A responsible relationship with nature and its resources is crucial for the long-term success of a company. Successful sustainability lies in fulfilling environmental regulations and laws. We want to make an active contribution to protecting the environment and, where possible, prevent contamination before it happens.
In 2011, we introduced an environmental management system according to DIN EN ISO 14001 at the Bechtle AG headquarters. We record all environmentally relevant activities and ensure that our operational processes and the conduct of our employees comply with our environmental policies. In 2017, Bechtle ÖA direct became the first Bechtle subsidiary to establish an ISO 14001-certified environmental management system. While 2018 did not see any additional Bechtle organisations included in the certification, we are currently evaluating requirements in Belgium and the Netherlands.
The Bechtle environment management officers answer directly to the managing director of the respective subsidiary and report on the performance of the environment management system. In close co-operation with the Executive Board, they submit improvement suggestions, control the environmentally relevant processes and perform internal audits. The central component of the environmental management system is the Bechtle Environmental Management Manual. It provides management guidelines and metrics and helps raise awareness of environmental topics among all employees. The manual is available to all employees on the Intranet and is revised yearly by the environmental management officers and signed off on by the Executive Board.
BECHTLE ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME.
Within the framework of our environmental management system, the Executive Board devised a concrete environment programme in 2011 that contains targets and a plan of action. It also defines timelines, necessary resources and who is responsible for carrying out the plan.
PRIMARILY, THE BECHTE ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME PURSUES SEVEN INDIVIDUAL GOALS:
From 2011 to 2018, we implemented 91 identified measures in these areas and in 86 cases met our set goals. The status of the declared targets is documented in the so-called environment cockpit and is reported on in an annual audit.
CONSERVE, AVOID, RECYCLE.
Without committed employees, no company can significantly improve their environmental performance. That's why we raise awareness of the economic and environmental consequence of resource consumption, and provide out employees with ample information on the subject on our ILEARN platform. Part of our environmental policy is to use recyclable materials and to use them conservatively, as well as to avoid or reduce waste production as much as possible. Wherever possible, we also choose environmentally friendly products over standard-market products.
With respect to water management, we are always considering different possibilities to control our consumption of life's essential resource in an economical and environmentally friendly way. We consistently sort and recycle reusable materials.
Large publications are printed exclusively on FSC-certified paper from sustainable forestry. In the reposting year 2018, we discontinued the print version of the Bechtle inside employee magazine, switching to a purely digital publication. Bechtle's Annual Report is printed using climate-neutral materials and processes. And, since 2018, the print edition of our customer magazine, Bechtle update, has been printed using Advanced PSO Bio colours composed of up to 80 per cent renewable resources.
In addition to the decision made in 2017 to replace all plastic coated paper cups with reusable ceramic to-go cups, eliminating the waste created by at least 52,000 disposable cups annually, at the end of 2018 we stopped using plastic straws in our company restaurant at the headquarters. We now avoid using 15,000 straws every year. Additionally, bulk packs are favoured over individually packaged goods, in order to reduce or even avoid excess packaging, an approach we take not only in catering, but also in other areas of our headquarters, such as cleaning.
We see room and need for improvement in the areas of energy consumption and logistics. These are the areas where we will be able to make the most effective improvements in our environmental performance by introducing appropriate measures.
In 2018, Bechtle Remarketing GmbH was able to overhaul and remarket some 80,000 devices, including wiping data from 35,000 devices in accordance with the strictest security standards.
In the reporting year, a project team from Bechtle Logistik & Service GmbH checked the definition and labelling of a sustainable product portfolio based on various aspects such as energy consumption, manufacture, and use. The result of this was to add the TCO Certified and Energy Star certifications to the monitors and notebooks in our product range available online.
SETTING AN EXAMPLE.
In order to both raise awareness of green topics among customers and make a difference to the environment, Bechtle and ARP launched a project with HP in collaboration with PRIMAKLIMA e.V. Since autumn 2018, for every order of HP supplies over 200 euros, a tree is planted in the west Ore Mountains in Saxony on a 3,600 square meters area that used to be used for grazing. These reforestation projects use types of trees and shrubs native to Germany, thus providing a new habitat for many species of birds and insects. The project will continue to run in 2019.
Moreover, Bechtle also took part in another, similar initiative organised by 3M which ran until 31 December 2018. For every privacy filter purchased, 3M planted eight trees in Mexico with the foundation Plant for the Planet.
Meanwhile, the Bechtle IT systems integrator in Rottenburg has combined a planting initiative with healthy eating in the workplace. Since 2016, the Bechtle branch has been ordering a fruit basket from the start-up Fruitful Office, and every fruit delivery equals a tree planted in Malawi. Thanks to the support of our colleagues in Rottenburg, by the end of 2018 59 fruit trees had been planted – contributing to the start-up's total of 5 million. The organisation favours guava and papaya trees because the fruit is rich in nutrients and trading the fruit helps families there to have more financial independence. In addition, quick-growing trees are also cultivated to provide firewood to conserve the forests' natural resources.
MORE RENEWABLE ENERGY.
In the IT sector, there are limitations on how much energy can be saved, so we have been speeding up the switch to renewable energy over the last decade. 895,564 kWh of power was generated at the company headquarters in Neckarsulm in 2018, which corresponds to 14-9 per cent of our headquarters' total power requirement (previous year: 616,475 kWh, 10 per cent).
HIGHTECH WITH A VISION.
150 million kilometres lie behind the sun's rays before they reach the roofs of the Bechtle Group headquarters in Neckarsulm. The production of a total of 5,285 solar modules energy supplies not only electricity for the office buildings, but also for one of the biggest electricity filling stations in Germany. Bechtle commissioned the final section of the photovoltaic plant in 2018 – the Bechtle car park. The regenerative energy generation on the premises of the group headquarters is supplemented by two geothermal fields. Their expansion will take place as early as 2019.
During the Bechtle building projects, the feasibility of renewable energies such as geothermal and photovoltaics is tested and, where possible, incorporated into the project. an example of this was in 2018, when we conducted test drilling at our headquarters in Neckarsulm to see if further geothermal systems could be installed. The positive results mean that we will once again be using geothermal energy for the new office building, construction of which will begin in 2019.
In 2019, we will re-assess the relevance of the TCO Certified and Energy Star seals moving forward, adapt the lables used in our portfolio accordingly, and we will assess to what extent this can be applied in other product areas. We are also planning to raise awareness of there certifications in employee training, the aim of the project being to be able to better inform the customer about sustainable solutions.
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Published on Mar 20, 2019.