Annual Report 2020

Sustainability

 

 

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Annual Report 2020

Sustainability

 

 

Accelerating our sustainability strategy

Ian Roberts, CTO, explains why Bühler accelerated innovation and digital services during 2020, while also further embedding sustainability into the fundamentals of the company. He sheds light on Bühler’s carbon neutral journey for 2030 and how the needs of nature, humanity, and economy will be balanced in every decision made.

Reporting of tracked indicators

Bühler has reached the end of its first five-year reporting cycle aligned to the Bühler 2020 strategy process. The baseline is set at 2015 and the reporting is in accordance with the guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

Throughout the five-year period, Bühler has sought to improve the quality of its sustainability reporting in terms of data quality and data collection methodology, while increasing the coverage in terms of the number of locations and activities. Bühler has reported on 35 key performance indicators (KPIs). For the five environmental KPIs, the 17 major Bühler sites – covering more than 87% of all productive in-house manufacturing hours – were covered throughout the period. 

In 2020, we have integrated the five major sites from the 2018 acquisition of the company Haas. This slightly increases Bühler’s coverage in 2020 to 88% of the entire Group in-house manufacturing hours. To allow comparability of environmental KPIs with previous years, the environmental KPIs of the former Haas sites are listed separately. The other 30 KPIs apply to the entire company from 2019 onwards, unless specifically stated otherwise.

As well as representing an extremely valuable period of learning, there are several notable improvements apparent in the KPIs tracked during the reporting period.

 

CO2 Accelerator Program

Every day the food, feed and materials processed on Bühler technologies help feed an estimated 2 billion people and provide mobility for one billion people. It is the sort of global reach that carries responsibilities. Which is why Bühler has set a goal to cut energy usage, water consumption, and waste by 50% from our customers’ value chains. Bühler believes it is only through ambitious targets that we will be able to sustainably feed and transport a growing global population by 2050.

With targets come 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 Bühler launched its CO2 Accelerator Program, designed to map out and measure CO2 emissions across our key value chains covering around 90% of the products processed on Bühler technology. The program is designed to 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.

Our impact on CO2e

How does impact look more specific for Bühler? Here are examples, on how we measure and what we work on. 

CO2 avoided by Mill E3 in one year

With 60% market share, it is estimated that Bühler processes 1.25 million tons of wheat globally per day. If all our customers were to switch to Mill E3, a new and efficient way of Engineering and operating a mill, this would save 1 million tons of CO2e (CO2 equivalent) per year. This is the equivalent of 670 million flights saved every year.

SWAKT-Eco oven receives validation

The SWAKT-Eco oven reduces noxious gases by 90% and reduces energy consumption by 20%. Our largest wafer oven (throughput 49 tons/day) saves 420,000 kilograms of CO2e per year, equivalent to 17,000 trees, and EUR 200,000 per year.  

The SWAKT-Eco oven was our first value chain CO2 quantification to receive third-party validation, from the sustainability specialist, Quantis.  

MoisturePro improves dryer yield

MoisturePro, an intelligent drying solution for food and feed processors offering real-time, continuous moisture management, optimizes the dryer temperature profile in real-time to minimize over drying. Harnessing the power of cloud connectivity and the Internet of Things, it drives significant improvements in yield, and reduces energy costs and environmental impact, while ensuring food and feed safety. MoisturePro can realize up to USD 830,000 savings in raw ingredients, USD 50,000 in asset utilization, and USD 325,000 in gas savings. This is 2,440,000 kilograms of CO2e per year or 100,000 trees.  

Sustainable rice production using husks for energy

The CO2 quantification on rice value chain shows that a rice mill connected to a biomass energy plant that is powered by burning the husks from the rice mill in a furnace can generate stable electricity for the entire complex and at times reinject excess power into the local grid. Husks are a side stream material of rice processing. This sustainable process can produce most of the heat required in the drying and parboiling steps of rice production and reduce the CO2e in the plant by 70%.  

30% less flights a year

In 2020, Bühler established a new travel guideline for its employees to protect the environment by saving 10,000 tons of CO2 with 30% less flights. Replacing 30% of travel with digital meetings and exchanges wherever feasible is equivalent to the compensation output of 500,000 trees.  

Efficient in every step of the process of die casting (as a service)

The fastest way to create CO2e reduction is to install services and retrofits to the existing asset base, which leads to instant impact.  

Die casting for the automotive industry is an area where customers are under pressure to reduce their CO2 footprint. Bühler has two innovations, Smart Cell Management System, and Microspraying, which reduce the CO2e in plants by 5.5%.  

For every 1,000 tons of die-casted parts produced, this saves 480,000 kg CO2e (19,000 trees) and EUR 140,500. 

Innovative microbial reduction solution

Laatu, is a game changing application using low-energy electron-beam (LEEB) technology to reduce harmful and spoilage causing microorganisms on dried foods to protect the food safety and reduce food losses and waste. Laatu  consistently achieves a 5-log10 reduction of Salmonella (or an equivalent) in whole spices processed at an industrial production throughput from 0.5 ton to 1 ton per hour. Laatu has received no questions for its validation approach used for black peppercorn from the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration). It can reduce energy consumption up to 80% in comparison to steam equipment. As a green solution it does not use water or chemicals, and does not involve radioactive sources. 

Partnerships with purpose

collage: all partnership logos

 

To tackle any problem – let alone global challenges such as the climate crisis – it is imperative to bring the right partners together and drive collaboration and innovation on an unprecedented scale. Bühler has been steadily building an ecosystem of strategic partnerships with industry, academia, and non-profit organization that facilitate knowledge sharing, ensure first-hand access to disruptive innovations, and provide the best talents with platforms to bring about the change needed to create a more sustainable and livable planet. Here are a few of our partners.

 

wbcsd logo

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. Within the working group Food Reform for Sustainability & Health (FReSH), Bühler has been part of publications, repective, lead publications.

Partners in Food Solutions Logo

Partners in Food solutions (PFS) is a nonprofit organization which aims to strengthen food security, improve nutrition and also increase overall economic development across Africa. Corporate Partners from the food industry such as General Mills, DSM, Cargill, Ardent Mills, Smucker’s and Hershey encourage their employees to volunteer and support food entrepreneurs in 11 African countries with their expertise. Bühler joined the initiative in 2013. In 2020, 55 employees have supported 61 PFS projects. In total, Bühler employees volunteered 1242 hours in 2020 and passed on their know-how to 39 companies in Africa. By sharing their expertise, the volunteers were able to assist local entrepreneurs in growing their business, support a supplier base of more than 335,291 farmers, and unlock over USD 961,844 of investment capital. Please find the Impact report for 2020 in the link below.

Generation B Logo

Generation B was established in 2017 as a movement within Bühler by six delegates after attending the One Young World summit. The purpose of Generation B is to bring employees together to create the company people want to work for. Throughout 2020 it has continued to grow, reaching over 1,400 unique attendances, with many events on topics such as climate change, diversity and inclusion and knowledge sharing. Generation B also has established long term change initiatives, including Women in STEM (encouraging young women to pursue STEM subjects) and the SWAP program (where young people mentor experienced colleagues).

Generation B often acts as a sounding board to the leadership, providing feedback on topics such as the home office policy and how the business will navigate the “New Normal”. Generation B also supports in deploying the D25 strategy, linking key elements of the strategy to the events and initiatives within Generation B.

The movement creates a lot of positive energy and brings people together across geographies, demographics and organizations (both internal and external).

One Young World Logo

One Young World (OYW) was the catalyst for the Generation B movement in 2016 and continues to be a source of inspiration and long-term partner. One Young World is a non-profit organization that gathers young leaders from around the world to develop solutions to the globe’s most pressing issues. Buhler sends delegates to the summit every year to inspire members of the organisation to drive change. One of these change vehicles is Generation B.

In 2019 Generation B hosted its first OYW Caucus, a local version of the OYW Summit, with founder Kate Robertson attending in person in the CUBIC.

In 2020, two members of Generation B (who are OYW Alumni) were nominated for recognition by OYW. In July 2020 Yasmin Sharityar was nominated for her work in the Generation B Climate Week. The Climate Week consisted of a series of events, from calculating personal carbon footprints, to exploring how entire industries can be more sustainable, with global speakers from a diverse range of backgrounds. Katharina Hilker was nominated for work within the Generation B Women in STEM initiative. Katharina and team connected with school children in an engaging workshop (in collaboration with the Crowther Lab & NEA Summer School), to share experience of her STEM Career, encouraging young women in particular to continue studying STEM Subjects. 

The Crowther Lab at ETH Zürich is an interdisciplinary scientific research group which aims to generate a better understanding of global ecology in order to inform and address biodiversity loss and climate change. Tom Crowther spoke at the Buhler Networking Days event in 2019 and at the Generation B Climate Week event in 2020. Tom also advises Buhler to ensure our actions and programs, such as the Carbon Accelerator Program, have a positive impact and consider all elements of sustainability (such as biodiversity, land use etc.).

In 2020 Buhler positioned 2 UNITECH interns in the Crowther Lab to support their mission to eliminate lack of knowledge as a barrier to successful restoration. The interns were able to reach out to restoration organisations all over the world and share the research of the Crowther Lab, to ensure restoration projects are successful. This partnership and holistic thinking will support Buhler with their Carbon Accelerator Program and ambitious goals to reduce energy, waste and water by 50%. 

In February 2020 Buhler launched the Carbon Accelerator Program. The purpose of the program is to quantify the CO2 equivalent (CO2e) in Buhler Customer Value Chains, to track progress towards the 50/50/50 goals with an objective and consistent methodology, and to support our customers on their journey to reduce the CO2e emissions in their production facilities.

The program was run with three UNITECH interns and project manger Jay O’Nien, a UNITECH Alumni. The CO2e emissions in the key Buhler Value Chains were calculated, which covers the majority of the food, feed and materials processed on Buhler Technology. Innovative technologies and services created since 2016 (when the goal was set, originally at 30% waste and energy) have been tracked, quantifying their impact. 

UNITECH was founded in 2000 for the academic and corporate worlds to jointly develop a group of talented young engineers to enable them to successfully manage future challenges in global industry and to help bridge the gap between the corporate and academic world. Buhler have partnered with UNITECH since 2014, and currently have 15 UNITECH Alumni working within the organisation.

The UNITECH Diploma is awarded to Students who complete an academic exchange at one of the partner Universities, complete 3 coaching modules and an internship at one of the corporate partners. In 2020 Buhler selected three interns to run the Carbon Accelerator Program and two interns to work with the Crowther Lab. The UNITECH experience, with a focus on soft skills such as collaboration and working in diverse cultures, no doubt supported the interns executing their projects. 

Future Food Initiative was launched by ETH Zurich and EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) together with Bühler, Givaudan, and Nestlé as the first partners on board. Its goal is to expand research and education in the area of food and nutrition sciences by bringing competences from academic and industrial research together. 

The leading supplier in the field of food technology and the global leader in fragrances and flavours are bringing their global partnership to South East Asia.

Together, Bühler and Givaudan are building an innovation center for plant-based foods in Singapore. The new facility at the Givaudan Woodlands site will beoperated jointly by both companies. It includes a Bühler pilot plant with extrusion and process technology as well as a Givaudan cuisine and flavor laboratory. The innovation center is available to food processing companies, start-ups, and university researchers who want to develop novel plant-based foods. The center is scheduled to open in Spring 2021.

Bühler has been a partner of this cross-industry start-up accelerator since 2014 and joined MassChallenge Switzerland as a founding partner in 2016. Bühler CTO, Ian Roberts, who is on the Board of Directors of MassChallenge Switzerland, highlights the importance of this collaboration: "We need the disruptive, out-of-the-box-thinking power of start-ups more than ever to address global issues. MassChallenge provides start-ups with an accelerator program, and a network of corporations and partners which enable them to scale up their business and create impact on a global level."

Bühler and the DIL Deutsches Institut for Lebensmitteltechnik e.V., a research institute focusing on food technology and food science, teamed up in 2020 to develop new production technologies for alternative protein-based products. New sustainable plant-based proteins have significantly less environmental impact and a lower CO2 footprint than the animal meat value chain. It is therefore essential to explore and identify alternative and underused sources of protein and develop efficient technologies to convert these into attractive, marketable products. A key technology to unlock this opportunity is extrusion. High moisture extrusion enables the conversion of plant proteins into food products with textures similar to meat. It is a technology in which Bühler leads the market. The DIL campus in Quakenbrück, Germany, provides state-of-the-art food safety labs, pilot plants and research capabilities. With DIL, Bühler has a partner that can provide a food grade tests and production lab combined with extensive analytical services. 

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