Fairness and responsibility

For KST, social responsibility not only stands for strengthening compliance and minimizing the environmental impact of one’s own activities, but also offering employees good and fair working conditions and, as a development service provider and test facility operator, actively creating social added value for all of our customers. We are pursuing a similar approach in the area of social sustainability. In this field we aim to behave responsibly and fairly towards all stakeholders. From a company internal perspective the following are characteristics of a good employer such as employee participation, job security, development opportunities, equal opportunities and a reasonable level of strategic participation. From a company external perspective, we seek a healthy dialogue with the public and encourage our employees to take responsibility within the community. Both the HR department and the works council have been involved in strengthening the company’s contribution to its social environment and its perception as a responsible company and social employer for decades.

KST is making a significant contribution to the transformation of the automotive industry in the field of climate‐friendly e‐mobility, hydrogen combustion engines and fuel cell technology based on hydrogen. We will only be successful if we take our employees with us on this journey, providing qualified training and preparing them for change.

An essential part of our company’s success relies on the skills and commitment of our employees as well as our appeal as an employer.

We are required to carefully analyse the employment effects of newly developing business areas. We are aware that e‐mobility will reduce the complexity of development and testing. On the other hand, growing digitization creates a need for qualifications in IT and electronics, which are linked to automotive engineering specialists.

A cooperation agreement has been in place with the University of Kaiserslautern for the creation of an e‐mobility centre since 2018. This centre is housed at KST’s own Willy Wolf Academy and we are working with the Institute for Energy Efficient Systems to participate in shaping the rapid developments in e‐mobility. The cooperation applies to pure battery drives as well as hydrogen‐based drives.

Employer attractiveness

It is our goal to be an attractive and reliable employer in the long term. Above all this means for us to keep our employer’s promises and to include this as a tangible element in everyday work life. A high level of credibility is a prerequisite for being perceived as a top employer and thus attracting and retaining the best employees over the long term.

It is very important to us that our employees are actively involved in process developments and that opinions, assessments and criticism are heard.

A fair and transparent salary package enabling a balanced life is the basic requirement for satisfied employees. The remuneration and fringe benefits for our employees are above the legal guidelines and guaranteed minimum in Germany. When determining the individual remuneration, we do not differentiate according to gender or other classifications. Our employees are selected, hired and promoted solely on the basis of their qualifications and skills. The remuneration is strictly based on the activity performed and the individual working capacity.
Our employees benefit from further work related services. These include travel allowances and the “JobRad”. With a company pension scheme, KST makes an important contribution to securing income when retiring.

We are working on improving the work‐life balance of our employees through models of flexible working hours. In doing so, we want to take into account the special needs of young parents, single parents or employees who are committed to caring for the elderly, for example. Designing the relevant and related regulations is determined by a set legal framework. Legally regulated parental leave shows the desire of many employees to combine work and family life. Our company regulations also consider the needs of many employees requiring flexible working hours. A company scheme for remote‐working is in place at KST since January 2021.

The works council with 7 elected members represents the collective interests of our employees towards KST and defines information and co‐decision making rights.
This involvement of employees in the company’s management process has proven to be very successful over the past decades. It ensures that change processes are tackled together and supported by the entire workforce. Employees also take responsibility for improving processes with their creativity, knowledge and initiative. This allows to contribute to achieving sustainability goals.

Diversity and Equal Opportunities

KST stands for respect, tolerance and equality.

Equal opportunities and equal treatment are important cornerstones for fair, open and unbiased contacts. KST encourages respectful and cooperative togetherness, diversity and tolerance. Thanks to these essential parameters it is possible for us to achieve the highest level of competitiveness, innovation, creativity and efficiency.

We do not tolerate discrimination based on ethnic or national affiliation, gender, age, skin colour, religion, belief, disability or social origin. We support diversity, actively advocate inclusion and create an environment which allows each individual to evolve to their highest capacity in the interest of the company.

Our employees are selected, hired and promoted on the basis of their qualifications and skills.

All employees work creatively on innovative solutions putting their different experiences and perspectives to best use. In order to achieve this, we require an open, positive and cooperative working atmosphere in which each individual can contribute and work jointly with enthusiasm. Thanks to this approach we are able to attract highly qualified people to our company and retain them in the long term.

Health and safety at work

We strive to not only strengthen the professional skills of our employees, but also their health. This is the prerequisite for achieving professional performance and the ability to deal with physical work in the engine test cells. We associate sustainability in health with our employees being able to retire healthily.

In addition to the high expectations placed on our employees, we as employers also need to react flexibly to changes in lifestyles and the needs of an aging society. Health management at KST therefore includes aspects of work organization, workplace ergonomics, prevention, integration and rehabilitation. Emergency medical care is guaranteed. We also receive medical care from a responsible physician.

In addition to meeting the legal requirements, KST builds strongly on methods for prevention. All employees are offered regular health examinations. These help to maintain and improve the health, fitness and performance of employees. This is a free and comprehensive health check‐up solution available to all employees.

In 2018, 25 employees from KST took part in the BASF FIRMENCUP for the first time. In 2019, 20 employees were enthusiastic about this sporting event. Due to the COVID‐19 pandemic, the BASF FIRMENCUP 2020 was cancelled.

In 2019, the first “health week” took place with focus on prevention of infection and prevention for muscles and bones. This initiative was applauded by the employees and will continue to take place at regular intervals in the future. Due to the Corona situation, which has continued since the beginning of 2020, the “health week” has been suspended for 2020 and 2021.

Instead, an additional KST health program was introduced in September 2020. All employees receive a monthly sealed‐vitamin‐set consisting of various vitamins in order to strengthen the immune system.

Due to the development of the pandemic and based on official recommendations, the management decided to offer SARS‐CoV‐2 rapid antigen tests ‐ also known as self‐tests. Since mid‐April 2021, all employees have had the opportunity to carry out a voluntary self‐test twice a week. Employees have been tested using a rapid test in suspected cases since mid‐January 2021.

The steady development of work safety is just as important as medical prevention and first aid. For us, sustainability in the area of work safety implies that employees do not suffer any accidents during their time at work. All employees receive an annual safety briefing, which they are required to attend. This also applies to employees of external companies. Employees who come into contact with hazardous substances receive additional safety training on hazardous substances.

The fire protection systems at KST offer the highest level of safety. The operating functions of the fire alarm systems are checked and serviced annually. KST conducts regular fire drills, which are backed at least once a year by the city’s fire brigade. Due to the Corona situation since the beginning of 2020, the fire brigade did not participate in 2020 and 2021’s fire drill.

All employees can contact their respective managers and/or the work council at any time to report dangers or identified risks.

KST continues to encourage independent responsible behaviour and the design of the work environment in order to maintain a healthy and well‐suited work environment to favour high employee performance.

About this report

With this sustainability report, KST informs its stakeholders about its sustainability strategy and the progress made in anchoring sustainability in the company. The order in which this report is written is based on KST’s long‐term sustainability goals and does not represent an order of priority of these topics. The report reflects the economic, ecological and social effects from 2018 to 2020. For more comprehensive information, some criteria have been supplemented with information from previous years. In order to allow for smoother reading, we opted to refrained from gender‐related double entries. Corresponding terms apply to all genders in terms of gender treatment.

The reporting period is the financial year 2020. The key date for all data and facts is December 31st 2020. This sustainability report contains statements with an outlook to the future based on KST’s current assumptions and forecasts. A number of known and unknown risk factors, uncertainties and other influences could lead to differences between the actual events, the development or the performance of the company and the estimates described. KST is under no obligation to update statements which are future oriented nor to adjust them to future events or developments.

This being the first report of its kind, there is no previous report for comparison. Based on this report, a revised report is to be drawn up every two years. An external review of the content has not been carried out but may be performed in the event of later editions.

Further information