Beckhoff receives the 2024 German Sustainability Award

Germany's sustainability pioneers have been chosen

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Sustainability and growth

Humanity is growing steadily and, fortunately, prosperity is increasing worldwide. But this also increases the need for raw materials and energy, which our planet does not have in endless quantities. In order to meet the needs of all people, continuously improved production processes are therefore needed to help reduce energy and material use. This challenge must be overcome by engineers in all areas of technology worldwide, be it in mechanical engineering, water treatment, medical technology or energy management, to name a few examples.
Therefore, Beckhoff is convinced that "... engineers must save the world!"

Beckhoff Automation provides the necessary basic technology for this. Our PC control technology enables extremely short cycle times that improve the throughput of machines and thus increase their effectiveness; our powerful CPUs enable the realization of complex optimization algorithms; the interaction of information technology with automation technology combines the best of both worlds and enables very simple integration into modern cloud and edge applications. The latest scientific findings can be used directly on the controller with Beckhoff Scientific Automation; artificial intelligence and machine learning are integral parts of our control technology.

All these technologies help to optimize the effectiveness of processes; this means reducing energy and raw material consumption and improving quality and cost-effectiveness. Ecological and economic requirements can be met at the same time and do not oppose each other!

Generating "green energy" with Beckhoff

Beckhoff technology is used in many applications that make the world more sustainable, e.g. in wind turbines.
Beckhoff technology is used in many applications that make the world more sustainable, e.g. in wind turbines.

The greatest contribution that we make as a company to the protection of our planet is our innovations. Many of these innovations are therefore also used in the generation of "green energies", whether in wind turbines, solar systems or biogas plants. In the field of wind energy in particular, Beckhoff controllers are used in a large part of the world's wind turbines to optimize control. Wind power is a technological focus at Beckhoff; experienced engineers and scientists are working on a continuous optimization of the energy yield.

Apart from our product-based technology projects, we are also committed to a number of campaigns for protecting the environment, achieving carbon neutrality, and sustainable handling of natural raw materials.

Activities to reduce CO2 emissions

Our trendsetting products and technologies enable our customers to manufacture sustainably and use resources more efficiently. These aims are also reflected in our own behavior. Beckhoff Automation audits the carbon emissions generated by its business activities across all of its global locations and makes a financial contribution to protect the climate that is equivalent to its own emissions.

International energy management standard ISO 50001

Beckhoff Automation and Smyczek GmbH, which belongs to the Beckhoff Group, have been successfully operating an energy management system since 2016. Both companies are certified to the international energy management standard ISO 50001. In addition, an energy audit according to DIN 16247 is regularly carried out at Fertig Motors GmbH, which also belongs to the group. This successful energy management involves monitoring the company’s energy consumption, taking measures to save energy and continuously improving our energy efficiency. In recent years, for example, we have been able to increase the energy efficiency of our buildings and infrastructure. We have achieved this by using energy-efficient lighting, insulating buildings during roof renovations or installing an automatic night cooling system that helps to cool the production halls during the summer months. In doing so, Beckhoff Automation fulfills all legal obligations and contributes to the implementation of the German Federal Government’s goal for the turnaround in energy policy.

Consistent switch to green electricity

We have switched our electricity supply of approximately 13 GWh/year to 99% green energy at all German sites as well as at Smyczek and Fertig Motors. This green energy is produced completely by new wind energy and photovoltaic plants. We produce 7% of our total electricity, around 1,073 MWh/year, in our own photovoltaics facilities. The switch to green electricity saves around 7,400 t CO2e (CO2 equivalents) and supports the expansion of green electricity facilities.

Sustainability in everyday business

In addition to all the major measures many other details contribute to our environmental protection. Together with our employees, we are working to become a little more eco-friendly every day. For example, we mainly use regional, fresh products in our company restaurant saving unnecessary transport routes, while our to-go boxes are made of sustainable packaging produced e.g. from burnt sugar or corn starch.
We are gradually changing our car fleet to hybrid and electric vehicles. At present, 55% of all our vehicles are electric or hybrid vehicles At the same time, we are working on the ongoing expansion of our charging infrastructure in Verl. More than 175 charging points have already been installed and many more are planned.

Our greenhouse gas balance and index

Every year, we balance our overall consumption and calculate our unavoidable emissions as CO2 equivalents (CO2e) including all emissions directly produced at our worldwide locations by their business activities. This analysis includes all energy consumptions, consumed water, required materials, produced waste and recycling, catering and refreshments, business travel and our employees’ commuter traffic.

The illustration on the right shows the current greenhouse gas balance for Beckhoff Automation worldwide, Fertig Motors and Smyczek for the year 2022. In total, 15,462.1 t of CO2e were emitted.

The greenhouse gas balance is based on the internationally recognized standard “The GHG Protocol: A Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard” and includes the climate-relevant greenhouse gases that are included in the “operational control” of the company. The data underlyingthese calculations comes from the ecoinvent version 2.2 database and the evaluation method IPCC 2007 (GWP 100a).

Compensation of emissions that cannot be prevented across all global locations – our contribution to climate protection

The myclimate organization offers projects for the voluntary offsetting of CO2 emissions: we subsidize solar cookers for the people of Madagascar.
The myclimate organization offers projects for the voluntary offsetting of CO2 emissions: we subsidize solar cookers for the people of Madagascar.

In order to compensate for unavoidable CO2 emissions, we support the foundation myclimate Deutschland gGmbH, which offers voluntary CO2 compensation measures for companies and examines the greenhouse gas balance of the companies in accordance with the GHG protocol.

Climate protection projects include reforestation or the provision of energy-efficient technologies that could not be realized without the support from the CO2 compensations.
We are specifically involved in the project “Back to the Green Island with Efficient and Solar Stoves” (Madagascar), which is recognized by the worldwide gold standard for the certification of climate protection projects and therefore contributes to sustainable development.

The project organizes the sale of subsidized, efficient stoves to the population of Madagascar, thus reducing the rapidly advancing deforestation on the island. The efficient stoves require only half the amount of wood compared to open fireplaces and save approximately 2.3 metric tons of CO2 per stove per year over a five-year lifetime. Further information on this project’s contribution to protecting the climate and on local sustainable development is available in the SDG Impact Report.

The compensation given for all unpreventable emissions generated by Beckhoff Automation, including all its international subsidiaries and offices, including Smyczek GmbH and Fertig Motors GmbH, means that we are actively contributing to climate protection and are thus contributing to the fulfilment of the Paris climate goals.

Beckhoff’s bees

We are contributing to the preservation of our ecosystem and biodiversity with rented bee colonies.
We are contributing to the preservation of our ecosystem and biodiversity with rented bee colonies.

"Once the bee disappears from the earth, man has only four years to live. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more people." This quote by Albert Einstein from 1949 describes the great importance of the small black and yellow insects.

The European honeybee (Apis mellifera) is mainly native to Europe, the Near East and Africa. It not only produces honey and wax, but also contributes decisively to the food supply of humans by pollinating flowers. Honeybees and wild bees, as well as other insects, pollinate a large part of the native crops and wild plants, e.g. fruit trees, cucumbers, strawberries and sunflowers.

Bee mortality has many reasons

Today, bee mortality is omnipresent. There are very few wild honeybees left. Without beekeepers the small animals could no longer exist, because they are threatened by numerous factors. Insecticides and poisons, including from agriculture, monotonous agricultural landscapes, climate change and also the overbreeding of bees are having an influence on the decline of bee populations worldwide. Reason enough for us to bring about 50,000 of the small biological micro-agents to the company headquarters in Verl to support the survival of honeybees.

Beehives for rent

The beekeeper Marion Domke has come up with an exciting concept to save bees: renting bee colonies to companies, associations and private individuals. This commitment immediately convinced us, and the first two bee colonies moved into a new home on our company premises in Verl in April 2018. We now rent eight bee colonies, and beekeeper Marion Domke regularly drops by to make sure everything is alright.