2.6
Environmental and social performance

Cycling brings the world a step closer to a clean environment and a better climate. It promotes physical and mental resilience and helps create pleasant, livable cities with fewer traffic jams, less noise and reduced air pollution. For Accell Group, it is people who make the difference in how we design and build our products.

Accell wants to continuously create value in a sustainable way. We improve the quality of our financial returns by limiting ecological impact, doing business in a socially responsible manner and through good governance. And we take into account the interests of all our stakeholders. We are convinced that this will have a positive impact on the Company in both the short and long term.

 

 

 

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NEW SUSTAINABILITY STRATEGY

 

In 2021, Accell defined its new sustainability strategy for the years ahead. Our goal is to create a culture in which every single employee helps us create both tangible and intangible value in the long term, for Accell and all its stakeholders. We have a positive impact on this front by:

  • Helping to create a sustainable society by stimulating cycling.
  • Selling sustainable bikes and parts & accessories.
  • Producing these in a sustainable way.

To achieve our goal in the years ahead, we have set priorities on four fronts:

  • Supply chain management: drives sustainability in our supply chain.
  • Product quality & safety: by focusing on innovations, optimizing production processes and continues investment in our people.
  • Product design & life cycle: the lifecycle of e-bike batteries and redefining the bicycle for sustainability (cradle-to-cradle).
  • Customer welfare: promote the benefits of bicycles and cargo bikes for personal health and the environment.

 

 

OUR VISION

We are a purpose-driven company and that purpose is based on the vision that Accell wants to make a real contribution to better lives for people, livable cities and a healthier environment. And that is exactly what our stakeholders, including consumers, dealers, investors and local and national government authorities, expect from us. We are convinced that sustainable production and products will ultimately add value to our company, which will in turn create new opportunities. We see the following opportunities, among others:

  • Suppliers will turn into partners, because all agreements are clearly defined and followed up, integrated over the value chain.
  • Transport of goods and supplies is optimized.
  • We will receive fewer service requests from our dealers because highest product quality and service is the norm.
  • Our purpose and sustainability results helps us to attract the most talented people and create a highly committed workforce.
  • Sustainable production will increase stakeholders’ trust in our Company and brands.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Relative numbers 

In 2021, Accell produced more bikes and bike-related products and had overall revenue growth which in turn also led to a rise in CO2 emissions, energy consumption and waste in absolute terms. In relative terms they all declined in 2021. In 2022, Accell will investigate whether results per product (bikes and P&A) can be reported, to give a more accurate picture of the impact of the various measures Accell is taking.

Care for the environment

Care for the environment

With the lowest environmental impact per kilometre, the bicycle is an outstanding green alternative to the car, scooter or public transport. Reducing this impact to the minimum requires a design and production process with the smallest possible ecological footprint.

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The European Commission, various European governments and several special interest groups see the potential of the bicycle as part of a green solution to climate change, lack of physical exercise, air pollution and traffic congestion, especially in larger cities. Accell Group helps to meet these objectives by promoting cycling.

 

Accell promotes bicycle use by:

  • Providing high-quality, reliable (electric) bicycles for transport, sports and leisure.
  • Designing and developing new, innovative bicycles and bicycle applications, bicycle parts and accessories that improve safety in traffic.
  • Working with the European Commission, European national governments and special interest groups in joint initiatives and discussing and sharing knowledge of bicycles and bicycle use.
  • Working with various authorities on measures to encourage cycling and improve (cycling) infrastructure.

 

 

Increasing popularity of the e-bike

In 2004, Accell developed the first modern electric bike. This made bikes an attractive form of transport for medium-range travel, such as daily commuting, for a huge new group of Europeans. The sales of e-bikes have been rising steadily in all countries since 2018, although the pace of growth has differed per country. The undisputed leader on this front is the Netherlands, which saw sales of over 500,000 new e-bikes in 2020. This was 50% of all bike sales and 30% more than in 2019.

The increasing popularity of the (electric) bicycle is partly due to its green image and the fact that it is a healthy alternative to travelling by car or public transport. Accell continuously invents and develops new technologies and models that enhance these qualities and extend the lifespan of its bikes. The majority of our bicycles are made almost entirely of metals which have the highest reuse and recycling levels of any materials.

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SPONSORING
By 2021, Accell Group has invested over a million euros in sponsoring local, regional and international initiatives that help make mobility more sustainable, promote consumer health and safety and promote bicycle use worldwide. In addition, Accell Group sets aside funds for professional sports sponsorship. Cycling heroes in a broad sense not only fulfil an ambassadorial role for our brands with their achievements, but also promote cycling and inspire young people to exercise or to go cycling.

2021: ideal circumstances to ride a bike


“I’ve been working as a professional in this sector for the past 12 years and I’ve never seen anything like the acceleration over the last 15 months", says Kevin Mayne, Chief Executive Officer of Cycling Industries Europe, the advocacy group for European bicycle manufacturers.

"It’s like the perfect storm: an explosive rise in demand combined with a favourable political climate. In Europe, the growth in bicycle sales and cycling itself has been spectacular. The explanation? People were forced to stay at home and wanted to go outside, while there was relatively little traffic on the roads. These were ideal circumstances to ride a bike.

It could have been just a one-off growth spurt, but it was very encouraging to see how national and city governments reacted to make it permanent. “People, go cycling!” urged the German minister of health, for example. And it wasn’t only talk. In the final nine months of 2020, European officials unveiled cycling-friendly measures valued at € 1 billion. Cities such as Paris and Milan changed course, often supported by their national governments. In France, around 1.5 million people received a financial incentive to get their bike repaired.

The European Union is also joining in. Member states requesting financial support from the European Recovery Fund are obliged to spend 25% on “green” initiatives. Many of them chose to invest in cycling projects. Over the next two years, an extra € 1.7 billion will become available for regional and urban cycling infrastructure, in addition to the municipal and national investments already in place.”

 

 

 

 

2021: ideal circumstances
to ride a bike

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“I’ve been working as a professional in this sector for the past 12 years and I’ve never seen anything like the acceleration over the last 15 months", says Kevin Mayne, Chief Executive Officer of Cycling Industries Europe, the advocacy group for European bicycle manufacturers.

"It’s like the perfect storm: an explosive rise in demand combined with a favourable political climate. In Europe, the growth in bicycle sales and cycling itself has been spectacular. The explanation? People were forced to stay at home and wanted to go outside, while there was relatively little traffic on the roads. These were ideal circumstances to ride a bike.

 

It could have been just a one-off growth spurt, but it was very encouraging to see how national and city governments reacted to make it permanent. “People, go cycling!” urged the German minister of health, for example. And it wasn’t only talk. In the final nine months of 2020, European officials unveiled cycling-friendly measures valued at € 1 billion. Cities such as Paris and Milan changed course, often supported by their national governments. In France, around 1.5 million people received a financial incentive to get their bike repaired.

The European Union is also joining in. Member states requesting financial support from the European Recovery Fund are obliged to spend 25% on “green” initiatives. Many of them chose to invest in cycling projects. Over the next two years, an extra € 1.7 billion will become available for regional and urban cycling infrastructure, in addition to the municipal and national investments already in place.”

Greenhouse gas emissions
from commuter traffic*

in kg CO2-equivalent




* Source: Life Cycle Analysis 2018. Accell is aware of the fact that any comparison of the greenhouse gas emissions per mode of transport depends on a number of variables. This means the carbon footprint per person will differ from the figures shown above. In 2022, Accell is planning to commission additional independent research into this subject.

 

LEADING ROLE IN INDUSTRY

As one of the largest (e-)bike manufacturers in Europe, Accell is constantly engaged in an active dialogue with its stakeholders. We meet with them, we listen, and we exchange information. This is how we map out expectations about our approach and standpoints on various issues such as sustainability and how we stay abreast of relevant current developments.

In 2021, Accell was active as a member of various national and international organizations, industry associations and we participated in initiatives aimed at promoting bicycle use, cycling, road safety, standardization in the sector and sustainable mobility. Accell Group is represented in the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI), Cycling Industries Europe (CIE) and the Confederation of the European Bicycle Industries (CONEBI). In addition to this, we work closely with the Dutch Road Safety Council and the German road safety organization Verkehrswacht.

 

Research: The modal
shift to E-bikes

In 2021, Accell hired an independent agency to conduct desk research into existing research on the substitution effects of cycling and its environmental impact. ‘Hard numbers’ supporting the modal shift from car travel to bicycle use, as well as the underlying consumer motives to change, indicate the (e-)bike’s potential to replace the car. However, studies have also touched upon several barriers. It is safe to conclude that there is a group of people who purchase an e-bike and use it to replace a significant proportion of their car travel. Yet while it is plausible to say that there is a modal shift going on, there is not yet enough literature to support a convincing conclusion on its extent.

 


ACCELL GROUP’S
KEY STAKEHOLDERS

  • Dealers
  • Consumers/cyclists
  • Suppliers
  • Sector organizations (national and international)
  • Governments (local and national)
  • Employees (and employee representatives)
  • Trade associations
  • Investors, financiers and analysts

In Networks and stakeholder engagement you will find a list of our main contacts with these stakeholders. You will also find an overview, organized by theme, of the various sector and special interest organizations where we have a seat on the board or for which we actively participate in working groups. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CSR EXPERT GROUP

In 2020, partly on the initiative of Accell, a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) expert group was set up under the umbrella of the European cycling industry sector organizations CONEBI and CIE.

In 2021 and the years ahead, this expert group will continue to address a number of fundamental issues related to the circular economy and sustainable solutions, in a joint effort to make the industry even more planet-friendly. One example of these solutions was the eradication of plastic in industry packaging. Accell chairs the meetings of this CSR expert group.

 

Greenhouse Gas emissions and energy consumption

 

 

 



 

The greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of Accell Group amounted to 8,259 tonnes of CO2-equivalent in 2021 (2020: 8,089 tonnes), which was an increase of 2.1%. Accell produced more bikes and saw strong growth in the P&A business which in turn also led to a rise in GHG emissions and energy consumption in absolute terms. In relative terms the GHG emissions declined to 6.00 TJ per million net turnover in 2021 (2020: 6.24). The relative energy consumption declined in 2021 with 4.0% to 0.105 (2020: 0.110). See the Employee and sustainability data section of this report for detailed figures on GHG emissions. 

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Accell measures and reports the results of its GHG emissions (in CO2-equivalent) in accordance with the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) protocol. This includes emissions from fuel consumption at its warehouses and offices, by the transport of goods, purchased electricity for the company’s own use, and indirect emissions from the likes of business travel and the use of packing materials.

 

In 2022, Accell will further explore to also include reducing GHG emissions generated by actual bike use and the reduction of kilometres travelled using fossil fuels as a result of this. In addition, Accell Group is considering joining the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi), which would entail us taking a science-based approach to the reduction of emissions in line with the Paris Agreement.

End-to-end footprint
Accell Group

 

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EXPLAINED: ACCELL GROUP’S
END-TO-END FOOTPRINT

Accell distinguishes between three circles of greenhouse gas emissions. Firstly, the direct emissions from sources we control, including purchased energy (inner circle). Secondly, the indirect emissions that Accell can ultimately influence. This second circle, in combination with the inner circle, is referred to as the Corporate Carbon Footprint (CCF). We already report a part of these emissions and are currently developing monitoring tools and dashboards. 

The outer circle completes the emissions that cover Accell’s entire end-to-end footprint. This is the source of more than 80% of the total greenhouse gas emissions from our products. These include sources we have less control over, but this is currently changing due to new insights and new legislation.

 

For example, new battery-related legislation includes requirements for the use of recycled raw materials and increased producer responsibility, with extra attention for the end-of-life of products. Accell is currently in talks with suppliers and has taken the first steps in the application of the cradle-to-cradle philosophy to reduce emissions in a joint effort with its partners.

The end-to-end footprint (200,000 tonnes of CO2- equivalent) is an estimate based on a life-cycle analysis and the number of bikes sold and excluding our Parts & Accessories business. When measuring total greenhouse gas emissions, in addition to the negative emissions in the supply chain, it should also be taken into account that bicycles have a positive footprint during their use, as they replace transport kilometres using polluting alternatives (car, train, public transport).

ENERGY CONSUMPTION 

Accell consumes most of its own energy at its manufacturing units, offices, warehouses and during the transport of its bicycles. The largest manufacturing units in the Netherlands, Turkey and Hungary account for most of this energy consumption. This is where bicycles are assembled and painted. 

Accell's energy consumption increased by 1.9% in 2021 when compared with 2020. This increase in absolute consumption to 145 TJs was the result of a substantial

 

increase in production. Accell is studying the possibility of also measuring and reporting relative annual energy use per product.

Sustainability and efficient logistics go hand in hand. Our aim is to reduce the number of transport movements and make the maximum use of our transport capacity. By optimizing packaging (see further: ‘Waste’) and direct shipments from our factories to our distribution warehouses, we save on transport expenditure on certain routes, and reduce our CO2 emissions.

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Cleaner energy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sustainable, or clean, energy, is generated using renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar energy or biomass. This has less impact on climate change and the production of this energy generates little (or no) emissions that have a negative impact on the environment.

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In 2021, Accell Group’s use of green electricity remained equal when compared with 2020, which is 20.5% of our total electricity consumption. We upgraded the majority of our energy contracts to green electricity supply, which will be effective from the first quarter in 2022. In late 2021, we reached an agreement with the owner of the manufacturing unit in Turkey on the supply of green electricity.

 

We therefore expect the share of green electricity to increase towards 100% for our main manufacturing units in 2022. The total use of sustainable energy in 2021 remained stable with 8.6% (2020: 8.5%) in percentage of the total energy consumption. In addition, in the coming years we will switch to fossil-free fuels from gas for our manufacturing unit in Waldsassen in Germany.

Waste and raw materials

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accell Group distinguishes the following waste flows: paper and cardboard, metal, rubber, wood, foil and plastic, other waste and hazardous waste. Where possible and responsible, we avoid the use of materials and by doing so limit waste flows. We see the opportunities in, and the need for, a future in which no raw materials are depleted, and residual materials are fully reused in the system.

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CIRCULAR ECONOMY

Creating a circular economy requires close cooperation with industry partners and our peers. As one of the key players in the sector, we accept our responsibility and play a leading role in the creation of conditions for ecologically sound production. We also work with industry partners on other sustainability-related topics, such as the development of a social audit platform for the bicycle industry.

 

WASTE

In 2021, the total amount of waste increased by more than 6% (in kgs) compared with 2020. This was once again a direct result of substantially higher production in 2021. In relative numbers per tonnes in millions net turn over, the amount of waste remained stable. We recycled the vast majority (68%) of this waste, while the remainder was reused, incinerated or sent to landfill. See the Employee and sustainability data section for an overview of waste production and processing.

LESS PACKAGING
AND SINGLE-USE PLASTICS

Thanks to the smarter packaging and transport of bicycles, Accell recorded a sharp drop in the use of packaging materials in 2021. On top of that, production was higher and the decline was even greater in relative terms. Measured in tonnes, the use of packaging materials fell by more than 12%, to 4,546 tonnes from 5,170 tonnes in 2020.

Reducing Accell’s use of plastic in packaging is helping us to reduce our ecological footprint. In 2021, Accell used a combined 187 tonnes of plastic in inbound and outbound packaging. This was 13% less than in 2020. See the Employee and sustainability data section for an overview of the use of packaging materials.

'Green' box for e-bikes
We have developed an innovative sustainable cardboard box for our e-bikes. Also the inner protection items are made of cardboard and paper now. The 'box' is

 

sustainable due to the use of recyclable cardboard and the almost complete absence of environmentally harmful plastics. In effect, the packaging does justice to the quality of the bicycle itself and the care with which it is made. After all, a bicycle - a green product par excellence - belongs in green packaging.

We expect to phase in the new cardboard box for Accell’s e-bikes in 2022, following a minor delay due to the pandemic. We will develop this packaging philosophy into a 'disposable plastic-free packaging programme' for all our bicycles. With this innovation, Accell is anticipating new European packaging regulations and taxes that are expected to arrive in the next few years.

WATER-BASED PAINT

Late 2021, Accell decided to in principle paint all our bike frames at our own manufacturing units. All our manufacturing units use 100% water-based paint for this purpose, as opposed to solvent-based paint mainly used in Asia. All our plants filter paint residues out of the water, so all the water we use is returned to the environment in a clean state.

Product design for the future

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As one of the leading global bike manufacturers, Accell Group wants to take a leading role in driving the cradle-to-cradle philosophy in the bike industry. The basic idea is to recycle, reduce, rethink, reuse and upcycle.

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CRADLE-TO-CRADLE

Cradle-to-cradle stands for innovation, quality and beneficial design. Cradle-to-cradle describes the safe and potentially infinite circulation of materials and nutrients in cycles. After a 'life' in one product, materials are used as raw materials to produce a new product. This process leaves no residual products or hazardous substances that need to be disposed of as waste. Accell's ambition is to eventually produce bicycles and accessories according to the cradle-to-cradle principle. 

In 2021, Accell launched a concrete approach for the use of the cradle-to-cradle framework to strengthen our product design and lifecycle management, one of our main strategic sustainability topics. This approach includes a clear roadmap that will enable us to achieve cradle-to-cradle gold level in 2035. In 2022, we and our partner EPEA (founding father of cradle-to-cradle), will assess one of our bicycles in line with our strategic topics for the cradle-to-cradle bronze level. We will actively involve various Accell departments and our partners in this process. We will then translate what we learn together into best practices and design guides that will enable the departments to start assessing other Accell bicycles based on the same criteria. On the basis of these assessments, the departments will define innovation projects that will help our bicycles to meet the cradle-to-cradle criteria and be more sustainable.

 

REUSE AND RECYCLE

Electric bikes use batteries that contain metals and minerals. These raw materials are in danger of becoming scarce and their extraction and production can have a negative impact on the environment. Accell believes it is important to use the available raw materials from batteries as efficiently as possible, to minimize waste and harmful emissions into the soil, water and air.

The European target for recycling batteries is more than 60%. To achieve this, various processes are combined into complex process chains to recover a high percentage of valuable materials, while taking safety in account. 
In 2021, Accell initiated several (research) projects for the collection and reuse of (parts of) batteries, in cooperation with a number of key business partners. These included a project to study the possibility of setting up a service programme for the testing, separation and collection of batteries by dealers.

Another project is focusing on the residual capacity of batteries when they no longer work. This percentage proved to be surprisingly high, and opens up the potential for the more efficient use of raw materials thanks to the more prolonged use of the batteries and the marketing of the residual value.

Accell is working with CONEBI, a European federation of bicycle industry players, on a study into the potential to improve the lifecycle of batteries. Accell is also involved in the drafting of a definitive European Union directive for portable batteries in Light Means of Transport. This directive is likely to be published in 2022.

SAFETY

Road safety, or rather a lack of road safety, is an important reason why people are not starting to cycle.

 

Accell works hard to make bicycles safer in traffic using several future innovations, such as reflective paints, decals and new lighting concepts. For traditional bikes, we use hub dynamo-powered front and rear lights, so cyclists never run out of power and remain visible to other traffic. We also fit our bikes with innovations such as daytime running light designs and V lights that project a V shape on the road to add even more visibility. In 2022, all Batavus e–bikes will also be equipped with brake lights for increased safety.

 

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Supply chain responsibility

 

 

 

 



 



Accell Group wants to create sustainable value by supplying responsibly produced bicycles and bicycle accessories. Accell also looks at the entire supply chain and its suppliers become partners we work closely with to achieve our sustainability targets.

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SUPPLIER AUDITS

Accell was unable to conduct any supplier audits in 2021 due to the travel restrictions and lockdowns triggered by the pandemic in Europe and Asia. Accell will resume these audits as soon as national governments permit visits to their respective countries. In 2021, Accell prepared for this new round of audits by setting up a new, independent supplier audit programme. This integrates and improves a number of topics, such as quality, organization, labour rights and safety at work, resulting in a professionalization of contracts and partnerships.

 

One significant side-effect of the audits is they provide Accell suppliers and other companies in the production chain with an incentive to accept their own responsibility on the environmental, social and governance fronts. The auditing of suppliers takes place in accordance with the Responsible Sport Initiative (RSI), one of the sector’s cooperative initiatives. To safeguard international social and safety standards, it is our ambition to visit ten suppliers or sites in 2022*.

*If there are no restrictive pandemic measures.

Supplier Code of Conduct
Accell has developed and introduced a new Supplier Code of Conduct, which lays down its conditions for suppliers and other parties involved in production and purchasing. These conditions cover items like child labour, involuntary labour and discrimination, safety requirements, environmental requirements and working conditions. This Supplier Code of Conduct will be made available on the Accell website and is a part of a dedicated programme aimed at our global suppliers, also in anticipation of new legislation in the field of ESG. Suppliers will be asked to sign the Supplier Code of Conduct when entering into new contracts.

RESPONSIBLE SPORT INITIATIVE (RSI)
Accell is working with other leading brands in the bicycle industry, suppliers and retailers under the umbrella of the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) on an integrated and common code of conduct. This led to the RSI, of which Accell is a co-founder. The RSI provides a uniform standard and enables RSI participants to reduce the impact of evaluation on suppliers.

 

 

INBOUND PACKAGING

More than a quarter of all Accell’s frames sourced in Asia are solvent spray-painted. In late 2021, Accell decided to gradually relocate this process to its mManufacturing uUnits in Europe. This helps us considerably reduce our use of single-use plastics, which are not necessary for the transport of unpainted frames.

Moreover, the transport of non-painted (raw) frames is more efficient than for painted frames, contributing to less inbound transport and therefore less CO2 emissions. By switching from solvent spray-painting frames in Asia to in-house painting, we will move to 100% water-based paint, with the associated reduction of chemical use and emissions.

Replacing plastics with reusable crates
In 2020, Accell started talks with a major supplier of electronic systems in Hungary on the replacement of plastic packaging with reusable crates. This will save time (less unpacking and removal) and eventually reduce the use of disposable plastic. Accell wants to work with its peers in the industry on this front, so increased demand will make it more attractive for suppliers to change production methods. Due to the pressure in the supply chain at our partners - a direct consequence of the pandemic - we temporarily shelved this project in 2021.

 

Socially responsible

Socially responsible

Accell designs and produces bicycles with respect for our employees, dealers, customers, suppliers and society as a whole. Our employees are the driving force behind everything we do. Together, we get millions of people moving and get the best out of people and bikes.

 

 



 

 

Number of employees

 

 

 

* Reference date End-November 2021 and measured in FTEs

See more facts and figures on our employees in 2021 in the Employee and sustainability data section.

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ONGOING COMMITMENT AND DEDICATION DURING THE PANDEMIC

At the start of the year few people imagined that economic and social developments in Asia and Europe would be yet again overshadowed by the pandemic. But, once more, lockdowns brought part of economic and social lives almost to a complete standstill. Fortunately, this did not apply to Accell's manufacturing units and warehouses, which continued to deliver bikes, parts and

 

accessories. Despite having to operate in difficult circumstances, having to comply with strict hygiene rules, our employees delivered a truly impressive performance. Office personnel worked mainly from home, which put high demands on their flexibility and resourcefulness. Over time, all our people adapted to dealing with the situation. Thanks to the hard work and creativity of all our employees, we were together able to continue operating very close to "business as usual".

Accell initiated hygiene-related and other measures in our manufacturing units and warehouses and made it possible for employees to work remotely from home. Due to our compliance with strict guidelines aimed at safeguarding the health and safety of our employees, we managed

 

to limit the number of COVID-19 infections in the workplace. We also involved our employees’ immediate families in the care we provided and the measures we took.

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Engaged employees

 

 

 

 

 

 

Employees make the difference. With their passion and dedication, they deliver high-quality bicycles, bicycle parts and accessories. Accell has combined all its employee development programmes under the motto: Together We Move Accell Forward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT SURVEY

In 2021, for the third time, we invited all our employees to participate in the Accell Engagement Survey. Despite practical implementation challenges due to the COVID-19 measures, over 78% (2020: 83%) took part in the survey. The total engagement score for Accell Group is 7.2 (2020: 7.3), showing the appreciation for the company stayed almost the same in this year of challenging on-site conditions and remote working. We see this as a positive sign that we are an employer who is there for our employees when they need us. This was confirmed by, among other things, the high appreciation for the

 

measures, support and communication regarding the pandemic. In addition, the survey showed a particularly high appreciation for a positive work experience and for being part of an inclusive organization. We can also conclude that targeted measures bear fruit. In particular, two units in the organization which had lower scores in previous years, scored above average in the year under review. There remains room for improvement, in particular regarding efficiency and communications. HR will place extra emphasis on these in the years ahead.

 

TRAINING

In 2021, we offered an average of eight hours per FTE for external training and education. This is in addition to on-the-job training. Many training facilities were closed due to the pandemic and it was almost impossible to provide classical learning opportunities. This was achieved by offering online education, among other things. In additional to regular training, we provided numerous (online) training initiatives as well as coaching and personal guidance for employees and managers on how to deal with the circumstances caused by the pandemic. These covered issues such as "remote leadership" and "work-life balance". See the "Employee and sustainability data" section of this report for detailed figures on training.

HEALTH AND SAFETY OF EMPLOYEES

The pandemic in particular is a clear demonstration of just how important it is to be a responsible employer and to improve and guarantee the HEALTH AND SAFETY of your employees. In addition to regular training, Accell provided numerous (online) training initiatives as well as coaching and personal guidance for employees and managers on how to deal with the circumstances caused by the pandemic. These covered issues such as "remote leadership" and "work-life balance".

In 2021, 137 incidents were reported at work that resulted in sick leave which is higher than in 2020 (68). A new, improved definition has been used in 2021, therefore the difference provides a distorted picture of the number of incidents. The absenteeism due to accidents as percentage of total working hours of all employees on the payroll reduced by 20% (2021: 0.08%, 2020: 0.10%).  Safety teams at our plants stay focused on preventing the causes of incidents. See the "Employee and sustainability data" section of this report for detailed figures on health and safety.

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ENVIRONMENT HEALTH AND SAFETY (EHS)

Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) teams check which environmental and safety improvements are needed at the manufacturing units on a monthly basis. The teams also monitor the execution of any improvement measures. They consult with each other and report their findings at Group level. This means the teams can learn from each other on subjects such as reducing energy consumption and increasing waste separation.

 

Diversity and inclusion

 

 



 

 

 

Accell Group supports and promotes diversity and equality. One of our aims is to balance the gender ratio at every level of the company and to create a working environment where everybody has the opportunity to grow and can excel. We stand for a work culture of integrity, where women and men are given equal opportunities. To make this happen, we focus on diversity and inclusion.

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In 2021, 29% of our total workforce was female in line with 2020 and 22.5% of the Accell Group Leadership Forum were women.

Accell maintains and develops a culture in which people feel recognized and respected, that embraces differences and in which colleagues share clear values. We want a culture in which individuals can be their best selves and inspire others to do the same, creating high-performance teams that help us to meet our strategic goals. To this end, we offer employees access to facilities, personal and career development opportunities and employment on the basis of equal opportunities.

 

An assessment showed in 2021 that although we are doing well in terms of recruiting and employing women, the challenge is to get more women onto career development paths to senior (leadership) positions.

With this in mind, in 2021 the Board of Management set up a Diversity & Inclusion programme. Due to pandemic, the start-up of this programme was delayed slightly, but it is now being implemented. In essence, the programme is aimed at building a strongly connected women’s community, to recognize and show what women are doing and improve internal and external communications on relevant subjects. On top of this, we have introduced recruitment and development programmes to increase opportunities for women and for the systematic recruitment and career development of more women for senior roles.

Local initiatives

We strive to show leadership in diversity and have many (local) initiatives to support this effort. The Accell Bisiklet  manufacturing unit (Manisa, Turkey) is publicly recognized as one of the best places to work for women in Turkey. They have launched several initiatives to ensure women’s safety (traveling home by bus) and recruited more female employees (women’s training programme for welders).

 

Accell is also participating in, and has founded, local women’s cycling initiatives, such as a women’s festival of cycling in the United Kingdom. And last but not least, we support a number of professional female cycling sports teams:

 

Anne Terpstra, GHOST Lector bike designed by Tina Kutschki (Accell R&D)

 

Care for society

 

Accell Group accepts social responsibility for its own activities and those of its business partners. Examples include conducting business fairly, combating fraud and corruption, protecting human rights and preventing child labour. We work with our suppliers and partners on the basis of mutual respect.

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ACCELL'S CODE OF CONDUCT

Having a strong set of values that respect people, society and the planet has always been at the heart of Accell and will continue to be critical to building our purpose-driven company. Our license to operate and our ability to compete successfully are dependent on every single person in the company living the same values.

 

Accell does business fairly, and firmly rejects any form of bribery. We support the principles of free enterprise and fair competition. The risk of non-compliance requires attention and, if necessary, appropriate action. In 2021, Accell laid down new instructions and recommendations for the behaviour we expect in a completely new internal Code of Conduct.

This goes beyond mere compliance with laws and regulations and provides a guide to conduct in numerous areas. Accell regularly reviews laws and regulations and makes changes to the Code of Conduct when necessary. The full text of the new Code of Conduct is available on Accell Group’s website.

Following the publication of the new Code of Conduct in 2021, Accell launched an online training programme that all employees in office roles are obliged to follow. For production staff dedicated measures are being implemented. We will continue to disseminate the Code of Conduct internally and improve awareness and compliance.

SPEAK UP
Accell’s Code of Conduct includes a Speak Up Line. This is available 24/7 to all employees. They can express their concern anonymously calling the Speak Up Line, which is operated by an independent external supplier.

WORLD BICYCLE RELIEF

Accell has supported World Bicycle Relief since 2006. This non-profit organization mobilizes people in developing regions by giving them a bicycle. Millions of people walk kilometres every day to survive. On foot under the hot sun, distance prevents people from going to school, receiving healthcare and bringing their goods to the market. World Bicycle Relief provides specially designed, locally assembled, robust bicycles to residents of rural developing regions. The efficient and innovative bicycle model gives students (especially girls), health workers and entrepreneurs the mobility they need to change their lives. In recent years, World Bicycle Relief has delivered 200,000 bicycles and trained about a thousand technicians.

 

 

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Corporate sustainability in progress

The European Commission wants to bring corporate ESG reporting in line with financial reporting. This gives stakeholders, including investors, the opportunity to assess a company’s economic activities on an equal footing and enable them to ascertain the extent to which a company is creating financial and non-financial value.

As a listed company, sustainability reporting is compulsory for Accell Group according to the European Union NFRD (non-financial reporting directive). Stakeholders’ increasing need for relevant, reliable, comparable and available environmental, social and governance (ESG) information is accelerating the introduction of new laws and regulations. In April 2021, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), that will require all large corporations to include more and detailed ESG reports in their 2023 annual reports. This report will cover sustainability targets, the risks and opportunities driven by ESG factors, the resilience of a company’s business model in terms of its strategy for combatting climate change in the short, medium and long term. In addition to this, the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) may also be included in the CSRD reporting requirements.

Taxonomy Regulation

Regulation (EU) 2020/852 (the ‘Taxonomy Regulation’) was published in the Official Journal of the European Union on 22 June 2020 and entered into force on 12 July 2020. It aims to define environmentally sustainable activities. The Taxonomy Regulation is a key component of the European Commission's action plan to redirect capital flows towards a more sustainable economy. It represents an important step towards achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 in line with EU goals as the Taxonomy is a classification system for environmentally sustainable economic activities. For 2021, companies are required to report what share of their activities are considered to be 'eligible'. For 2022, companies will also need to report on whether these eligible activities are 'aligned', following a three step approach including technical screening criteria set by the EU Taxonomy. We present the share of our group turnover, capital expenditure (CapEx) and operating expenditure (OpEx) for the reporting period 2021, which are mainly associated with Taxonomy-eligible economic activities related to the first two environmental objectives (climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation) in accordance with Art. 8 Taxonomy Regulation and Art. 10 (2) of the Art. 8 Delegated Act. Read more here.