Michael Schemmer obtained a doctorate in physics and joined AEG-Telefunken as researcher in 1982. During his 34 year career in AEG, Adtranz, and Bombardier Transportation, he held various management positions in research, production technology, environment and occupational safety, and CSR. As Senior Director for HSE, he represents the Transportation Group in the Bombardier HSE Council.
Michael Schemmer holds various functions in national and international standardization, in relevant industry associations, and with regard to environmental politics. He serves as chairman of the European Rail Industry (UNIFE) Sustainable Transport Committee, is a member of the UITP Sustainability Commission, and vice-chairman of the CEN Strategic Advisory Body on Environment (SABE).
Recognizing the growing request in regards of sustainability in the transport sector, UITP launched at its 2003 World Congress the Sustainability Charter. It aimed at demonstrating the members’ achievements in conducting their business sustainably, by showcasing best practice examples and reporting on improvements. At the 2009 World Congress in Vienna a set of indicators together with an amendment of the Charter signatory requirements was presented. Now, it is mandatory for signatories to report on four areas linked to corporate leadership, namely: including sustainability in strategic objective setting and decision making, demonstrating established ways of sustainability reporting and availability of a process for stakeholder involvement. In addition, performance reporting – based on a set of standardized indicators - must cover the three legs of sustainability, i.e., people, planet, and profit.
A positive correlation has been demonstrated to exist between social (rather “societal”) performance and financial results. Can Charter signatories expect a business impact from their commitment? Our experience is that not always a sustainability initiative will immediately result in positive business impact. In many cases, it’s a slow process of transforming intangible effects into tangible impact. That’s why it is important to focus on the material topics. If these are selected right, a superior performance in respect of sustainability (primarily the environmental element of it) may well lead to competitive advantages.