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.

Key value chains



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.

Through its detailed knowledge of production processes, Bühler has been able to calculate how much CO2 is emitted relative to any specific manufacturing activity. This is known as the emission factor. For example, Bühler has audited the production processes for a typical flour mill, breaking them into eight phases and then attributing an emission factor to each phase. It reveals that the bulk of CO2 emissions occur during milling, followed, to a far lesser degree, by the blending and screening phases.  

Sector analysis

The Accelerator 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 CO2 equivalent (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 CO2 Accelerator Program is able to 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 CO2 Accelerator Program is able to calculate CO2 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.   

Technology Scope

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

Plant Scope

This part of the program quantifies the impact of CO2 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 CO2 neutral. 

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 CO2 emissions across the whole value chain. 

By combining these three areas of scope it is possible for Bühler to focus its research and development resources on its sustainability targets, while helping customers to cut their own CO2 footprint and also quantifying progress to achieving the 50/50/50 goals. 

Internal and external support

It’s important to consider that CO2 is just one aspect of sustainability and that other criteria such as, for example, land use or social sustainability are also part of the story. Bühler developed the CO2e quantification method with an external partner, the Sustainability Consultancy Quantis. Bühler will continue to work with external partners to ensure all aspects of sustainability are considered. CO2 Ambassadors from within each part of Bühler provided the raw data that enabled the CO2 Accelerator Program to be developed. Without their knowledge and time, such a company wide effort would not have been possible.  

Future measurement

From January 2021 Bühler will begin to quantify avoided CO2 emissions, this is the amount of CO2 that is not being pumped into the atmosphere as a consequence of the new Bühler technologies and services that efficiently process our customer’s products. This metric will highlight the importance of retrofit technologies on existing processes and show that retrofit is one of the fastest ways to cut emissions.    

Avoiding emissions is the first priority in the emission’s hierarchy. The next is the need to reduce CO2 through efficient processing. Lastly, is the need to draw down existing emissions from the atmosphere, with companies such as Climeworks or Ecosystem Regeneration Projects from the Crowther Lab.  

Mitigating climate change is complex and will never be achieved if we are unable to measure the impact of our actions. The purpose of Bühler’s CO2 Accelerator Program is to achieve just that. The transparency of CO2 Emissions and quantification of avoided emissions is another step in the journey to achieve our goal of reducing energy, waste, and water by 50%.

Content Block

Do you have a question? Contact our Media Relations team.

Gupfenstrasse 5