Manufacturing companies have great responsibility – not just for the quality of their products, staff or region, but also for the environment. After all, they are often among the major energy consumers. Therefore, energy efficiency and conscious use of resources in production have an even greater impact.
Already since 2006, Kneipp has been paying special attention to sustainable production conditions. Since then, we have intensified our efforts to implement a large number of measures and checked their success by continuous monitoring. In the Kneipp Sustainability Report, we regularly report what is going on in our company. At any rate, Kneipp’s Sustainability Officer cannot complain about a lack of work.
What we have implemented: The most important examples
- Electricity consumption
- In October 2010, the power for all production sites was changed to hydroelectricity.
- In 2012, in its production Kneipp installed a daylight- and presence-responsive lighting control on the lines. In addition, there is the successive installation of LED technology in the various areas of work, for example in packaging or in the escape route lighting.
- In 2015, the HVAC systems were upgraded, resulting in substantial increases in energy efficiency. Despite sharp increases in production volumes, the energy consumption could thus be maintained at the same level.
- Gas consumption
- Already in the early 2000s, generation of the required heating energy was converted from oil heating to natural gas condensing technology. Natural gas combustion produces significantly less harmful substances than burning of domestic fuel oil does. Likewise, the amount of CO2 generated per unit of energy is lower than in the combustion of domestic fuel oil.
- In 2014, Kneipp installed an air compressor system whose waste heat is fed directly into the heating system and thus reduces the demand for conventional heating energy.
- In 2015, a project for refurbishment of a ventilation system was implemented. In the context of this project, Kneipp has carried out further heat recovery actions. This allowed gas consumption to be kept at virtually the same level, despite increasing production times.
- Water consumption
- Tap water is thoroughly cleaned and demineralised at Kneipp. As so-called “deionised water”, it is part of some Kneipp products. In addition, water is used for cleaning, cooling, irrigation and in the sanitary areas.
- While overall water consumption has increased due to higher production volumes, water efficiency has continuously improved thanks to various measures. Since 2009, the water consumption per tonne of bulk could be significantly reduced.
- CO2 emissions
Since 2006, Kneipp GmbH has been running an environmental management system certified according to the ISO 14001 standard. This is evaluated annually by external auditors of DQS GmbH Deutsche Gesellschaft zur Zertifizierung von Managementsystemen, and the data collected are verified.
Moreover, Kneipp verified its “carbon footprint” in 2011 and again in 2015. To this end, the company Climate Partner has checked the CO2 emissions of all German locations as well as of Kneipp’s motor pool.
Accordingly, in 2015 gas combustion and motor pool produced 901 tons of CO2. Thus, the CO2 emissions indeed increased by four percent compared to the same period of the previous year; in proportion to the bulk quantities produced, however, CO2 emissions have been steadily declining since 2009.
This was achieved on the one hand by more efficient utilisation of gas. On the other hand, in its motor pool Kneipp deploys vehicles with modern exhaust gas technology. Employees are also encouraged to avoid air travel for business appointments and go by train or carpooling if possible.
CO2 emissions from production can be barely avoided completely. Kneipp has therefore opted for compensation of unavoidable emissions. 2015 was the first time that this succeeded in full for the total CO2 emissions of the motor pool, including the emissions from gas combustion.
The first compensation project of Kneipp GmbH is located in the east of Mozambique. In Sofala province, in cooperation with the provincial government in Sofala, the Gorongosa National Park and the municipality Nhambita the non-profit organisation Associação Envirotrade Carbon Livelihoods (AECL) runs a silviculture and reforestation program.
Since 2016, Kneipp GmbH has been supporting a new compensation project: Forest Protection – Isangi REDD+, Congo.2 The project area is located in Isangi territory, in the north-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, between the Congo River and one of its tributaries, the Lomami.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is home to the world’s second-largest rainforest. This is threatened by illegal logging. The project is dedicated to the protection of more than 185,000 hectares of intact forest area and thus the conservation of local biodiversity. This includes endangered species such as forest elephants, black panthers and bonobos (aka. pygmy chimpanzees).
Reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) is a significant climate change strategy of the UN, which is intended to contribute to stopping the destruction of the world’s forests. “REDD+” projects take into account, in addition to avoiding deforestation, the role of species conservation, the development of local communities and the creation of income.
Project activity improves quality of life in local communities in the 21 villages of the project area. This is done by training, improvement of agricultural practices, health programs and new jobs such as the monitoring of forest areas. By construction of a bridge and a road, access to markets outside the project area has been improved, and the salary of six primary school teachers and a headmaster is funded by the project as well.
The effects of the climate change project summarised:
• Protection of local biodiversity, including endangered species
• Availability of basic health services such as clean drinking water and antibiotics
• Support of local communities while preserving their traditional, cultural, spiritual and religious heritage
Verification: Rainforest Alliance
Certificate type: Plan Vivo, CCBS Gold Level
Annual volume: 100,000 tons of CO2 equivalents
Verification: Rainforest Alliance
Certificate type: VCS, CCBS Gold Level
Annual volume: 324,534 tons of CO2 equivalents