“Thanks to our climate action measures, last year we were able to cut absolute CO2 emissions by approximately 59 percent (2019: 10 percent) to 53,000 tonnes,” says Knorr-Bremse AG CFO Frank Markus Weber. “This is an important interim step on the way to carbon neutrality. One key factor here was the purchase of high-quality green energy certificates for all of our European, Chinese and North American sites.”
Total energy consumption at Knorr-Bremse was reduced by 4.5 percent to 406 GWh in 2020 (2019: 425 GWh). To further improve Knorr-Bremse’s energy efficiency going forward, systematic potential analyses were conducted at selected sites. The energy efficiency measures implemented in 2020 at the sites in Acuña, Watertown, Suzhou, Aldersbach and Budapest will save 2,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. Activities included replacing lighting systems, as well as waste heat recovery and insulation measures. The savings equate to approximately 3.8 percent of Knorr-Bremse’s global CO2 emissions. Further energy audits are planned for 2021 to identify additional potential savings.
In its efforts to halve CO2 emissions at its sites by 2030 – emissions generated by energy consumption at its production plants around the world and by its fleet of vehicles – Knorr-Bremse is focusing on three levers. The first concerns energy efficiency initiatives and the use of lowcarbon fuels in heating systems and the vehicle fleet. The second involves investing in measures designed to increase the proportion of own-generated renewable energy at KnorrBremse sites. And the third relates to upping the share of renewable energy sourced externally through longterm power purchasing agreements, green energy products and certificates.
Offsetting projects certified to independent Gold Standard
“As an additional contribution to climate action, we have pledged to achieve carbon neutrality at our sites from the end of 2021,” adds Frank Markus Weber. “To this end, we’re going to be increasing the proportion of electricity from renewables that we use. And we are aiming to offset the residual unavoidable emissions in the amount of 40,000 tonnes of CO2 by means of high-quality climate protection certificates. In this context, KnorrBremse has signed an offsetting agreement with the Berlin-based climate protection organization atmosfair gGmbH.”
Knorr-Bremse has selected two projects which reached the implementation stage early this year: the Clean Drinking Water project in Kenya and Tanzania, and the Efficient Wood Gas Stoves project in India. Both these carbon offset projects are certified to the independent and internationally recognized Gold Standard. These projects contribute to several UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on which Knorr-Bremse is focusing: SDG 5 “Gender Equality”, SDG 8 “Decent Work and Economic Growth” SDG 9 “Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure”, and SDG 13 “Climate Action”. The Clean Drinking Water project, run by local project partners Boreal Light GmbH and Waterkiosk Ltd, supports access to clean drinking water for rural households in Kenya and, in future, in Tanzania. In the second project, which is being implemented in collaboration with Sapient, the local project partner in Kolkata, low-income households in rural West Bengal are supplied with efficient wood gas stoves that can reduce firewood consumption by 50 to 60 percent. Reducing wood consumption also helps protect the mangrove forests of West Bengal. Both projects are being realized together with Knorr-Bremse Global Care.
Investing in own generation: new photovoltaic system in Huntington (USA)
In addition to the existing photovoltaic systems in Suzhou (China), Pune and Faridabad (India) and Munich (Germany), a new photovoltaic system will come on stream in Huntington (USA) in the course of this year. The new system will increase the own-generation of renewable energy at Knorr-Bremse from approximately 1,400 MWh/year to approximately 3,300 MWh/year. This will save around 1,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, which equates to approximately 1.9 percent of KnorrBremse’s global CO2 emissions in 2020.
As part of its climate strategy, KnorrBremse is also keen to purchase more renewable energy from external suppliers. In 2020, 86 percent of electricity was sourced from renewables. As in 2019, the Group’s Italian sites in Arcore and Buccinasco continue to purchase electricity from Italian hydroelectric and solar plants via green energy tariffs. Knorr-Bremse’s Austrian sites are supplied with Austrian hydroelectric power in line with a green energy tariff that came into force in 2020. Electricity generated from Spanish wind power with Guarantees of Origin (GoOs) was purchased for all other European sites. These certificates were generated by plants less than five years old. Green power with Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) is also sourced for all Knorr-Bremse sites in China (Chinese International RECs), the USA and Canada (US RECs). The certificates from Europe and the majority of those from China are from nonsupported power plants. The North American certificates are from supported plants and also carry the Greene label.