologies make efficient use of raw materials, consume energy in a sustainable manner and are extremely progressive in the use of recycled fibers. Accordingly, Rieter has set itself the goal of developing products and system solutions for its customers that allow them to produce in a more environmentally friendly manner, whether as a result of reduced raw material input or lower energy consumption, or through the development of cutting-edge technologies for processing recycled fibers.
As part of the textile value chain, yarn production must also be continuously optimized from the perspective of sustainability.
The importance of energy efficiency for yarn production and Rieter’s contribution is illustrated by the following simplified example: A ring spinning machine of the latest generation with 2 000 spindles achieves energy savings of 10% compared to an older machine and thus reduces energy consumption by 80 MWh per year. Over the use of 1 million spindles through 500
Rieter machines with 2 000 spindles each, energy consumption is reduced by 40 000 MWh per year. This corresponds to a reduction in CO2 emissions of 40 000 tons per year from coal-fired electricity (see figure).
Optimal use of raw material
An important aspect in connection with the sustainability of yarn production is the use of raw materials.
Processing recycled material
The results of a current Rieter study show that, on Rieter machines, it is possible to spin not only rotor but also ring yarns with a proportion of up to 75% of recycled fibers from old clothing.
The Rieter Digital Spinning Suite, ESSENTIAL, already measures energy consumption, quality data and key production statistics along the entire process chain in many spinning mills around the globe.
The safety and health of employees are of fundamental importance to the Rieter Group.
Social sustainability involves employees, management and responsibility, equal opportunities, diversity and social commitment.
EHS minimum requirements and audits
Based on its environmental, health and safety strategy (EHS), the Rieter Group has defined clear minimum requirements that are safeguarded by the environmental and occupational safety officers at the production sites. Compliance with these requirements is verified in connection with risk audits and by means of self-testing. The Rieter Group has operated a well-established risk control audit system for all locations for many years. The Corporate Risk and Insurance Management team conducts risk audits at regular intervals in conjunction with external partners.
Product safety is Rieter's top priority. For this reason, Rieter has a well-structured product safety organization and works with external specialists if necessary. A product safety officer has been appointed for each product group. These officers are supported by a global network and regular internal training courses. Clear processes and risk assessments have been established and an appropriate exchange of experience is assured.
Continuous education and training
To manufacture and deliver high-quality products and services, Rieter needs competent employees. Know-how, commitment, flexibility and loyalty are the key to success. Therefore, Rieter attaches great importance to the continuous development of its employees. Rieter needs high-performing people who understand the company and its challenges. That is why Rieter focuses on promoting talented specialists. The goal is to fill as high a percentage of management positions as possible with employees from within the company.
Diversity is firmly rooted in Rieter's value system and provides the framework for a corporate culture based on mutual respect and trust. Unified in the company’s values and corporate strategy, individual and cultural differences are viewed as an enrichment and are a source of innovation and inspiration. By moving operational activities closer to the sales markets, the workforce increasingly reflects the cultural diversity of Rieter's customers.
Cooperation with suppliers
Suppliers are Rieter's partners. Together with them, the company continuously improves the quality and cost structure of purchased materials and components. Rieter attaches great importance to actively involve its suppliers in the innovation process. The company respects the intellectual property (IP) rights of its partners and strives for long-term business relationships characterized by mutual respect and the commitment to address challenges together. The company expects suppliers to also adhere to the principles of Rieter's Supplier Code of Conduct.
Social and community engagement
Cooperation with employee representatives worldwide is of fundamental importance to Rieter. At the European level this is with the European Works Council, and at the national level directly with the corresponding employee representatives and trade unions in the individual countries. Rieter has always taken its social responsibility in the communities where its sites are located and toward employees very seriously. In Switzerland, through the Johann Jacob Rieter Foundation, Rieter is engaged in the fields of art, culture, education and charitable causes.
As a global company, Rieter observes the laws and regulations of all countries in which it operates. The actions and practices of all Rieter companies and their employees are in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations, the fundamental conventions of the international labor organizations and the OECD guidelines for multinational companies.
Certificates, awards and ratings
In the MSCI ESG rating for 2020, Rieter was rated A (on a scale from AAA-CCC). The MSCI ESG ratings assess companies based on their industry-specific exposure to environmental, social and government risks and their ability to deal with these risks. In addition, the Swiss sustainability rating agency “Inrate” gives Rieter Holding AG a rating of B- (on a scale from A to D). This rating confirms that Rieter operates in an area of business that is sustainable in the long term and strives to continuously improve its sustainability performance.
In the development of all machines, systems and services, Rieter focuses on minimal environmental impact, maximum energy savings and the optimal use of resources. In this way, the company lays the foundation for its long-term commitment to sustainability. Rieter also takes advantage of automation and digitalization throughout the entire life cycle of the machines.
The circular economy will play an important role in sustainability in the textile industry in the future. Currently, less than 1% of clothing is recycled worldwide and 73% ends up in landfills. Using systems from Rieter, so-called post-consumer material (e.g. discarded items of clothing) is integrated into yarn production.
Rieter also offers customized, cost-effective solutions for processing bast fibers such as flax or hemp. These fibers require only small amounts of pesticides and hardly any water to grow. This makes them sustainable alternatives in yarn production. In cooperation with the German company Temafa, a specialist in opening, cleaning and mixing synthetic fibers with natural fibers, Rieter offers various technologies for refining raw materials and shortening bast fibers to allow them to be processed using spinning technologies for cotton.
Energy efficiency is critical when it comes to improving sustainability. In the spinning process, each production step has a different energy requirement, with end spinning consuming the most energy, followed by carding. For decades, development teams at Rieter have paid particular attention to the lowest possible energy consumption in each individual spinning process and incorporated this into the design of the machines. The aim is to reduce energy consumption for every kilogram of yarn produced. The result is that every machine is completely energy efficient. The energy savings are particularly evident when the machines are combined to form a system. A comparison test with Ne 14 cotton ring yarn for denim has shown that Rieter systems achieve energy savings of around 10% versus a system comprising machines from different manufacturers. The impact on energy use and CO2 emissions is considerable. Replacing older machines encompassing 1 million spindles with Rieter machines results in savings of 40 000 tons of CO2 emissions.
High productivity to minimize resource consumption
Every new machine model from Rieter gives rise to considerable increases in productivity in all processing phases with no loss of quality. One of the highlights is the card C 80, which produces at least 30% more card sliver than the previous model. The most productive comber on the market is the E 90 with a productivity gain of around 10% compared to the previous model, while the fully automatic rotor spinning machine R 70 increases the productivity per spin box by up to 7%.
Added value through longer service life
Long service life is of great importance when it comes to protecting valuable resources. An outstanding example is the ZIRKON ring traveller from Bräcker, which achieves a service life of around 1 000 hours at maximum speed. This is equivalent to three times the service life of conventional ring travellers. Another highlight is the MULTISHARP alloy from Graf, which extends the service life of clothing by up to 50% while significantly reducing maintenance costs.
Digitalization and automation
Rieter enables spinning mills to leverage the potential of digitalization. The Digital Spinning Suite ESSENTIAL is a management system for the entire spinning mill that continuously monitors the process chain and quickly detects inefficiencies to allow the best possible use of resources. Automation solutions such as the new piecing robot ROBOspin help to use resources efficiently and allow personnel to focus on tasks with greater added value.
Total energy consumption significantly reduced
In the reporting year, Rieter was able to reduce total energy consumption by around 20 600 MWh or 17%. Greenhouse gas emissions declined by 15% and acidification fell by around 11%. Water consumption fell by around 12%. And waste and recycling volumes were lower by 1 861 tons. The improved values are the result of lower company performance due to the pandemic as well as corporate initiatives in recent years. Another initiative was also launched: old heating and ventilation systems will first be identified and then replaced by new, energy-saving systems and alternative energy sources. The necessary funds will be included in the budget planning for the coming years.
The 2 MW capacity solar system at Rieter India's production facility in Wing, which was installed in 2019 on an area of 27 000 m2, already delivered 1 233 MWh of solar power in 2020. This is the equivalent of around 10% of the required amount of electricity at the location, which made it possible to reduce CO2 emissions at the production site by around 912 tons.
Rieter relies on renewable energies
At the Winterthur (Switzerland) location in 2019, Rieter created the preconditions for harvesting solar power and electricity from hydropower. In 2020, Rieter Winterthur replaced around 20% of the annual electricity requirement with renewable energies by purchasing solar electricity and hydroelectric power. As a result, the saving in CO2 emissions amounted to around 120 tons. In 2020, two further solar systems were built on the roofs at Bräcker AG, a Rieter production facility in Switzerland.
Certificates for handling natural raw material reserves
The Rieter locations in Winterthur and Rapperswil SG (Graf + Cie AG) were awarded the environmental certificate by PET Recycling Switzerland in 2020. By correctly disposing of PET beverage bottles, with just a little effort everyone can make a small but important contribution to save greenhouse gas and oil and thus contribute to climate protection, energy saving, waste reduction and the conservation of natural raw material sources. Graf + Cie AG (Switzerland) also took part in the program of the Energy Agency of the Swiss Private Sector, whereby the Rieter subsidiary also made a commitment to actively reduce CO2 emissions and optimize energy efficiency.
Coping with the COVID-19 pandemic
The 2020 financial year was marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to a considerable decline in demand for new machines, but also for spare and wear parts. At the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the first quarter of 2020, Rieter put a comprehensive crisis management program into effect.
Protective measures for employees were implemented at all Rieter locations worldwide, the effectiveness of which has been shown in countries badly affected by the pandemic, such as India and the Czech Republic.
Management and personnel development
Rieter supports professional personnel development through the worldwide “Performance Management Process”. Thanks to this digital solution, individuals with high potential were identified internally and promoted, thus allowing a wide variety of positions to be filled by internal applicants in 2020. Rieter also launched the “Graduate Program” in 2020. In addition to the “Performance Management Process”, the Graduate Program offers another option for identifying talented young people.
Social engagement – India
In 2020, Rieter India continued the social engagement program "Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives", which was launched in 2018. In the context of the new plan for 2020/2021, the internal CSR committee again selected the projects most worthy of support from the projects submitted and provided the corresponding funding.
Code of conduct
The Code of Conduct is part of every employee’s contract of employment. It is part of the induction program in the individual business units. In 2020, centralized coaching was also provided for members of management in the form of an e-learning program. Compliance with the Code of Conduct is regularly verified in the context of internal audits and by additional audits.
In 2016, the Group set both environmental and social goals for 2020, some of which were already achieved in previous years. Despite all efforts, however, the COVID-19 pandemic made it impossible to achieve the desired goals in 2020: The environmental goals could not be reached, primarily because of the sharp decline in performance. Protecting employees was
the primary objective during the pandemic year.
The data on environmental sustainability relates to sales of CHF 1 000 in each case.
|Key Environmental Data|
|2020 target||2020 attainment|
< 0.12 MWh/CHF 1 000
0.1697 MWh/CHF 1 000
|Greenhouse gas emissions|
< 0.050 kg/CHF 1 000
|Greenhouse gas emissions|
0.069 kg/CHF 1 000
< 0.012 kg/CHF 1 000
0.0144 kg/CHF 1 000
< 0.30 m³/CHF 1 000
0.424 m³/CHF 1 000
|Waste and recycling|
< 10 kg/CHF 1 000
|Waste and recycling|
11.34 kg/CHF 1 000
|Key Social Data|
|2020 target||2020 attainment|
|LABOR TURNOVER RATE IN %|
|Labor turnover rate in|
|Women in management positions|
|Women in management position|
|Training days per employee/year|
|Training days per employee/year|
|Hours of absence in relation to working hours|
|Hours of absence in relation to working hour|
|Fatal accidents at work|
|Fatal accidents at work|
Rieter collects all data relevant to sustainable corporate management in the SEED (Environmental, Social and Economic Data) database. These data are evaluated annually. They also form the basis for key data on the environment, social issues and corporate governance.
Energy consumption and mix
In 2020, compared to the previous year, absolute energy consumption fell by 20 628 MWh – or around 17% – to 97 223 MWh. In relation to corporate performance, energy consumption rose to almost 0.17 MWh/CHF 1 000 of sales; however, this is due to the decline in performance in 2020. The energy mix changed significantly in 2020 compared to the previous year due to the heavily promoted use of renewable energies. With the production of solar power at the Wing (India) site and electricity from solar and hydroelectric power at the Winterthur (Switzerland) production site, Rieter has increased the use of renewable energies by 3% to 5%.
Greenhouse gas emissions
Compared to the previous year, Rieter reduced absolute CO2 emissions in 2020 by around 7 100 tons – or around 15% – to 39 280 tons. In relation to corporate performance, the value of CO2 emissions rose to 0.069 kg/CHF 1 000 of sales. The target of less than 0.050 kg/CHF 1 000 of sales was not achieved in 2020 due to the sharp decline in sales.
Compared to the previous year, Rieter reduced absolute SOx emissions in 2020 by more than one ton – or around 11% – to 8.25 tons. In relation to corporate performance, the value of SOx emissions rose to 0.0144 kg/CHF 1 000 of sales. However, the 2020 target of reducing SOx emissions to below 0.12 kg/CHF 1 000 of sales was missed due to the sharp decline in sales.
Compared to 2019, Rieter achieved a significant reduction of around 32 357 m3 in absolute water consumption. In relation to corporate performance, water consumption rose above the planned target for 2020, which was again due to the decline in sales. The major share of the water used (around 65%) came from the municipal water supply; ground and surface water accounted for the remaining 35%.
Waste and recycling
The amount of waste generated at the Rieter locations in the reporting year fell significantly by 1 861 tons – or around 22% – to a waste volume of 6 500 tons. The share of externally recyclable waste was 82%. This achievement is due to the impact of internal waste prevention measures. In relation to corporate performance, the volume of waste remained above the planned target of less than 0.10 kg/CHF 1 000 of sales, which was also due to the decline in sales in 2020.
Compared to the previous year, the number of full-time positions (excluding temporary employees) declined from 4 591 to 4 420. The number of temporary employees (136) was around 3%. In contrast, the age distribution of the Rieter workforce in 2020 was virtually unchanged from the previous year. It continues to be in balance and shows a uniform distribution across all age ranges. The 30 to 39 age group contains the most employees with 32%.
In 2020, the share of women in the total workforce was around 20%. In management positions, this was around 12%, 2% higher than in 2019. In the top four management levels, the share of women increased by 3% to 13%. Rieter pursues the goal of increasing the overall proportion of women in the workforce, and continuously increasing the share of women in management positions to over 20% by 2025.
The employee turnover rate varies greatly from region to region. In 2020 – based on the total number of employees – it was almost 12%.
In the year under review, the percentage of Rieter employees with qualified vocational training or a university degree was unchanged at around 90%. The number of training days declined by around 10% in 2020 while the average number of training days per employee/year fell to around two days. The Rieter Group employed 118 apprentices/trainees in 2020, which corresponds to almost 3% of the total number of employees. With 63 apprentices/trainees at locations in Switzerland, this means a share of more than 7% of the workforce in Switzerland.
Occupational accidents further reduced in 2020
With 46 cases, compared to the previous year Rieter was able to reduce the number of occupational accidents by almost 25% in 2020. The accident rate of five cases – based on one million hours of work – was lower than the previous year by more than one case. The company continues to consistently pursue the goal of completely preventing occupational accidents. Since 2011, no work-related fatalities have been recorded by Rieter. As a result of the introduction of the occupational safety program, the number of occupational accidents declined by 75% – from 185 occupational accidents in 2011 to the current level of 46 occupational accidents in 2020. This attests to the successful implementation of the measures taken. In 2020, sick leave and accident-related absence hours in relation to hours worked amounted to 3.8%, which is an improvement of almost 1% compared to 2019.
|ISO 9001 (Locations)||11||11||11|
|ISO 14001 (Locations)||1||1||1|
|OHSAS 18001 (Locations)||1||1||1|
|Rieter production sites||16||16||15|
In 2020, thirteen Rieter plants were certified: 11 to ISO 9001, including one plant to ISO 50001 (a reduced variant for ISO 9001), one plant to ISO 14001 and one to OSHAS 18001.
Rieter is conscious of its responsibility and strives to make an active contribution to the energy transition by 2050 and the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. The planned phase-out of the use of electricity from coal or carbonaceous products by 2025 is to take place by optimizing the company's own energy consumption and using renewable energy sources. For this reason, Rieter has set more ambitious targets with regard to energy consumption, greenhouse gases, acidification and water consumption.
In terms of key social data, Rieter intends to increase the proportion of women in management positions to over 20%. The company remains committed to having no fatal work-related accidents and does everything in its power to avoid work-related accidents of any kind.
Greenhouse gas emissions
Waste and recycling
Labor turnover rate as % of workforce
Women in management positions
Training days per employee/year
Hours of absence in relation to working hours
Fatal accidents at work
New goal for 2030
Replacement of all fossil fuels with renewable energies
Rieter has set itself the goal of completely abandoning the use of fossil fuels and replacing them with renewable energies by 2030. To achieve this goal, the initiatives “Renewal of heating and ventilation systems with energy-efficient and environmentally friendly systems” and “Promotion and construction of solar systems” were introduced at Rieter locations. Planning for the investment requirement is monitored centrally by Rieter and assessed and approved in the investment plan for each production location.
Rieter is also pursuing the interim goal of dispensing with the use of electricity produced from coal or carbonaceous products worldwide by 2025. This goal will be controlled by means of the targeted purchase of electricity from suppliers who do not use coal or carbonaceous products in their electricity production. The electricity producers document carbon-free production with certificates from accredited certification companies.
Implementation of this strategy began in 2019 with the construction of the solar facility at the production location in India and, from 2020, the purchase of renewable energy from hydroelectric and solar power sources at the production location in Winterthur. The next stage took place in Pfäffikon during the 2020 reporting year, with the purchase of solar energy from a third-party solar plant that was installed on the roofs of the Pfäffikon production facility.
Planning provides for the construction of solar systems on the roofs of additional production locations, and includes for example the design and start of construction of a solar system at the Rapperswil facility in 2021.