FACING THE FUTURE WITH OPTIMISM
With our collaborative innovation model, we are developing sustainable technologies and solutions – and are well positioned for the future.
In 2017, Bühler already achieved its 2020 sustainability target of running 50% of its research and development (R&D) projects in collaboration with our business partners. We invested around 5% of turnover into R&D (CHF 119 million), and are expanding our collaboration network with customers, suppliers, start-ups, and leading academic institutions to drive innovation and help meet our ambitious sustainability goals.
Bühler partnered with UNITECH to invite young people to participate in the Carbon Footprint Challenge 2017. More than 100 proposals to reduce carbon footprint came in, and the teams behind the five best ideas were invited to Uzwil to develop them further and pitch them to attending companies. The winners, Counting Carbon, from Trinity College Dublin, have a solid plan to change consumer behavior with transparent labeling that features carbon footprint information. They are now working in the Bühler-supported Mass-Challenge accelerator.
This has been a landmark year for Bühler as we continue to play our part in creating a safe, healthy planet for future generations. In 2017, we already exceeded our target to ensure 20% of our R&D projects focus on improved nutrition, and the number of R&D projects that increase yield and reduce waste have also risen to 39%, showing good progress toward our ultimate target of 50%.
The Bühler Supplier Code of Conduct, designed to help our suppliers as well as our manufacturing and logistics partners achieve greater sustainability, has been signed by 30% of our primary suppliers from a standing start of zero in 2016, when it was rolled out. We are pleased with the progress being made toward the goal of 100% by 2020.
Bühler is looking to the future with optimism. We are aware of the speed of change in the digital age and have kept the uncertainties of current world events in view − such as geopolitical, currency, and interest rate issues as well as trends contrary to free trade. However, in view of these factors, we are convinced that for Bühler the opportunities are significantly greater than the risks. 2017 was an important milestone for Bühler, including the acquisition of Haas, and the financial means needed to expand investment and acquisition potential were secured. We will continue to focus more sharply on this as we work toward our vision of "innovations for a better world" and achieve our ambitious sustainability goals. Supported by new opportunities that have opened up thanks to digitalization, unique integrated process solutions, leading technologies, and its global presence, Bühler is well-positioned for the future.
We will use this positioning in 2018 to present two more Networking Days: in China, on the topic of "the future of mobility", and in Milan as part of the Ipack-IMA trade fair under the theme "feeling good about food". The official opening of the new factory in Changhzou, China, in the middle of this year will strengthen our position in Asia as well as in the global feed segment.
In fiscal 2018, Bühler is anticipating its growth course to continue with further improved profitability.