Driving environmental protection
Driving environmental protection
We aim to contribute to climate and resource protection and thus minimize the negative environmental impacts of our business activities.
Providing services and innovations, we help our customers to drive environmental and climate protection in line with our corporate purpose. At the same time, we strive to make our own business activities as eco-friendly as possible and minimize negative environmental impacts. We need resources like electricity, heating, paper, and water in our offices and in the operations of our laboratories and testing facilities.
Although our ecological footprint as a technical service provider is considerably smaller than that of companies in other industries, we are nevertheless determined to contribute toward climate and resource protection and to take responsibility for the ecological consequences of our business activities.
With this in mind, in 2021 we compiled our first international greenhouse gas inventory, which now includes data from all fully consolidated subsidiaries in Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, USA, India, Singapore, China, Japan, and South Korea. This takes in around 90 percent of our revenue volume and our workforce.
The vast majority of our corporate carbon footprint is taken up by our energy consumption for business travel or for our locations and the associated greenhouse gas emissions. Given this, our paramount objective is to reduce our emissions in these areas. You can find a summary of our greenhouse gas inventory here:
We base the production of our greenhouse gas inventory on general regulations such as the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol) as well as on the international ISO 14064-1 standard, albeit without striving for full compliance at this stage. We completed an internal audit this year as an important step along the way to verifying our carbon footprint in accordance with ISO 14064-3. In the next step, we will commission third-party verification of our greenhouse gas inventory.
The framework for all environmental action activities is set by our environmental policy, which applies globally and is annually revised and updated. The current areas of focus of the policy are reduction of energy consumption and consumption costs, procurement of resource-efficient products and services, and training for our employees to raise awareness of the use of natural resources.
Our environmental policy also sets out our short-term climate target: from 2025 we aim to reduce our global Scope 1, Scope 2, and – particularly relevant – Scope 3 emissions to net zero. To do this, we will first avoid generating emissions wherever possible and reduce consumption of resources. Residual emissions in 2025 will then be compensated for by supporting certified and recognized compensation projects. In 2021 we clarified this target in more concrete terms and included the following performance indicators:
As well as defining further performance indicators for specific areas, we are currently working on a long-term climate objective and establishing a climate strategy extending beyond the 2025 timeframe. Our goal is to reduce TÜV SÜD’s greenhouse gas emissions to an unavoidable minimum. To balance out these unavoidable emissions, we are planning to gradually phase out our support of carbon compensation measures and replace them with carbon capture and removal projects. As with our compensation measures, we will only choose certified and recognized projects.
As the majority of our carbon footprint is accounted for by our energy consumption and the associated greenhouse gas emissions, our actions to mitigate the climate impact of our business operations accordingly focus on this area. With this in mind, last year we introduced energy data management software enabling us to optimally monitor and control actual energy consumption within a climate and energy management system. The type and scope of data collected by the energy data management system is based on the ISO 50001 and ISO 14064-1 standards. Since 2021, all energy data from German locations has been recorded by the energy data management software and can be accessed there directly. The software will be implemented at our international locations from 2022 onward.
We have also set our sights on further environmental topics. For example, in the future we will report on waste levels and water consumption. We have also committed to protecting biodiversity, with initial actions including roof greening and natural landscaping as part of building refurbishment. More and more of our locations are setting up beehives and providing measures that encourage wild bees.
Here are some impressions of our activities:
After roof renovations at our corporate headquarters in Munich, three beehives were set up there. Over 30 employees from a variety of fields are now involved in the project and look after the bees in their spare time, with the support and expertise of an experienced beekeeper to assist them. The bees have access to plentiful food sources on the heavily greened roof and in the neighboring Westpark. The honey they produce is sold to our employees and the proceeds are donated to charity. Further beekeeping projects are in place at other locations, including our Leipzig branch.
Solar photovoltaic system
The electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) laboratory in Straubing, Bavaria, conducts EMC and radio testing, but also performs environmental simulations and electrical safety tests for industry, rail, and automotive product manufacturers. These testing procedures are highly energy-intensive. To minimize power consumption, in the summer of 2020 a solar photovoltaic system was installed capable of generating approximately 94 kW. All the power generated by this new PV system is used in testing.
To avoid unnecessary packaging and make a proactive contribution to environmental protection, in 2021 we introduced ReCup mugs and bowls in the largest TÜV SÜD cafeteria in our Munich headquarters. The Germany-wide ReCup deposit systemdoes away with disposable cups and dishware. One ReCup mug can replace up to 1,000 single-use coffee cups throughout its lifetime. ReCup products are 100 percent recyclable, BPA-free, non-toxic, and dishwasher safe.
Recycling Project in Singapore
Singapore is currently establishing new and highly professional recycling structures. Our new office premises in the city-state hosted a model project in which a “reverse vending machine” was set up. Still a novelty in Singapore, the machine works in a similar way to our more familiar bottle and can deposit machines. It is hoped to raise awareness of the topics of recycling and circular economy among the population. Our workforce has embraced the service with such enthusiasm that the machine has to be emptied every two days instead of the initially envisaged two weeks. The model project channels large quantities of plastic and cans into the recycling system.
Our heating energy is drawn from environmentally friendly sources wherever possible, particularly district heat. Our Munich headquarters, which is also our largest office building, receives district heat from the local utility company. We always select the most sustainable option that is technically feasible for our locations. As an example, our new laboratory in Garching, opened in 2013, is heated using district heat from the local geothermal heat provider.