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Bosch in the United Kingdom

Bosch: Putting sustainability at the heart of what we do

Bosch: Putting sustainability at the heart of what we do

We all need to reduce our impact on the world around us. For Bosch, climate protection is an essential part of doing business ethically. It’s also a business need. Companies need to make significant upfront investments in the future if they want to compete in the long term, whether in terms of R&D or the future of the planet.

Bosch has been involved in sustainability initiatives over many decades, thanks to our founder, Robert Bosch. Today, it’s even more important that as a business we act in an economical, environmental, and socially responsible way, to improve people’s quality of life and safeguard the livelihoods of present and future generations.

That means we look at everything we can do to make savings, use fewer resources and reduce our impact on the planet. Lots of small savings and efficiencies can add up to a huge improvement. To give two examples, Worcester Bosch now saves 70 million litres of water each year via a water recycling system. It reuses cooling water from the production facilities and saves 12 metric tons of CO₂ / year. In our Stowmarket location, redesigned packaging of gardening products has reduced plastic use by 52 metric tonnes per year.

A significant achievement

CO2 reduction is a major element of Bosch’s sustainability goals. By 2020 we were able to significantly reduce and mitigate direct CO2 emissions from the fuels and processes we use onsite, as well as the indirect emissions made by the electricity we buy. This made us scope 1 and 2 Carbon Neutral – and we were one of the first global industrial businesses to accomplish this, one of only 4% of companies around the world.

We did this using 4 levers:

1. Improving energy efficiency.
2. Using only electricity from renewable sources like wind and solar.
3. Generating our own electricity from renewable resources.
4. Carbon offsets for unavoidable emissions.

This meant that most direct and indirect emissions were eliminated, and any emissions that couldn’t be stopped were offset through environmental projects. We do not offset a huge amount- less than a third of our 2019 total emissions- but it’s better not to emit at all, so we intend to reduce that further to 15% by 2030.

Since 2018 all the electricity we’ve bought has been certified as having come from renewable sources. The next steps are “Power Purchase Agreements”, which involve agreeing that when a new wind farm or solar park is built, the energy produced will be used exclusively to meet Bosch’s energy needs. You could see it like a restaurant only sourcing ingredients from a specific farm. We already do this in Mexico, where a single wind farm provides 80% of Bosch’s energy requirements. Soon, we would like to do the same in the UK.

By 2030 we want 50% of our UK electricity consumption to be renewable and self-generated onsite. This could be done using wind turbines and solar panels, but the goal is to integrate Bosch products into the mix as well, such as the SOFC static fuel cell, which can generate electricity from hydrogen, or the ADS-TEC energy storage portfolio.

Tackling the supply chain

In 2020 we achieved a milestone eliminating direct and indirect CO2 emissions at our 400+ sites worldwide, meaning we are one of only 4% of businesses who are Carbon Neutral. Having reached carbon neutrality for direct and indirect emissions, the next major challenge for Bosch is to reduce emissions caused by the goods and services suppliers provide us with, as well as emissions from our own products. These are much more difficult to measure and tackle- how can we reduce the emissions made by the companies that supply us with the raw materials we use to make our products, or the vehicles that take them to the customer?

This requires a far more collaborative approach, with common efforts across the supply chain. Companies and industries need to work together so we can all reduce carbon emissions. Every division is working hard to reduce emissions from their products, from energy efficient power tools to electric and hybrid powertrains and hydrogen boilers. But this is only half of the equation. Bosch recently introduced CO2 analysis and reporting into new procurement contracts, meaning that suppliers now need to mirror Bosch’s sustainability targets and report their own progress back. We aim to reduce supply chain emissions by 15% by 2030.