Climate-friendly products have become a true competitive advantage. No wonder that sustainability is a marketing topic. But a responsible approach to climate protection requires much more than just words. It encompasses almost all fields of action of a company, right down to the products it sells.
We already decided a few years ago to consistently follow a sustainable path and to take a close look at our processes, ample reasons to start with Ökoprofit in 2019. On the basis of annually determined KPIs, we have since been measuring the consumptions and emissions at certain points, developing an annual environmental programme and constantly adapting our environmental guidelines to new challenges.
The principles that always apply here are: avoid - reduce - compensate.
Communication is vital
Informing stakeholders about environmental issues is important. Therefore, we use our sustainability website, internal training, information events, an e-mail address for environment-related suggestions and our social media channels. We publish in various specialist media and in the daily press. In our sustainability report, we once again record our results and work around the large complex of CSR and communicate it via the platform of the German Sustainability Code. This creates awareness and encourages rethinking.
CO2e avoidance through renewable energy sources
The political tendency is clear - it is moving towards renewable energy sources. In the meantime, it is no longer a witch's work to make the switch to green electricity. We have done so for two years now, buying electricity from renewable sources.
At the moment, we cannot avoid heating with natural gas. Natural gas is still one of the more efficient fossil fuels, but it remains fossil energy. As long as we are not able to make the switch, the emissions will be offset by investments in a hydropower project.
Acting more efficiently – cutting CO2e
The leverage for emission reduction is high. And every single gram less is a step in the right direction. It is important to constantly think about new measures for improvement and optimisation. We are doing this through our annual environmental programme. Here are just a few examples of the measures we have implemented to reduce CO2e:
Green roof on the office building
Green roofs store up to 90% of rainwater and gradually release it into the environment through evaporation. The sewage system is thus relieved, plants clean the air from dust and other pollutants, and the roof is protected from negative influences of weather, such as heavy hail and strong sunlight.
Reduction of print media in favour of online media
In recent years, we have effectively reduced our print media: In 2020 and 2021, we have each cut print publications by more than 60% compared to the previous year. This has drastically reduced paper consumption.
We have avoided sending paper invoices for a number of years now, thereby making massive savings in resources.
Installation of aerators
Reduction of water consumption by a quarter
Conversion from conventional lighting to LEDs
Savings of about a quarter of the original total electricity consumption
Changes in packaging
Example: key rings - Plastic inlays were completely phased out and the packaging was switched entirely to paper. In the storage area, Paperplus from Storopack is used as an alternative to plastic filling material.
Consistent waste separation and collection
Each workplace has containers for waste separation. In the warehouse and in manufacturing, wood, metal, plastic, paper as well as hazardous materials like batteries and electronic waste are collected in suitable containers and professionally gathered, recycled or disposed of by external service providers.
Infiltration paving in parking areas
Infiltration paving ensures that rainwater seeps directly into the ground and is returned straight to nature. If such a measure is neglected, rainwater will flow into the sewage system, becomes wastewater and must then be processed again in the sewage treatment plant. Infiltration paving also promotes the conservation and regeneration of groundwater.
Landscape - the ecosystem
There is an overflow pond with a small inlet and reed beds on site. A green strip runs around the site, where oaks, maple trees and native shrubs are planted.
The pond and green areas are habitats for animals and insects, regularly bringing us nice guests such as frogs, mallards, herons and field hares.
A rainwater infiltration trench has been built within the lawn. The rainwater is collected in a trough and from there it is channelled through the topsoil into a gravel-filled infiltration trench. From this intermediate reservoir, it seeps into the soil below and is fed into the groundwater. The upper soil zone acts as a water filter, thus improving the quality of the groundwater.
Reuse of pad printing inks
Up to 70 % savings are achievable by reusing these inks.
Reuse of shipping cartons
We recorded a reuse rate of import cartons of about 90 %.
Regular determination of all environmentally relevant key figures
Measuring progress and making comparisons are only possible by determining the key figures. Not to mention, new necessary measures can always be derived from this.
E-mobility in our vehicle fleet
We have already replaced two vehicles in our fleet with environmentally friendly e-vehicles.
"Packing on demand" for selected products
Savings of up to 50% on packaging for products were achieved, where the system of "packing on demand" is applied.
Reduction of the product range to around 350 core products
"Less is more" is the motto for our articles. We focus on durability and reusability, high utility value and good quality. By reducing the range of articles, there are many advantages, such as saving storage capacity, avoiding high transport volumes and packaging materials.
Configuration concepts for highlight articles
Instead of having articles in the warehouse in many different colours, we enable individual design through configuration. This not only saves storage space, but also enhances the recyclability of the articles, as the individual components are much easier to separate from each other.
Compensation of corporate on-site emissions - CCF
For the third year now, we are calculating the CO2e emissions for our corporate location, including all transports (excluding UPS/special agreement). We do this retrospectively for a whole year using the Ecocockpit of the Energy Efficiency Agency NRW within the system "cradle to gate" - and of course on the basis of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. The tonnages identified in this way are invested via Nature Office in the Kemphole Mini Hydel Scheme hydropower project in India.
Climate neutral shipment via UPS
We have an agreement with UPS to ship our goods to our customers in a climate neutral way. You can find out more about the projects UPS supports for climate protection by clicking on this link: https://www.climateimpact.com/news-insights/news/ups-shipment-program/
Compensation for emissions caused by our products - PCF
Our highlight articles are the ones we need the most and they are the most sought-after products we offer. That's why they're number one on the list, when it comes to acting responsibly. They have already been designed to be more efficient wherever it is possible. The final touch is the determination of their CO2e emission value and the subsequent compensation and investment in our hydropower project. We draw up our balance via nature.io from Nature Office according to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol as well as within the system "cradle to gate plus end of life". In this case, we also compensate retroactively for one year. In addition, of course, we always strive to be able to make further savings in the course of the manufacturing process.
We are still working on the registration of all other products. The database is already in place and a large number of products have been included in the balance sheet. By the end of 2023 at the latest, we want to be able to offer accounting and offsetting for all our products to interested customers.
Our chosen project for CO2e offsetting:
Electricity generated by the natural water flow of the Kemphole River in Karnataka, India
The project in Karnataka generates sustainable electrical energy using horizontal Francis turbines. The use of renewable energy sources to generate electricity contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by avoiding the burning of fossil fuels such as coal or oil. The project has incorporated many technical and structural innovations, such as the use of an automatic cleaning system for the rake.
The project is located in the dense forests of the Kemphole Reserve and the natural slope there has proved very advantageous for the project. There are no residential areas in the immediate vicinity, so there was no need to resettle the local population. The hydropower plant contributes to meeting the electricity needs of the southern region's power grid.
Start of project: 2010
Project standard: CDM - Clean Development Mechanism