On the road to COP21, there has been a great deal of debate about the private sector’s roles and responsibilities in the context of climate change. Questions about how industry can reduce its carbon footprint have been discussed extensively. In response, companies have introduced a broad range of measures to curb their energy consumption and reduce their CO2 emissions.
Bosch has long made conserving resources and protecting the environment a priority in all of its fields of business. At present, around 50 percent of the company’s R&D budget is spent on eco-friendly products, and about a third of Bosch sales are generated with such products. This clearly demonstrates that a sustainable approach to doing business pays off.
However, in order to reduce their carbon footprint in a lasting manner and make a meaningful contribution to protecting the climate, global industrial companies must do much more than focus on energy-efficient products. They must also assess their production practices and reduce the energy consumption and emissions of their locations around the world. At Bosch, a broad range of measures has been taken to reduce the company’s use of energy and raw materials, and to ensure that its locations are energy efficient. We believe that technology companies have a responsibility. Not only can our products and services help protect the climate, we can also use innovative technologies to make our own activities more sustainable. That’s precisely what Bosch is doing.
We believe that technology companies have a responsibility. Not only can our products and services help protect the climate, we can also use innovative technologies to make our own activities more sustainable.
Bosch’s recently opened global center for research and advance engineering is perhaps the most prominent example of the company’s commitment to using innovative, eco-friendly building technologies. Located in Renningen close to Stuttgart, the campus buildings feature planted roofs that collect rainwater for use during dry spells. By absorbing sunlight, the roof plants and vegetation also help keep indoor climate stable, thus reducing the need for air conditioning. In addition to this, the central building’s windows are triple glazed, and its facade is fitted with a sunscreen that automatically detects strong sunshine. This combination of technologies saves 20 to 30 percent of the energy that would otherwise be needed to keep the building cool. What is more, the solar panels on the roofs of buildings across the campus generate the as much power as 100 families consume in one year. In total, these measures reduce annual CO2 emissions by 200 tons.
Beyond its global research headquarters, Bosch has also introduced measures to improve the energy efficiency of its production processes around the world. At its Packaging Technology site in Beringen, Switzerland, for instance, the company saves 180,000 liters of heating oil and 480 tons of CO2 each year. It achieves this by heating its modern building with groundwater drawn from a basin that is 40 meters underground. This system can also be used to cool the building in summer. The building meets the requirements of the Swiss Minergie Standard, a label that promotes energy-optimized building practices.
The Bosch Thermotechnology site in Worcester, U.K. is another example of how resources can be conserved and emissions reduced with the targeted use of technology. A new water recycling system at the site has made production more energy-efficient and eco-friendly. Thanks to this system, cooling water from the production facility can be reused. Not only does this save 71 million liters of water each year, it also prevents 12 tons of CO2.
In Mellansel, Sweden, Bosch operates one of the most flexible and eco-friendly paint shops in the European mechanical engineering sector. Among other things, the company coats heavy-duty hydraulic motors that will be used in salt water with anti-corrosive paints. In so doing, the mixture of water and color pigments is closely monitored, as this enables the recovery of excess heat. As a result of this approach, the paint shop’s energy consumption has decreased by 75 percent. Moreover, the use of water-based paint has reduced the need for solvents by 80 percent.
Since 2007 Bosch has managed to reduce its CO2 emissions relative to value-added by over 20 percent. Furthermore, between 2007 and 2014, the company saved around 530 million euros in energy costs through in-house measures. This is perhaps the best proof that efforts to promote sustainability make sound economic sense. Indeed, protecting the climate can be a major source of business opportunity.