10 measures to help the environment
How we use the concept of sustainability to reduce the ecological footprint.
It’s one of those days again, outside it rains without let-up. Despite the gloomy weather, during the breaks in the rain you see families walking along the path through the woods. They leave trails in the mud, and the children are delighted about the footprints left in the ground.
The ecological footprint works in the same way, except that it, or at least its consequences, are not immediately discernible. The effects of someone’s ecological footprint vary from person to person, and they depend on the way that he or she lives.
One contribution to ensuring a small ecological footprint is a sustainable lifestyle. But what do sustainability and living sustainably actually mean? The definition most current today was first written down in 1987 in the Brundtland report (Hauff(editors) 1987, p. 46): “Sustainable development is development which satisfies the needs of the present without risking the ability of future generations to satisfy their needs.”
10 sustainable measures
We are making a contribution so that the resources of the present still remain available in the future. This is demonstrated by the 10 steps which we are instigating for the environment.
- Environmental certification
We are environmentally conscious in running our business, and are certified to ISO 14001. We use this programme to continuously set new and binding targets for environmental protection. In other words, environmental management is integrated into the active business processes. ISO 14001 certification is an internationally recognised standard for environmental management systems.
The PDCA cycle, consisting of Plan, Do, Check, and Act, forms the basis of the environmental management system for the assessment of risks and opportunities. As ever, the prerequisite is planning.
Implementation and/or support and operation take place on this basis, followed by the assessment of performance, and then finally the improvement is introduced. After the improvement, new planning takes place. An uninterrupted cycle is thus created.
- Sustainable raw material procurement
For us, quality literally comes before quantity. With an aluminium consumption of more than 500 tons per year, we pay particular attention to the procurement of our raw materials. More than 90 % of our materials come from Austria or the EU.
For example, our aluminium manufacturer ensures low CO2 emissions during production, and also prioritises renewable energy sources. But in addition to material purchase, environmental matters are also taken very seriously for packaging.
In 2020/2021 we converted our packaging materials as far as possible from plastic to paper. For the remaining plastic packaging, we use recyclable variants.
In the course of the digitisation process, we are reducing the consumption of printer paper and turning more to digital content. For example, all our publicity material can also be found online. In addition, in March 2022 we are introducing a new document management system which enables digital storage of received and sent invoices.
However, not only is our office to go paperless, but we also intend to introduce paperless manufacture. All future production orders will be managed digitally using a tablet. And so the path is being paved towards a paperless company.
- Reduction of plastic waste
By using water coolers to supply drinking water, we are consciously avoiding plastic waste. There are water stations throughout the company where thirst can be quenched at the push of a button. This reduces the environmental impact and at the same time keeps storage volumes down.
Appropriately, at Christmas every employee receives a water bottle for refilling. That sounds simple, but it helps greatly in terms of sustainability.
- Reduction in CO2 emission
We recognise the opportunity presented by electromobility. There are therefore already several charging stations available on the company premises, where our employees can recharge electric vehicles at no cost. In combination with the planned photovoltaic system, this is naturally a climate-friendly alternative to vehicles with combustion engines.
- Regional purchase of foodstuffs
Intensive animal husbandry is a much-discussed subject which creates controversy. We therefore consciously pay great attention to how meat products are handled, and their origin.
This is why we regularly have the option to obtain organic meat from neighbours in the region. In addition, in our canteen we always offer two lunch menus, one of which is always vegetarian, by means of which we consciously attempt to reduce our meat consumption.
- Reduction of coolants
Like old paint, pesticides, or oil-containing wastes, coolants are hazardous waste and are therefore particularly hazardous materials for the environment. We have developed special methods to reduce the use of these materials, and thus to help the environment.
But how can we achieve this? By reducing processing time during manufacturing, because this simultaneously requires less coolant/lubricant. Every week the quality of coolant is checked. If this lies outside specified limits, then countermeasures are taken, e.g. a washing process.
Filtering the suspended solids using a belt filter extends the coolant’s useful life. This reduces the need to pump out the coolant, and creates a process which protects the environment.
- Remote workin
Not only does the option to work from home improve the work/life balance, it also benefits the environment. According to a Greenpeace study, CO2 emission from traffic could be reduced by 5.4 million tons per year if 40 percent of employees worked from home on two days per week.
But remote working doesn’t just mean working from home, it also includes processes and communication which function remotely. Reducing business trips and converting to online commerce also help to reduce CO2 emission.
- Cultivation of land
We cultivate a total of 8 hectares of private land, of which 5 hectares are grassland and 3 hectares are woodland. An increase in the bee population is encouraged through sustainable agriculture, and one measure is to completely stop the application of fertiliser. In addition, steps are being taken to convert from spruce monoculture to mixed woodland.
Considering the increasing number of storm events, the varied root systems of mixed woodlands improve stability and counteract climate change better, also through the more effective absorption of greenhouse gases. The greater variety of species provided by mixed woodland should also be noted, whether flora, fauna, or tree variety.
- Renewable energy sources
In future we will focus on renewable energy sources, or more precisely, solar energy. For this, we are equipping our roof surfaces with a photovoltaic system. In the first implementation stage, taking place in 2022/2023, a total of 758 panels will be installed, providing a DC output of 127.875 kWp.
Step by step, we are contributing to the reduction of our ecological footprint, because “what we do today decides how the world will look tomorrow” (Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach).
- Volker Hauff(editors): Our Common Future: the Brundtland report of the World Commission on Environment and Development. 1st edition. Eggenkamp, Greven 1987[German edition]
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Founded in 2001, INNOTECH Arbeitsschutz is a family-owned company with headquarters in Kirchham and branch offices in Germany and Switzerland. With a dedicated research and development team, INNOTECH soon set international standards in the area of occupational safety. Ever since, it has driven forward the further development of innovative products. Today INNOTECH is one of the largest manufacturers in Europe which has specialised exclusively in the production of safety systems, with 88% from its own manufacture, in order to guarantee maximum quality.
According to various statistics, several hundred people have an accident on roofs every year. Accidents that could have been prevented with appropriate safety equipment and the diligent installation of high-quality fall protection systems.
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