On the Road to Sustainability

As a mid-sized, family-run group of companies, the bilstein group has always taken its social and ecological responsibility seriously. For us, however, sustainability is more than just a mandatory obligation: we want to align all our actions with it over the coming years.

Sustainability will play a role in every important operational decision because, as a family company, we know that only sustainable business processes have a future. This future has already begun in the bilstein group. Below, you will find many examples of our projects on the road to sustainability.

Our Holistic Approach Towards Sustainability

For us, sustainability is more than just reducing the carbon footprint of a product. As we work towards becoming a more sustainable company, we try to cover the entire scope of the issue.

From our perspective, sustainability is comprised of three key components:

  • Economy - this involves the production of high-quality and durable products that take equal account of environmental protection and affordable mobility
  • Ecology - this means a focus on processes and structures that conserve resources as much as possible
  • Social Aspects - these focus on appropriate wages and working conditions along the entire supply chain

Sustainability is therefore not limited to producing the smallest possible carbon footprint but also to creating long-term jobs with decent working conditions and living wages. For us, however, sustainable production also means manufacturing products using economically viable processes that minimize negative impacts on the environment - all while conserving energy and natural resources.

Spare Parts for the Mobility of the Future

Alternative-drives are key to achieving global climate targets. In 2022 the EU decided that new registrations of combustion-engine cars will be banned from 2035. In the future, it will be all the more important that vehicles with hybrid, electric or other alternative-drive systems are supplied with the necessary spare parts for the longest possible service life.

We already have thousands of parts on offer for the hybrid, electric, hydrogen and alternate-powered vehicle sector, be it passenger cars or commercial vehicles. More than 2,000 new articles are being introduced annually for passenger cars alone, and we have a database of over 90,000 individual vehicle variants.

Additionally, the delivery of more than four million catalogue applications to the screens of distributors and installers around the world puts the bilstein group in a very strong position to provide the aftermarket with the widest range of repair and maintenance parts - today and tomorrow.

Keeping Cars Alive Longer

Essential to more sustainable consumption for the bilstein group comes from the extension of a vehicle's lifespan, too. However, we are well aware that the CO2 balance of mostly older vehicles with combustion engines must be compared to vehicles with more modern drive technology.

Positive Influence on the Sustainability Balance

As the pioneer in the IAM, we believe that our high-quality and durable products are extending the vehicle lifespan so significantly (with comparatively low use of resources), that we have a positive influence on the sustainability balance of the whole vehicle.

By adding more and more parts for alternative-drive vehicles to our range, we will be able to keep cars on the road for longer in the years to come, thus securing the future of sustainable mobility.

How We Contribute to Climate Protection

Climate protection is a major concern for us - we are committed to the Paris Climate Agreement. In order to contribute to this, the bilstein group reduces emissions along the entire supply chain and relies, for example, on energy-efficient technologies, renewable energies, resource-saving production processes and building standards as well as a comprehensive energy-management system.

"In this way, we contribute to saving resources and at the same time live up to our identity as a family-owned company: we think and plan in terms of generations, and the protection of our environment also plays a central role in this," says Group Managing Director Jan Siekermann.

Discover what the bilstein group has already achieved for environmental and climate protection:

Automated Logistics System

2004

Automated Logistics System

Annual savings of approx. 40% CO2

Logistics Centre Ennepetal

2008

Logistics Centre Ennepetal

80% of all carriers converted to Euro 5 standard

Energy Efficiency

2013

Energy Efficiency

Combined heat and power unit producing energy for logistics

New Prodution Plant

2016

New Prodution Plant

Consuming 45% less energy than comparable buildings

LED Lighting Systems

2017

LED Lighting Systems

Refitting of conventional lights in production and logistics

New Production Plant

2017

New Production Plant

750 kWp photovoltaic system

Efficient Heating

2017

Efficient Heating

Innovative heating concept utilising machine waste heat

Electric Car

2020

Electric Car

First full electric car in the fleet

Recycable Packaging

2020

Recycable Packaging

Packaging is either 100% cardboard or 100% plastic

New Logistics Centre

2020

New Logistics Centre

Consuming 45% less energy than comparable buildings

New Logistics Centre

2021

New Logistics Centre

15.000 m2 green roof

New Logistics Centre

2021

New Logistics Centre

750 kWp photovoltaic system

Logistics Centre HQ

2022

Logistics Centre HQ

Reduction of plastic packaging by 2 tonnes per year

Green Electricity

2022

Green Electricity

Supplying the German sites with electricity exclusively from renewable sources

Climate Neutrality

2022

Climate Neutrality

Climate-neutral logistics and production in Germany (Scope 1 & 2)

Energy Management System

2025

Energy Management System

Integrating all sites worldwide into the energy management system

The Solar Advantage

The bilstein group not only focuses on avoiding CO2 - we also produce our own electricity. We have installed photovoltaic systems in our production hall in Ennepetal and our logistics centre in Gelsenkirchen.

The system in Ennepetal is one of the largest in the Ennepe-Ruhr district, covering around 6,000 square metres. Production uses around 80% of the electricity generated (approx. 700,000 kWh/year) for its own machines. The surplus ‘green’ electricity is fed into the general power grid.

Photovoltaic Systems

The photovoltaic system in Gelsenkirchen is also around 6,000 square metres in size and has 2,200 photovoltaic modules. They can produce over 700,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year.

The output of both solar plants - 1.4 million kWh/year - corresponds to the electricity needs of approximately 500 households.

Energy Output

Below you can see the output of our first solar power plant (2018-2020) and both plants together (2021-2022). Estimated figures for 2022. The photovoltaic system in Gelsenkirchen is not yet reaching its full potential.

Chart

Green Sites, Green Buildings

In logistics, buildings tend to look functional from the outside, but our new buildings have it all when it comes to energy efficiency. Both our production and logistics centre in Gelsenkirchen, opened in 2022, were built according to KfW Standard 55. This means they consume around 45 percent less energy than a comparable new building without efficiency measures.

Better Climate Conditions

In addition, two halls and the main entrance in Gelsenkirchen have been equipped with a green roof on an area of around 15,000 square metres. Not only environmental aspects play a role here: among other things, the green roof helps to reduce the negative effects of heavy rainfall and contributes to better climate conditions in the rooms underneath.

Energy-Efficient Logistics

In our logistics centres, we mainly rely on automated logistics systems. In Gelsenkirchen, for example, this allows us to save around 75% of the space required by a purely manual warehouse.

We also use energy-efficient components and drives (active shutdown of conveyor technology when not in use; use of braking energy of the stacker cranes).

Thanks to savings in light and heat as well as process energy, we consume up to 1,500 t CO2 less per year in our automated warehouses than in a comparable manual warehouse.

Green Production

Other factors also play a role. In production, for example, the waste heat from the machines is used to heat the fresh air drawn in from outside in colder months, saving on additional heating. The waste heat from the compressors is, in turn, used to generate hot water for the sanitary facilities. For our metal hardening processes, we consequently use rain and drainage water to cool down the cooling circuit.

This is how our production contributes to climate protection:

Fresh water consumption -
systematic use of drainage water

Recirculation of process heat -
no loss of valuable energy

Energy savings -
production hall according to KfW-55 standard

Certified Energy Management System

To save energy, you first have to know where and how much energy is being consumed. For this reason, an energy management system in accordance with DIN EN ISO 50001 and certified by TÜV was introduced at our main German sites in Ennepetal and Wuppertal as early as 2016; followed by our site in Markham Vale, UK, in 2019. With this, the bilstein group has committed itself to collecting and evaluating energy-relevant data and initiating appropriate measures to save energy and resources.

In 2018, energy management became significantly more restrictive. In order to meet this new requirement, we have been certified in accordance with the stricter DIN EN ISO 50001:2018 since 2020.

"Operating efficiently and conserving resources are essential components of our corporate policy," says Group Managing Director Jan Siekermann. "In the long term, we want to reduce costs, strengthen our competitive position and make an active contribution to environmental protection."

Climate Protection that Makes an Impact

CO2 emissions reporting is the foundation for active climate protection. Therefore, from 2020 onwards, we have had our carbon footprint determined according to Scope 1 and 2* at our locations in Germany.

For 2022 we expect a significant reduction in our carbon footprint because, from this year onwards, we are supplying the German bilstein group sites (Ennepetal, Wuppertal, Gelsenkirchen and Durmersheim) with electricity exclusively from renewable sources. This is another important step on our way to making ourselves even more sustainable as a company.

‘Green Sites’ Programme

We launched the ‘Green Sites’ programme to integrate the international bilstein group locations. It pursues the goal of recording and reducing emissions in Scope 1 and Scope 2* at all main locations as well as downstream at all sales offices.

By the end of 2025, all worldwide bilstein group logistics and production sites are to be integrated into the energy management system. From 2030, this will apply to all bilstein group sites and companies.

*Scope 1: includes the direct release of climate-damaging gases within the company and its production processes.
Scope 2: includes the indirect release of climate-damaging gases by energy suppliers.

Small Steps to Becoming More Sustainable

Less Packaging - More Environmental Protection

When it comes to packaging, the bilstein group is also taking important steps towards more sustainability. For example, since 2022, the logistics at HQ in Ennepetal has refrained from packing small parts for repair kits in a neutral plastic bag. This saves about two tonnes of plastic per year. A significant reduction was also achieved in bubble wrap, which is used to protect goods.

In 2020, the general consumption of bubble wrap was analysed and put to the test. The result was clear: since then, we have been using around 24.5 tonnes less bubble wrap per year. Through the system partnership with PARTSLIFE, the environmental management service provider for the automotive industry, the bilstein group makes an active contribution to waste avoidance and disposal.

Recycled Plastic Wrap

In 2022 our logistics in Germany switched to bubble wrap that consists of up to 50 percent recycled plastic.

But isn't 100 percent also possible? For the air cushions to form, parts of the material are welded together. To be able to control these processes, a sheet consists of different layers. The different properties of these layers require a certain proportion of virgin material, as the melting temperatures are known and uniform for this type.

Small Ideas, Big Impact

In 2018 Ali Serttekin, who has been working in bilstein group logistics since 1994, had the idea to use A5 stickers larger packages instead of A4 stickers. A simple idea thanks to which a lot of paper can be saved. In addition, combi-packaging (packaging made of a combination of cardboard and plastic) was completely eliminated in the company.

Thanks to this simple but efficient measure, the materials can be separated more easily and recycled accordingly.

Let There Be LED!

A large part of our logistics in Germany is now equipped with energy-saving LED lights. In logistics in Ennepetal alone, well over two kilometres of lighting have been newly installed in recent years and connected to the existing intelligent building management system so that it can be controlled entirely according to need.

Thanks to this solution, 294 tonnes of CO2 can be saved per year.

Collection of Press Releases

24 May 2022

The New bilstein group Logistics Centre in Gelsenkirchen Successfully Launched

Last October, the bilstein group's new logistics centre in Gelsenkirchen was ceremoniously inaugurated by Mayor Karin Welge. Meanwhile, another important milestone has been reached: the ramp-up of intralogistics has successfully launched.

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20 April 2022

"Green Plastic" in Logistics – bilstein group Relies on Plastic Wrap Made From Recycled Material

For decades, bubble wrap has been used in bilstein group logistics as a means of protecting goods. The replacement parts specialist is also taking a major step towards greater sustainability in this area as well: since the beginning of this year, the company has only used wrapping material that...

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22 February 2022

bilstein group Saves Two Tonnes of Plastic per Year on Packaging

Small change, big effect for the environment: this is how the latest savings measure at the bilstein group could be described. From now on, the company will not pack small parts in a neutral plastic bag for repair kits. This saves about two tonnes of plastic per year.

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