Focus on sustainability


Focus on sustainability

It is obvious that global challenges regarding climate change and mobility are accelerating and becoming increasingly urgent. Climate change, the protein gap, loss of biodiversity, and population growth – all will have a greater impact if we don’t act now as individuals, businesses, and industries to drive change.


In 2018, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported the consequences of 1.5°C global warming above pre-industrial levels compared with a 2°C increase. If we do not stay within the 1.5°C threshold, the risks of floods, extreme heat, food scarcity, and poverty for hundreds of millions of people will increase.

For this reason, Bühler has raised its own sustainability targets in 2019. Bühler aims to reduce energy and water consumption, as well as waste in customers’ value chains by 50% by 2025. It is Bühler’s goal and corporate purpose to transform these urgent challenges into quickly growing and profitable businesses in alignment with its purpose of “Innovations for a better world”.

No single company can address global challenges on its own. On the contrary: Only through close cooperation can the necessary solutions be developed and scaled in a timely manner. For this reason, Bühler broke ground on a new epicenter for its collaborative innovation ecosystem in Uzwil, Switzerland in September 2017. After 20 months of construction, and an investment of more than CHF 50 million over three years, the CUBIC and the associated application centers were opened in early 2019 – and with it, a new chapter in Bühler’s corporate history started.

Bühler is strengthening its model of collaborative innovation and education with the CUBIC, a total of 25 application centers for joint development with customers and start-ups around the world, more than 7,800 continuing education courses, about 600 apprentices at 25 locations, and dozens of partnerships with universities, industrial partners, start-up accelerators, and NGOs.



Opening the CUBIC innovation campus

The CUBIC is integrated into the Uzwil location so that it forms a bridge between development, engineering, anddesign teams, eight modernized application centers, and production. As a result, customers, start-ups, industry and research partners can develop solutions more quickly and efficiently to reach market readiness. The CUBIC specifically promotes new methods of learning for training and continuing education. Here, working apprentices and researchers, and both young and experienced employees work together in project teams across business units, and with a strong focus on digital solutions.

The campus embodies the innovative spirit and inclusive culture of the company. The three-story CUBIC facility is itself an example of sustainability and innovation. The building consumes 35% less energy than a building of similar size. Its smart, electrochromic glass façade was manufactured on glass-coating machines from Bühler Leybold Optics. The innovation campus is certified with a Gold label from LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design).


Creating tomorrow together


Bühler once again invited industry leaders, partners, customers, scientists, and start-ups to convene in Uzwil and join its Networking Days 2019 event. The motto was: “Creating tomorrow together”. The first Networking Days in 2016 focused on food, while at the 2019 event, food and mobility of the future were in the spotlight.

At the heart of the presentations, discussions, and exhibits was the question of how to provide the projected population of 10 billion people in 2050 with sustainable nourishment and mobility. The 800 attendees discussed the need for increased collaboration across sectors and industries to drive the transformation needed to address the climate crisis.

The attendees not only heard from Bühler leaders, but also the views of knowledgeable authorities from broad fields of expertise, including Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway and advocate for sustainability; and Stefan Palzer, Chief Technology Officer of Nestlé; Patrick Dupin, CEO of Saint-Gobain Northern Europe; and Francois Pienaar, who led the South African national rugby team to a world championship title in 1995 as team captain. Sunny Verghese, the co-founder and CEO of Olam International as well as President of the advisory board to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) spoke of the need for companies to work together to ensure we leave a better world to future generations, and John Harthorne, founder of the start-up accelerator MassChallenge, expressed the need to help pave the way for innovators.

The Networking Days 2019 participants represented companies that manufacture food for 4 billion people every day and contribute to the mobility of about 1 billion people. The group as a whole was in agreement that continuing the status quo is not an option for dealing with today’s global challenges, and that broadscale collaboration is vital to making the food and mobility industries more sustainable.


With positive energy into the future


Another milestone in 2019 was the refinement of our corporate values to TOP: Trust, Ownership, and Passion. The global challenges and risks that we face today have become more acute, and the world is changing quickly. Taking the TOP values as the guideline, Bühler’s ambition is to transform the global challenges it faces into sound business opportunities. Values play a crucial role for a company’s success and they set the foundation for the company culture. With the TOP values as a framework for behavior, Bühler aims to profitably grow its businesses, and at the same time, contribute to a sustainable world, which gives future generations the same chances to live and develop as today’s societies.



Looking at the current fiscal year, the framework of the global economy looks bleaker. The trade conflict between the US and China, Brexit, and political unrest in Venezuela and Chile, are leaving their mark on global growth prospects. Starting in the second half of 2018, Bühler noted greater reluctance for large projects. The upheavals created uncertainty in the industries, such as on the issue of electromobility.

On the other hand, many new business opportunities were created as a result of China’s Belt and Road Initiative – an ambitious global development program for infrastructure – and there were positive developments in many African countries. Both resulted in the necessity for developing sustainable solutions for nutrition and mobility. With its global positioning, a strong foothold in Asia, and a growing innovation ecosystem, Bühler is well positioned to benefit from these opportunities. In 2020, Bühler plans for a stable and positive business development.

Further chapters of the annual report