Resource efficiency and environmental protection

At a glance

  • The Schaeffler Group maintains an Energy, Environment, Health & Safety (EnEHS) management system to manage its energy and environmental operations
  • Freshwater withdrawal was reduced by around 9 % in the reporting year

Energy and environmental management

Part of NFRTo manage its energy and environmental operations across the company, the Schaeffler Group maintains an EnEHS (Energy, Environment, Health & Safety) management system based on the energy and environmental standards ISO 50001 for energy management and ISO 14001 for environmental management. Internal and external audits are conducted on a regular basis to continuously improve energy management and further optimize environmental performance. This also includes measures designed to prevent waste, increase recycling, and protect biodiversity.

Environmental and energy topics in the Schaeffler Group are managed through a matrix organization. Local environmental protection and energy coordinators, regional coordinators, and experts from the strategic departments discuss these topics together on a regular basis. Key performance indicators are used to plan, assess, and manage environmental measures. The need for action and measures are regularly discussed and resolved with the Board of Managing Directors of Schaeffler AG. Local EHS and energy coordinators conduct regular management reviews with site management at least once a year, providing an opportunity to discuss and document issues such as potential new targets and the status of current projects. These are also accompanied by regular opportunity and risk analyses. To ensure a consistent focus on environmental and energy management, all EHS and energy coordinators exchange information on a regular basis. 

The Schaeffler Group established the EMAS environmental management system worldwide more than 25 years ago. This system is used to continuously improve environmental performance and  evaluated by experts. One of the EMAS key indicators is, for example, bio­diversity. To determine a key figure in the management system, the company collects extensive area data at the locations and describes specific biodiversity requirements. Definitions and criteria for collecting biodiversity data are incorporated into the EnEHS manual, which describes the underlying management systems (EMAS, ISO 14001, ISO 45001, and ISO 50001). The updated manual was approved in 2023. Implementation has begun at the locations.

Plants with energy and environmental management systems
in percentage

Coverage rate for EMAS certification 1)10099.298.5
Coverage rate for ISO 14001 certification 1)100100100
Coverage rate for ISO 50001 certification 1)100100100
  1. Relating to plant employees.

In 2020, the Schaeffler Group began bundling all relevant resources in a single energy efficiency program with an interdisciplinary team on a local, regional, divisional, and corporate level. The aim is to identify and implement energy efficiency measures between 2020 and 2024 that will result in annual energy savings of 100 GWh as of 2025. A total of 380 energy efficiency measures were implemented and externally verified between 2020 and 2023 and will lead to cumulative annual savings of at least 97.1 GWh as of 2024. These measures include, for example, reducing the operating temperature of cleaning processes, improving heat insulation of production and infrastructure facilities as well as optimizing the generation, distribution, and use of compressed air.

The demand for electrical energy will continue to increase in the coming years. Self-generated renewable energy will therefore be expanded to complement the existing energy efficiency program at Schaeffler locations – for example, with photovoltaic (PV) systems. PV systems with a capacity of 8.0 MWp were installed in 2023, thus increasing the total PV system capacity in the Schaeffler Group to 20.2 MWp.

Electricity consumption
in GWh

Electricity consumption, total 1) 2)2,2412,274
Of which conventionally produced electricity 
(external procurement) 1) 2)
Of which conventionally self-generated electricity 
(by combined heat and power plants) 1)
Of which renewable energy 
(external procurement) 1) 2)
Of which self-generated renewable energy 
(company owned photovoltaic systems) 1) 3)
  1. Figure first reported in 2022.
  2. The 2022 value has been adjusted.
  3. Value includes PV systems operated by the Schaeffler Group. The amount of electricity generated by PV systems that are operated by third parties (China) totaled 3 GWh in 2022 and 9 GWh in 2023.

Location-specific supply concepts were promoted in the reporting year and now complement the off-site 1 Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) concluded in 2022, which shall cover around 20 % of external electricity supply in Germany as of 2024. For example, a local partner will build a new photovoltaic system near the plant in Herzogenaurach, which will be connected directly to the site grid (near-site). The Schaeffler Group guarantees the purchase of around 12,600 MWh of electricity annually from the near-site PPA for 15 years. That alone can cover around 17 % of the Herzogenaurach location’s external electricity supply. The system should be operational by the end of 2024. In the reporting year, the Greater China region also launched two new photovoltaic systems, which were built on the Schaeffler plant grounds (on-site) by an external partner as part of a long-term Power Purchase Agreement.

There is also a focus on retrofitting existing systems that provide process and infrastructure heat for use with renewable energy. The company has defined a highly efficient fuel switch for all process and infrastructure heating systems, which served as the foundation for developing a Scope 1 decarbonization roadmap. In the future, all new investments will also need to be assessed during the approval process to determine their impact on CO2e emissions. 

Energy consumption
in GWh

Energy consumption, total 1) 2)3,1253,2283,369
Of which electricity 1) 3)2,2152,2462,244
Of which natural gas/LPG 1) 2)725795923
Of which heating oil 2)136
Of which propane 1)565553
Of which methanol 1)818286
Of which district heating474857
  1. The 2022 value has been adjusted.
  2. Reduction is due in part to the energy efficiency measures implemented and fuel switch measures.
  3. External electricity purchased and photovoltaic electricity generated in-house. Combined heat and power (CHP) electricity is recorded via gas consumption.

The Schaeffler Group’s energy consumption deacreased by around 3.2 % compared to the prior year, thanks in large part to the 8.8 % reduction in natural gas/LPG consumption. In addition, initial measures were undertaken in the fuel switch program and hardening lines were switched from natural gas to electricity in 2023. The Schaeffler Group only uses heating oil in emergency situations to heat buildings and halls. However, this was not necessary in the reporting year due to the improvement in the natural gas supply.Part of NFR

Water management

Part of NFRSchaeffler locations use water primarily for sanitation, cooling, and industrial applications. The Schaeffler Group has voluntarily set itself the target to reduce its freshwater withdrawal by 20 % by 2030 compared to 2019. In addition, water dependence is systematically being reduced in an effort to minimize water-related production risks. The manufacturing sites that are located in areas with severe or extremely severe water shortages were identified based on the results of the World Research Institute (WRI). A variety of projects were planned for these sites to reduce water withdrawal and recycle withdrawn water, using suitable circulatory systems and treatment plants such as water evaporation systems.

Freshwater withdrawal
in thous. m³

Freshwater withdrawal, total 1)5,0355,5015,6185,784
Of which surface water97165159
Of which groundwater 1)2,0962,2542,209
Of which water from third parties 1)2,8423,0833,250
  1. The 2022 value has been adjusted.
approx.265thousand m³

will be saved from 2024 as a result of 27 water-saving measures implemented in 2023

A total of 5,035 thousand m³ (prior year: 5,501 thousand m³) 2 of freshwater was withdrawn in the reporting year, which represents a decrease of around 9 %. This information is based on the amount of water withdrawal indicated on invoices as well as direct measurements. The drop in freshwater withdrawal is, in part, the result of the water-saving measures implemented. 

Since 2022, the Schaeffler Group has bundled all relevant resources in a single program dedicated to reducing the use of freshwater with a global interdisciplinary team. The aim is to identify and implement water-saving measures between 2022 and 2030 in order to reduce the use of freshwater by 20 % by 2030 when compared to 2019.

A total of 27 water-saving measures were implemented and externally verified in 2023 and will lead to annual savings of at least 265 thousand m³ as of 2024. For example, evaporation systems were installed to reduce the amount of wastewater and to reuse condensation for other processes. The measures also included optimization of production systems and processes such as returning treated cooling tower water to the cycle.

No seawater or produced water is withdrawn. No water is lost in the manufacture of Schaeffler products, as withdrawn water is either reused internally or directed to third parties after treatment. Water quality is measured internally and externally on a regular basis, and any necessary measures thus identified are implemented accordingly.

All locations with industrial wastewater and large volumes of wastewater – which can occur as a result of electroplating or needle production – are equipped with a variety of systems that enable a range of processes from treatment to nearly 100 % recycling. A variety of technologies are used for this purpose, including evaporation technology, membrane filtration, ion exchange systems, and chemical and physical treatment processes. Where this is not possible, wastewater is treated in accordance with applicable guidelines and discharged into the public sewer system. 

Facilities that pose a risk to natural bodies of water must be operated in such a way that there is no fear of contaminating the water or soil. However, if there is a leakage of fluids or unintended contamination, these are to be rectified immediately. Depending on the scope of damage, inspections are conducted on-site under expert supervision and in coordination with local authorities. Additional measures are defined based on the assessment results.Part of NFR

1 Purchase of electricity from renewable systems without direct reference to a specific Schaeffler location. 
2 The 2022 value has been adjusted.

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