As a mindset that is rooted in our values, sustainability is our way of doing business. We take responsibility for making a genuine difference in the world, particularly in terms of climate change and water scarcity. We address these challenges the best way we can: By helping our existing and new customers meet their needs in an ever more energy and water efficient manner, through our work with the product life-cycle and by walking the talk when it comes to our own footprint.
Below are the highlights of our approach and performance in 2017. Please go to the Sustainability Report 2017 for the comprehensive version.
Energy-efficient products and solutions
We are grateful that we can contribute to global water challenges by offering solutions that use as little energy as possible. Energy efficiency is at the heart of every Grundfos pump solution. Digitalisation, application knowledge, strong research and development capabilities, along with our deep customer and end-user insights, allow us to meet the future with confidence. As innovation leaders, we aim to take full advantage of the benefits new technology can bring. In the future, a substantial part of our offerings will integrate products and digitally enabled services.
As in other years, we have calculated the electricity savings of all our high-efficiency circulator pumps sold in the EU between 2005 and 2017. The result implies a total annual energy saving of 6.6 billion kWh, or the equivalent of the annual electricity consumption of four million EU residents. During 2017, we allocated 4.5% of our turnover to developing new solutions and launched close to 30 products including pumps, systems, line upgrades to new products across our various portfolios.
In practice: Pay as you save
In this new business model, the money that customers save on water and energy is used to pay for the new system and pump solutions.
It is a performance-based contract, meaning that customers pay off the purchase price of their new and improved pump solutions over a period, using the money that the equipment upgrade lets them save on energy and water bills. “The concept is ideally suited to countries where our solutions have significant impact, but where customers might appreciate the limited up-front investment required, such as Cambodia," explains Chee Meng Tan, Regional Business & Product Portfolio Director in Water Utility, APREG.
The pilot project is up and running in Takeo, Cambodia, where we calculate the municipality will save more than 86,000 kWh in electricity and around 23,800 m3 water per year, with a five-year payback time.
SUSTAINABILITY FACTOR The energy and water savings are used to pay for the system upgrade.
In practice: Tackling agricultural challenges
Storing slurry and digestate from biogas plants, transporting it to farms and spreading it in the fields can be ineffective and rather costly.
A new, compact and environment-friendly method is available in the form of the Grundfos Biobooster, the key element of which a new original patent-protected Grundfos BioBooster Membrane Filtration Unit.
This was co-developed with our customer AMT Nereus, a Luxemburg/France based water company. The unit filters the slurry or digestate to such a degree that all particles bigger than five nanometres are separated out. “It is now possible to extract water from the digestate and slurry and clean it efficiently to be discharged into streams in the local environment without any use of chemicals,” says Emmanuel Trouve, General Manager, AMT Nereus.
SUSTAINABILITY FACTOR Farmers can now extract water from the digestate and slurry, clean it efficiently and discharge it into streams without using any chemicals while retaining its nutrients.
It is our ambition to ensure sustainability at every stage of the product life-cycle: From extracting raw materials and manufacturing to distribution and usage. We therefore continuously look for innovative ways to reduce our material footprint without compromising value or quality. these projects aimed at closing the loop on material consumption include take-back systems, circular business models and design for disassembly.
We are also constantly reducing or eliminating the use of certain hazardous substances, which appear in our restricted substance list called the Grundfos Focus List, with which all our suppliers must comply.
With the full integration of our eco-design tool into key design processes, we are now able to get traction on setting specific targets for reducing the impact of our products across the life-cycle. This will be fully implemented in 2018.
Regarding materials, different products are made with different amounts of recycled materials: Typically all the aluminium and 90% of the cast iron in Grundfos products are derived from recycled materials. The stainless steel we source is approximately 60% recycled, copper 50% and polymer materials 0-10%. Most of our packaging material (wood, paper) can be 100% recycled.
Caused mainly by our manufacturing activities, energy consumption represents our biggest environmental aspect as it leads to CO2 emissions that affects the climate. Our Group ambition is to continuously reduce CO2 emissions and never exceed the level we set in 2008. We use the ISO 14001 environmental management system to ensure compliance with national environmental legislation, evaluate and improve our management approach with the help of ISO 14001 third-party audits.
Water consumption is another of our large environmental aspects. Our production facilities account for most of our water consumption (78% of Group total) and discharge most of the wastewater.
Waste and hazardous waste are the second and third largest environmental aspects at our production facilities. While operating within the framework of our EHS Policy and according to ISO 14001, in 2017, we refined our approach in managing our waste streams by launching a new set of waste KPIs intended to support recycling, re-manufacturing and reuse in line with the logic and rationale of the circular economy.
In 2017, we invested more than DKK 26 million in environmental projects across our facilities. Notable projects include the installation of LED lighting, energy-efficient Grundfos motors and drives, the Grundfos Dynafilter solution, Grundfos Biobooster solution, heat pumps, and PV solar panels.
Despite our reduction initiatives, our energy consumption and CO2 emissions increased by 6.4% and 10.6% respectively compared to 2016. This was mainly the result of increased manufacturing activities and output. The increases in energy consumption and CO2 emissions have spurred us to further boost investments in 2018 to reverse this trend.
Commercial success and expansion also led to our water consumption rising; we consumed 432,106 m3 across our production facilities, a 2.4% increase compared to 2016.
Through our take-back system in Denmark, we collected 6,260 kg of end-of-use circulators, which our flex departments dismantled in a responsible manner. We plan to scale up the project across Europe in the coming years.
Hazardous waste was increased, corresponding to a 2% increase compared to 2016 whilst our non-hazardous waste was reduced by 7% compared to 2016.
In practice: Cleaning contaminated soil in Denmark
In 2014, machine lubricants were found to have leaked from an underground storage tank at one of our production facilities in Bjerringbro, Denmark and we committed to rehabilitate the area.
Boreholes were drilled to ascertain the extent of the contaminated area, which was found to cover about 600 m2 around the container space. Our first response was to inform authorities and create a plan of work to rehabilitate the area. “As a responsible company, we have the clear ambition to clean up completely, eliminating any risk of contamination of drinking water,” says Klaus E. Christensen, Lead Project Manager for Group Environmental Health & Safety.
Further investigation revealed additional areas of contamination, including one that posed a risk to the ground water in Bjerringbro. Determined to achieve a complete clean-up, we extended our work and covered the total cost. We completed decontamination in October 2017 and took the preventive action of commissioning a completely new container yard. This has a safe underground system into which the liquid in the containers drains, thus strengthening anti-pollution safeguards.
SUSTAINABILITY FACTOR In total, 2,100 tons of contaminated soil has been removed and 4,000 kilograms of oil have been cleaned out to eliminate the risk of contaminating the ground. We have also commissioned a new container yard to reduce the risk of future incidents.