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It was five years ago that Conny Doeleke first visited Malawi, one of the poorest countries in the world. She had just completed training as a volunteer development assistant and had gone to spend six months in the Chilongoma region. In addition to her official task – helping to improve the ailing education system by providing courses at an education facility – Conny also launched a whole range of projects. She converted a grass school into a solid stone building, started up a beekeeping project and established a vegetable garden. By selling the honey and vegetables, the community was able to establish a modest income and make much-needed purchases.
In 2010, Conny returned to Malawi. She now works in solar cell production at Bosch Solar Energy. Two co-workers accompanied her on
her return trip and the team took with them 60 kilograms of donated equipment and a small financial contribution from the workforce. Conny's adopted family in particular was overjoyed to see her again. The Bosch associates distributed the donations, which included a large number of writing pads and pens, among the schoolchildren and the local schools.
Conny was also able to see how her earlier projects had developed. The beekeeping project had grown fifteenfold and the income from vegetable sales was paying the wages of two teachers. Conny hopes that the “Invisible Hope” foundation she set up recently will be able to support more projects in the future, such as providing power to hospitals.
With a name that could have been taken straight from the pages of a children's classic, the “Wilde Wanne” (literally: “wild tub”) daycare center in Stuttgart, Germany, is a daily adventure for almost 100 children and an island with a huge diversity of species. The children are divided into imaginatively named classes according to their age, with “Penguins,” “Dolphins,” and “Starfish” sharing a habitat with “Lion Detectives,” the “Pizza Gang” and “Gangster Bears”. The center is a home from home for children from ages 1 to 12.
On one day in the summer they received a visit from a group of adults. The 60 Bosch associates made a colorful troupe, although not much earlier they had been spread over four different departments and 12 locations including Karlsruhe and Reutlingen (Germany), Campinas (Brazil), and Solothurn (Switzerland).
The man behind the novel get-together was David Matzo. He wanted to organize an event for associates in his newly formed department that would help them get to know each other and promote team spirit, while also doing something useful for others. The “Wilde Wanne” was picked from a list of several favorites.
The day proved to be a memorable experience for all involved. The children got a new climbing wall and an upgraded playhouse and the garden was also spruced up. The memory of their group effort is still very fresh in the minds of the Bosch associates, who were brought closer together by this shared experience.
However, associates at other locations have also been busy working for the benefit of others.
The Bosch plant in Homburg is one of the first Bosch locations to be awarded energy management certification in line with DIN EN 16001
The development and certification of the energy management system at the Homburg location is part of the company's initiative to systematically cut CO2 emissions at the manufacturing locations of the Bosch Group worldwide. Cutting CO2 emissions is a top priority for the Homburg location, which has set up a dedicated steering committee to pursue this goal.
The Bosch Group is aiming to reduce CO2 emissions at its manufacturing locations by at least 20 percent compared to 2007 levels by 2020. To achieve this goal, the Homburg location has made cutting CO2 emissions one of the top priorities of its business excellence process. The comprehensive measures initiated by the CO2 steering committee include the development of an energy management system to EN 16001. The Homburg plant has a workforce of around 5,000 associates who produce, among other things, injectors and high-pressure pumps for diesel engines. The plant's environmental management activities have been certified regularly since 2003. This was the same year that the Homburg location started to base its activities on the EFQM business excellence model. In 2009, the Bosch plant in Homburg was awarded the Ludwig Erhard Prize in recognition of its quality management and improvement culture.
In addition to environmental management, the new energy management system has now also been certified by an environmental auditor. The energy management system is based on standard EN 16001, which came into force in 2009. It sets out standardized criteria for energy management systems throughout the EU. The energy management system at the Homburg location includes measures such as compressed air management, disconnection options for machines, systems, and equipment, and the identification of peak consumers or energy bottlenecks for analyzing the energy utilization of machines and systems. These measures are designed to cut the location's energy consumption and thus its CO2 emissions by more than 17,000 metric tons of CO2. Having completed the tests on the new energy management system, the Homburg plant is one of the first Bosch locations to be awarded an energy management certificate.
Bosch employs two models of the hybrid drive for commercial vehicles
Safer, cleaner and more efficient — these are the main drivers of the commercial vehicle industry. Increasingly stringent emissions standards are another reason why Bosch expects a marked increase in demand for clean and cost-effective diesel technology, efficient generators and the fuel-saving start-stop system. A further major step towards more efficient engines, for commercial vehicles, too, is hybrid technology, for which Bosch employs two models — the electric hybrid for light to medium-weight vehicles and the hydraulic hybrid for heavy commercial vehicles.
Start-stop technology, which reduces fuel consumption in urban driving conditions by up to eight percent, is also making its mark in the light commercial vehicle sector. In 2010, the company supplied almost 10,000 start-stop systems for this market. This figure is set to rise to more than 100,000 in 2012. Auxiliary units, such as efficient generators, also lower fuel consumption and thus operating costs. Bosch will deliver around 1.7 million generators to commercial-vehicle manufacturers this year, with this number set to rise considerably. Future emissions standards, such as Euro6 and US2010, are a driving force behind the spread of clean and economical diesel technology. Industrialized countries are moving towards these high standards, with emerging markets close behind. Bosch's common-rail sales on the global commercial vehicle market are set to increase from 1.9 million systems this year to 2.8 million by as soon as 2012, and sales for the Denoxtronic emissions treatment system are expected to double.
Hybrid drives generate significant savings in urban traffic — a fact that applies to commercial vehicles, too. Bosch is employing two concepts to incorporate this drive into commercial vehicles, combining the combustion engine with either an electric motor or a hydraulic unit. The hydraulic hybrid is most suited to use in heavy commercial vehicles and for eco-friendly operation of city buses. For example, garbage trucks fitted with hydraulic hybrids from subsidiary Bosch Rexroth can cut fuel consumption by up to 25 percent. Braking not only recovers energy, but also causes less brake wear.
Bosch has expanded its portfolio for the electric hybrid for light and medium-weight vehicles. After the successful launch of parallel full hybrid technology in the passenger vehicle market, the system can now also be used efficiently in vans and minibuses. It is now possible to cover short distances with full hybrid vehicles using only electricity, thus making them emission-free. Compared with pure diesel engines, commercial vehicles run on the diesel hybrid lower CO2 emissions by up to 20% in the New European Driving Cycle. Depending on the vehicle, the fuel savings amount to between 20 and 25 percent, making hybrid technology a commercially viable alternative. A 3.5 metric ton vehicle can therefore recover the extra cost of an electric hybrid if it clocks up a good 20,000 kilometers per year.
Member of the Bosch board of management responsible for environmental protection, manufacturing coordination and investment planning as well as the regions North and South America
How is Bosch progressing with its objective to reduce CO2 emissions?
Marks: We are on the right track. Last year we reduced our relative CO2 emissions by over four percent compared to 2007, with each division doing its bit. However, the economic crisis forced us to make drastic cuts to our 2009 investment in fixed assets, which was 40 percent lower than in 2008. Consequently some of the energy conservation projects we were planning, including long-term ones, have had to be postponed. This means our CO2 emissions have so far decreased less than originally anticipated, although we are expecting to make more headway in 2010.
What role do the buildings of the new Bosch headquarters in Singapore and Shanghai play?
Marks: These are highly symbolic landmark projects. This is the first time we have used environmentally friendly, sustainable Bosch technology to create prestigious new buildings in the booming Asian market. Our strategy in Asia is a logical continuation of what we have been doing in Germany for years: Providing associates, customers, suppliers, and local politicians with another major indication of our ecological commitment.
But surely the lion’s share of reductions could be achieved in production…
Marks: Very true. Between 70 and 80 percent of a location’s energy is used in production. This area has huge potential: A study conducted by the Drive and Control Technology division showed, for example, that its Elchingen plant could reduce the energy it uses by up to 25 percent. Now it’s a matter of consistently increasing this potential, using our own technology as far as possible.
What measures do the divisions need to take in order to achieve this?
Marks: The divisions have a huge responsibility. Despite the continuing severe economic pressures, they need to take the appropriate steps necessary to achieve our ambitious target of reducing CO2 emissions by 20 percent compared to 2007. Several of the divisions have been implementing highly promising approaches. For example, Diesel Systems achieved the biggest absolute CO2 decrease of 166,000 tons, which corresponds to approximately 40 percent of the reductions we made worldwide last year.
Is the number of encouraging examples increasing?
Marks: Yes. One example is the new wafer production plant in Reutlingen, which uses photovoltaic systems to cover some of its energy requirements. In Madrid we installed a solar heating system for heating drinking water; this now provides the majority of the hot water required by the cafeteria in the summer. A similarly successful emission reduction project has been implemented in Hallein, Austria, where we converted the entire heating system from natural gas to district heating that uses waste heat recovered from the local wood and paper industry. Several other sustainable building projects are in the pipeline – for example in Coimbatore, Moscow, Suzhou, and Yokohama.