Self-Commitment: Transformation of HEIDELBERG for Climate Neutrality

While the leading industrial nations have set themselves the goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050, HEIDELBERG has made a self-commitment to become climate neutral by 2030. Find out how they plan to do so in this blog post.

The VDMA interview series looks at “Circular Competence” of its member companies, focusing on plans, solutions and challenges on the road to establishing a  circular economy in the industrial sector. Dr. Eva Boll, Head of Corporate Sustainability at HEIDELBERG, explains which paths HEIDELBERG is taking to meet its voluntary commitment to climate neutrality by 2030.

The goal of the leading industrial nations is to operate in a climate-neutral manner by 2050. Eva Boll believes this is a realistic goal, but also one that will require massive transformation efforts. Nevertheless, HEIDELBERG has committed itself to achieving climate neutrality already by 2030.

Production Is Made Climate Neutral

This ambitious plan has been in progress for some time already.

“We have had an environmental management system for several years, are certified according to 14001 and defined clear environmental goals for our production sites years ago, which we implement through continuous improvement processes.” Dr. Boll explains.

In this way, HEIDELBERG increases energy efficiency, which is usually linked to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. All processes are scrutinized regularly in order to incorporate the results into a transformation concept. The potential of all production sites with a view to reducing GHG emissions is also analyzed. In addition to their own production of renewable energy, the purchase of green energy is another option.

“Offsetting is only an option for unavoidable emissions – for a transitional period until 2040 […].”

HEIDELBERG uses its large network of research partners to exchange ideas on possible solutions and to learn from existing examples.

Customers Produce More Energy-Efficiently

In order for HEIDELBERG’s customers to be able to produce more energy-efficiently, life cycle assessments of the products have been carried out since 2012. Additionally, it is possible for customers to obtain an offset certificate in order to produce in a climate-neutral manner.

HEIDELBERG also offers targeted consulting services for customers. The aim is to highlight energy-efficient operating strategies. For example, the customer can print faster so that the base load is distributed over more output. When dealing with low run lengths and the resulting frequent starts and stops, attention must also be paid to efficient drive technology. Another operating strategy is to reduce waste and use more efficient drying techniques.

Dr. Boll adds:

“These efforts are having an impact: to print 1,000 sheets with our presses, our customers need on average 40 per cent less energy than 20 years ago. On request, we equip the presses with energy meters to create transparency.”

Legislation and Climate Neutrality

When it comes to the legal framework, Dr. Boll calls on legislators to support or clearly define rules. She states that it is a great disadvantage if these only remain valid for one legislative period, because the industry needs planning security. However, Dr. Boll believes that the EU is going in the right direction with the “Green Deal”.

“For companies that are not yet involved in European emissions trading, regulations such as the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive and the new EU taxonomy bring major changes”, says Dr. Boll.

In order to develop meaningful reduction strategies, GHG emissions and the ecological footprint of products must first be recorded, explains HEIDELBERG’s Head of Corporate Sustainability. In the mechanical and plant engineering sector, she sees a willingness to do this. In the further planning and implementation of more sustainable solutions, however, it must be considered that these often also entail new demands on locations and production sites. In order to take into account the requirements of all parties involved, regular exchange is crucial.

When do you plan to become climate neutral and how do you plan to achieve this? Or will you follow the goal of the leading industrial nations?

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