Wieland Group sets ambitious climate targets
- Short-term reduction of greenhouse gas emissions targeted
- Long-term target of "Net Zero" by 2045, in-line with Paris Climate Agreement
- Focus on recycling, renewable energy, energy efficiency and new technologies
As a global company active in the copper semi-finished products industry, the Wieland Group has set ambitious climate targets as part of its sustainability strategy.
The Chairman of the Executive Board, Dr. Erwin Mayr, announced these targets in the context of committing to the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), a partnership of World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF), Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and UN Global Compact. The SBTi provides companies with a framework with which they can contribute to limiting global warming to 1.5˚C, in-line with the Paris Climate Agreement. So far, around 1,200 companies have joined this initiative.
"We have been a pioneer for the past 200 years and play a leading role in our industry—particularly in quality and outstanding service. Today, we forge a new path in sustainability and climate protection. We are motivated by our desire to take an active role in solving the climate crisis, and by our commitment and engagement with the future of the company and our employees,” says Mayr.
By committing to the SBTi, Wieland has set itself ambitious targets for reducing direct (Scope 1) and indirect (Scope 2 & 3) greenhouse gas emissions. By 2030, Wieland plans to reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 42 %; and Scope 3 emissions by 12 % compared to the 2018/19 financial year. Wieland is committed to "Net Zero" by 2045 at the latest. SBTi will review these targets in the coming months and – if necessary – adapt Wieland’s targets to ensure compliance with latest scientific results. Wieland’s progress will continuously be tracked by CDP and SBTi.
Energy intensity and circular economy
In fiscal year 2018/19, Wieland was responsible for the emission of approximately 2 million tons of CO2, of which over 95 % were generated indirectly. A major contributor was the upstream supply chain, i.e. the production of copper cathodes and further new metals. So far, emissions of new metals have been calculated conservatively using secondary data, so Wieland assumes a significant reduction based on suppliers' real data. Another contributor to the indirect emissions was the company's own consumption of electrical energy. Only 0.1 million tons of CO2 were produced directly, driven primarily by the gas-fired heating of buildings and the operation of furnaces.
"As a manufacturer of semi-finished copper products, Wieland is in a good position. The copper industry is energy-intensive, but there are no significant process-related emissions, such as in steel production. Most of our processes are already electrified. In addition, copper can be recycled indefinitely, and we have already achieved secondary rates—i.e., the use of scrap— of over 90% for selected products. The environment benefits from such a high secondary ratio, by minimizing the need for virgin metals. Therefore we continuously invest in recycling technology," says Mayr.
The expansion of renewable energy is important for Wieland and the rest of the upstream value chain. Competitive conditions – especially in Germany, given its high prices for electrical energy – as well as a secure supply, and thus grid stability, are essential. The appeal directed at politicians is to set the course accordingly and thus ensure sustainable operation of companies such as Wieland.
"We purchase about 1 million megawatt hours of electrical energy per year. That corresponds roughly to the electrical consumption of a large city with five hundred thousand inhabitants. We will expand our share of green electricity worldwide in the next few years and thus also contribute to the energy transition – despite the already enormous burdens. There is no free lunch, particularly when it comes to protecting the climate," says Mayr.
Wieland is also focusing on fundamental technical measures to reduce its carbon footprint, such as the electrification of gas-operated processes and the use of waste heat in the foundry and annealing processes, among others. “We look forward to sharing our successes and best practices – both large and small – with our suppliers, customers and other market participants. We strive to be a sustainability role model, emulated both within and outside our industry,” says Mayr.
[Image] By committing to the SBTi, Wieland has set itself ambitious targets for reducing direct (Scope 1) and indirect (Scope 2 & 3) greenhouse gas emissions.
[Image] Dr. Erwin Mayr: “We strive to be a sustainability role model, emulated both within and outside our industry”
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Senior Vice President Strategy & Business Development