Personnel policy

Introduction

The guiding principle of the HR policy of blueplanet Investments AG is the positive participation of employees of all companies in an environment that promotes diversity and ensures equal treatment for all regardless of gender, age, ethnic origin, skin color, religion, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, parenthood, social class or political views. To this end, blueplanet Investments AG follows
three basic principles: Respect for people (based on the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work), promotion of further training as well as fair treatment and wages.

Respect for people includes preventing all forms of involuntary work and child labor, upholding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and evaluating applicants without prejudice by assessing their suitability for a position purely on the basis of their skills, training and experience. This also includes Balanced CO² Equation ensuring working conditions that are not only safe, but also take into account the circumstances of all employees.
blueplanet Investments AG is committed to the further development of the skills of its employees and ensures that their staff are offered sufficient opportunities for further education and that they receive sufficient training to be able to perform their tasks. Further development also includes the position within the organization and a clear career path should be mapped, where possible.

The minimum compensation to be paid by blueplanet Investments AG and its subsidiaries is the statutory minimum wage. In addition, compensation should serve as an incentive for a positive identification with the company. The freedom to organize in trade unions is respected and trade unions are accepted negotiating partners in wage negotiations.
In addition to these basic principles, blueplanet Investments AG establishes processes in its participations with the help of which compliance with these principles can be monitored and ensured. The basis of these processes is the transparent two-way communication between employees and managers. It is ensured that addressing problems does not result in disadvantages for the reporting person within the organization.

Respect for people

Human rights

The starting point for all interactions with all persons who come into contact with the entities of blueplanet Investments AG is their human rights. Any organization, including companies, consists of people and their interactions. Thus, respecting human rights is not only an ethical, but also a business prerequisite for the activities of blueplanet Investments AG. In addition, blueplanet Investments AG demands that all affiliates and their partners, both upstream and downstream, observe human rights and maintain human dignity.

This also includes taking decisive action against forced labor. Forced or child labor is not permitted within the blueplanet Investments AG group of companies. In addition, measures are to be taken to prevent the exploitation of employees as well as human trafficking.

Any employment relationships entered into by blueplanet Investments AG and its partners must always be concluded on a voluntary basis. Employees must receive all necessary information in a sufficiently comprehensible form before an employment contract is concluded.

Diversity

blueplanet Investments AG bases its hiring decisions on the professional qualification, education, experience, abilities and performance of applicants.
Employment decisions will be made without regard to race, color of skin, religion, national or ethnic origin, gender (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, gender identity (LGBTQ+), age, disability or other legally protected characteristics.
In order to further strengthen diversity, care is taken to ensure that there is no discrimination within the corporate culture and in everyday operations. This also includes decisions such as promotions, rewards, benefits of any kind, training or retirement. Applicants are asked to not include a photo into their application.

Working conditions based on respect

The working environment of blueplanet Investments AG is based on compliance with all applicable statutory provisions of labor and employment law in the applicable version. On this basis, the subsidiaries of blueplanet Investment AG are encouraged to develop occupational safety procedures consistent with their work processes and to train their employees accordingly. The aim is to avoid work-related accidents and to create a safe environment for employees. The procedures shall be documented and reviewed at regular intervals.

blueplanet Investments AG is committed to ensuring that all employees can work in an environment that promotes diversity, mutual trust and respect. This implies adherence to human rights, the implementation of equal opportunities, and the prevention of discrimination or mobbing. Sexual harassment and other inappropriate conduct will not be tolerated and will be subject to disciplinary
action. The companies of the blueplanet Investment Group shall protect all rights of their employees, including rights of personality and data protection rights.

Respect for employees also includes the consideration of different circumstances in life. In addition, blueplanet Investments AG wants to have an efficient and productive workforce and provide employees with a good work-life balance. In order to achieve this, blueplanet Investments AG and its subsidiaries use the following tools to create flexible job opportunities:

  • Flexible working hours (beginning and end)
  • Home office
  • Mobile working
  • Regular breaks
  • Part-time work
  • Role redundancy/job sharing
  • Personalized career planning
  • Limited time off
  • Parental leave
  • Customized workplace design

Career development

Employee development planning is composed of two pillars. On the one hand, blueplanet Investments AG provides development plans for the personal further development of its staff. In this context consideration is given to which qualifying courses should be attended and the skills that could be acquired. On the other hand, blueplanet Investments AG creates succession plans with regard to the positions of the staff of the organization. These plans determine which employees fit which position and which development stages they need to go through beforehand. Similar processes are being introduced in the participations of blueplanet Investments AG.

Career planning

The aim of blueplanet Investments AG is to provide its staff with the skills they need to accomplish their tasks. In addition to on-the-job development, employees are offered additional opportunities to acquire new qualifications. Depending on the requirements of the current or future position, both internal and external training courses are offered. These cover a wide range of topics:

  • Industry-specific market know-how
  • Technical / IT skills
  • General management skills
  • Management training for executive positions,
  • etc.

In addition to this instrument, other tools are also used. These include: a mentoring program in which employees are assigned to an experienced employee to get to know the best processes and corporate culture and so-called stretch assignments, i.e. the assignment of tasks and projects exceeding the current qualifications and thus promoting the further development of an employee.

Succession planning

The hierarchy of blueplanet Investments AG is still quite flat. However, the plan is to clearly define career paths when the company expands. When hiring new employees, care is taken to ensure that there is a clear perspective for future development within the company. The plan is to organize employees into Career Planning Succession Planning managers and technical experts with coupled job rotation. This will allow employees to regularly gain insights into the work environment of their colleagues. This will contribute to a better understanding between employees and at the same time improve the corporate culture.

Corporate culture and benefits

The basic principle of blueplanet Investments AG's corporate culture is transparent communication coupled with a solution-oriented approach to problems. Managers and employees take responsibility for their decisions and actions. Relations between colleagues are characterized by respect. Unnecessary formalities between hierarchy levels are avoided. There is no dress code, but outfits should match the occasion. blueplanet Investments AG offers the following benefits to support the well-being of its employees:

  • Training sessions with a personal trainer for preventive health care
  • Health advice by a non-medical professional
  • Locally sourced fresh fruits and drinks
  • Financial support for meals

Compensation policy

The compensation policy of blueplanet Investments AG is divided into two areas. On the one hand, we use a performance metric called “balanced scorecard” on the management side to enhance not only the profitability and efficacy of the company but also to provide an incentive for the achievement of sustainability goals. On the other hand, we have adopted the principle of "fair compensation" in order to ensure that the employees of blueplanet Investments AG and those of our participations are compensated in a manner that provides them with a living wage and reflects their abilities and experience.

Management (Balanced Scorecard)

In order to ensure the sustainable success of our company, the balanced scorecard used in the compensation of our executives includes a variety of success perspectives. These comprise not only mere business parameters, but also place emphasis on the areas of social responsibility and on the environmental impact of the company. In addition to a fixed compensation, the variable component is determined based on the scores of the balanced scorecard. The weighting of perspectives is always specified. The target values and individual parameters of the targets depend on the respective leadership position. An external consulting consortium decides on the specific design of these contracts.

Financial aspects (40%)

Target Measure
Increase in profitability EBIT-to-sales ratio
Increase in contribution
margin
Sales minus cost of production as compared to previous year
Increase in sales Sales in comparison to previous year

Customer aspects (20%)

Target Measure
Customer satisfaction Number of customer complaints
Handling time Days until a customer request is fulfilled, starting from contract
conclusion
Customer loyalty Number of returning customers compared to the previous year
Customer acquisition Percentage of sales to new customers

Process aspects (10%)

Target Measure
Lead utilization efficiency Percentage of leads converted to customers
Organization of suppliers Percentage of orders processed in good time
Complaint management Number of positive feedback with regard to complaints handling
Certification Number of certifications introduced at process level (e.g. ISO)

Innovation and growth aspects (10%)

Target Measure
New products Percentage of sales with new products
Staff training Newly acquired skills through workshops x the number of
employees
Cooperation partners Size of the cooperation network compared to the previous year

Sustainability aspects (20%)

Target Measure
Reduction of CO² emissions Volume of CO² reduction in tons compared to the previous year
Social projects Projects completed out in the field of social commitment
Occupational safety Number of work-related accidents
Certification Number of certifications introduced in the field of sustainable
development

Staff (Fair Compensation)

In order to ensure that employees of our company as well as those of our participations receive a compensation that is both fair and provides a living wage, blueplanet Investments AG has created framework conditions with specifications regarding compensation. They ensure that employees throughout the world are paid a living wage and receive regional adjusted equal pay for equal work. In addition to the staff in our companies, we also try to promote the implementation of these framework conditions at our suppliers worldwide and thus have a positive influence towards fair compensation beyond the confines of our company.

Our fundamental principles are based on the guidelines of the Fair Wage Network, which defines the following dimensions as a prerequisite for a fair wage:

Dimension Explanation
Payment of wages A wage which is regularly and formally paid in full to the employees.
Living wage A wage that ensures minimum acceptable living standards.
Statutory minimum wage A wage that respects the minimum wage regulations.
Comparable wage A wage that is at least comparable to wages in similar companies in the same sector.
Working hours A wage that does not generate excessive working hours and properly rewards normal working hours and overtime.
Pay system A wage that leads to a balanced wage structure/composition between the basic wage and additional bonuses and benefits.
A wage that reflects different levels of education, skills and professional experience, as well as rewarding individual and collective performance.
A wage that complies with social security regulations, provides paid
holidays and is not dominated by disciplinary wage sanctions.
Communication and social dialogue A wage on which employees receive sufficient information in advance (through a proper employment contract), in the course of the production process (through regular communication channels) and at the time of the wage payment (through a detailed pay slip).
A wage that is negotiated individually (with individual employees) and collectively—notably through collective bargaining—between the employer and the employees’ representatives who are accepted as negotiating partners by the company.
Pay discrimination and wage disparity A system of equal wages for equal work that does not lead to wage discrimination and does not generate unjustified, excessive and rapidly growing wage differences in the company.
Real wages A wage that increases at least in proportion to price increases.
Wage share A wage that increases in proportion to the cost structure of the enterprise and does not result in a drop in the wage share relative to the performance growth of the enterprise.
Wage costs A wage whose increase does not result in a dramatic drop in labor cost share of the total production costs and as a percentage of employment.
Work intensity, technology
and up-skilling
A wage that increases along with changes in intensity at work, technological content and the evolving skills and tasks of the labor force.

In addition to the mere implementation of the afore-mentioned dimensions, blueplanet Investments AG has made it its mission to shape these into explicit guidelines and to exceed them in part. The implementation of the guidelines in the parent company and in the main participation, ecabiotec® AG, has already been completed. The guidelines will be implemented in the subsidiaries of ecabiotec® AG. The framework conditions are as follows:

Guideline Content
Market-based compensation ➢ The fixed wage components meet or exceed the legal requirements of the country.
➢ The compensation of staff is based on market conditions, education and skills as well as the skills required for the position.
➢ Salary ranges for positions are defined in advance.
Minimum standards and living wage ➢ The fixed compensation for the full-time staff with the lowest qualifications is defined so that it does not only allow basic needs to be met, but also provides some disposable income.
➢ Payment of fixed wages does not require working overtime or using a variable component.
➢ Part-time employees are paid on the basis of the abovespecified fixed wages in proportion to their working hours.
➢ In the course of time, the fixed wages are adjusted to the cost of living in the respective country.
Performance-based
compensation
➢ In addition to fixed wages, employees are offered variable components based on pre-agreed targets. In the case of executives, this is done by applying the balanced scorecard
to their area of responsibility.
➢ Extraordinary benefits are remunerated in the form of direct participations such as shares that are issued from an employee participation pool.
➢ In addition, employees are free to purchase shares in blueplanet Investments AG.
Open communication and transparency of compensation ➢ Employees are provided with all the necessary information in an easy-to-understand form to be able to verify their compensation.
➢ Employees are provided with different compensation options to choose from and are therefore free to make their own decisions.
➢ Compensation-related queries are answered at any time.
➢ Trade unions are accepted and used as negotiators for wage negotiations. The results of these negotiations form the basis for the compensation of the staff represented by those trade unions.
Anti-discrimination ➢ The principle of equal pay for equal work applies regardless of gender, age, ethnic origin, color of skin, religion, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, children, social class or political views.
➢ Anonymized benchmark data are published once a company exceeds a certain size in order to prevent discrimination.

Assurance processes

A position has been created within blueplanet Investments AG for monitoring and ensuring compliance with the basic principles in the HR area. Similar positions will be created within the participations of blueplanet Investments AG. The holders of these positions will be responsible for reviewing employment contracts as well as contracts with external service providers on a random basis. In addition, an audit will be carried out at the end of a year during which all contracts will be reviewed for violations of the guidelines. The plan is to oblige service providers to sign an appropriate declaration of compliance with the guidelines.

Another important aspect of enforcing the implementation of the guidelines is manager training. Managers need to be familiar with the requirements of blueplanet Investments AG and ultimately implement them. Regular training sessions will be held for this purpose.

The comprehensive implementation of the guidelines requires the trusting communication between blueplanet Investments AG and its staff. Managers are instructed to inform their employees of the options available for reporting a violation of the guidelines. Employees will be trained accordingly and processes will be created to provide anonymous reporting options or at least ensure a communication based on trust.