Sustainability: Greiner reaches milestones while highlighting significant need for action

Greiner AG

Greiner AG has released sustainability data for 2021, enabling a performance comparison with 2020 for the first time. “We have reached important milestones, but this marathon is not complete until the finish line is crossed,” relates Axel Kühner, CEO of Greiner AG. Kühner adds: “I am delighted that we have made improvements in all sustainability areas – climate protection, circular economy, and people. Right across the Group, we are working hard to meet our targets for 2030 – from self-produced electricity and innovation collaborations to occupational health care.”

Climate protection: Share of green electricity increased to 35 percent – Global target of 90 percent by 2030

Greiner aims to become climate-neutral by 2030. At present, the Group releases more than 2.5 million tonnes of CO2 (Scope 1, 2, and 3) worldwide. This roughly equates to the emissions of half of Tyrol in a year. “We are aware of this huge footprint and the responsibility that this volume entails,” says Greiner CEO Axel Kühner. Greiner AG has instigated a host of measures to reduce its emissions along the entire supply chain and meet the Paris climate goals.

Switching to electricity from renewable energy sources is a key part of these measures. “Our future lies with the green alternatives, not oil and gas”, says Kühner. The share of electricity from renewable energy sources has been increased from 26 percent in 2020 to 35 percent in 2021. Since July 2019, all Austrian Greiner sites have been supplied with 100 percent certified green electricity. By 2030, 90 percent of the electricity Greiner needs will come from renewable sources – with Greiner even producing some of this itself from photovoltaic plants. There are also plans to tighten the climate goals further and introduce science-based targets by the end of 2022. Science-based targets are emissions goals aligned with the targets for achieving the Paris Agreement.

Circular economy: Pilot projects for mattress recycling and yogurt cups

11 million tonnes of plastic waste are still thrown into the world's seas every year. A functioning circular economy is the only solution to the plastic crisis. That’s why Greiner continues to invest massively in innovations and in-house product development. The company will step up its use of recycled plastics. Emissions can be reduced substantially by reusing materials that have already been produced. In addition, products are being enhanced in such a way that they can be reused, recycled or composted. To this end, several pilot projects have been undertaken in recent months, such as the “K3® r100 cup” – a self-separating yogurt cup – and a joint research project with the chemicals group BASF on the recycling of mattresses. “We will continue on this path of sustainability through innovation,” says Kühner. He also sees an acute need for action in the area of supply chains, as Greiner’s target of 80 percent of its suppliers being sustainable businesses was clearly missed in 2021, as in 2020.

People at Greiner: Focus on diversity and inclusion

In the third sustainability area – people at Greiner – the sustainability surveys reveal successes and potential for improvement: the frequency of serious work accidents in 2021 was down 14.2 percent on the previous year. At the same time, training hours rose from 8 to 12 hours per person on average. “We are eager to build on these positive developments and instigate further measures. In the future, we will be fully committed to diversity and inclusion, as we the surveys identified deficiencies here,” says Stefan Grafenhorst, Global Head of Sustainability & Corporate Affairs at Greiner. 27 percent of managers were female in 2021. “By 2025, at least 35 percent of managers should be women. Overall, we aim to become more diverse and inclusive at Greiner than ever before,” explains Grafenhorst.

Next comprehensive sustainability report in May 2023

“Sustainability can only work with transparency. That’s why we regularly disclose where we are on our journey towards sustainability,” says Grafenhorst. Following previous editions in 2019 and 2021, the next comprehensive sustainability report of Greiner AG will be published in May 2023. The figures released today mark a staging point on this journey. “One thing is clear: We will be able to overcome the major challenges of our time only by working together and adopting forward-looking policies,” concludes Grafenhorst.

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