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Insight & Opinion

Climate neutrality made possible: Sustainable ways to optimise your CO2 footprint

June 13,2022
As part of the Green Deal, the European Union has committed to reducing its net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050. This became legally binding for all member states last year in the Climate Change Act. In order to achieve their goals, the European states will enforce the law on the economic sector in the near future. For this reason, numerous companies have already set themselves the goal of achieving climate neutrality as soon as possible. Especially in the automotive industry, many car manufacturers set concrete targets and roadmaps to achieve this ambition (Daimler, VW, Volvo, etc.)   To achieve full climate neutrality, automakers must also turn their supply chains into climate-neutral ones – and accordingly, the requirements regarding climate neutrality are passed on to suppliers, who are expected to determine their CO2 footprint and submit plans on how the reduction will be achieved. Currently still listed as one criterion among many, it is expected that social and political developments will lead automakers to apply the requirements in the future as an exclusion criterion that determines whether supplier relationships are established or continued.   Together with AVL, the largest independent engineering services provider in the automotive industry, which is itself affected by the regulations, we use our expertise to support our customers on their way to climate neutrality. To achieve this, we will reduce your emissions in three steps:   1. Calculate and optimise your carbon emissions The first step on the path to carbon neutrality is to determine your company-wide and product-related CO2 emissions (in accordance with ISO EN 14061 and 14066). A distinction is made between direct emissions (Scope 1), indirect emissions (Scope 2) and emissions from corporate processes (Scope 3). As soon as it is known which emissions are generated in which areas of your company or in the manufacture of your products, measures can be derived to reduce them.   2. Development of a sustainability strategy In the medium to long term, however, determining and optimising CO2 emissions can only be seen as an intermediate step. In the next step, strategic targets (e.g. climate-neutral products/production by 2030) must be developed and backed up with measures such as the switch to hydrogen as an energy carrier or the use of renewable electricity sources. The CO2 emissions determined in step 1 serve as the basis for assessment. The challenge in developing a sustainability strategy is to balance traditional monetary targets with the “new” target of emissions. In addition to emissions reduction, other aspects such as energy self-sufficiency or raw material use can play a role, further increasing the complexity.   3. Organisational anchoring of the sustainability concept In the final step, the sustainability concept must be anchored in the organization. It is not enough to proclaim goals in order to sustainably reduce emissions. Rather, it must be ensured that appropriate roles and responsibilities are created and that emissions are taken into account in all corporate processes and decisions. For a holistic sustainable approach, the sustainability concept should also be reflected in corporate values and thus also in the behavior of employees. Only then can a company succeed in becoming climate-neutral in the long term.   Determining a company’s or product’s carbon footprint and embedding sustainability into business processes, decision-making and strategy will become increasingly necessary in the future in order not to lose customers and to remain competitive. The sooner you address this challenge, the better positioned you will be for the zero-emissions future.   SE can support you in this. Download the attached document in which we briefly and concisely explain our expertise and approach or contact our expert team directly:   Dr. Oliver Spreitzer Partner +49 170 4003 493   Hans Beck Manager +49 151 1616 6531

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