Sustainability improvements at Czech automotive manufacturer

| Manufacturing

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Skoda is delivering its plans to improve sustainability and reduce waste and emissions at its manufacturing facilities.

Responsible and sustainable production as well as fuel-efficient vehicles: these are essential elements of Skoda’s ‘GreenFuture’ environmental strategy. So far, the target has been to reduce the environmental impact of production, as measured by key figures from 2010-2018, by 25%.

The manufacturer increased this goal to 45% this year. This means: the environmental impact will have nearly halved within eight years. To mark ‘World Environment Day’ on Sunday 5 June, the manufacturer is introducing some important initiatives.

“The foremost aim of Skoda’s ‘GreenFuture’ strategy is to further improve the sustainability of the company,” explained Michael Oeljeklaus, Skoda Board Member for Production and Logistics. “We have successfully implemented this in recent years. Our focus is on efficient vehicles and an economical use of resources across the entire business. We will continue to meticulously implement our environmental strategy in the coming years. To further reduce energy consumption in production, we are using modern technology with the greatest possible energy efficiency,” continued Oeljeklaus.

Skoda is combining all environmental activities under the umbrella of the ‘GreenFuture’ strategy; ‘GreenFactory’ outlines all activities that conserve resources as much as possible during production.

Key figures such as energy and water consumption, or the amount of waste produced when manufacturing each vehicle, as well as CO2 and so-called volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions – like those created when painting car bodies – are accurately measured and then optimised. Based on these factors, Skoda already reduced, on average, its environmental impact by 35.8% between 2010 and 2015. To accelerate this positive trend, the company has set even more ambitious environmental targets for this year. According to these, Skoda will reduce the environmental impact of its production by 45% by 2018, so nearly half compared to 2010 levels.

In detail: energy consumption for production is to fall by 30% during this period. The target for CO2 emissions per vehicle produced is to be lowered by 55%. The amount of waste per vehicle will reduce by 70% by 2018, water consumption by 25% and VOC emissions by 45%. The improvement objectives, which have been increased to 45%, will result from specific measures, for example, regulating the ventilation system, installing energy-saving lighting as well as reducing the amount of waste created when manufacturing each vehicle.

Range of measures across the entire business

The associated set of measures extends to all areas of the company. For example, around a quarter of all power required by one factory is used on air-conditioning the production halls – accordingly, this item is at the very top of Skoda’s ‘GreenFuture’ agenda. Thanks to the ventilation system’s new control unit, the company saves 3,500 MWh per year – that is the equivalent of the energy consumption of 875 households. New compressors in the pressing plants, which operate at lower air pressure, achieve power savings of 1,600 MWh.

In the Kvasiny plant alone, new hall lighting will effect an electricity reduction of 1,500 MWh per year. In several halls, where finished vehicles await delivery, Skoda also installed energy-saving sources of light, cutting power consumption in half. Thanks to clever automatic switch-off, the light also goes off by itself as soon as operations cease in the halls.

Already in 2014, the amount of waste per car manufactured fell from 16.8 kg to 15.1 kg within a year. In 2016, Skoda will reduce the volume of deposited waste from its own production plants by a total of 4,000 tonnes – this represents a reduction in waste per vehicle of over 50 per cent to 7.8 kg within two years. Furthermore, the waste is no longer stored, instead it is separated for energy recycling. One of the many improvements include: used oils are filtered and reused in the production process – saving resources and reducing the amount of waste.

A cornerstone of sustainable production is the energy provider SKO-ENERGO, in which Skoda has a share of 46%. Since the partnership began in 1995, both companies were able to more than halve energy consumption per vehicle produced. At 1.5 million cubic metres, current annual water consumption is at the 2010 level – in relation to the increase in vehicle production, water consumption has reduced by about 30% per vehicle.

The increased use of biomass to generate electricity in the SKO-ENERGO combined heat and power generation (CHP) facility saves up to 130,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year, compared to burning coal and gas. Thanks to this advanced type of energy supply, the carbon footprint per vehicle produced also improved by more than 46% between 2010 and 2015.

Skoda is supporting the environmental policy of the Czech Republic through the project ‘One car, one tree’. Between 2007 and 2015, the car manufacturer planted more than half a million trees at over 50 locations. Many Skoda employees volunteer to plant the trees, contributing sustainably to the preservation of biodiversity and global climate protection.

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