Dr Boll, can you give us a brief introduction to HEIDELBERG's sustainability strategy?

It encompasses all three pillars — environmental, social, and governance — and formulates ambitious goals. We want to become the company with the smallest ecological footprint in the industry across the entire value chain. To this end, we are planning to achieve climate neutrality at our locations in two stages — with the purchase of emission certificates until 2030 and without from 2040. To this end, we are systematically implementing measures to reduce our primary energy and electricity requirements, purchasing green electricity in future and increasingly utilising self-generated renewable energy. In the last financial year, we were able to reduce our CO2 emissions across all sites by 28 percent as well as a reduction in our water requirements and waste volumes. We do not limit ourselves to the Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions of our own locations, but also look at Scope 3 emissions across the entire value chain. We recently determined the status quo, are now formulating reduction targets and developing a vision for an ESG-compliant supply chain that also respects human rights and ethics.

 

Is ESG-compliant behaviour at odds with economic success?

We see no contradiction here. Many studies and analyses show that companies with good sustainability management perform better. They utilise resources more efficiently, and adhering to sustainability targets is a form of long- term risk management. Companies that act sustainably are more resilient. Of course, implementing the statutory sustainability requirements costs money and sustainable action must be carefully managed.

The aim is to optimise the use of paper, consumables and energy for printing and drying.

Where do your ESG measures start — and have they changed?

One area of action is the generation of solar power. We are currently commissioning a photovoltaic (PV) system with a output of 3.6 Megawatt peak (MWp) at our foundry site in Amstetten, which covers 5 percent of the foundry’s energy requirements. We have now installed a total of 4.3 MWp and are planning further PV expansion. We have also had an environmental management system in place for over 20 years and can build on many years of experience in occupational health and safety. We are increasingly gearing our actions towards sustainability goals — be it through lowered room temperatures, systematic integration of sustainability aspects into our machine development, optimised manufacturing processes or advising our customers on how to use our products in a way that is optimised in terms of energy and ecology. As a result of consulting and process optimisation, they often save several tens of thousands of sheets of paper, including printing inks and the energy used for printing and drying. Such potential must be realised. The first step is to make consumption and savings potential transparent. Further changes are based on the Supply Chain Sustainability Act (LkSG): We are also increasing transparency here and establishing new ESG-compliant processes. The path leads right through training, a joint code of conduct, and clear communication of our expectations.

 

What challenges need to be solved regarding the circular economy?

The aim is to use resources sparingly and keep them in circulation for as long as possible. One approach is the longevity of our products, which generally have a second and third life thanks to good service.

I see the transformation of business models as a challenge: Away from pure ownership of the machines towards pay-per-outcome models. We guarantee a certain print output and ensure that this is achieved with minimised use of resources and opti-mised processes. The markets still have to get used to such models.

Dr Eva Boll with her sustainability team: Tobias Schweinfurth, Mikhail Kaptsov, Andreas Hartmann (starting left)

Do you need new systems for the increasingly complex sustainability management?

We are building on established systems from our environmental and quality management, but are also creating new processes and structures. For example, our sustainability strategy is anchored to the highest management level. I report directly to our CEO, Dr Ludwin Monz, and the group management is also directly involved in the new ESG Council, which steers the group’s sustainability strategy. This is important for the change in awareness among us and our external partners.

 

You recently published the Non-Financial Report 2022/23. How time-consuming is such a report?

The effort involved is considerable, even though we have been obliged to produce non-financial reports for several years now. We therefore already have a good database for ESG reporting. Nevertheless, it is challenging to compile data from a wide variety of sources, prepare it in a consistent and audit-proof manner and contextualise it meaningfully in the report. For example, an increased volume of waste may be due to construction activities, or increased energy consumption may be due to a harsh winter. In the interests of comparability, such effects must be included.

Environmental protection and sustainability are also firmly anchored in the training programme at HEIDELBERG.

Have you learnt anything that could help other reporting companies?

That you shouldn’t be afraid of reporting and should start sooner rather than later. The data collected sharpens the view of your own company and shows potential for optimising resource consumption, processes — and ultimately — costs. In some cases, it only becomes clear which data is available and which is difficult to obtain during the actual implementation. It is advisable to clarify, document, and communicate to the departments involved which data is used for what purpose. It has also proved useful to get the auditors on board at an early stage.

 

Is ESG reporting more of a chore or a help in formulating and realising your goals?

Reporting is the second step. It brings together what is needed anyway as the basis for sustainability management. Based on the status analysis, goals can be formulated, and the progress of a continuous improvement process can be measured. The ESG report is a vehicle for involving employees and external partners in this process. At its core, it is about a transformation that will strengthen our group’s resilience in the long term.

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