Freudenberg uses the terms “footprint” and “handprint” to refer to the two sides of the sustainability coin you are describing.
Correct. They are the two dimensions on which we ourselves have a direct influence – which is why we are focusing on them so intensively. We want to work as energy-efficiently as possible, saving as many resources as we can and in so doing steadily shrink our own environmental footprint all the way to climate-neutrality. That is something we as Freudenberg want to achieve by 2045. At the same time, our products and innovations help our customers become both more efficient and more sustainable. That is what we refer to as handprint.
You have mentioned several innovative products that are examples for our handprint. How does Freudenberg minimize its own CO2 footprint?
The process consists of multiple steps that at times can run parallel to one another. Our “Be energy efficient” initiative – “Bee” for short – constitutes the first step. Using a standardized approach, our sites systematically uncover opportunities for improvement, with a focus not just on material, building and energy efficiency, but also on lowering our own energy consumption. The experience to date shows a potential yield of up to 25 percent in savings, on average, after improvements have been made. Our facility in Oberwihl in southern Germany is going even one step further and will meet its own heating and warm water demand in a uniquely climate-friendly way in the future by having woodchips from the Black Forest replace the fossil fuel-based heating oil. Two furnaces will turn biomass into more than 300 kilowatts of heat output. A special, small, combined heat and power plant, also fueled by woodchips, will cover the heating demands of an entire year. Beyond such efforts, for all our new building projects, whether at Vibracoustic in Hamburg or EagleBurgmann in Wolfratshausen, we are relying on highly efficient building technology.