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Bosch attends the 25th anniversary of the “Töpfer Agreement”
On September 25, the German Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Protection, and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) celebrated 25 years of successful cooperation with the German Institute for Standardization (DIN). A quarter of a century ago, the two signed the “Töpfer Agreement,” which is named after Professor Klaus Töpfer, Germany’s former environment minister. The agreement marked the first time that environmental concerns were considered in standardization processes. Round about 100 guests attended the ceremony, among them Bernhard Schwager, the head of the sustainability office at Bosch and chairman of the DIN committee for environmental management and audit. The event was used as an opportunity to discuss the milestones and challenges of sustainable standardization work.
(Photo: Christian Kruppa)
A diverse program
In his opening words at the start of the event, Dietmar Horn, a ministerial director, department head at BMUB, and a member of the DIN board of directors, addressed the significance of the “Töpfer agreement” for environmental protection and standardization. Professor Töpfer’s presentation was a highlight of the evening. His talk focused on the value of standardization tools in reaching political goals such as the United Nations’ Agenda 2030. The agenda aims to strike a balance between scientific progress and social justice, all the while respecting ecological limitations. During the panel discussion that followed Professor Töpfer’s talk, experts from the worlds of business, politics, and trade associations looked back on the highlights of the past 25 years and identified priorities for the future. In his presentation, Bernhard Schwager focused on the success of environmental standardization. The ISO 14001 standard, which is now used in around 300,000 organizations, has succeeded in reaching the second place in the ISO world, right behind the ISO 9001 quality standard. Bosch itself already has 257 locations worldwide, which conform to ISO 14001.
Twenty-five years of environmental expertise
The 1992 “Töpfer Agreement” marked the beginning of the DIN coordination office for environmental protection (KU), as well as the DIN standardization committee for the basic principles of environmental protection (NAGUS). These two bodies make a decisive contribution to ensuring that environmental concerns are an integral part of the daily processes of organizations. The KU supports DIN standardization committees in making environmental aspects part of their work.
NAGUS has played a leading role in developing trailblazing standards such as ISO 14001 for environmental management systems, ISO 14040 for carbon footprint-related assessments, and ISO 50001 for energy management systems. These and other guidelines now make an important contribution to reaching UN sustainability targets around the world.
More information on the 25th anniversary of the “Töpfer Agreement” can be found here.
Almost two years after the Sustainability Development Goals were launched, experts are now taking stock of progress.
Achieving equality for all, ending poverty, and minimizing climate change are just three of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that the governments of 157 United Nations member states agreed on in 2015. The SDG Index now offers insights into how far we have made it on the road toward achieving these goals. Based on 99 indicators, the ranking shows which countries have come the closest. This year, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland have taken the top spots. The Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, and the Central African Republic are at the bottom of the ranking. Germany is in sixth place, scoring points for its low poverty rate and high standing in terms of education and industrial progress. In contrast, Germany showed room for improvement in the areas of climate and ocean protection, as well as in the realm is sustainable production and consumption.
In the most recent edition of the SDG index, spill-over effects were considered for the first time. These refer to the negative impact the industrialized nations have on poorer countries, for instance because of the exploitation of resources and weapons exports.
The SDGs as a guideline
As a member of the United Nations Global Compact, Bosch has committed to pursuing 11 of the 17 SDGs. “Thanks to these development goals, we can measure our activities based on their relevance for society and ask ourselves how our innovations contribute to sustainable social change,” says Dr. Volkmar Denner, the chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH. In 2016, the company spent 55 percent of its R&D budget on technologies related to the environment and safety. For instance, Bosch is committed to developing innovations that cut CO2 emissions in the areas of e-mobility and automated driving.
Moreover, the company cooperates with Robert Bosch Stiftung on projects that support health and social well-being. In 2016, the Robert Bosch Center for Tumor Diseases was opened. “We need to continuously assess our position, allow for a change of perspective, and be ready to forge new paths. I strongly believe that, with the right definition of innovation, business can make a significant contribution to solving the challenges society faces,” says Volkmar Denner.
More information and details on the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals can be found in the SDG Index.
To find more about what Bosch is doing to help achieve the SDGs, please consult the Sustainability Report.
Bosch gives a forum journalists in exile
Developments at Robert Bosch Stiftung
For journalists in exile who have fled from dictatorships and warzones, the right to free elections is an important accomplishment in the fight for freedom and against repression. Ahead of the German federal election on September 24, Robert Bosch Stiftung, the German daily newspaper Tagesspiegel, and Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung cooperated to organize a special lecture series that focused on freedom. Over the course of workshops, journalists who fled from Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, and Azerbaijan discussed the topics of freedom, democracy, and self-determination. Their contributions were subsequently published in a special section of the Tagesspiegel entitled “We Choose Freedom”.
Jamal Ali (Foto: Doris Klaas)
"I am free when I don’t have to justify who I am. When I came to Germany, I felt totally free; I was euphoric. I came straight from prison straight to Berlin. Sometimes I feel that my freedom is compromised because I have to justify why I am here. I want to feel accepted, or at the very least tolerated."
Jamal Ali (30, Azerbaijan, in Germany since 2012) works for Meydan TV, the broadcaster by Azerbaijanis in exile. He is also a trainee at ALEX Berlin. In his article, he describes the status of journalists in his home country and the influence of oil imports on European foreign policy.
Negin Behkam (Foto: Doris Klaas)
"What does freedom mean to me? That I am no longer obliged to wear the hijab in public. Or that I don’t need to worry about going to jail for expressing my opinion. Of course, I have more freedom in Germany than in Iran. But my fight for freedom continues here. I would like this society to perceive me as an individual one day, and not only as a representative of the country I fled from, and of a religion that I was oppressed by."
Negin Behkam (33, Iran) has been in Berlin since 2011, where she works for the “Amal, Berlin!” news platform. Her article addresses the political system in Iran and the debate about the dominant German culture.
Mustafa Aldabbas (Foto: Kitty Kleist-Heinrich)
"For me, freedom means having the possibility of writing freely as a journalist, and of openly expressing criticism without running the risk of being censored or placed on a black list. As a gay man, freedom means being able to be open about my sexuality without worrying that I could be discriminated against, tortured, or even killed. Freedom is about being protected by laws that provide me with the same rights and responsibilities as any other citizen. Ultimately, everyone defines freedom differently, and yet we must all be committed to defending it."
Mustafa Ahmad Aldabbas (30, Syria) came to Germany in 2015. A freelance journalist, his article focuses on the way in which homosexuality is viewed in Arab countries and in Germany.
The “We Choose Freedom” project is part of Robert Bosch Stiftung’s Migration, Integration, Participation initiative, which aims to actively promote and shape cultural and religious diversity in Germany.
More information about the “We Choose Freedom” project and all the corresponding articles can be found here: Link
Bosch is committed to an unique initiative to fight youth unemployment in Italy
Daniele Massuro won a soccer world cup with the Italian national team in 1982, was a four-time champion in the Italian soccer league, and has played for a two-time Champions League-winning team. He is thus a role model for Italian youth and is now using his fame for a good cause: to talk about work with young people. With the “Allenarsi per il Futuro“ (Preparing for the Future) program, the professional athlete gives presentations in schools across the country. The project is a joint initiative between Bosch and the Ranstad temp agency. For three years now, the initiative has addressed the issue of high youth unemployment in Italy, which stood at 35.5 percent in July 2017. In contrast, only 6.5 percent of young people in Germany are jobless.
“Allenarsi per il Futuro” aims to help by supporting young people in the transition period between school and working life. To this end, the project offers advice and internships at companies. Last year, 700 young people completed internships, and 350 have already begun this year. Supporters from the world of professional sport help convey the message: “ultimately, anyone who never gives up on their dream is a winner,“ says Roberto Zecchino, the head of HR for Bosch in southern Europe, about the cooperation with personalities like Daniele Massaro. “This is the idea that we want to pass on to young people: having a dream is one thing, but you also have to work hard to make that dream come true.”
“Allenarsi per il Futuro“ is one of many educational projects that are part of the Bosch apprenticeship scheme in southern Europe. The company is committed to fighting youth unemployment in countries such as Italy and Spain, where 38.6 percent of young people are currently unemployed. In light of this, and against the backdrop of positive feedback about the program, “Prepare for the future” has also been running in Spain since 2016. Moreover, over the past three years, Bosch has created 175 apprenticeship spots for young people from Italy, Portugal, and Spain.
More information about the Bosch apprenticeship scheme in Southern Europe, as well as the apprenticeship concept it is based on, can be found here.
Synthetic fuels could power carbon-neutral vehicles in the near future
Until recently, preventing around 2.8 gigatons of CO2 emissions by 2050 seemed like an impossible vision. This could soon change with the help of synthetic fuels, also known as e-fuels. A Bosch study has shown that these fuels can make a significant contribution to reaching climate targets if they are consistently used in passenger vehicles. In contrast to biofuels, producing this new fuel does not compromise agricultural land, as the use of limited arable land is not required. E-fuels are produced exclusively with renewable sources of energy as well as with the combination of hydrogen and carbon. The latter can even be extracted directly from the air. These two elements can be combined to make synthetic gasoline, diesel, and kerosene.
“To reach the climate targets of the future, we need intelligent solutions beyond e-mobility,” says Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH. Synthetic fuels could play a key role in this regard. The use of e-fuels would mean that drivers could continue to use their combustion engine vehicles and simultaneously contribute to reaching climate targets. From vintage cars to family vehicles, every car can drive with synthetic fuels. Moreover, future fuels can allow for almost soot-free combustion.
A promising development
Until now, the production of e-fuels has been very expensive. In the future, a strong market and favorable developments in terms of energy prices could mean that synthetic fuels are available for EUR 1,00 to 1,40 per liter, plus taxes. What is more, the current network of service stations could still be used, as synthetic fuels have the same chemical structures as conventional gasoline.
However, e-fuels are still in development. This is why they are receiving the support of the German Federal Ministry for Economy and Energy within the framework of the “Energy transition in Road Traffic” initiative. The cost of production facilities must be reduced and additional test facilities built. If synthetic fuels become more accessible and affordable, the carbon-neutral engine may well become reality.
Please find further information here.