The title of this Annual Report is “One Challenge”, and we chose it for a good reason: 2021 was an intensely challenging year for every one of us, for entire societies, and for TÜV SÜD. Together, we were combating the COVID-19 pandemic, we worked on making our businesses more sustainable, we fought against climate change and for greater social cohesion. Together, we took up the challenge, with optimism and courage. TÜV SÜD is doing its part.
Take our commitment to greater sustainability. We aim to be the most sustainable company in our industry. And we want to become the independent and impartial expert of choice for customers who are working on becoming more sustainable themselves. Here’s how we plan to get there.
Our revised strategy 2025+ focuses more closely on sustainability topics. A couple of examples: our VeriX portfolio empowers customers to validate and verify CO2 savings in their production processes, for example in the steel and chemicals industries, helping them to become more sustainable. We help our customers in the consumer goods and textile industries work towards a circular economy. We help them to better understand the lifecycles of their products, to make them more durable, easier to recycle, and thus more environmentally friendly. And we do our part in making zero-emission mobility a reality by providing testing and certification processes for electric vehicle batteries.
We walk the talk: we want TÜV SÜD to be a leader in sustainability and have set ambitious goals for ourselves, throughout the entire company. This is about more than our ecological footprint and the environment. At TÜV SÜD we address the topic of sustainability as a holistic challenge:
- Our customers want to work with us because they know they can trust us. We are impartial, we act with integrity, we respect the law. Our compliance system and our code of ethics guide our day-to-day work. Compliance trainings are mandatory for all employees; ‘compliance moments’ during our internal meetings help remind ourselves of the importance of the topic; and we have established a whistleblower platform, the TÜV SÜD Trust Channel.
- We value diversity, openness, and tolerance. We create a working environment that is free from prejudice. Because everyone deserves to be appreciated, regardless of their gender, nationality, ethnicity, religion or worldview, physical or mental ability, age, sexual orientation, or identity. We do not tolerate racism or discrimination in any form. And we go beyond sharing this message, for example in internal communications campaigns: we support networks in which our employees self-organize around topics of their choice, and we are active partners in international initiatives for diversity and equal opportunity.
- We have set ourselves the goal of becoming climate-neutral by 2025, because we all share a responsibility to protect the common foundations for life. In 2021 we made significant progress in recording our own global climate-relevant emissions. And we have increased our efforts to avoid and reduce emissions, for example by boosting the energy efficiency of our premises and test facilities and by reducing the carbon footprint of our business travel. In Germany, for example, we have already switched almost entirely to green power and are increasing the number of hybrid electric and fully electric vehicles in our fleet.
- We are continuing to make TÜV SÜD a more digital company. This is also a form of climate protection, as remote monitoring and inspections reduce the need for our engineers to travel. Smart system controls enable our premises to operate more efficiently; energy-efficient refurbishments add to this improvement
- Overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic is also about resilience and sustainability: right from the beginning we focused on keeping our employees healthy and our customers protected. In 2021 we made our safety and hygiene framework more comprehensive; we set up numerous voluntary testing stations for our employees, going above and beyond government requirements; and we started employee vaccination campaigns to help fight the spread of the virus.
Of course, sustainability also means sustainable commercial success. We consistently and steadily invest in the future of our company. Last year we invested around € 106 million; this includes, for example, our new battery laboratories in Auburn Hills, USA, and Panyu, China. And we have started work on a new ultra-energy-efficient office building at our Munich headquarters, which will provide space for up to 600 employees.
All of this is possible because our business model is solid and we are well positioned for future growth. 2021 was an extremely good year for us from a commercial perspective, with revenue of almost € 2.7 billion and EBIT of € 225 million. We did feel the effects of the pandemic, but still our results exceeded the levels of 2019, pre-pandemic. Our thanks go to all our employees at TÜV SÜD who made this success possible.
There is no doubt that we continue to face enormous challenges. A few weeks ago, war has returned to Europe, millions of people have since fled. The humanitarian catastrophe in Central and Eastern Europe, the dramatic consequences of climate change, the ongoing fight against the pandemic: a lot is at stake. But we can achieve a great deal by working together. This is what “One Challenge” means to us. We are ready.
Munich, March 30, 2022
The Board of Management of TÜV SÜD AG
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Axel Stepken
Chairman of the Board of Management
Member of the Board of Management
Prof. Dr. Matthias J. Rapp
Member of the Board of Management