As a sustainable family business, we at VAUDE have a special responsibility towards mankind and nature. Our goal of managing the company as sustainably as possible lies at the heart of our work. Our goal is to create a safe and attractive workplace for our employees and to sustain VAUDE across generations.
VAUDE has also received the highest accolades from the business world for this successful, sustainable corporate strategy. One example: the Green Controlling Award in 2015. This provides validation for our years of consistently pursuing sustainability.
Under the motto "With green topics to black numbers!" the Péter Horváth Foundation, in cooperation with the International Controller Association (ICV), bestows the Green Controlling Award annually. This award is aimed at promoting controller’s analysis with "green challenges". Companies and public institutions with the most innovative and effective "green" controlling solutions are honored.
In addition to the consideration of the economical aspects of planning, steering, controll and the supply of information, "Green Controlling" also includes the equal consideration of social and environmental aspects.
We at VAUDE convinced the jury with our integrated sustainability strategy which is implemented in all business sectors, throughout the entire product life cycle as well as with our climate neutral company headquarters in Tettnang. At VAUDE, sustainability is integrated in our vision and is anchored in our goals (see Our Sustainability Strategy) and thus also integrated in the company controlling. In addition to economical reporting, social and ecological aspects for risk analysis and investment proposals are taken into consideration as well.
For us, green controlling is used as a continuous improvement process and a driver of innovation.
We have also received international recognition for our courage in leading the company forward sustainably and with long-term thinking and planning. VAUDE joins the ranks of business giants like BMW and won over a high-profile jury panel in the category “Corporate Responsibility/Environment” with a nomination for the “Boldness Business Award 2015.”
Our sustainable claim is not inconsistent with economic growth. There are several reasons and goals:
The intergenerational preservation of the family business is our ultimate goal.
The competition in the outdoor industry is extremely dynamic, international and has been determined by acquisitions and debt capital for the past few years. The size of the company and its associated brand strength are relevant to success in this competition, an important goal for us.
Further growth is necessary in order to efficiently do business in the three main business areas of our corporate structure, and allows for more efficient production using economies of scale.
Growth also helps us to increase our influence on production and material suppliers, and facilitates us in taking further steps in sustainability.
Our values are based on the idea that sustainability does not preclude successful business and are not aligned with pure profit maximization. We are convinced: sustainable management pays off in the long term. We are also willing to invest in this concept:
In 2015, we invested 615,672 Euro (2014: 578,791 Euro- see also "CSR Team as driver of sustainability".
Isabel Stiefenhofer, Controlling at VAUDE:
»We believe that sustainable business pays off in the long term. Economic, ecological and social aspects must be equally considered.«
VAUDE is not subject to disclosure requirements. For competitive reasons, we have chosen not to publish any figures on economic performance. The sales performance of the 2015 fiscal year saw an increase of 3.5 percent (2014: 1.7 percent, 2013: 7.3 percent) in gross revenue compared to the previous year.
This shows that VAUDE is experiencing above average growth in a stagnating market. This can also be seen in direct comparisons with the European outdoor market based on growth rates of the European Outdoor Group (EOG).
We attained good revenues and cost structures improved in previous years as well. This helped stabilize our inventory turnover at a value of 3.8 in 2015.
Thomas Kind, Director, Head of Department, Corporate Finance Center for Sparkassen, Landesbank Baden-Württemberg:
»As a Sparkassen Finance Group, we have been accompanying VAUDE on their road to success for decades. In our eyes, VAUDE is an outstanding example of how, as a family-owned company, you can successfully and symbiotically harmonize both environmental and social values with business objectives. This is balanced sustainability.«
Key stakeholders for VAUDE are the banks. VAUDE’s financing options are based on their ratings. As part of our bank financing, we undertake to comply with covenant requirements. These include figures such as equity ratio and debt ratio. In 2015, we were able to maintain all requirements.
We are currently exploring the idea of issuing securities in the form of profit participation certificates and increasing our equity ratio to strengthen our financial independence. At the same time, we would offer employees and friends of the brand a way to participate in the company as shareholders. A concept design is planned for 2016.
At VAUDE, the company is guided by a system of objectives and budget planning process. The objective system is arranged according to the perspectives of the "Balanced Scorecard". Measures and indicators are defined for each goal.
In a multi-step process, the achievement of objectives and status of the budget and economics planning is monitored.
Management analyzes economic performance in the product areas, analyzes risks within and outside the company as well as the competition, checks the validity of the objectives set and sets strategic guidelines for the next three years.
The Division Managers define measures for the objectives set for the following year and check the previous achievement levels.
Goals, measures and indicators are broken down by departments.
Goal achievement levels are checked several times a year. The review indicators for some key figures only take place at the end of the year.
The budget planning process is closely connected with the corporate management and runs parallel to the goal process. Budget planning takes place in the first half year, including the budget for the following year’s objectives. In several rounds of voting, plans are adapted to the possibilities.
In a two-day meeting in September, both the objectives for the following year and the budget are finalized by department heads.
The final, 100 percent approval of the budget in each case comes into effect only after ascertaining the previous year’s results and the winter preorders. If the planned annual results are unlikely to be met on this basis, those responsible can only have 80 percent of their budget.
Budget compliance is verified during the year.
Sales are also carefully planned and consolidated at the top level.
In addition, we regularly collect financial figures which are used to operationally guide the company. The most important figures are reconciled, evaluated and analyzed for deviations from the planned system on a monthly basis by management and controlling division. This is a requisite for the management to identify trends and developments and, when necessary, guide measures to offset adverse developments and reinforce positive trends.
When there are strong deviations from the forecast, budget freezes can be imposed. In 2012, a “Supply Chain” committee was established across departments to analyze the inventory situation with all upstream and downstream processes to better coordinate complex processes to each other. In the year 2015, inventory grew 12.6 percent (2014: 4.9 percent increase 2013: 25,68 percent reduction). With the measures defined by the “Supply Chain” committee, it could nevertheless be stabilized at a low level.
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