RESPONSIBILITY FOR A BETTER CLIMATE
Ambitious targets and specific measures
We launched SEEDS at the company in 2011. SEEDS is also characterised by specific key performance indicators. These make it possible to quantify and verify the targets, allowing us to ensure maximum transparency.
Our sustainability programme SEEDS is set to bear further fruit by 2030 – and help an entire forest grow. Join us!
An interview with Claudia Altenrath, Head of Sustainability Management
“Being a climate-neutral company is a big challenge. We see it as part of our responsibility.”
Ms Altenrath, how have the ten years of SEEDS changed the Vaillant Group?
Claudia Altenrath: We have definitely become a more sustainable company since 2011. We succeeded in reaching most of the targets we set for 2020. Above all else, however, we managed to include many different company divisions and partners. Examples include the sustainability ambassadors in the central company divisions and the national sales companies. They are committed to the SEEDS philosophy and make it possible to embrace sustainability across the board. This is the prerequisite for being able to take the next step.
Let’s be specific. How would you summarize the situation following the first stage of SEEDS?
Claudia Altenrath: We have achieved a large number of the targets we set ourselves for 2020. In the field of Environment, we had made such good progress by the halfway stage that we set ourselves new, higher targets in 2016. We also achieved these. The same goes for the field of Society: as part of our cooperation with “SOS Children’s Villages worldwide”, we have supported 74 villages in 23 countries – a truly impressive achievement by our employees and installation partners. We have signed up to the UN Global Compact, committed all suppliers to recognise the Ten Global Compact Principles – and haven’t had to record any critical cases in our audits. But, of course, there are targets that we have only partly achieved.
Which targets are these and what do you intend to do about it?
Claudia Altenrath: Without doubt, we continue to work on achieving them. One key target in the Development & Solutions field of focus was to increase the share of product revenue attributable to high-efficiency technologies and technologies based on renewable energies to 80 per cent. Since 2010, the year taken as a basis for comparison, we have increased the share by around 15 per cent, but we are still short of the target. We have managed to more than halve the accident rate per 200,000 working hours since 2011, but that isn’t good enough for us. We want to avoid occupational accidents completely if possible.
The next phase is now getting under way. What can we expect from SEEDS 2030?
Claudia Altenrath: To begin with, SEEDS still consists of the four focus fields of Environment, Employees, Development & Solutions and Society. In these four focus fields, SEEDS sets new ambitious, specific and quantifiable targets that we will regularly track. We have already achieved one goal: Vaillant Group is climate-neutral in its own operations (Scope 1 and 2) since 2020.
Can you tell us more about the goals?
Claudia Altenrath: We will gradually halve our own CO₂ emissions by 2030. At present, the annual figure is around 56,000 tonnes, attributable to the company’s own electricity and gas consumption as well as running the vehicle fleet. The aim is to reduce these emissions to 28,000 tonnes per annum by 2030. We want to achieve this by using more green electricity in our plants and branch offices, by producing even more efficiently, by implementing efficiency measures in our buildings and by increasing the number of electric vehicles in our fleet. Emissions that we are not yet able to avoid are offset via afforestation projects. As part of long-term projects, the Vaillant Group will plant areas of forest in emerging countries. The company is a partner in a new landscape and reforestation project in Peru. Until these planned new areas of forest capture all the company’s emissions remaining after the reduction measures, the Vaillant Group will purchase CO₂ certificates from an existing and gold-standard certified afforestation project in Panama.
This will take a great deal of time and effort, not to mention money … why is the Vaillant Group doing this?
Claudia Altenrath: We are convinced that it will pay off – both for the climate and ourselves. We are aware of our responsibility. By exercising it, we will contribute to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement, in which the nations of the world have agreed to cut carbon emissions to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius and, if possible, to 1.5 degrees Celsius. As a family business, we see these challenges as part of our responsibility. Put simply, we are taking our vision seriously: “Taking care of a better climate. Inside each home and the world around it.”
Thank you for the interview, Ms Altenrath!