Reduction in CO2 Emissions thanks to "Blue Building"

Beiersdorf’s "Blue Building" program for constructing and using buildings aims at sustainably managing the entire life-cycle of its owner-occupied properties. This includes saving energy, conserving resources and, at the same time, providing a working environment for all employees which is both attractive and healthy. Since 2012, one of the key criteria for all major real estate projects is certification according to standards for sustainable buildings.

The production center officially opened in July 2014 in Silao, Mexico, are a good example. This 34,000 square meter building complex was developed following a committed sustainability concept. Focusing strongly on energy efficiency and resource conservation, all criteria for the highest level platinum LEED certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) were followed from the start of construction to completion. Since September 2014, the site is officially LEED-certified. Among other features, the new building boasts a modern CHP plant, photovoltaics and other highly efficient technological systems and installations. In accordance with Beiersdorf's sustainability commitment, the new production site will emit around 55 percent less CO2 and consume 30 percent less water per ton of product than comparable factories.

The Spanish production center in Argentona installed a photovoltaic system at the beginning of 2013. 480 solar modules on the roof of the production building will provide about 170,000 kilowatt hours, which is almost 10% of the yearly electricity need. In addition, the plant significantly reduced CO2 emissions: now 40.5 tons less CO2 will end up in the air each year. The plant is also investing in the climate-friendly optimization of the lighting systems in both the production building and the warehouses, which will reduce CO2 emissions by another 12.5 tons per year.

In 2011 we installed a photovoltaic system at our offices in Italy. Every year 35 tons of CO2 are saved, which is equivalent to planting 4,665 trees. In 2013 we achieved energy savings in our Austrian offices of 73.5% by switching from neon lamps to LED ones. This equates to 32.5 tons of CO2.

Our Spanish offices in Madrid moved to a green building with a "Mega Skin" which maintains a more constant temperature inside the building, and so reduces the need for heating and air-conditioning. The skin enables more natural light to enter the building, thus decreasing lighting costs. In addition, solar panels have been installed on the roof to heat water and generate electricity. As a result of these and other measures, we achieved a significant CO2 reduction in 2013.


We have implemented a number of measures aimed at reducing CO2 emissions in buildings at our headquarters in Hamburg. These measures include: optimizing lighting, installing free cooling systems for our laboratory buildings, cogeneration systems, high-efficiency motors and pumps. We have reduced our annual CO2 emissions by approximately 1,000 tons, thanks to the installation of the cogeneration systems alone. Our current program for efficient office lighting will reduce our CO2 emissions by a further 30 tons per year, and partially switching off our outdoor lighting at night will reduce annual CO2 emissions by another 18 tons. Some of our dishwashers are now using heat from the cogeneration systems, instead of electric water heaters, for their hot water, which reduces CO2 emissions by 26 tons per year. Changes in our printing center have resulted in savings in CO2 emissions of 11 tons per year.

The net result of these and other initiatives will be a reduction in the CO2 emissions at our headquarters’ buildings of 3,010 tons per year, or about 20%, within three years. In addition to making these savings, Beiersdorf Germany will switch the entire electricity supply to renewable sources in 2016.

Environmentally friendly construction played a role from the very start of planning the new Beiersdorf kindergarten at our Hamburg headquarters. This paid off on 20 November 2014 with the award of a Gold Certificate from the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB). The association granted the highest possible certification, among other things for thermal and acoustic comfort, optimal use of daylight and energy efficiency, as well as the absence of pollutants in the building materials and furniture. The sustainable building aspects include the photovoltaic system installed on the green roof, controlled LED lighting and heat generation by an in-house Beiersdorf cogeneration system. The kindergarten with its 100 places also contributes to a better work-family balance.

Energy Management in Production

To reduce our impact on the environment and achieve our sustainability objectives in the “Planet” focus area, we are working out site-specific plans under our “Blue Production Center” (Blue PC) initiative to increase energy efficiency, bring down greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce waste generation and water consumption.

Our plants of the regions Europe and the Far East assessed their facilities and processes in 2013 and 2014, and introduced concrete improvement measures. This analysis process is planned for Latin America in 2015. We are targeting a 50% reduction in CO2 worldwide by 2020, compared with 2005, among other things via optimized lighting, reduction in compressed air leakage and energy-saving drives.

All three German production sites, in Hamburg, Berlin and Waldheim, were successfully ISO 50001 certified in 2014. This worldwide standard sets guidelines for the introduction and use of energy management systems. It thus creates a framework for the systematic development of processes and standards that support efficient and conscientious use of energy. The goal is to reduce environmental impacts and conserve resources. ISO 50001 also helps ensure that this approach is maintained, and continuously improved.

Monitoring audits will be carried out by the certifying auditor in 2015 and 2016 at all three production facilities to review selected aspects of the energy management system, and the ISO 50001 recertification audit will be conducted in three years. Our German production sites, and the Beiersdorf plant in Silao, Mexico, use the “B.Data” energy management system to identify, assess and visualize the energy consumption of individual systems – forming the basis for precisely targeted improvements. We plan to introduce this system as standard in other locations in the coming years.

Green IT

The energy consumption of the Hamburg data center in Germany remained at a stable level in 2014. In the previous year, Beiersdorf Shared Services (BSS) was able to successfully reduce it by 30%.

We are working to continuously replace older devices with new, energy-saving models, reduce stand-by use and expand the shared use of devices, such as printers. We have installed systems to optimize the operating environment and temperature of the IT systems, which has also contributed to the savings. As frequent business travel and long-distance flights generate large amounts of CO2, we encourage our employees to use audio and video conferencing whenever possible.

In our Spanish office in Madrid we replaced five high volume network printers with three multi-functional devices in our offices and implemented document management software in 2013. The result was a noticeable reduction in the amount of paper print outs, printer consumables and energy consumption. Find out more in the section Reducing the Paper Trail and Intelligent Printing.

Green Logistics

As part of our efforts to introduce more environmentally-friendly logistics processes, we have optimized container loading, truck capacity utilization, and transport routes. We have built a tool to measure our Europe-wide CO2 emissions from transport, which has been in use since 2009. In addition, we began measuring emissions in our European warehouses in 2011. We are also a member of the "Green Freight Europe" initiative, which is an association of European industrial and transport companies that seeks to establish a European standard for measuring, analyzing and managing CO2 emissions from road traffic. This initiative provides a platform for verifying and reporting CO2 emissions and promotes best practice sharing and a uniform monitoring process.

In Switzerland we began using trains for our direct outbound transportation deliveries to customers’ warehouses in 2008. In collaboration with two of our customers, we have expanded this concept over the last few years to cover Germany as well. Today, about a quarter of our direct outbound transport in Germany and Switzerland is done by train. In addition to this, we have rolled out a new delivery concept for our customers. The new order target size is now "full truck", which ensures optimized container utilization and reduces the number of deliveries. Thanks to these two initiatives, we can now transport more for less: In 2013 we reduced our CO2 emissions in this area by 37% – over 1,000 tons of CO2.  

A similar concept has been developed in Spain, where Beiersdorf is working together with other manufacturers to combine shipments with the same "ship-to" address. This means combined deliveries (same day, same time) are made to specific customers. Since June 2012 truck usage has dropped by 27% and CO2 emissions have been reduced by 32%. 

Green Travel

In early 2013, Beiersdorf introduced a "Green Car Policy" in Germany, Spain, Switzerland and the Central Eastern Europe region, defining obligatory maximum CO2 levels that apply across the board, from field staff to executives. To complement this action, our Switzerland location organised a car-free day for the second year in a row and provides six NIVEA bikes, which the employees are free to use whenever they like. Many employees took part in the initiative on 25 July 2014 by coming to work afoot, by bicycle or with public transportation, to take a stand against CO2 emissions and their consequences for the climate. More of our employee engagement activities can be found here.

Beiersdorf Hamburg, in cooperation with the neighbouring company NXP Semiconductors, installed a StadtRAD bicycle station ("city bike") near the production sites and research centre in March 2014. The station makes available low-cost rental cycles that can be borrowed from and returned to any of the bicycle stations in the city network. Another 2014 initiative was the cooperative effort with the carsharing provider "DriveNow". At the beginning of July, numerous employees took advantage of the opportunity to register free of charge for the use of these shared vehicles. Both programmes are part of a comprehensive corporate mobility management approach that we are currently expanding. To get to know the mobility needs of our staff more precisely, we implemented an employee survey from 1 to 12 September 2014. The results will be used for the further development of our transport and mobility concept. 

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