New life, new opportunities
AfB specialises in extending the useful lives of used IT and mobile devices. The hardware supplied by businesses is refurbished and then sold. In the process, AfB also creates jobs for people with disabilities. Around 45% of the organisation’s 500 employees, who are currently spread across five countries (Germany, Austria, France, Switzerland and Slovakia) have benefited from such inclusive jobs. The Vienna Insurance Group with its Group companies Wiener Städtische Versicherung, Donau Versicherung, IT subsidiary twinformatics and VIG Holding have been partners of AfB Austria, which was set up in 2010, virtually since day one.
“Our Group’s partnership with AfB in Austria is significant for two reasons. Firstly, a strong sense of social responsibility has always been very important to us over the years, and secondly I believe that reusing equipment sends an important signal about the need to attach greater value to limited resources in our society,” explains Günter Geyer, Chairman of the Vienna Insurance Group Supervisory Board.
According to Vienna Insurance Group Managing Board member Gerhard Lahner, who joined the AfB Advisory Committee in mid-June 2021, this particular VIG Group engagement represents the perfect interplay between various key elements of sustainability: “Defining and implementing environmental and social sustainability criteria are core components of our sustainability strategy. AfB brings together various aspects of sustainability. Refurbishing and reusing devices makes a vital contribution to promoting resource conservation and the circular economy. And creating jobs for people with disabilities is an important social responsibility.”
Strong social and environmental footprint
AfB Managing Director Kurt Essler also emphasises the successful partnership: “Long-standing collaborations in particular, like our relationship with the Vienna Insurance Group, enable us to provide valuable, long-term work for disabled people, in line with our role as an inclusive, non-profit IT company, and to work together to make a key contribution to climate protection.”
The success of this approach is reflected in the figures: in 2020, the VIG Group supplied AfB with 6,275 used IT devices weighing a total of 43.8 tonnes. After deleting the data and carrying out hardware tests, repairs, upgrades and cleaning, AfB was able to resell 92% of the devices. The cooperation with VIG resulted in the creation of five new jobs for disabled people in 2020. Greenhouse gas emissions of 630,936kg (CO2 equivalent) were avoided, 213,040kg of raw materials in the form of metals and minerals were conserved, while 2.5 million kilowatt hours of electricity and 4.4 million litres of water were saved.
Protecting what will matter tomorrow
VIG adopted its sustainability strategy in 2017. The insurance business is all about protecting value, above all financial value, and safeguarding current and future generations. However, at VIG, operating sustainably and investing in ESG are about much more than providing financial security. The Group’s activities also take future social and environmental trends into account. For instance, VIG is one of the market leaders in insurance for renewable generating facilities. VIG is increasing its investments in rail transport, wind power and hydroelectric, as well as green bonds. In mid-March 2021 the Group issued a EUR 500 million senior sustainability bond, and the funding raised will go towards investments in green and social assets. The Vienna Insurance Group joined the United Nations Global Compact – the world’s largest corporate responsibility and sustainability initiative – on 8 March 2021.
From left to right: Gerhard Lahner, Member of the Managing Board, Vienna Insurance Group, Günter Geyer, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Vienna Insurance Group, Gernot Hochfellner, Head of Partner Management and Sales, AfB