An ambitious path ahead
In June 2021, we announced our ambition to be Net Zero by 2040. We didn’t make that commitment lightly. We understood the immense efforts that would be required to turn this into a reality – but we also felt we didn’t have a choice given the climate emergency we face.
Since making this pledge, we’ve had our reduction target for carbon emissions validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), an external and independent organization widely considered the gold standard in carbon reduction target setting. What this means is that our carbon emissions targets are not just some lofty ideals – they’re grounded in science.
Net Zero means reducing our greenhouse gas emissions to as close to zero as possible, only resorting to "offsetting" initiatives (think planting trees) when no other options are possible.
Going Net Zero is no small feat – it’s a huge undertaking. Reducing our greenhouse gas emissions means we need look at ways to cut our carbon emissions across the board – not only those generated from our own operations, but also those of our suppliers, and those resulting from the use of our products. In sustainability parlance, these are called Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3 emissions.
But how are we going to achieve this exactly? Here's where it gets interesting, as it’s a challenge we have to approach on many different fronts.
A business like ours requires a huge amount of electricity to operate – whether it’s to power our production lines and buildings, or to charge our small but growing fleet of electric vehicles.
However, not all electricity is the same. Depending on how it’s generated there’s a big difference in the carbon emissions associated with it – electricity generated by burning fossil fuels has a much larger carbon footprint than that generated from more sustainable energy sources like solar, wind, hydropower, or geothermal energy. That’s why we’ve committed to only using electricity generated from renewable sources by 2025.
We’ve already made great strides toward this goal. In 2022, 90% of our electricity for all our sites came from renewable energy sources. Wherever we can, we’ve invested in the infrastructure required to generate our own electricity. Many of our production sites and offices are already fitted out with solar panels – and that’s a trend we’re looking to continue.
Our electricity use is only one – albeit important – part of the equation. We’re also looking at how we can shrink our carbon footprint in our supply chain.
That includes anything from streamlining our packaging materials to optimizing transportation – whether from our suppliers to our production sites, or from our production sites to our customers. This is by no means guesswork – we track the environmental impact along every step of supply chain, using a carbon footprint measurement tool.
To further reduce our impact from production, we’re planning for all our major production sites to be ISO 50001 certified by 2025. To achieve this, we're implementing a systematic energy management system which will provide us with the data we need to better understand and make decisions about our energy use.
Optimizing the environmental performance of our fleet means also looking at ways to cut unnecessary travel – without ever compromizing on the quality of our service.
Our focus is on reducing unnecessary trips, by optimizing planning and logistics – to make every trip count. Through connectivity, we can perform digital "health checks" and resolve certain breakdowns remotely. If a technician needs to be dispatched on-site, we can glean from the data generated by our connected products which components are defective beforehand – ensuring our technicians bring the right spare parts and tools the first time around.
We’re able to remotely monitor units 24/7 – providing an increase level of service, with fewer vehicle trips required.
In 2022, more than 25% of our maintained portfolio was cloud-connected – and that number only continues to increase.
Energy efficiency sits at the heart of our R&D efforts – each new generation of our escalators and elevators is more energy efficient than the previous one. This in turn helps our customers reduce the carbon footprint of their buildings. Our latest elevator and escalator products improve energy efficiency by up to 30% compared to their predecessors.
Schindler PORT 4D, our signature building traffic management system, contributes to making buildings more energy efficient by optimizing the performance of elevators – it’s been shown to reduce the energy consumption of an elevator group by up to 40%.
The journey is Net Zero is long and will present its fair share of challenge, but we’ll go the distance – because there’s no other way.