The environmental performance indicators shown below were determined for all HUBER+SUHNER sites with significant production activities and therefore cover Switzerland, Brazil, China, India, Malaysia, Poland, Tunisia and the UK. Germany (Taufkirchen site) was also included as a country with substantially high net sales. In 2019, data from the production sites in Empalme (Mexico), Mainz (Germany) and Warren, NJ (USA) were included in the calculation of the environmental performance indicators for the first time.
Each site is considered as a unit, in which energy and material enter (input), and emissions and waste, as well as wastewater, leave (output). Only those flows of energy and material are considered, which are used in high amounts, which are suspected to have an important environmental impact, or which are scheduled to take measures. Land use and infrastructure (real estate, apparatus, vehicles etc.) are not considered, nor is the impact of use and disposal of products at customer level.
Environmental performance indicators 2019
The expansion of the system boundaries (additional production sites) is reflected in the environmental performance indicators. Despite a reduction in production output compared with the previous year, total energy consumption is slightly higher than in the previous year. In contrast, the volume of waste has fallen by 3 %. The recycling rate rose by one percentage point to 80 %. Water consumption also rose by 3 % worldwide. This is due to a significant increase in the use of lake water at the Pfäffikon site in Switzerland. This use of water is not harmful to the environment: the water is used to cool buildings in summer and to cool the cables during extrusion. In these processes the water heats up. It is then cooled in heat exchangers at the municipal utilities and returned to the lake. With the thermal energy obtained, the municipal utilities supply the neighbouring residential area and HUBER+SUHNER buildings with heating energy.
Greenhouse gas emissions
With regard to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, HUBER+SUHNER has made two important decisions in 2019: First, in the actual year and in the following six years, an increasing proportion of the electrical energy consumed worldwide was and will be purchased from renewable sources (hydroelectric, wind and solar power plants) using certificates of origin. In 2019, this accounted for around 10 % of global electricity consumption. By 2025, this share is expected to rise to around 70 %. The company is focusing on the country with the highest electricity consumption (Switzerland) and the countries with the highest share of coal in electricity generation (Poland, India and China). With regard to certificates of origin, HUBER+SUHNER ensures that they originate from power plants in the country where the electricity is consumed.
The second important decision relates to the voluntary commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions vis-à-vis the Science Based Targets Initiative. The original targets envisaged a reduction of emissions in relation to the added value generated in scope 1+2* and scope 3** by 30 % by 2025 compared to 2015. HUBER+SUHNER has tightened the target in scope 1+2 to a 50 % reduction over the same period. This new target now supports limiting global warming by 1.5 degrees compared with pre-industrial times.
In 2019, greenhouse gas emissions in scope 1+2* have fallen by 20 % compared to the previous year. This is primarily due to the lower heating energy requirement resulting from the use of process heat and the strict monitoring of the SF6*** insulating gas at the Pfäffikon site, as well as the purchase of electrical energy from renewable sources. In scope 3**, greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by nearly 10 %. This reduction is mainly due to lower freight volume. In scope 1+2, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions was therefore significantly better than the more stringent target path. In scope 3, the current value at least approached the target path again after a significant excess in 2018.
* Scope 1 emissions come from emission sources within the company, such as own heating systems or vehicles. Scope 2 emissions result from the generation of energy that is sourced from outside the company. These are mainly electricity and heat from energy services.
** Scope 3 emissions (total CO2 emissions minus scope 1+2 emissions) are emissions caused by the company’s activities but not under its control, for example from suppliers or service providers.
*** SF6 or sulphur hexafluoride is the strongest known greenhouse gas (one kilogram of SF6 corresponds to 23.5 tonnes of CO2).