For a Greener World
At a Glance
Successes and Actions
- Adoption of a Group-wide environmental policy
- Comprehensive training in environmental protection
- Various activities to reduce waste and improve water efficiency
Environmental protection and resource efficiency play a major role for us as a manufacturing company. Within our plants, but also in logistics, repair and product testing, we aim to minimize our impact on the environment and to continuously improve by increasing efficiency or, for example, trouble-free production. That is why we focus on waste, water efficiency and contaminant emissions just as much as our CO2 emissions and the potential of the circular economy.
Waste is mainly generated in the production of our products in our plants. A large part of this waste is disposed of by external service providers who have the appropriate certifications for the disposal of the respective type of waste. Waste of different material groups, especially concrete and metallic fractions, is generated in production and product testing. As part of our sustainability strategy, we strive to increase our recycling quota as far as possible in the future and avoid waste to landfills.
We commit ourselves to disposing of zero waste in landfills in the future.
Breakdown of total waste by category1, 2
1 incl. returned fleet tools
2 Due to increasing transparency of waste listed in the “Other” category, additional amounts have been added to the remaining categories.
We mainly use water for specific production steps, for example in the surface treatment of our consumables, such as nails or anchors. Almost two-thirds of our Group-wide water consumption is attributable to four plants, on which we are focusing our activities in a first step to achieve further improvements.
Water consumption in our plants
less water consumption at our Zhanjiang plant in the last three years
The production process also produces contaminant emissions that enter the air and water in the factory environment. We measure the essential substances produced at all locations and comply with local statutory emission requirements. We plan to carry out a structured identification of all existing pollutants and to regularly measure relevant substances that were possibly not taken into account previously.
The topic of environmental protection is handled in our Health & Safety (HSE) department under the direction of the Chief Compliance Officer. In addition, approximately 200 HSE representatives are appointed at our plants, logistics and repair centers throughout the company.
HSE representatives in our plants, logistics and repair centers
In addition to complying with local environmental protection laws, we want to further standardize and optimize environmental management at our sites. To this end, we have released a Group-wide internal environmental policy, which was ratified by all legal entities in our Group in 2020. The guideline is based on the industry standard ISO 14001:2015. It defines our fundamental ambitions with regard to environmental protection and regulates the measures and processes with which we want to reduce our ecological footprint.
We encourage all employees to measure their daily actions against the standards described in the policy and to demonstrate potential for improvement. We have introduced an internal ticket system at several locations that can be used to report any incidents in the field of environmental protection to the responsible managers. We also raise our employees' awareness for environmental protection at Hilti and their individual responsibility with internal training, both face-to-face and e-learnings, and information offers. For example, we provide training sessions on hazardous substances at regular intervals for employees handling these substances, on topics like proper storage or behavior in an emergency.
Furthermore, we have already taken significant steps in recent years with regard to waste prevention and water efficiency. A few examples are shown below:
We implemented environmentally sound recycling for our concrete waste, for example, at our site in Schaan (Liechtenstein) long ago: It is recycled in the immediate vicinity of the plant and used in the construction industry and road construction.
Food and kitchen waste
The food and kitchen waste generated in our staff restaurant at Group headquarters is collected and transferred by a local waste disposal agency to a sewage treatment plant on site. The gas produced from the biomass along with sewage sludge is purified of carbon dioxide and then fed into the Liechtenstein gas supply network as high-quality biogas.
At our Navsari (India) plant, we have been able to apply lean methods to significantly reduce the consumption of graphite, which we use as an assistive in the production process. The possibility of reusing the generated graphite and the targeted control of the process parameters in the hot press area has enabled us to reduce the generated waste by more than 50 percent.
Cardboard boxes for small load carriers
By switching from disposable to reusable transport containers at our plant in Thuringia (Austria), we were able to reduce the need for cardboard boxes for small load carriers of 25,000 boxes per year by more than 70 percent.
We have already implemented possibilities to save water in individual production steps. For example, we partially reprocess the water used for finishing processes in several plants and can use it in a closed loop instead of supplying fresh water.
Our wastewater is treated in in-house wastewater treatment plants and then fed to the municipal wastewater systems.
Optimization in surface treatment
At our Zhanjiang (China) plant, which accounts for about one third of water demand in our plants, we have been able to reduce water consumption by more than 10 percent over the past three years thanks to process optimization in surface treatment.