Moving forward responsibly

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Cycling puts people and goods in motion. It promotes physical and mental resilience and helps to create pleasant, liveable cities, without traffic jams, noise and air pollution. Cycling also brings the world a step closer to a clean environment and a better climate. 

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Accell Group is convinced that its bicycles can help the world move forward. Cycling promotes a healthy lifestyle and a fit body. This was even more visible in 2020, when many people around the world chose cycling as a responsible travel alternative (versus both car and public transport) and as a healthy means of transport for leisure and sports activities.
With the lowest environmental impact per kilometre, the bicycle is an outstanding green alternative to the car, scooter or public transport. Reducing this impact to the minimum requires a design and production process with the lowest possible ecological footprint.

In 2020, Accell Group reduced its company carbon footprint, partly through cooperation with our partners in the production chain at previously unseen levels. We cut our footprint by reducing energy consumption and transporting goods more


efficiently. We also developed an innovative sustainable cardboard box for our e-bikes. We take good care of our people and demand the same from the companies we work with. We stand for a work culture of integrity, where women and men are given equal opportunities. And we joined forces with fellow companies in the industry to discuss major issues and, as a leading European manufacturer, took the lead in addressing these issues.

In 2020, Accell Group reduced its company carbon footprint, partly through cooperation with our partners in the production chain at previously unseen levels. We cut our footprint by reducing energy consumption and transporting goods more efficiently. We also developed an innovative sustainable cardboard box for our e-bikes. We take good care of our people and demand the same from the companies we work with. We stand for a work culture of integrity, where women and men are given equal opportunities. And we joined forces with fellow companies in the industry to discuss major issues and, as a leading European manufacturer, took the lead in addressing these issues.

Accell Group creates value in a sustainable manner. We improve the quality of our financial returns by limiting ecological impact, doing business in a socially responsible manner and through good governance. And we take into account the interests of all our stakeholders. We are convinced that this will have a positive impact on the company in both the short and long term, which we see as a prerequisite for growth.


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"Eighty percent of all consumers world-wide say they choose products from companies that work hard to reduce environmental impact."
Ton Anbeek, CEO

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Sustainable Development Goals

Accell Group's ambitions and strategy are largely driven by the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We can make a particularly marked difference in the realisation of 'Good health and well-being' (SDG 3) and 'Sustainable cities and communities' (SDG 11). These themes are an inherent in our DNA and an important driver in our design, production, marketing, innovation and strategic choices. In 2020, we added 'Climate action' (SDG 13). We aim to reduce our CO2 footprint and that includes our entire value chain. This is how we help to combat climate change and the impact this has on our planet. 


As a bicycle manufacturer, we also contribute to 'Decent work and economic growth' (SDG 8). And not just for our employees, because we also feel responsible for the well-being of all employees in the supply chain, at our suppliers and our dealers. On top of this, we see 'Responsible consumption and production' (SDG 12) as a no brainer and a decisive factor in everything we do. This includes reducing our ecological footprint and promoting the safe and responsible use of our products. Finally, Accell Group sees a role for itself in promoting 'Partnerships for the Goals' (SDG 17). As one of the key players in the bicycle industry, we take the lead in partnerships with governments, partners and peers whenever we feel this is necessary.

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"Accell Group's robust Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) agenda cannot be viewed as a separate stream within the company. As a bicycle manufacturer, our core business is getting people to move, to their work, to relax, both physically and mentally, and all in a sustainable manner. Doing business in a socially responsible manner, for instance by looking at how suppliers treat their people, is crucial if you want to create sustainable value. This combined with good governance is also something our investors should and can expect from us."
Ruben Baldew, CFO

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When the life cycle of bicycles is compared to that of the car, bus or streetcar, bicycles have a substantially lower environmental impact. The figure below compares the greenhouse gas emissions of four transport alternatives involving an e-bike and bicycle for commuting.


Greenhouse gas emissions from commuter traffic


(Source: Life Cycle Analysis - conducted on behalf of Accell Group, 2018)


"As a bicycle developer and manufacturer, our contribution to sustainability goes far beyond the responsible use of materials and energy. The bicycle has a green image, which symbolises its contribution to solving major environmental and climate issues. And that image is definitely justified. Due to the avoidance of lorry, car and public transport kilometres – thus the prevention of harmful emissions – plus the fact that the balance might tip completely in favour of profit for people, society and the environment."
Jeroen Both, CSCO

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2.6.1 Key figures – Sustainable and social

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2.6.2 Promoting bicycle use 

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The European Commission, various European governments and several special interest groups see the potential of the bicycle as part of a green solution to climate change, air pollution and traffic congestion, especially in larger cities. Accell Group helps to meet these objectives by promoting cycling.

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Accell Group promotes bicycle use by:
  • providing high-quality, reliable (electric) bicycles for transport, sports and leisure. 
  • designing and developing new, innovative bicycles and bicycle applications, bicycle parts and accessories.
  • working with the European Commission, various European governments and special interest groups in joint initiatives, and discussing and sharing knowledge of bicycles and bicycle use.
  • working with various authorities on measures to encourage cycling and improve (cycling) infrastructure.


"Bicycle use helps to solve social problems: congestion on the roads, urban pollution and a lack of physical exercise (for example obesity). At Accell Group, we are very driven to help solve these problems. As a company, we are driven by a very healthy combination of business and social motivation."
Ton Anbeek, CEO


Green product

The increasing popularity of the (electric) bicycle is partly due to its green image and the fact that it is a healthy alternative to travel by car or public transport. Accell Group continuously invents and develops new technologies and models that enhance these qualities and extend the life span of its bikes. Bicycles are made almost entirely of materials (particularly metals) that can be collected, processed and disposed of responsibly.



COVID-19 has given bicycle use an additional boost

One of the indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has been that more people than ever before opted to use a bicycle in 2020. These included commuters trying to avoid infection on public transport. In addition, cycling was seen as a sporty and healthy alternative to (temporarily) closed fitness clubs. Sales of mountain bikes in particular increased significantly in 2020.

"Promoting bicycle use is an important part of the Green Deal. Accell Group is a partner in this 'greenification’ of European society."
Jeroen Both, CSCO



More bicycle trips, less car use

The number of bicycle trips increased by tens of billions in 2020, when compared with 2019 levels. This meant fewer car trips and reduced emissions, which reduced traffic congestion and improved urban air quality and public health.

(Source: ’Ontdek de Toekomst’ (Discover the future), Deloitte, March 2020)

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Tax benefits and subsidies 

In a trend accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, European governments encouraged the use of traditional bicycles and e-bikes by offering tax breaks in 2020. And their drive is being backed by the New Green Deal for Europe which the European Commission adopted in December 2019, which aims to make Europe climate-neutral in the long term. This initiative will accelerate the introduction of cleaner, cheaper and healthier forms of private and public transport.


For example, in Italy citizens were given a subsidy of up to € 500 if they bought a bicycle in 2020. At the same time, numerous European cities are taking measures to reduce car use and improve cycling infrastructure. Until recently, the use of bicycles for leisure or daily commuting was rare in most European countries, with the exception of the Netherlands and Denmark. This is changing rapidly. Take Italy, where sales rose by 20% last year, driven in particular by sales of city bikes. Other Southern European countries are also seeing a rise in the popularity of bicycles.

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"COVID-19 and the European Green Deal accelerated of the main trends that are stimulating bicycle use, such as public sector investments in infrastructure . This in turn led to even higher demand for bicycles."
Ruben Baldew, CFO




"You have to get people out of their lease car and on to a bike. One tried and tested method is using tax incentives to make this more attractive."
Ton Anbeek, CEO


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Company bike

As of 2020, the cost of a company bike is a fixed amount of just a few euros a months in the Netherlands. The additional tax on the private use of a company bicycle has been set at 7%. This percentage is part of a simplification of the fiscal bicycle scheme and the law came into force in January 2020. The RAI Association, BOVAG, ANWB, Fietsersbond, VNA and Natuur en Milieu interest groups see this as a major boost for bicycle use in the Netherlands. According to the six organisations, the 7% rate does justice to the many benefits and the positive impact of cycling for travellers, the environment, the climate and traffic flows.

(Source: rijksoverheid.nl en salarisnet.nl)

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"We are firm believers in the bike as the solution for a sustainable logistics sector. The arrival of bikes with a powerful electric motor certainly creates lots of opportunities for last-mile delivery. This is how we improve the air quality and accessibility of city centres, while reducing noise pollution."
Ruben Baldew, CFO





Investments in the electrification of the bicycle sector will be the biggest growth driver for bicycle use in the long term. Battery-assisted pedal power with batteries makes cycling less physically demanding and more attractive for a larger group of consumers and for other forms of (professional) transport, such as parcel services. Distances are 'shortened' thanks to higher average speeds, easier acceleration after a stop and temporary power boosts when riding uphill, against the wind or carrying a heavy load. 

The environmental impact of a speed pedelec is higher than that of a 'normal' bike due to the use of a battery, but its impact is still much lower than other forms of transport. The electrification of bicycles also creates the opportunity to secure them more effectively against theft and to increase traffic safety. Accell Group is the inventor of the electric bicycle and electric mountain bike and believes that improving infrastructure will drive greater use of (electric) bicycles.


Safety, or rather a lack of safety, is one of the reasons some people refuse to cycle. Accell Group works extremely hard to make bicycles safer, for instance by using clear, battery-powered LED front and rear lights.



Improved infrastructure 

The European Commission and a number of European governments have subsidy schemes in place to improve the infrastructure for cycle paths inside and outside cities and to stimulate innovation. The Netherlands has one of the best networks of bike paths in the world. At the same time, a number of governments want to do even more to stimulate cycling and will therefore need to invest in infrastructure.

"The UK announced in 2020 that it is looking to invest around two billion euros in cycling infrastructure. And there will be some form of tax incentive. You can see the same thing happening in other European countries at the moment." 
Ton Anbeek, CEO




By 2020, Accell Group has invested over a million euros in sponsoring local, regional and international initiatives that help make mobility more sustainable, promote consumer health and safety and promote bicycle use worldwide. In addition, Accell Group sets aside funds for professional sports sponsorship. Cycling heroes in a broad sense not only fulfil an ambassadorial role for our brands with their achievements, but also promote cycling and inspire young people to exercise or to go cycling.

Leadership in the industry 


Continuous dialogue

As one of the largest (e-)bike manufacturers in Europe, Accell Group is constantly engaged in an active dialogue with its stakeholders. We listen, we inform and we meet with them. This is how we map out expectations about our approach and standpoints on various issues and stay abreast of relevant, current developments.

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In 2020, Accell Group was also active in a number of networks in which we frequently play a prominent role. For instance, Accell Group is a member of various national and international organisations, industry associations and part of initiatives aimed at promoting bicycle use, cycling, road safety, standardisation in the sector and sustainable mobility. Organisations in which Accell Group is represented include the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI), Cycling Industries Europe (CIE) and the Confederation of the European Bicycle Industries (CONEBI). In addition to this, we work closely with the Dutch Road Safety Council and the German road safety organisation Verkehrswacht.

Active in networks

In Networks and stakeholder engagement you will find an overview, organised by theme, of the various sector and special interest organisations where we have a seat on the board or for which we actively participate in working groups.


"As a leading bicycle manufacturer, Accell Group believes it has a moral obligation to show leadership in the industry. This involves a wide range of topics, including sustainability, safety and fair competition, and on different stages, such as national governments and the European Union."
Ton Anbeek, CEO


Accell Group stakeholders

  • Dealers
  • Consumers/cyclists
  • Suppliers
  • Sector organisations (national and international)
  • Governments (local and national)
  • Employees (and employee representatives)
  • Trade associations
  • Investors, financiers and analysts

In Networks and stakeholder engagement you will find a list of our main contacts with these stakeholders.

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Together with Cycling Industries Europe (CIE) and Confederation of the European Bicycle Industries (CONEBI), Accell Group met regularly with representatives of the European Commission in 2020, to discuss the sustainable opportunities of increasing bicycle use in Europe, tax legislation and subsidies to stimulate bicycle use and the development of the industry. These discussions were fully in line with the ambitions laid out in the European Green Deal.

Smarter together 

We share consumer experiences with our thousands of dealers, and use this feedback to make cycling better, smarter and more comfortable. We work with knowledge institutions and innovative suppliers to devise and develop new mobility solutions.

Circular economy

Accell Group sees the opportunities in and the need for a future in which no raw materials are depleted and residual materials are fully reused in the system.


Creating such a circular economy requires close cooperation with industry partners and our peers. As one of the key players in the sector, we accept our responsibility and play a leading role in the creation of conditions for ecologically sound production.

We also work with industry partners on other sustainability-related topics, such as the development of a social audit platform for the bicycle industry.

CSR Expert group

In 2020, partly on the initiative of Accell Group, a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) expert group was set up under the umbrella of the European sector organisations CONEBI and CIE. In the years ahead, this expert group will address a number of fundamental issues related to the circular economy and solutions, in a joint effort to make the industry even more sustainable. One example of these solutions was the eradication of plastic in industry packaging. Accell Group chairs the meetings of this CSR expert group.


2.6.3 Reducing our carbon footprint

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Accell Group aims to reduce its ecological footprint. We focus on reducing energy consumption, making transport more efficient, using green electricity and sustainable raw materials, promoting circularity and limiting waste.


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Greenhouse gas emissions


By 2025, Accell Group's End-to-End Carbon Footprint is reduced by 30%.1)

1) Base-year 2018 relative to turnover


Accell Group measures and reports the results of its greenhouse gas emissions (in CO2 equivalent) in accordance with the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) protocol. This includes emissions caused by fuel consumption at its warehouses and offices, by the transport of goods, purchased electricity for the company’s own use, and indirect emissions from the likes of business travel and the use of packing materials. 

From 2020 onwards, our approach (end-to-end carbon footprint) also includes reducing GHG emissions generated in the supply chain through the efforts of suppliers, dealers and consumers. 

In 2020, greenhouse gas emissions amounted to 7,987 tonnes of CO2 equivalent. This was a reduction of 7% when compared with 2019. See Employee and sustainability data for an overview of all emissions.

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Accell Group distinguishes between three circles of greenhouse gas emissions:

Inner circle

Direct emissions from sources we control, including purchased energy. We have reported consistently on these emissions over the past few years.

Second circle

Indirect emissions that Accell Group can ultimately influence. This circle, in combination with the inner circle, is referred to as the Corporate Carbon Footprint (CCF). We already report a part of these emissions and we are currently developing monitoring tools and dashboards.


Outer circle*

The outer circle completes the emissions that cover Accell Group's entire end-to-end footprint. This is the source of more than 80% of the total greenhouse gas emissions from Accell Group’s products. These include sources we have less control over, but this is currently changing due to new insights and new legislation. For example, new battery-related legislation includes requirements for the use of recycled raw materials and increased producer responsibility, with extra attention for the end-of-life of products. Accell Group is currently in talks with suppliers and has taken the first steps in the application of the cradle-to-cradle philosophy to reduce emissions in a joint effort with its partners.

*The end-to-end footprint is an estimate based on a life cycle analysis and the number of bikes sold and excluding our Parts & Accessories business. When measuring total greenhouse gas emissions, in addition to the negative emissions in the supply chain, it should also be taken into consideration that the bicycle has a positive footprint during use by compensating for transport kilometres using polluting alternatives (car, train, public transport) and the contribution to the better physical and mental health of user.


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Ecological load in the chain

Accell Group commissioned a life cycle analysis (LCA) to calculate the environmental impact of different types of bicycles. All life stages are taken into account: extraction of raw materials, transport, production process, application, use, disposal and reuse. It turned out that by far the largest part of the ecological load takes place in the chain. Examples include the extraction of raw materials, the transport of materials, the production processes and the transport of parts from the country of origin to the country of assembly (including packaging). Accell Group accept its the responsibility to reduce this footprint, together with its partners.

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Energy consumption

Accell Group consumes most of its energy at production plants, and offices and warehouses, and during the transport of its bicycles. The largest production plants in the Netherlands, Turkey and Hungary account for most of this energy consumption. This is where bicycles and bicycle parts are assembled and painted. 

less consumption 

In 2020, Accell Group reduced its energy consumption by 7.5% compared with 2019. The lower consumption was primarily due to the replacement of energy-intensive equipment, the use of LED lighting and movement sensors and the relocation of one of Accell Group’s companies to a greener building. 



"When we make new investments, the decision-making process also includes an assessment of the consequences in terms of energy use. Making plans and drawing up policies is important and necessary. But it’s much better if change comes from people themselves. We want people to see and understand that they can make a difference, making the world a little bit cleaner by changing their behaviour, starting with their own working environment."
Michiel Harmsen, Group Planning and Manufacturing Director




Goods transport

Sustainability and efficient logistics go hand in hand. Our aim is to reduce the number of transport movements and make the maximum use of our transport capacity. By optimising packaging (see below: ‘Less packaging’) and direct shipments from our factories to our distribution warehouses, we save on transport expenditure on certain routes, and reduce our CO2 emissions.



Reducing transport  

In 2020, Accell Group conducted a study into the most efficient forms of transport. This included looking at combinations of sea, air, train and truck transport. We also looked at the possibility of combining orders, effectively increasing the load factor of containers. Due to the unusual way 2020 unfolded as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have so far been unable to draw any conclusions from this study. We do expect the first results of the study in 2021.

Accell Group transports most of its goods by sea and those costs rose sharply at the end of 2020.


The COVID-19 pandemic led to an imbalance in available sea containers on various continents. The shortage in Asia in particular led to considerably higher transport prices.

Start 'Control tower'

In 2020, we made a start on the development of an in-house management tool called 'Control Tower', to gain insight into our total logistical transport movements and our carbon footprint. In time, this will make it possible to monitor transport costs, energy consumption and therefore our CO2 emissions. And to develop initiatives to optimise the mix of various modes of transport on the basis of costs and carbon footprint. This will also enable Accell Group to reach better contractual agreements with its transport companies.

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Sustainable energy


From 2025 onwards, 60% of our energy consumption of all Accell GROUP owned premises will come from renewable sources (100% by 2035).


In 2020, Accell Group increased its use of green electricity by 3% to 20%. The total renewable energy increased by 2% to almost 8%. This number is still relatively low because most of the energy is related to the drying process in our paint shops where we are still investigating the use of renewable energy (see below).

Accell Group's ambition is to generate sustainable energy to power a number of its production plants. In 2020, the company made preparations for the installation of solar panels on the roof of its production plant in Heerenveen. The panels will be installed and taken into use in 2021. They are expected to supply half of the electricity for the Heerenveen plant.

In 2021, we will start a study into the use of renewable energy at our plant in Hungary, including the option of solar panels.
Accell Group is investigating the purchase of green energy for its production facility in Turkey.


Paint shop 

In the coming years, Accell Group will focus on, among other things, research into adjusting the drying process in its paint shops by replacing gas (fossil fuel) with sustainable alternatives. This would have a significant impact on the energy consumption at Accell Group's own production plants.

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Sustainable use raw materials 

Bicycles are usually made of materials such as steel (processed and stainless), aluminium, titanium, carbon fibre, rubber and lithium-ion batteries. 

Water-based paint 

In 2020, we increased the number of our frames painted in Europe. All the production plants in Europe used 100% water-based paint for this purpose, in contrast to the solvent-based paint used in Asia. The plants all filter paint residues out of the water, so all the water we use is returned to the environment in a clean state.


Electric bikes use batteries that contain metals and minerals. These raw materials are in danger of becoming scarce and, more importantly, their extraction and production can have a negative impact on the environment. Accell Group believes it is important to use the available raw materials from batteries as efficiently as possible, to minimise waste and harmful emissions into the soil, water and air.


In the Netherlands, non-profit organisation Stibat supports e-bike producers by collecting and safely processing used batteries. Similar organisations are active in Germany and Belgium, and since 2020 in France too. For each bicycle battery sold, Accell Group pays a contribution to these organisations to ensure that the battery is collected and processed responsibly at the end of its useful life.

This means that the largest e-bike markets have facilities for the professional collection and processing of batteries in place. In other countries, Accell Group is working with smaller, local companies to collect and safely process batteries. 

In 2020, Accell Group was involved in various workshops on e-mobility and the circularity of batteries. The workshops looked at other business models and end-of-life applications. This theme was also a subject of discussion in CONEBI, a federation of bicycle industry players, including Accell Group.

Recycling batteries

Lithium-ion batteries often contain useful metals. Recycling is necessary to prevent a future shortage and to make a sustainable lifecycle possible. The European target for recycling batteries is 50%. To achieve this, various processes are combined into complex process chains to recover a high percentage of valuable materials while taking safety in account.



Less waste 

In addition to reducing waste, separating waste is also important for the creation of a circular economy and a resultant reduction of the carbon footprint. Maximising waste separation means more materials can be reused for new products (see also cradle-to-cradle section). At Accell Group, the Environment Health and Safety (EHS) teams at the various plants play an important role on this front (see box). 

Accell Group distinguishes the following waste flows: paper and cardboard, metal, rubber, wood, foil and plastic, other waste and hazardous waste. In 2020, the total amount of waste declined by 8% (in kgs) compared with 2019. The waste from a one-off conversion, due to the construction of a building construction, has not been included in the calculation. Part of the reduction was a direct result of COVID-19, as our people worked more from home and therefore created less waste.

In 2020, we recycled the vast majority (81%) of this waste, while the remainder was reused, incinerated or sent to landfill. In the Employee and sustainability data section you will find an overview of waste production and processing.

Environment Health and Safety (EHS)

Environment Health and Safety (EHS) teams check which environmental and safety improvements are needed at production plants on a monthly basis. The teams also monitor the execution of any improvement measures. They consult with each other and report their findings at group level. This means the teams can learn from each other on subjects such as reducing energy consumption and increasing waste separation.


2.6.4 Reducing plastic packaging

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Reducing Accell Group’s use of plastic in packaging helps us to reduce its ecological footprint. This applies to the plastic in which suppliers' products are packed, the packaging we use ourselves for our bicycles, bicycle parts and accessories and plastic packaging and products in our internal organisation. Accell Group initiates joint projects with suppliers to reduce the use of plastics in packaging. The ultimate goal is plastic-free packaging.

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• From 2025, Accell Group OUTBOUND brand & transport packaging is single-use (fossil based) plastics free.
• From 2025, Single-use (fossil based) plastics are banned out of the internal organization.
• From 2025, the use of single-use (fossil based) plastics in INBOUND transport of parts packaging from suppliers to our
production hubs is reduced by > 50%.


In 2020, Accell Group used 285 tonnes of plastic packaging. This is an increase of 12% compared with 2019. This increase was due to the increased sales of electric bicycles (with larger packaging) and more sales of parts. In addition, last year the data of  Velosophy (Babboe and Carqon) were also included in the figures. In the Employee and sustainability data section you will find an overview of the use of packaging materials.

Paper breaks down much faster than plastic

In nature, paper is broken down within a matter of months, depending on the type of paper. Nature needs hundreds if not thousands of years to break down plastics.

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Replacing plastics with reusable crates

In 2020, Accell Group started talks with a major supplier of electronic systems in Hungary on the replacement of plastic packaging with reusable crates. This will save time (less unpacking and removal) and eventually reduce the use of disposable plastic. Accell Group wants to work with its peers in the industry on this front, so increased demand will make it more attractive for suppliers to change production methods. The supplier in question responded positively and announced that it would present a concrete proposal in 2021. Accell Group expects to recap the benefits of this in the coming years and expects to see a significant drop in the share of plastic packaging in the future. 

XLC in biodegradable bags

In 2020, Accell Group also launched a number of other projects to replace plastic packaging with less environmentally harmful materials. For instance, XLC started using organic biodegradable pergamin bags, mainly for their clothing The material contains no chemicals or coatings and is 100% recyclable and fully compostable.

For some time now, any XLC product that does not require special protection during transport has been supplied without any unnecessary packaging. We have also greatly reduced the outer packaging of many other products, saving up to 50% in packaging material.




Green product, green packaging

Accell Group developed a sustainable, uniform way of packaging its bicycles in 2020. The 'box' is sustainable due to the use of naturally biodegradable cardboard and the almost complete absence of environmentally harmful plastics. In effect, the packaging does justice to the quality of the bicycle itself and the care with which it was made. Various departments at Accell Group were involved in the development of this new packaging, all guided by the principle that it must be possible to produce in an environmentally responsible manner.  After all, a bicycle - a green product par excellence - belongs in green packaging.

"Besides the 'wow effect' of this packaging, dealers no longer have to separate the packaging material. It saves them money and time, prevents damage and is sustainable."
Thomas Drehmel, Head of Product Compliance, Global Innovation Center Sports

In early 2021, we will start testing the box in production and across the entire supply chain, including our dealers. In the course of this year, we expect to phase in the new cardboard box for Accell Group e-bikes. We will develop this packaging philosophy into a 'disposable plastic-free packaging programme' for all our bicycles. The financial savings will be considerable thanks in part to more optimal transport. We are still looking into whether we can eventually take the boxes back and reuse them. With this innovation, Accell Group is anticipating new European packaging regulations and taxes that are expected to arrive in the next few years. 

"I am enthusiastic about the 'Accell box'. It's much more compact. Besides, when you receive such attractive packaging, you know you are selling a quality product."

Towards a circular economy



Cradle-to-cradle stands for sustainable production. After a 'life' in one product, materials are used as raw materials to produce a (new) product. This process leaves no residual products or hazardous substances that need to be disposed of as waste. Accell Group's ambition is to eventually produce bicycles and accessories according to the cradle-to-cradle principle. This exciting 'sustainability expedition' starts in 2021, based on a roadmap for the next 15 years. 

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Our 2021 cradle-to-cradle target is to create a clear roadmap towards 2035, including intermedium targets for 2025 and 2030.

Cradle-to-cradle is the next step in sustainable product development and ties in with the fact that bicycles are 'green' products. A circular economy offers a different perspective on improving sustainability than a 'normal' linear economy. In the latter, sustainability is about minimising the ecological impact for the same output (in short: eco-efficiency), extending the period in which the system becomes overloaded. In a circular economy, sustainability is not just about minimising the ecological impact, but also about ensuring a positive ecological, economic and social impact (in other words: eco-effectiveness).

In 2021, Accell Group will make its first preparations for workshops to apply the cradle-to-cradle recycling philosophy in bicycle design. As one of the leading global bike manufacturers, we want to take a strong role in driving the cradle-to-cradle philosophy in the bike industry. The basic idea is to reduce, repair, reuse, renovate, recycle and restore.


"In time, we want to incorporate raw materials and components into the design so they can be easily separated and reused. After use, all materials are given a new function, a new life. This may be in the form of 'waste' that serves as food for nature, which means it has to be biodegradable, or as a component of a new product."
Ton Anbeek, CEO

It starts with innovation

The long road to a cradle-to-cradle bicycle starts at the drawing board and with know-how of all the materials used. At Accell Group, this follows the New Product Initiation process (NPI), which has four phases: idea, feasibility, potential and launch. We have three innovation centres working on this process: Sports, Lifestyle and Cargo.



Cooperation with partners

Accell Group is looking to collaborate with its suppliers on the application of the cradle-to-cradle principle. We will conduct a survey to find out what they can contribute and which sustainable materials and production methods they already use. We expect initial discussions to take place in 2021.


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2.6.5 Moving the world forward, together

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Accell Group's approximately 3,100 people are the driving force behind everything we design and produce. With respect for our dealers, customers, suppliers and society and with appreciation for each other. Together, we get millions of people moving and get the best out of people and bikes.

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Care for our people

Employees make the difference at Accell Group. With their passion and dedication, they deliver high-quality bicycles, bicycle parts and accessories. Accell Group invests in its people under the motto 'Simply the best bike company to work for'. We have translated this ambition into various initiatives and tangible targets. Below you will find a few striking results and developments from 2020.


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COVID-19 pandemic

For Accell Group employees, too, 2020 was overshadowed by the social and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Warned early on in the outbreak by business partners in Asia, the company took adequate measures to protect its people from infection with COVID-19. For example, Accell Group set up a communications network so employees could keep each other up-to-date and support each other, employees stopped travelling by plane, we encouraged and paid people to work from home, we adapted working environments in line with national guidelines and we implemented the necessary hygiene measures. 

We expect the 'different way of working together' seen last year, something that was forced upon us by the circumstances, to lead to changes in the way employees work in the future. These changes will include more flexibility when working from home and an adjusted travel allowance.

Due to the impact of the pandemic, 2020 was a year of either running or standing still for Accell Group. Lockdowns led to dramatic drop in demand for our products, forcing us to let go most of our temporary staff (approximately 750 people) in March and April. However, we welcomed the majority of these employees back when interest in bicycles, bicycle parts and accessories picked up again later in the year.


Number of employees  REFERENCE DATE 30 NOVEMBER 2020

You will find more facts and figures on our employees in 2020 in the Employee and sustainability data section.

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Business travel

Accell Group is helping to reduce its CO2 footprint by reducing commuting by car and public transport and limiting business-related air travel where possible. It goes without saying that as a bicycle manufacturer, we encourage the use of bicycles for commuting. Thanks to various initiatives in recent years, we have now met our targets on this front. Of course, we continue to pay attention to bicycle use for commuting and bicycle parking spaces at our plants and offices.

The COVID-19 pandemic also made 2020 a year like no other in this respect: forced by the measures taken by national governments, a lot more people worked from home last year. For example, business-related air travel fell by as much as 90% as a result of the pandemic.


"It is striking how many (young) people decide to work for Accell Group due to sustainability and environmental considerations. They are captivated by the product. It is perfectly in line with a general social trend in which people are calling each other to account for their environmental behaviour and sustainable choices. Employers are part of this trend."
Jeroen Both, CSCO



Diversity and INCLUSION

Accell Group supports and promotes diversity and equality. One of our aims is to balance the ratio of men to women at every level of the company and to create a working environment in which both women and men can excel. This gender balance ambition is a reflection of the world in which we operate. To make this happen, we have started with diversity, but we also focus on inclusiveness at the same time. In 2020, over 20% of the Accell Leadership Forum (105 executives) were women.

Accell Group maintains and develops a culture in which people feel recognised and respected, that embraces differences and in which colleagues share clear values. We want a culture in which individuals can be their best selves and inspire others to do the same, creating high-performing teams that help us to meet our strategic goals. To this end, we offer employees access to facilities,  personal and career development opportunities and employment on the basis of equal opportunities.


As part of our Diversity & Inclusion policy, > 30% of the Accell Leadership Forum will be female in 2025.

In 2020, we adopted a policy and installed an internal working group to advise the Board of Management on short-term and longer-term initiatives that will enable Accell Group to achieve its ambitions on this front.

"Diversity and inclusion are about embracing differences, creating possibilities, and progressing together to build a sustainable business."
Anja van Bergen, Group General Counsel

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Employee engagement survey 

On 13 November 2020, we conducted the second Accell Group-wide employee engagement survey (EES). More than 83% (2019: 72%) of our employees participated.

The results showed that we have made progress on almost all topics, including communications, working conditions and safety, when compared with results of the 2019 survey. We will tackle areas where there is room for improvement locally in 2021. If necessary, Accell Group will release additional budget for this purpose.

The summary of the results at Accell Group-level shows a so-called 'Engagement score' of 7.3 (2019: 7.1). In particular, the strong appreciation for team work,  the content of the work and the quality of the COVID-19 measures taken by Accell Group are particularly noteable.



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Gaining and sharing know-how


In 2024, Accell Group will offer its employees an average of 24 training hours per year.

How we train and educate our employees is an important success factor in Accell Group's continuous development and renewal. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic limited the options for personal development through training 'on location', as we and our employees devoted a great deal of attention to performing our core tasks. As an alternative, Accell Group offered its (home-working) employees access to an online knowledge platform. This turned out to meet an enormous need: within just a few months, our employees downloaded and read more than 8,500 (scientific) articles. Due to the success of the new platform, Accell Group will expand the project in 2021.

Our goal was to offer an average of 17.5 hours in training per FTE per year in 2020. At 15 hours, we did not meet that target (2019: 13.7 hours). Once again, the COVID-19 pandemic was the reason for this shortfall, but by quickly switching to online training possibilities during the COVID-19 pandemic, we did achieve a small increase. We will continue to invest in the training and education of our employees at all levels in the coming years.

Global Talent Review

How do you recruit and select the best talents for Accell Group? How do you give (young) colleagues the opportunity to develop? And how do you give people a job that suits them? Accell Group believes that technological innovation and organisation are important factors in our company's continued growth. Giving talented employees room to develop is a prerequisite for this. In 2020, we launched a programme to identify up-and-coming talent. The Board of Management discussed their progress and development on a regular basis, with the aim of increasing the percentage of people who move up through the organisation.

Transformation of organisation

In line with Accell Group's strategy, we introduced a new organisation in 2019. The aim is to create a more agile, efficient and consumer-centric company with a deep commitment to sustainability and people. To this end, we set up a new system and form of consultation in 2020, for instance for the development of new bicycles and their translation into finished products. Redesigning each step in these processes produced the desired result. We made decisions that will have a major impact on our efficiency and flexibility, all based on essential data and real-time cooperation between our experts.

Health and safety 

In 2020, Accell Group once again invested in measures to improve and guarantee the safety and health of its employees. The COVID-19 pandemic in particular is a clear demonstration of the importance of being a responsible employer on this front. We launched local programmes to encourage more exercise,


healthier diets and the use of less salt, fat and sugars in canteens. In 2020, we also offered employees the opportunity to get personal advice on lifestyle and health issues from an advisory agency at Accell Group's expense. 

In 2021, we are planning to greatly expand our psychological support for colleagues who find themselves in difficulty due to working from home, isolation and the blurring of work and home responsibilities.


In 2020, 68 incidents were reported at work that resulted in sick leave. This was 47% lower than in 2019 (144). Safety teams at our plants focused on preventing the causes of incidents and took proactive measures to prevent incidents. 

Priorities in 2021

The safety and health of our people is a high priority. We are maintaining the COVID-19 related measures are maintained in cooperation with local authorities. Furthermore, we encourage participation in lifestyle programs to make colleagues aware of the importance of a healthy lifestyle. In 2021,  we will intensity existing measures and introduce new measures that have a demonstrable impact on both short and long-term absenteeism. This will include the likes of extra protective clothing, guidance for visitors, extending smoking bans on our premises, offering mental coaching when needed and encouraging participation in exercise programmes, such as walking and of course cycling.



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Care for society

Accell Group accepts social responsibility for its own activities and those of its business partners. Examples include conducting business fairly, combating fraud and corruption, protecting human rights and preventing child labour. We work with our suppliers and partners on the basis of mutual respect. 

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Code of Ethics 

Accell Group does business fairly and firmly rejects any form of bribery. We support the principles of free enterprise and fair competition. The risk of non-compliance requires attention and, if necessary, appropriate action. Accell Group has laid down its instructions and recommendations for desired behaviour in an internal code of conduct or Code of Ethics. This goes beyond mere compliance with laws and regulations and provides a guide to conduct in numerous areas. Accell Group regularly reviews laws and regulations and makes changes to the Code of Ethics when necessary. The full text of the Code of Ethics is available on Accell Group's website.

A breach of the Code of Ethics may lead to sanctions, including termination of employment. Members of the Supervisory Board, the Board of Management and employees with managerial responsibilities must confirm each year in writing that they have complied with the Code of Ethics. In 2021, Accell Group will continue to disseminate the Code of Ethics internally, including through employee training, to continue to improve awareness and compliance.

Local and financial management 

The basic rules for the directors of Accell Group's local companies are laid down in the management regulations and the Accell Group authorisation structure. Our financial staff receives guidelines, instructions and controls for financial administration and reporting. These comply with the applicable International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).


Code of Conduct committee

In early 2020, Accell Group set up a Code of Conduct Committee, consisting of the Accell Group HR Director, the Group General Counsel and the Internal Auditor. The committee deals with internal investigations and the handling of alleged violations of our Code of Ethics, in addition to advising the Board of Management on compliance in general. In 2020, 18 cases were reported to the committee. The vast majority of complaints related to labour relations and alleged misuse of company property. The complaints were investigated and corrective measures were taken where necessary.

Whistle blower policy 

Since 2020, Accell Group has an anonymous whistle blower policy, an internal compliance committee and an internal investigation procedure for (alleged) abuses. The whistle blower telephone line, which is operated by an external professional party, is available to all Accell Group employees. They can report alleged irregularities anonymously, without prejudice to their legal positions.

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Combatting fraud 

The agenda for our frequent internal audits of local companies also includes the subject of fraud. The internal audit team uses data analysis for control and fraud detection purposes. The topic of fraud risk management is an item on the agenda of the global controllers' meeting, and in the regular consultations with the CFO and between the Board of Management and the Supervisory Board. This helps to raise awareness among colleagues with regards to the prevention and detection of fraud risks throughout the company.

Supplier Code of Conduct

Accell Group has a Supplier Code of Conduct, which lays down its conditions for suppliers and other parties involved in production and purchasing. The conditions cover items including a ban on child labour, involuntary labour and discrimination, safety requirements, environmental requirements and working conditions. This code of conduct is available on the Accell Group website and is in line with the code of the WFSGI (World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry).

In 2020, almost all our existing suppliers signed the code, which once again spotlighted the cooperation agreements. Suppliers must also sign the code of conduct when entering into new contracts. Accell Group has signed a 'Supplier Code of Conduct' with several hundred suppliers, including over 60 key suppliers.

Social audits of suppliers


All of Accell Group’s suppliers in high-risk countries are reaudited every three to four years.

Accell Group regularly conducts social audits at its suppliers. These include an audit of the general international standards for labour rights and safety at work and in construction. The auditing of suppliers takes place in accordance with the Responsible Sport Initiative (RSI - see box), one of the sector’s cooperative initiatives. 

To safeguard international social and safety standards, our ambition was to visit 30 suppliers or sites in 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, travel was impossible for a large part of the year, companies were not accessible during lockdowns or the intensity of work made an audit visit undesirable. As a result, we were only able to audit three suppliers (2019: 20). Our goal is to audit all our key suppliers in high-risk countries or have them audited every three to four years by 2025.

The most common issues are related to building safety in emergencies, personnel administration, working hours and personal protective equipment for workers. The audits did not reveal any critical issues that the suppliers were unable to solve immediately.

Social engagement

World Bicycle Relief

Accell Group has supported World Bicycle Relief since 2006. This non-profit organisation mobilises people in developing regions by giving them a bicycle. Millions of people walk kilometres every day to survive. On foot under the hot sun, distance prevents people from going to school, receiving healthcare and bringing their goods to the market. World Bicycle Relief provides specially designed, locally assembled, robust bicycles to residents of rural developing regions.


The efficient and innovative bicycle model gives students (especially girls), health workers and entrepreneurs the mobility they need to change their lives. In recent years, World Bicycle Relief has delivered 200,000 bicycles and trained about a thousand technicians.

Responsible Sport Initiative (RSI)

Cycling is efficient, healthy and environmentally friendly. The bicycle sector is creating social and sustainable expectations with this image. Accell Group is working with other leading brands in the bicycle industry, suppliers and retailers under the umbrella of the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) on an integrated and common code of conduct. This led to the Responsible Sport Initiative (RSI), of which Accell Group is one of the founders. The Responsible Sport Initiative (RSI) provides a uniform standard and enables RSI participants to reduce the impact of evaluation on suppliers.

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