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Bosch publishes WIN-Charter sustainability report 2015
As part of its participation in Baden Württemberg’s Sustainable Business Initiative (WIN), in 2015 Bosch reiterated its commitment to conserving scarce resources and promoting a positive work culture. The company’s aim of doing business in a sustainable manner is based on the 12 principles outlined in the WIN Charter, which describe the elements required to strike a balance between economic, ecological, and social concerns. In the 2015 WIN Charta sustainability report, Bosch set itself measurable targets in the areas of “Energy and Emissions” and “Associate Well-Being”, and defined a broad range of corresponding measures.
Target 1: Reduce CO2 emissions by 35 percent
During the reporting period, around half of the Bosch research and development budget went toward eco-friendly products that conserve resources. Moreover, the global roll out of an environmental management system that complies with the ISO 14001 standard was also on the agenda. Until now, 235 locations have received external certification, a share of 80 percent. By 2020, Bosch aims to reduce its CO2 emissions relative to value added by 35 percent over the 2007 reference year. The company will do this by systematically improving its environmental performance. This approach is clearly paying off: at the end of 2015, Bosch had already achieved a 29.7 percent reduction.
Target 2: 1.7 accidents per million hours worked
Another central WIN Charter topic is occupational safety. To reduce the number of work-related accidents to a minimum, in 2007 Bosch began rolling out occupational safety measures based on the OHSAS 18001 standard. This process has now been completed, with 122 locations certified. As a result, the company has reduced the number of accidents per million hours worked by more than half – from 6.8 to 3.2. By 2020, Bosch aims to reduce this figure to 1.7 accidents per million hours worked.
WIN! project: Reducing material losses
Signatories of the WIN Charter have also committed to implementing local sustainability measures. In this spirit, Bosch collaborated on a WIN! project with the Institute for Industrial Ecology at the Pforzheim University of Applied Sciences. The project aims to reduce material losses in production. To this end, the research team monitored and analyzed material and energy flows at Bosch’s location in Waiblingen. The project presented the university with an opportunity to test a material cost calculation method in real-life conditions. Students are taking part in the project in the form of project work and an internship. A bachelor’s thesis is also planned.
The Bosch annual WIN Charter report can be downloaded here (only in German available).
Bosch’s contributions along the food chain
Each year, approximately 4 billion metric tons of food are produced worldwide. But how much do people actually consume? Answer: just two-thirds of it. The resulting cost to the economy and the environment is huge.
To mark the UN’s World Food Day on October 16, this blog article takes a look at some areas in which Bosch is helping to improve sustainability in food production, transport, storage, and consumption.
The link between a technological company and agriculture might not be very obvious. But in fact, Bosch and agriculture go back a long way.
For Robert Bosch himself, the subject was one that occupied a lot of his spare time. After the first world war, he set up the Bosch Farm: “Back then, it seemed to me a great feat to transform a mere bog into a land of milk and honey,” he said. His plan was to turn a tract of poor land in Upper Bavaria into a model farming estate. Using state-of-the-art technology to produce high-quality products that could be sold in the region, the project got under way with the help of special machines, and the newly developed process of silage making was introduced. Robert Bosch also made use of what we would now call eco-friendly methods in creating an environment that would attract hosts of birds, thus providing a natural means of pest control. However, the Bosch Farm remained a subsidized operation.
A motorized plow for tilling the fields at the Bosch Farm, 1927.
From the farm to hydraulics, from hydraulics to robotics
Some ten years after the death of its founder in 1942, the company ventured into the new territory of equipment for agricultural machinery. In the early 1950s, the manual labor involved in German agriculture, from sowing to harvest, prompted efforts to come up with clever technological aids that would simplify work in the fields. The first such aid was a hydraulic lift which used the tractor’s engine to lift and lower the plow.
Nowadays, however, it is no longer hydraulics that form the link between Bosch and agriculture, but robotics, sensor technology, and connectivity. For example, the Bosch sensors that have become common in automobiles and smartphones can also be used in asparagus fields to record weather conditions. This information can be transmitted to an app to determine the right time for harvesting, watering, or covering the crop – increasing productivity and avoiding waste.
Bosch has also joined forces with scientific partners to develop a multifunctional agricultural robot platform that can be fitted with different components to perform a variety of tasks. It uses findings from robotics, sensor technology, and connectivity.
BoniRob is a multi-purpose robotic platform for applications in agriculture.
The “BoniRob” conducts not only soil and plant analyses, but also eliminates weeds. The robot can check the condition of individual plants every day. In plant cultivation and breeding, it can also provide completely new insights into how environmental conditions and treatment methods affect plant growth and quality.
Connected technology for aquaculture
Another example of Bosch technology used in sustainable agriculture is provided by an Australian start-up called “The Yield.” This new agri-tech company uses sensors, data management, and user-friendly apps to create novel tools for agriculture and aquaculture – e.g. in oyster farming. As a partner and investor, Bosch manages the data and supplies the technology for collecting and recording it.
Oyster farming in Australia.
Oysters are filter feeders. When it rains, they accumulate contaminants from agricultural run-off. As this is a potential health risk, oyster harvests are often at risk of being stopped by industry regulators. Where oyster farmers previously relied on estimates or prior experience, the Bosch solution has now fundamentally changed oyster farming: The ability to collect and report localized data has reduced closures in the Tasmanian oyster industry by up to 30 percent, and helped to increase productivity and sustainability. Researchers are also using the data to improve the management of diseases such as Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS). For more information, visit www.theyield.com.
Next step: clean shelf, clean environment
When buying sugar or flour, it’s not unusual to find traces of these products in the shopping bag or on the kitchen counter. This is not only a nuisance to the customer, but also a source of waste. To put an end to this, Bosch has recently presented a sustainable innovation: the world’s first sealed paper packaging solution. In collaboration with the Swedish paper specialist BillerudKorsnäs, Bosch Packaging Technology has come up with dust-tight packaging for dry products such as sugar, grains, flour, or powders. Using sustainable mono-material paper, the packaging contains no additional polymers.
The new sustainable packaging is dust-tight, enhancing product protection and keeping supermarket and kitchen shelves clean. It keeps dust and insects out, and prevents spillage along the entire supply chain. In addition, the mechanical properties of the paper reduce environmental impact.
Bosch solutions for transport: smart containers
A significant portion of global food production is spoiled before it reaches the consumer; the largest loss occurs during transportation. What to do about it?
In collaboration with Dole, the world's largest producer and marketer of fresh fruit and vegetables, Bosch has carried out three smart container tests focusing on the monitoring and subsequent ripening of bananas. The packing boxes are fitted with wireless sensors. Once the pallets have been loaded into the smart container, remote monitoring commences.
During sea transport, an interface between an internal sensor network and external communication keeps a constant watch on the quality of the bananas. For example, as soon as the temperature changes, a remote intervention is made and an alert is sent. The emergency signal is sent to the monitoring center, and the customer (in this case, Dole) can be directly informed.
Sensors in packing boxes monitor conditions and allow to adjust them in time if necessary.
In smart containers, loss due to perishing is only 20 percent. The advantages are that the quality of goods is constantly monitored and consequently improved.
Cook with care – sustainability in Bosch cafeterias
According to recent statistics, an astonishing amount of food is wasted. The average U.S. American, for example, throws away 507 dollars’ worth of food every year. This waste is even more acute in canteens and other large dining facilities that process huge amounts of food.
Kevin Clauss works as a cook at the Bosch plant in Schwieberdingen, Germany.
In Bosch cafeterias worldwide, the people in charge are sensitive to this issue and doing their best to avoid food waste. “We try to plan very carefully what we buy and use”, says Marc Seidel, who is responsible for the cafeteria in Schwieberdingen, Germany.
While hygienic considerations mean that fresh products such as lettuce still have to be thrown away, other food that has been cooked but not served is usually cooled and reused. Dairy products such as milk and yogurt are bought in smaller quantities and used at shorter notice, which helps to reduce food waste.
From the field to the plate: Bosch is doing its best to increase productivity and ensure sustainability in the field of agriculture, food transport, storage – and consumption.
International committee develops ISO environmental standards further
For ten days, Seoul was the environmental management capital of the world. At the beginning of September, the South Korean metropolis hosted the annual ISO/TC 207 Technical Committee meeting. The international group of experts aims to create global environmental management standards for organizations. To this end, 250 delegates, experts, representatives of partner organizations, and observers from 40 countries travelled to Asia for the committee’s 23rd plenary meeting. Nine participants from Germany attended the event to represent their national interests in sub-committees and working groups. Bosch was among them, and played an active role.
L.T.R. Christoph Töpfer (UBA), Dr. Joachim Nibbe (Koordinierungsbüro Normungsarbeit der Umweltverbände Berlin), Bernhard Schwager, Martina Prox (IFU Hamburg), Reiner Hager (DIN Berlin), Volker Gehr (Steinbeis Glückstadt) and Peter Saling (BASF)
The event focused on the further development of the ISO 14000fff series of environmental norms. The norm provides organizations around the world with guidelines on how to implement environmental management systems; carry out audits, inspections, and environmental performance assessments; and perform eco-labeling processes.
ISO 14001 – the most well known norm – was revised in 2015. Since then, ISO 14004 has also been introduced. It serves as a guide on the principles, systems, and methods of environmental management. In the future, it will help organizations make environmental protection an integral part of all their processes more easily. Around the world, some 300,000 organizations have already received ISO 14001 certification. Of these, 8,000 are in Germany. Environmental management systems have been introduced at all Bosch locations. Some 80 percent of locations have received external certification, and the remaining locations are set to follow.
In order to promote the introduction of environmental management systems at small and medium-sized companies, the technical committee also began revising the ISO 14005 norm, which includes instructions on the gradual introduction of an environmental management system. In the future, the norm will be simpler and more flexible. What is more, the current version will make it possible for organizations to integrate environmental management in their core business. The changes are scheduled to be implemented by the fall of 2018.
For the first time, the experts addressed the topic of the monetary assessment of environmental issues. To this end, the ISO 14007 and 14008 standards will specify suitable processes in the future. The new focus aims to make environmental concerns a more important part of decision-making processes in politics and business. Germany will play in active role in the development of the new norm.
More information on environmental management at Bosch can be found here.
Bosch receives the “Green Controlling Prize”
In a traditionally sustainable company such as Bosch controlling takes on a key role. As “green” consultant of the board of management it ensures that a balance is struck between economic interests and environmental concerns. For this approach to manage sustainability targets, Bosch was honored with the “Green Controlling Prize”, an award of 10,000 euros, at the end of September. The prize was established by the Péter-Horváth Stiftung in cooperation with the International Controllers Association (ICV). Each year, the prize honors best practical solutions for the effective management of ecological programs, projects, or measures.
LTR: Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Péter Horváth, Dr. Richard Watterott, Bernhard Schwager, Dr. Stefan Asenkerschbaumer and Siegfried Gänßlen
Dr. Stefan Asenkerschbaumer, deputy CEO of Robert Bosch GmbH, gave a presentation about the basic principles of the “System for strategic and operational environmental controlling,” which Bosch has established in all of its business processes. The company’s e-mobility activities are one example of how Bosch has done this. By developing electric motors, the corresponding power electronics, and components, the company aims to drive powertrain electrification forward. This poses a challenge for controlling, as it is not yet clear when and with which technology a market breakthrough will take place. This is why Bosch relies on scenario analysis, the results of which its financing measures are based on.
In his presentation, Dr. Stefan Asenkerschbaumer, deputy CEO of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH, addressed the basic principles of the controlling approach
The company’s sustainability targets are characterized by operational controlling, which is carried out in a decentralized manner. The divisions receive targets for their global business activities, which are broken down to the product unit or site level. Responsibilities are then distributed accordingly. In this way, Bosch aims to reduce its CO2 emissions relative to value-added by 35 percent by 2020 over 2007 levels.
“The Bosch solution is a shining example of how ecological concerns are addressed across the board around the world. It shows how associates take the environment into account in their everyday work, and especially illustrates the active role that controllers play as ‘green’ business partners,” said Professor Péter Horváth, who conferred the prize.
The prize money will go toward supporting the Primavera e.V. charitable initiative. Founded by current and former Bosch associates in 1990, the organization supports children in need. Today, it is active in 15 countries and helps provide opportunities for children living in slums.
More information about the “Green Controlling Prize" can be found here (only in German available).
More information on the Primavera e.V. charitable initiative can be found here.
Picture source: Horváth & Partners / konferenzfotografie.de