Nature

Environmental contribution

Bühler develops services and solutions for material transformation and processing, which improve the business outcome for our customers with a substantially lower ecological footprint. Bühler is committed to have solutions ready to multiply by 2025 at the latest that will reduce energy, waste, and water by 50% in its customers’ value chains.

 

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Nature

Environmental contribution

Bühler develops services and solutions for material transformation and processing, which improve the business outcome for our customers with a substantially lower ecological footprint. Bühler is committed to have solutions ready to multiply by 2025 at the latest that will reduce energy, waste, and water by 50% in its customers’ value chains.

 

   

Sustainability activities

Ian Roberts, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) explains how Bühler accelerated its sustainability activities in 2021, balancing nature, humanity, and economy in every decision. All businesses and functions put sustainability programs in place. The 2021 financial results tell us that Bühler’s model of bringing nature-, humanity-, and society-friendly solutions to market results in the desired economic development. The company is well on track to have solutions ready to multiply by 2025 that will reduce energy, water, and waste by 50% in the value chains of its customers. The goal to be a net zero company by 2030 is being driven very strongly by Manufacturing, Logistics & Supply Chain (MLS), which established a clear baseline and actions. Bühler is also supporting its customers in their net zero journeys and has evaluated the impact of its technologies and solutions in 13 value chains and 35 key solutions thus far. Bühler’s service portfolio is accelerating in terms of growth and number of services offered, and this too is optimizing the installed base of the technologies of our customers, improving efficiency, and reducing the C0₂ footprint. Watch the video to learn more about how Bühler will drive its net zero and 50% reduction targets going forward. 

 

Energy, water, and waste

To preserve resources, remain cost-efficient, and avoid risk to business operations, we manage energy and water usage as efficiently as possible and minimize waste generated. Through this action, Bühler also contributes to minimizing greenhouse gas emissions.

By reducing the total consumption of energy and water, and production of waste, Bühler increases its profitability and conserves natural resources. With our R&D activities, we develop solutions that enable our customers to reduce waste, energy, and water use by 50% within their operations. 

This approach covers Bühler’s 30 manufacturing sites and includes not only the factories, but also the offices, and the impact these sites have on their local areas. Bühler’s 100 Services & Sales centers are not included in this approach nor is raw material sourcing and the waste produced from this. Bühler has prioritized the largest sources of emission and those where access is provided to the necessary information. 

Bühler’s management of energy, water, and waste falls under its greater commitment to sustainability and reducing the negative impacts associated with overconsumption and the resulting business risks.  

Bühler’s environmental policy governs the management and reduction of energy, water, and waste across Bühler’s global manufacturing footprint. The policy outlines the method for reporting and reduction of the relevant indicators and was authorized by the Executive Board. Within the policy, Bühler commits to ensure responsible use of resources throughout the business, including the conservation of resources and improvement of efficiency within its operations. These commitments go beyond the regulatory compliance in each of the countries it operates in. Though there is no specific target to reduce the use of resources by a certain level or percentage, the goal is to operate the current and future growing footprint at a new sustainable level relative to the current level. This is a target set out within the environmental policy and has no strict timeline to be achieved, with the main consideration for reduction by a certain period being the increased business risk from a change in external factors. This falls under the responsibility of the COO.  

The objective of mitigating the same negative impacts from the use of Bühler’s products is under the responsibility of the CTO, with the target set to reduce energy, water, and waste by 50% in our customers’ value chains. We are committed to having viable solutions available by 2025. 

Over the year, Bühler increased engagement with Manufacturing, Logistics & Supply Chain employees on the topic of sustainability with a particular focus on energy consumption. Participants are encouraged to propose solutions to improve energy efficiency at a site or within a region. A regional sustainability team assesses the proposal and its feasibility. 

As a result, several energy efficiency measures have been implemented throughout the year. In Bühler Prince in the United States, a new LED lighting system has replaced the old fixtures with a new system and a smart software to reduce electricity use from lighting by 72%. In addition to managing the topic, the new system provides better coverage and a more natural setting on the factory floor to reduce fatigue. In multiple sites, more direct control of heating and cooling has been taken using a temperature management system, notably in Bühler Minneapolis. This has decreased the use of natural gas by 15% in a year.  

Bühler as well acts on the business and legislative risk resulting from a misuse of resources. In Bühler Bangalore in India, the installation of solar panels was required due to the instability of the electricity grid and subsequent government regulation for the development of a decentralized grid. Once operational, 40% of electricity demand will be generated from the on-site solar panels and as well 75% less diesel will be procured, which is used for the operation of backup generators during power outages. This action ensures the constant supply of electricity to operate the factory from a non-emitting source. In Bühler Johannesburg in South Africa, due to similar operational risks, the same action has been replicated with the same expected degree of success, which is to mitigate risks to the fluidity of operations at the site. 

Water management is typically a forgotten topic due to the abundance and cheap price of it in most developed and developing countries. However, within Bühler and in accordance with the environmental policy, present risks are managed, and future risks are assessed and mitigated. With regards to present risks, in several locations the topic is important due to the level of water stress of the location. In Bühler Bangalore, due to the immense constraints of water scarcity, 100% of the water withdrawn is recycled for reuse to limit the overconsumption of the precious resource. Due to potential contaminants, the reuse of the water is directed to the maintenance of gardens and used in bathrooms and is not recirculated again.  

As for mitigating future risks, at Bühler’s largest factory located in Changzhou in China, actions have been taken to mitigate the future risks of water stress in the area. A simplistic but effective action of managing the flow of water from taps has been piloted in 2021 and will be implemented across the entire site in 2022. The expected impact will reduce at least 245 m³ of water being withdrawn per year. A small impact but one which will be replicated at all sites to create a significant change in the way Bühler utilizes water.  

Though the focus has been on the emissions generated from waste, in extension to the trainings conducted throughout the year, several steps have been taken to reduce the waste generated at the 30 sites. With impacts ranging from small to large, all had the effect of beginning to change the mindset that everything can be disposed of. For example, in Bühler Leobendorf in Austria, plastic bottles have been swapped for water dispensers which had the impact of eliminating the use of 13,000 PET bottles per year.  

Meanwhile, in Bühler Changzhou, in cooperation with a supplier, ball bearings being supplied to the factory has switched from being individually packaged to industrially packed. This was done without affecting the quality of the material and benefiting Bühler Changzhou with an estimated 1.5 tons of cardboard packaging being disposed less of per year. Though relative to the entire volume of waste generated over the year, the action in Bühler Changzhou can expand to cover more suppliers and be replicated at other sites. 

These two actions only highlight the range of focus for reducing waste being generated and several more can be listed out. Nevertheless, it remains the intention to further mitigate the risk in areas of operations where the most waste is generated.

The management approaches and subsequent actions directly influence the Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) 6, 12, and 13.

Emissions

Climate change is the most pressing issue faced by all life on earth. Bühler is committed to contribute to mitigating its impacts. With this commitment, we act in the interest of all stakeholders to take action before the effects become irreversible.  

Through the conservation of resources, reduction of waste generated and collaboration to decarbonize heavy emitting areas of its value chain, Bühler can contribute to the needed mitigation of emissions into the atmosphere. This reduces the impact on the industries which Bühler has served for the past 162 years and avoids a significant risk to its core business.  

The measured and managed boundary of this management approach extends to almost all areas of Bühler’s value chain. Bühler’s 30 manufacturing sites globally, which includes not only the factories but also the attached offices, and the scope 1 and 2 emissions from them are at the core. Also included are the upstream activities of purchased goods and services, capital goods, fuel and energy related activities, upstream transportation, waste generated from operations, business travel and upstream leased assets. The same applies for downstream activities: downstream transportation and use of Bühler’s sold products.  

All other areas are not included either due to lack of primary, secondary, and tertiary data or because it is not relevant to business operations. However, it is the intention of Bühler to measure and manage all sources of emissions in the near future.

Bühler’s mitigation of emissions falls under its commitment to sustainability, which is to reduce all avoidable emissions it is responsible for and drive the change towards a more socially and environmentally conscious business, while also balancing its financial performance.  

Bühler takes action by embedding the topic throughout all areas of the business. This is done to maximize the effectiveness of all actions by combining local skills and know-how with the corporate knowledge regarding environmental sustainability. As a result, no single strategy encompasses the whole topic inside Bühler, and it is in the responsibility of each department to define its emission reduction strategy and act.

With regard to Bühler’s scope 1 and 2 emissions at its 30 sites globally, which includes their factory and offices, and the scope 3 categories of purchased goods and services, capital goods, fuel and energy related activities, upstream transportation, waste generated from operations, upstream leased assets and downstream transportation, the responsibility falls under the COO and their department Manufacturing, Logistics & Supply Chain. The target set out is to be net-zero by 2030 and within this, to reduce emissions by at least 50% in the same timeframe against a baseline of 2019. The strategies to achieve the target are set out in the whitepapers drafted which provide a guideline to decarbonize and increase the efficiency of its operations, to reduce emissions and avoid additional emissions from future business growth. These whitepapers have been agreed upon and signed by all senior stakeholders.  

In 2019 we announced our target of having solutions ready to multiply by 2025 at the latest that will reduce energy, waste, and water by 50% in our customers’ value chains. We do this through improved solutions, technology and services and have committed publicly to have solutions ready by 2025. Focus is on services, including e.g., retrofits, energy management systems, yield improvements and upcycling of side streams, as well introducing new products and technologies. For more information regarding Bühler’s management of energy, water, and waste used and emissions caused from its products, please refer to the sub section Our impact on CO₂e.  

 

In scope 1, most emissions are the result of natural gas consumption for the use in operations and heating of buildings. Thus, it has been the primary focus over the year to reduce consumption of gas. A focus is employee engagement through training. More details can be found in the energy management approach disclosure. Moreover, the implementation of energy-efficient systems to manage the use of fuels is being examined along with possibilities to improve and replace high-emitting processes and decarbonize the source of heating. An example of this is the implementation of a biomass boiler which, when operational, can replace the use of natural gas at the Bühler Uzwil site in Switzerland by up to 30%. 

In scope 2, the use of non-renewable electricity is the largest contributor to the category’s emissions. In 2021, Bühler has made progress to decarbonize its source of electricity with the switch of the headquarters in Uzwil and the site in Zamberk in the Czech Republic to procuring only from renewable sources. More information on the purchase of solar panels in Bühler Bangalore in India and Johannesburg in South Africa can be found in the energy management approach disclosure. As a result, 47.9% of Bühler’s measured footprint is operated with renewable electricity, with the intention to rapidly increase this figure in the coming year.  

For scope 3, the focus on the management of emissions over the past year has been on the largest emitting subcategories. The other subcategories within the boundary; capital goods, fuel and energy related activities, waste generated in operations and upstream leased assets, are either indirectly reduced from actions taken with regards to scope 1 & 2 or not prioritized due to the relative size compared to the other subcategories. 

With regards to emissions generated from the purchased goods and services, the primary focus has been on engaging with suppliers in 3 distinct categories. The first is the energy used in its operations and the possibility to only use renewable electricity, the second is reducing the packaging used to supply materials, and the third is changing the type of transportation used in upstream activities. With nearly 9,000 suppliers globally, Bühler has had to set priorities on engaging with suppliers who have already established targets and those with heavy emitting processes, thus far engaging with more than 30 suppliers which account for 9% of its total spend.  

In relation to upstream and downstream transportation, the foundation of this year’s actions has been on building the quantification methodology and improving data quality. Validating and improving on assumptions and increasing the use of primary data will benefit Bühler in reporting with more accuracy and granularity and help scale the actions that have a significant impact.  

In both scope 3 subcategories, Bühler has engaged suppliers on the local and global level to set joint actions to decarbonize the transportation and packaging used. One area of action has been with already mature suppliers in the field and their availability to support Bühler in its emission reduction ambition. Internally, Bühler has also carried out several projects to reduce the need for subsequent deliveries and to minimize weight of packaging, resulting in lower transported weight and emissions in material production. In 2021, a pilot has been initiated with Ponera Group, with the intention to eliminate the use of wood pallets, replacing it with lighter, stronger, and reusable plastic pallets.  

Examples of actions to mitigate the emissions associated to Bühler’s sold products can be found in the section Our impact on CO₂e

The management approach and subsequent actions directly influence the Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) 12, 13, and 17 and indirectly influence SDGs 7, 9, and 11.

Our 50/50/50 goals

We develop services and solutions for material transformation and processing, which improve the business outcome for our customers with a substantially lower ecological footprint. Within our strategy, it is our goal to have solutions ready to multiply that reduce energy, water, and waste by 50% in the value chains of our customers by 2025.

For ourselves, we have developed a pathway to achieve net zero in our Manufacturing, Logistics & Supply Chain activities by 2030. The higher the business value we can provide for our customers, the better our financial performance and the investment we can make to deliver on our purpose, and the impact we can generate.  

As a relevant player in the global food, feed, and mobility value chains – around 2 billion people get their daily food processed on Bühler equipment, and the mobility of around 1 billion people is based on parts made with our technologies – we have taken on this responsibility. Being a family-owned company allows us to reinvest most of our profits in innovations for this purpose – and to scale them as fast as possible within our innovative ecosystem and with our customers. In this sense, sustainability is embedded in all functions, responsibilities, and activities of our company.  

There are three key elements that contribute to the upcoming transition of our industries: new solutions, services, and people (education & ecosystems). 

 

Solutions

Providing adequate food and nutrition within more sustainable food value chains is more important than ever. Major opportunities lie in reducing the antibiotic use and CO₂ footprint of livestock, developing great-tasting meat and dairy alternatives, and reducing waste, water, and energy use along the value chains. Sustainable protein supply is another core theme which will be addressed through solutions such as side stream upcycling through insect rearing and processing for feed, plant-based proteins valorization opportunities and much more. The biggest opportunities for the mobility industries lie in ultra-large structural aluminum parts, improved battery components as well as optical systems to allow for autonomous, safe, and comfortable transportation.

 

Services

To create impact for the new balance of nature, humanity, and economy, services are decisive. They allow us to improve the performance and productivity of the existing installed base and with this to minimize energy, water, and waste. With our services, we create a solution where our customers and their efforts towards sustainability benefit. To achieve this, Bühler has developed a comprehensive services portfolio from process optimization and maintenance over hardware and spare parts to knowledge transfer and upgrading packages. A key element of our services are digital platforms (myBühler and Bühler Insights) and the applications running on them, for example, to calculate, monitor and report on impact along complete value chains such as CO₂e (CO₂ equivalent) calculation from planted coffee beans to a cup of coffee. Our monitoring services ensure the optimal operation of process technologies to save energy, water, and reduce waste at any point in time, for example by increasing uptime of equipment. Retrofit services to renovate the installed base allow us to make sustainability step changes – new equipment and plants could never fully compensate for the existing production capacities.

 

People (collaboration and ecosystems)

Every progress toward the new balance depends on people, their skills, behavior, collaboration, and the ecosystems we build. On the individual level, it is about awareness and the right skills to take necessary decisions and actions. This applies to all levels – from a leader who might decide to deploy a carbon-neutral company strategy to an operator who is keen on saving CO₂ by running a machine as efficiently as possible. On a company level, it is important that sustainability is not seen as an add-on but is fully embedded in all facets of the enterprise. On an industry level, it is all about collaboration and building ecosystems, as no individual or company alone has the intellectual or financial power to create the impact needed to ensure a high standard of living within the boundaries of our planet. 

Bühler has a strategy of people development, starting from apprenticeship education, and internal programs, to schools and Application & Training Centers for our customers. People development has always been vital at Bühler. Our company was one of the first starting a systematic vocational training. Since then, we have continued to develop and expand our education and training system. Bühler provides apprenticeships for 542 apprentices globally and has trained over 9,200 since 1915. We run schools for milling, grain, rice, and cocoa processing along with Application & Training Centers at 24 locations around the world. 

Quantification of our CO₂e impact

Every day the food, feed and materials processed on Bühler technologies help to feed an estimated two billion people and provide mobility for one billion people. With this global reach comes responsibility. This is why Bühler has set goals to have viable solutions available to cut energy usage, water consumption, and waste by 50% in the value chains of our customers by 2025. This focus was selected as we have the capability to bring impact in these areas. By doing this, we seek to support our customers to reach their sustainability targets, minimize their greenhouse gas emissions, and mitigate climate change. We believe it is only through ambitious targets that we will be able to sustainably feed and transport a growing global population by 2050. 

To achieve these goals and to better understand our impact, Bühler launched the CO₂ equivalent (CO₂e) Quantification Program in February 2020, where we quantify the CO₂e footprint of the products processed through our technology, and the impact of our solutions and services on the CO₂e footprint of our customers’ finished products. 

Mitigating climate change is complex and will not be achieved if we are unable to measure the impact of our actions. The purpose of Bühler’s CO₂e Quantification Program is to achieve just that. Measuring emissions is the priority in the emission’s hierarchy. A major focus has been placed on quantifying the emissions occurring in the entire value chain and identifying the carbon hotspots and then taking appropriate action to maximize avoidance and reduction of CO₂e through services for more efficient processing, new solutions, and renewable energy sources. For this, Bühler quantifies the impact of our new solutions compared to previous solutions, to track our progress toward our 50/50/50 goals as well as the corresponding CO₂e reduction potential (see examples in the energy, waste, and water section). Lastly, there is the need to draw down unavoidable emissions from the atmosphere in collaboration with companies such as Climeworks or Ecosystem Regeneration Projects from the Crowther Lab. This process aims at supporting our customers to actively and credibly compensate and/or neutralize their emissions. 

The measured and managed boundary of this management approach expands to all key products and the impact of all key technologies and services across the Group. 

The management approach and its boundary are under direct responsibility of the CTO (Chief Technology Officer). As a result, the respective team has been tasked to strategize and implement actions to mitigate the negative impacts which result from energy consumption.  

Over the last year, Bühler has continued its engagement with colleagues on the topic of sustainability and CO₂e quantification. Quarterly meetings took place with ambassadors in the regions to raise awareness of the topic and identify gaps in the quantifications. During these meetings, participants are encouraged to understand how we can further embed this in daily business activities to support our customers in reducing their carbon footprint.  

With targets comes the need for metrics. For our ambitions to be credible, we need to understand what impact we are having on our sustainability targets. Therefore, in February 2020 we launched the CO₂e Quantification Program, designed to map out and measure CO₂e emissions across our key value chains covering around 90% of the products processed on Bühler technology. The program is designed to calculate and/or measure emissions across our customers’ entire value chains, from the production of the raw materials to the manufacturing process and then on to distribution and retail. 

We developed the CO₂e quantification method that complies with ISO 14067 standards with an external partner, the sustainability consultancy Quantis. We have now assessed 13 value chains, 35 products/solutions, and 24 high-impact technologies and services. We have externally validated our CO₂e quantification methodology with Société Générale de Surveillance SA (SGS) for seven product/solutions. Bühler will continue to work with external partners to ensure all aspects of sustainability are considered. 

 

Product CO₂e footprint

In 2021, Bühler started to quantify avoided CO₂e emissions. This is the amount of CO₂e that is not being pumped into the atmosphere because of the new Bühler technologies and services that efficiently process our customer’s products (compared to our benchmark year, 2017). This metric will help highlight the importance of retrofit technologies on existing processes and show that retrofit is one of the fastest ways to cut emissions.  

In 2021, Bühler has contributed to the newly released Pathfinder Framework. The intention of the framework is to revise previous existing standards to give a more comprehensive understanding to companies on the method to measure, verify and report emissions associated with a product over its life cycle. As a result of the work done with the WBCSD working group, it is the intention to use this framework for the assessment of its products’ life cycle emissions in the future, starting next year. 

Through its detailed knowledge of production processes, Bühler has been able to calculate how much CO₂e is emitted relative to any specific manufacturing activity. This is known as the emission factor. For example, a flour milling process is divided into eight phases, with an emission factor attributed to each phase. It reveals that the bulk of CO₂e emissions occur during milling, followed, to a far lesser degree, by the blending and screening phases. 

CO₂e distribution for 1 ton of flour with transport emissions CO₂e distribution for 1 ton of flour with transport emissions

   

 

Breakdown of emissions from grain storage to distribution Breakdown of emissions from grain storage to distribution

The Quantification Program has also made it possible to calculate an emission factor where Bühler technology is not being used. This enables the program to scale up the emission metrics throughout the whole value chain to give a sector or industry calculation. For example, the global average emission factor for wheat production is 700 kilograms of CO₂e for every metric ton of wheat. It also means that emissions can be broken down into geographical regions.   

To properly assess progress towards achieving its target of cutting energy, waste and water by half, the CO₂e Quantification Program can calculate emissions linked to the raw materials being processed on its technologies and services. Only by producing this sort of comprehensive data is it possible to not only compare metrics throughout the value chain but also between industries.  

To track progress towards meeting the 50/50/50 goals, the CO₂e Quantification Program can calculate CO₂e reduction in terms of the technology used by the customer, the emissions generated by the customer’s plant and the emissions embedded within the customer’s value chain.  

We quantify high-impact technologies and services at three scopes:

  • Technology: to focus R&D and quantify impact and reductions of energy, waste, and water.
  • Plant: to quantify the impact for our customers and support their journey to CO₂e neutrality.
  • Value chain: to define the impact of technology and services up and downstream using CO₂e.

Technology scope

Bühler compares how a new technology will improve emissions relative to an older technology. For example, when the SWAKT-Eco industrial wafer baking oven was introduced, it reduced gas consumption by 20% relative to its predecessor. Bühler ensures that any research and development program will target the 50/50/50 goals as a priority.

 

Plant scope

This part of the program quantifies the impact of CO₂e reduction from the perspective of the customer. For example, the Mill E3 reduces CO₂e produced within the mill by 9%. This is an important calculation for our customers who are themselves under pressure to demonstrate to the market that they are taking steps to reduce their own carbon footprint. Many Bühler customers are already starting to commit to becoming net-zero. 

 

Value chain scope

By calculating CO₂e emission reduction across the whole value chain it is possible to ensure the focus is on the carbon hotspots. For example, a technology that reduces 90% of waste gases may have a minimal impact on CO₂e emissions across the whole value chain. 

By combining these three areas of scope we can focus our R&D activities on maximizing the reduction of CO₂e concentration in our atmosphere.  

The management approach and subsequent actions directly influence the Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) 9, 12, and 13 as defined by the United Nations. They indirectly influence SDGs 6, 7, and 15.

Certificates

CDP

CDP is a nonprofit organization that runs the global disclosure system for investors, companies, cities, states, and regions to manage their environmental impacts. The benefits of annually disclosing to CDP include better visibility of Bühler’s sustainability practices among stakeholders, as well as ensuring transparency of the company’s climate impact. 

 

After submitting for the first time in 2019 and receiving a score of C- in the Climate Change questionnaire, Bühler significantly increased their performance in 2020, achieving a score of B while responding to the full version of the questionnaire. In 2021 Bühler maintained their B rating, indicating to their stakeholders that they continue to take coordinated actions on climate related issues. Bühler as well maintained their rating in supplier engagement at B-, an additional rating provided on actions taken in its supply chain over the course of 2020.  

 

With the actions taken in 2021, which are reflected in the sustainability report, Bühler has the ambition to see their score rise higher in both rating categories and will continue to work within its value chains on actions to mitigate climate change. 

EcoVadis

EcoVadis is a globally recognized platform for grading a company's environmental, social, and ethical performance for the year. With over 75,000 companies involved, it allows Bühler’s customers to compare companies to their competitors and prove that their supply chain complies with verified sustainability standards. Internally it helps to direct a company's focus to the areas of improvement over the next year. 

 

Achievements: This is Bühler’s fifth assessment with the platform, having achieved a silver medal score in 2019, before losing it in 2020 due to a change in the EcoVadis ranking system. As a result, it was always the main goal of the Bühler team to gain back the silver medal score and to progress as far as possible. In this year’s EcoVadis assessment, Bühler regained the silver medal score, while achieving the highest year-on-year score increase from 53 to 58 out of 100. 

WBCSD

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) is a global, CEO-led organization of over 200 leading businesses working together to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world. The member companies come from all business sectors and all major economies, representing a combined revenue of more than USD 8.5 trillion and 19 million employees. The global network of almost 70 national business councils gives all members unparalleled reach across the globe. Bühler became a member of WBCSD in March 2019.

By connecting with WBCSD’s network of forward-thinking businesses across a variety of sectors, Bühler aims to make a real impact on global corporate sustainability, provide the growing global population with the nourishment and mobility solutions of the future, and make these solutions industrially available.

Within the WBSCD Reporting Matters initiative, Bühler receives feedback on its annual reporting to continually improve its reporting standard. 

SEDEX

SEDEX helps organizations manage data on labor practices, health and safety, environment, and business ethics in their supply chains. SMETA (Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit) covers ETI Base Code principles and additionally reviews performance with regards to human rights, land rights, responsible recruitment practices, the right to work of migrant workers, management systems implementation and the presence of sub-contracting and home working.

ISO

ISO certification standards are the global environmental standard for validation of a company’s conduct. The standards are internationally agreed by experts in the fields of quality management, environmental management, food safety and health and safety, to be in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) set out by the United Nations.

 

The ISO certification recognizes our effective environmental management systems using global environmental standards for validation. With these certifications, we can show to all relevant stakeholders our current standards and our intention to further be aligned with the standards set out by ISO and in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Drive Sustainability / NQC

Drive Sustainability is an automotive partnership between BMW Group, Daimler AG, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford, Honda, Jaguar Land Rover, Scania CV AB, Toyota Motor Europe, Volkswagen Group, Volvo Cars and Volvo Group.

 

The partnership, facilitated by CSR Europe, aims to drive sustainability throughout the automotive supply chain by promoting a common approach within the industry and by integrating sustainability in the overall procurement process. In 2020, Bühler passed the assessment, which at time of publication is still valid.

Reporting of tracked indicators

2021 is the first year of our second 5-year reporting cycle and it is the baseline for the period 2021-2025. In the new reporting cycle, Bühler intends to expand the transparency of its operations by disclosing a greater amount of key performance indicators (KPI’s) in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards. In total, 56 KPI’s have been disclosed this year, with the intention to increase it over the course of the reporting cycle. Following the inclusion of the former Haas company, we have now expanded the scope of environmental tracked indicators to include all 30 manufacturing sites and the accompanying offices. 

Additional focus has been placed on two key improvement areas during 2021. The first is building and implementing a more rigorous tracking and action plan to reduce the CO₂ footprint of our 30 manufacturing locations. The second has been to quantify the impact of our technologies and services and the CO₂e (CO₂ equivalent) footprint of our customers. 

The following reporting is based on full calendar year data, providing a basis for more reliable absolute figures. Throughout the year, we have overcome the constraints of the Covid-19 pandemic to achieve several notable improvements apparent in the tracked indicators. 

Materiality assessment

Providing the overall guidance of Bühler’s sustainability strategy, the materiality assessment was conducted in 2020 by bringing together key stakeholders of the company. Bühler will regularly reevaluate the topics for its materiality based on the stakeholders’ perspective. The Bühler sustainability team asked internal and external stakeholders to share their perspective on the company’s biggest impact areas. Balancing the needs of economy, humanity, and nature, 48 topics were predefined, using the materiality assessment topics based on the GRI standard and as well strongly individualizing them to fit Bühler’s business. The goal was to lower the risks of blind spots and increase global reach, therefore customers, various business areas and functions, partners from NGOs, and academia were all considered.

Our impact on CO₂e

To objectively track progress on our goals to have solutions ready to multiply that reduce energy, water, and waste by 50% in the value chains of our customers and understand our impact on the CO₂e (CO₂ equivalent) footprint of our customers, we have quantified the CO₂e footprint of all key products processed through Bühler technology and quantified the impact of our key technologies and services. The quantifications cover 13 value chains, 35 different solution areas, and 25 high-impact technologies and services. We quantify all technology along three different scopes to track reductions in energy, waste, and water, and the CO₂e reduction at customer plants and in the value chains (from raw materials through to distribution). This carbon foot-printing method follows the ISO 14067 methodology and has been externally verified by an independent third party SGS.  

We have also developed a service to enable customers to quantify and certify the CO₂e footprint of their sites and products and to understand key reduction methods. More information on our CO₂e Quantification service can be found here.

Turning biomass into clean energy

Bühler and Vyncke announced their partnership in March 2021 to offer Vyncke’s solutions for burning biomass by-products to provide clean energy for Bühler’s food and feed customers. The circular system using steam boilers enables customers to significantly lower their CO₂ emissions and achieve cost savings. The biggest project so far resulted in savings of 250 tons of fuel oil per day, which allowed for a reduction of CO₂ emissions in a parboiler plant of 60%. Bühler and Vyncke aim at equipping 20% of Bühler’s installed base and 80% of new plants with Vyncke solutions to accelerate impact. 

The solution behind plant-based meat alternatives

For decades, Bühler has built up its expertise in extrusion technology for plant-based meat alternatives. This put the company in an ideal position to support customers in catering to this food megatrend. The latest addition to its equipment for extrusion of dry and wet textured proteins, the cooling die PolyCool 1000, allows for throughputs of up to 1,000 kilograms per hour. This provides food producers with the much-needed opportunity to produce plant-based foods at industrial scale. To ensure its market leadership position, Bühler established a variety of partnerships and set up extrusion innovation centers together with Givaudan in Singapore and with the German Institute of Food Technology (DIL) Quakenbrück/Germany. 

The most advanced mill in the world

With 60% market share, it is estimated that Bühler processes 1.25 million tons of wheat globally per day. Mill E3 is a new and efficient way of engineering and operating a mill that saves up to 10% on energy consumption. This is possible due to the introduction of compact design, TUBO, a tubular push conveyor, and Arrius, a new integrated grinding system. On top of this, the compact layout of Mill E3 reduces building space and installation time. 

Low carbon emission coffee plant at Joh. Johannson

The InfinityRoast next-generation coffee roaster is leading the way into the future of roasting. Designed for high-performance operations, it sets superior standards in flavor generation, safety, reliability, energy-efficiency, and environmental impact. The InfinityRoast series combines a unique type of roasting chamber which is suitable for operation with low or high air-to-bean ratios with the benefits of a highly efficient, gentle round-bed cooler. This unparalleled combination is the key to producing consistent, superior coffee. 

It is now in operation at the world’s first low-carbon emissions coffee plant  Joh. Johannson, Norway.​ The plant can produce up to 20,000 tons of coffee annually.​ Bühler found innovative ways to reduce energy consumption in coffee processing by 50% through green bean preheating, energy-efficient and emission control technologies, and comprehensive heat recovery. This results in 85% less CO₂ emissions compared to conventional coffee production facilities. 

Heat pumps and energy recovery

To further advance Bühler’s 50/50/50 sustainability targets and to identify existing potential for heat recovery in Bühler machines and systems, Bühler engineers work closely with research and development across all business areas. 

Thanks to a cooperation that has now started with a first project, Bühler can access the vast knowledge of the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) in the field of energy recovery. 

AIT is involved in countless business-related projects in the field of technologies for heat recovery and the further development of industrial high-temperature heat pumps. Their research and development in this area is carried out in the course of the EU research project “DryFiciency”. 

To start the cooperation, the AIT invited to talks at Agrana AG in Pischelsdorf (Austria), a Bühler customer. Agrana uses an industrial high-temperature heat pump developed by AIT to save energy for drying wheat starch. Waste heat of 70° C is increased to a temperature level of 110 to 160° C and fed back into the drying process via a heat exchanger. 

With a thermal output of 300 kW, the industrial high-temperature heat pump installed in Pischelsdorf helps to save 3,200 MWh per year of thermal energy, which corresponds to a CO₂ saving of 600 tons of CO₂e per year.  

Two prototyping plants running

Mont Blanc is an innovative digital solution that reduces energy consumption within a malting plant in the most energy intensive part of the process: the kiln. By connecting it to the Bühler digital platform Bühler Insights, process experts can see energy consumption in real time and use big data such as weather patterns to optimize processing. This leads to up to 20% reduction of electricity use during malt drying (kilning). Installing Mont Blanc on a typical malting line with a capacity of 60,000 tons per year would save 50 tons of CO₂e per year. 

Prototypes of Mont Blanc were implemented at two customer plants. These two prototypes resulted in 21 tons of CO₂e saved in about ten months, and 15 tons of CO₂e savings in approximately four months respectively. These two prototypes together could lead to an estimated 73 tons of CO₂e savings per year. 

Optical sorting prevents food loss and saves energy

Bühler’s optical sorting solutions detect light or dark colour defects and foreign materials. This results in a more precise sorting process that prevents good product from being eliminated. In flour milling for example, screening (e.g. stones, impurities etc.) is reduced from 2.5% to 1.7%, which results in 47% energy reduction in the two cleaning steps. A mill with an annual output of 144,000 tons per year equipped with Sortex solutions can save up to 280 tons of CO₂e per year. 

Side stream valorization with spent grain from brewing

Circular Food Solutions, a Bühler spin-off, has developed a technology to upcycle brewing side streams from Brewer Spent Grains (BSG). The converted product, Legria, is a nutritious source of protein and fibers. Legria saves emissions by replacing raw material with upcycled and valorized side streams and allows consumers to improve their diets and overall health. Compared to peas as a source for sustainable proteins, Legria’s CO₂ footprint is reduced by around 10%. 

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