German technology provider GEA Group announced in a statement on June 17 its goal to become carbon neutral along its entire value chain by 2040.
GEA also announced interim climate targets, including reducing its own greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 60%, and emissions from the customer use phase of its products by 18%, in 2030.
A part of GEA Group is GEA Refrigeration Technologies, which produces ammonia/NH3 (R717) components for commercial and industrial refrigeration, and heat pump applications as well.
GEA’s new climate strategy has been submitted to the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTI), an independent body that reviews climate targets to confirm if the company is in line with the Paris Agreement. It expects the validation back before the end of 2021.
The climate strategy is the first part in building a comprehensive Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy for the entire Group.
“GEA is taking bold action to support the global transition to a net-zero economy,” said Stefan Klebert, CEO of GEA Group. “We are pursuing the most comprehensive and ambitious climate strategy in the mechanical engineering industry.”
“We are incorporating our entire value chain into this effort, tackling both direct and indirect emissions, and by doing so, we are taking clear action in line with GEA’s purpose – Engineering for a Better World,” he added.
As part of its efforts, GEA has been investing in Gold Standard-certified clean energy projects, making its own operations climate neutral from the beginning of 2021. The Gold Standard was established by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to ensure efforts have the highest possible climate impact, and includes projects creating clean energy from wind, sun, biomass and waste gasses.
“Carbon offsets for the emissions that we cannot yet avoid is, of course, only the first step on our net-zero journey,” Klebert explained. “That is why we are working to transform our business operations to effectively contribute to limiting global warming.”
How to achieve net-zero?
To achieve its net-zero goals, GEA is planning a variety of initiatives. First, the company intends to increase the share of renewable energy used in its operations to 100% within the next 5 years.
GEA is also planning to modernize its office buildings and production facilities to increase its energy efficiency, prioritizing the 29 biggest production sites around the world, which account for 80% of the group’s global energy consumption.
GEA will also make its fleet of company cars greener by buying only electric cars in countries where feasible, and install charging stations at its sites. This process will start at home in Germany.
As an example of these efforts, GEA opened a new “climate neutral” facility in Koszalin, Poland, in May. The factory has photovoltaic panels on the roof and a bank of batteries to store power, which can also be used to power electric vehicles. The factory is also equipped with a combined heat and power system (CHP), LED lighting, “best in class” insulation and low-emissivity glass.
“The Koszalin expansion is more than just a building; it is an opportunity to create a Factory of the Future – a competitive, climate-neutral production center in Europe based on GEA’s needs and industry best practice,” said Johannes Giloth, COO of GEA.
Scope 3 emissions as well
GEA doesn’t just worry about Scope 1 and 2 emissions from its own operations, though, as 95% of the GHG emissions resulting from GEA’s products are Scope 3 – meaning emissions from the company’s suppliers and the products after they are sold.
The company is therefore working to identify the “climate hotspots” in its portfolio, i.e., the products having the biggest impact, in order to find and boost the energy efficiency of the worst ones.
“Product innovation will be the key lever to reach our 18% reduction target for Scope 3 in 2030,” said Klebert. “It’s an ambitious goal, but I’m convinced we’ll achieve it; engineering excellence is GEA’s core strength.”
Scope 1 is a company’s direct emissions (including refrigerant leaks); Scope 2 is power plant emissions associated with electricity used by a company; and Scope 3 is emissions from a company’s supply chain (including use of its products).
“GEA is taking bold action to support the global transition to a net-zero economy,”Stefan Klebert, GEA
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