Environmental Management

Systematic environmental protection is advantageous for the Schaeffler Group. Standards associated with environmental management make it easier for the company to manage a series of important processes, to fulfill stakeholder demands, and to document how it is meeting its responsibility.

With ideas like the “Factory for Tomorrow” and the continual expansion of its environmental management systems, the Schaeffler Group contributes directly to implementing “sustainable forms of consumption and production” ( 12).


recycling rate in Germany.1)

1) Recycling and recovery/total waste volume, without metals and scrap.

When it comes to operational environmental management, the company is a worldwide leader. All the production sites of the Schaeffler Group work with environmental management systems that conform with and . The Schaeffler Group continuously develops these further and applies first and foremost the exacting European EMAS standard. The core element of both environmental management systems is an improvement cycle with which the continuous development of the environmental performance at the sites is ensured.

Introducing EMAS Worldwide

Since December 31, 2017, 68 Schaeffler Group locations worldwide have been included in the EMAS site registry of the European Union, five more than in the previous year. Furthermore, 69 sites of the Schaeffler Group are ISO 14001 certified.

Among other things, quantitative goals for the areas of waste, operating materials, soil and water protection, and resource conservation were specified to be achieved by 2020. Targets related to resources, for instance, include “wastewater-free operation” or “endless oil,” a method that eliminates the need to replace oil used in production. By increasing recycling rates, the intention is to make a “waste-free factory” possible. The key indicators section of the environmental declarations produced by the production locations report on progress toward agreed targets on an annual basis.

Waste Generation and Water Consumption Compared Year Over Year







Percentage change


Recycling and recovery/total waste volume, without metals and scrap.


In the course of a post hoc validation, the figure was corrected and thus deviates from the representation in the Sustainability Report 2016.


Water consumption includes city water and company water.

Waste generation, Germany (t)







Recycling rate, Germany (%)1)







Water consumption, total (m3)3)







In Germany, 315,245 tons of waste were produced and properly disposed of or recycled, which amounts to an increase of about 1% compared to the previous year. For Germany, the recycling rate was 96.9%. In the medium term, each region’s objective is have one site with a “zero waste factory,” i.e., with a recycling rate of 100%. The Schaeffler Group is currently in the process of putting appropriate measures in place to achieve this goal, such as the introduction of a global waste catalog by the end of 2018.


targeted reduction of water consumption by 2020.1)

1) Parameter: m3/EUR added value.

An overarching goal of the Schaeffler Group is the consistent reduction of water consumption at all locations worldwide compared to the previous year. By 2020, group-wide water consumption per euro of added value is to be reduced by 20% compared to the base year 2016. In 2017, total water consumption of 1,160 m3 per 1 million of added value was reached – an increase of 2.1% compared to 2016. The annual reduction target was therefore slightly missed.

Environmental data for the individual locations are reviewed by internal and external auditors. Audits are completed on-site for this purpose, along with random reviews based on consumption calculations, delivery slips, or other evidence.

Environmental Management is an Integral Part of Factory Design

In 2017, in the Chinese city Xiangtan, the Schaeffler Group began constructing a new kind of factory planned according to innovative principles of design and function. It is slated for completion in 2019. For this project, the company developed a new, holistic concept, the “Factory for Tomorrow.” In order to meet future demands that cannot yet be clearly seen, the developers placed a premium in their planning on flexibility. This should allow all direct and indirect areas of production to be designed so that they continue fulfilling their own approach to operational excellence into the future. The concept “Factory for Tomorrow” illustrates solutions such as constructing factories with a modular design or optimizing the factory life cycle.

Environmental criteria also generally play an important part in the design of production sites for the Schaeffler Group. In planning new plants with a high need for water, for example, the developers generally anticipate the construction of reprocessing facilities. Existing plants are being upgraded in accordance with technical and economic assessments. For example, electroplating is one area of production that uses a lot of water. The solution here is to clean the rinsing water with ion exchangers and return it to the operating process.

Resource Efficiency: Circular Economy and New Materials

To avoid waste and conserve resources, the company will continue to rely on the principle of the circular economy of metals. This “closed loop recycling” serves the purpose of reducing the production of raw material resources that are becoming increasingly scarce worldwide. A process to completely recycle carbides was developed by partners of the Schaeffler Group in which metallic waste products can be separated into their physical elements. The advantage is that the material can be used afterward while maintaining the same high level of quality.

In addition, the service life of components could be significantly increased by reducing friction and wear. Bearings optimized in this way carry the Schaeffler “X-Life” seal of quality. Another way the company seeks to increase the operating life of its bearings is by using new kinds of materials.

Antifriction bearings in railway technology or industry are exposed to high loads. To prevent them from wearing out prematurely, their tracks must be very hard, wear resistant, and stable. At the same time, they must be able to tolerate well and, if necessary, smooth out deformations caused by hard foreign particles. The Schaeffler Group brings both of these things together with carbonitriding, a special heat treatment of the bearing steel Mancrodur. The result: Under normal lubrication conditions, the service life was increased by 240%. In laboratory conditions, up to a sixfold increase in service life was shown.

Sustainable Development Goals; 17 goals for sustainable development of the United Nations that are intended to help secure sustainable development on the economic, social, and ecological level.
EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme, according to which the Schaeffler Group site were validated.
ISO 14001
Global standard for environmental management systems.