Siemens aims to become first ‘net-zero’ industrial giant

German engineering giant Siemens has announced new plans to become the first major industrial company to have a net-zero carbon footprint by 2030.


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The company plans to cut its carbon dioxide emissions – which currently total about 2.2 million metric tons a year – in half by 2020, before eliminating them completely by 2030.

To achieve its goals, Siemens says it is targeting three areas: facilities, vehicles and energy.

The company will invest €110m over the next three years in reducing the energy footprint of its production facilities, including energy efficient lighting upgrades and automated heating and ventilation systems.

The company fleet of 45,000 vehicles will also be upgraded to fuel-efficient models.

Finally, Siemens will increase its use of onsite energy generation, including solar panels, energy storage and smarter grids. The German firm also plans to purchase clean power, “to make up for the emissions that cannot be avoided in the short-term”.

Business case

Siemens chief executive Joe Kaeser said he expects the investment to pay for itself within the next five years and generate $20m in annual savings thereafter.

“In other words, cutting your carbon footprint is not only good corporate citizenship — it’s also good business,” he wrote in a New York Time op-ed.

“I do not want to make this effort sound simple. This requires major support at all levels of the company, particularly at the board level. It requires that we take a longer-term view when it comes to investment decisions. It means accepting a longer payback period for energy-efficiency measures.

“But no effort can be spared, and all of us must do something. While we remain hopeful that global policy makers will come to an agreement at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris later this year, we also know that the business community does not have to wait to act.”

This week has seen a flurry of green pledges from big busineses attending Climate Week NYC.

Nike and Starbucks were among those pledging to go 100% renewable, while Microsoft and Adidas were among big businesses backing a new UN scheme that encourages businesses and consumers to become ‘climate neutral’.

Brad Allen

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