Corporate responsibility

Society

As a mobility company, BLS is embedded in society and the environment in a special way. We therefore seek to be a responsible and dedicated corporate citizen, among other ways by taking action that goes beyond what’s required by law.

Along with our core rail business, BLS also operates an extensive bus network in the Emmental region, a Car Transport service on the Lötschberg line and boat services on Lakes Thun and Brienz. A large number of customers, whether commuters or tourists looking for relaxation or excitement, rely on our transport services every day. Our subsidiary BLS Cargo Ltd plays a key role in rail freight haulage in Alpine transit through Switzerland. With the variety of services it offers, BLS lowers the strain on the environment and conserves resources – unlike motorised private transport. It also produces comparatively lower CO2 emissions.

Dialogue with our stakeholders

BLS maintains regular contact with numerous stakeholders. Such stakeholders include our employees and customers, the cantons, the Swiss Federal Government, municipalities and also competitors and industry associations. It is important to us to know and understand the positions, expectations and points of view of our stakeholders, and we take all of this information into consideration in a suitable manner in our business decisions and activities. This approach is meant to ensure that the actions taken by BLS are better understood and accepted. However, such knowledge of the needs of our stakeholders can also lead to new and innovative solutions.

BLS maintains a transparent dialogue that focuses on continuity and integrity. Various forms of interaction and participation are utilised here, ranging from internal and external surveys to memberships in various associations right through to partnerships marked by regular and extensive contact. Conflicts of interest that may arise due to different expectations on the part of stakeholders are addressed transparently and resolved in a fair manner. For example, BLS established a monitoring group to consult with on the construction of a new BLS workshop.

Sustainable procurement

BLS’s Procurement department ensures that procurement activities conform with the company's internal principles on economic, ecological and social sustainability and the guidelines on public procurement.

BLS needs to maintain cooperative and fair business relationships with the numerous suppliers from which it procures materials and services. BLS takes into account ecological, social and safety aspects when developing its product group strategies, which form the basis for procurement activities. These aspects are incorporated into the minimum requirements for specific procurement transactions. Wherever possible, BLS requires the products it purchases to be manufactured in a sustainable manner or else display sustainability attributes, whereby this applies to both public tenders and the direct commissioning of business.

BLS requires its suppliers and sub-suppliers to meet internationally recognised minimum standards such as those listed in the United Nation’s Global Compact for Advancing Responsible Business Practices. Such commitment is obtained from suppliers and sub-suppliers through contractual agreements and self-declarations. Over the next few years, BLS will more extensively address sustainability issues as they relate to product groups and suppliers.

Compliance

As a state-subsidised business, BLS is the subject of public attention. It must adhere to the applicable laws and guidelines, and must conduct itself in an ethical manner. BLS is currently in the process of incrementally introducing a new and comprehensive compliance management system. This system is based on the pillars of prevention, disclosure and reaction.

The company-wide code of conduct falls under the pillar of prevention. It contains specific instructions and serves as a guideline for every BLS employee to help them conduct themselves appropriately towards colleagues, suppliers, customers and other stakeholders, even in difficult situations.

In terms of disclosure, BLS consciously wishes to take action rather than look away. If someone becomes aware of misconduct or a breach of the applicable BLS regulations, that person can relate the specific details confidentially and anonymously to a dedicated reporting office for whistleblowing. The reporting office for whistleblowing is available to all employees, suppliers, partners and customers of BLS. Every report will be investigated.
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Barrier-free travel

Easy boarding, barrier-free access to information, travelling safely – everyone benefits from unobstructed mobility. By the end of 2023, our passengers will be able to enjoy barrier-free access to all stations and trains throughout the entire BLS network. In this manner, BLS will meet the requirements of the Swiss Disability Discrimination Act in all of its trains and at all of its 119 stations and stops.

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