Environmental and climate protection at ERGO

Responsibility & dedication, 26.09.2019

What is ERGO doing to contribute to environmental and climate protection? We asked our experts in the company what actions have been taken and what plans are in place for the future.

Helmut Wilk, Martina Ermecke and Jonas Weinknecht (from left)

Martina Ermecke is Head of Mobility Management and, in this role, is also responsible for the management of the entire fleet of company cars. Helmut Wilk is the departmental manager with responsibility for facilities management in Düsseldorf, while Jonas Wein-knecht is responsible for environmental management at ERGO, among other things.

In your view, which measures that you have taken in recent years have done most for the climate?

Ermecke: In 2012, we introduced eco training and driving safety training for everyone who drives a company car. After an analysis of their individual driving style, our members of staff learn through a series of practical exercises how a few changes to their behaviour can help them to drive much more efficiently and still get to their destination in the same time. This measure was very successful: our CO2 emissions fell by 20 percent.

We are also always examining where it makes sense and, above all, where it is feasible to use hybrid or fully electric vehicles. Last but not least, the CO2 emissions generated by business trips are neutrally offset by ERGO: emissions are offset by the purchase of envi-ronmental certificates.

Wilk: We conducted an energy balance analysis that reveals where we can still save en-ergy and CO2 in our buildings. If we implement everything it suggests, we can save up to two million kilowatt hours of electricity per year, which equates to around 1,000 tonnes of CO2. We have included the relevant measures directly in our environmental pro-gramme for the next few years.

Last spring, we replaced our chillers. Thanks to the new plant technology and some minor modifications to our cooling supply, we are now able to use our combined heat and pow-er plants even more effectively. This saves us about 500,000 kilowatt hours per year compared to our previous electric refrigeration – and we are generating even more elec-tricity ourselves, which represents a significant financial and ecological gain.

Weinknecht: Our business has been climate-neutral since 2015. Climate-neutral means that we can compensate for the emissions that we cannot avoid, for instance compen-sating for the company travel – as Mrs Ermecke mentioned – by the purchase of emis-sion reduction certificates. In 2018, we compensated for 62,510 tonnes of CO2 in this way.
We are constantly working to further reduce the consumption of energy or other re-sources, such as paper. Our certified environmental management system is the central building block in this and is regularly reviewed by an independent environmental auditor.

What has been particularly well received by colleagues, or what are you particularly proud of?

Ermecke: I am pleased that the environmental auditor regularly confirms that ERGO Mo-bility Management is working in an exemplary manner on improvements in environmen-tal performance in the travel and fleet vehicle sectors and continues to develop them.
I also notice that more and more members of staff are critically weighing up whether a business trip can be replaced by a Skype conference. We then refer to travel avoidance. A simple contribution with a massive impact.

Wilk: My colleagues and I are proud that we have done so well in replacing the chillers. We needed to transport three loads of 15.5 tonnes of steel through a small shaft. A veri-table feat! And we managed to get everything up and running before this year’s hot spell.

Weinknecht: Bike leasing is very well received. Our employees have now leased almost 1,000 bikes across all sites. This is an important contribution to climate-friendly mobility, but also to members of staff health.

What is your next undertaking?

Ermecke: This year we have developed a mobility concept and are gradually planning to integrate new mobility services and technologies. It is important to us that our employ-ees are able to independently configure their own mobility mix on a demand-led, flexible and sustainable basis. Alongside many other activities, we are also planning to expand car sharing. Like our daily shuttle service from ERGO-Platz to Düsseldorf Airport, we would like to trial a shuttle service between the ERGO sites in Cologne and Düsseldorf, prefera-bly fully electrically.

We are currently testing an electric vehicle for use in Sales. The feedback is extremely positive. We would also like to gradually use alternative drive technologies where it makes sense to do so in Sales. The range, as well as a good charging infrastructure, is crucial for the use of electric vehicles. And we continue to consider areas of the company where you might less expect sustainability: our event management team is currently looking into sustainability at events and conferences and developing a tranche of measures.

Wilk: We will also commission energy balance analyses for other buildings to determine where we can save more energy and further reduce CO2 emissions. More and more members of staff are travelling to the office by bike, especially after the Job Bike scheme was introduced. We need additional parking spaces now, which is why we will be provid-ing 200 new parking spaces next spring. And we are also installing new shower and changing facilities.

Weinknecht: We are developing a new Group-wide environmental and climate strategy with ambitious goals, and also extending the aforementioned environmental manage-ment system and external certification to our Nuremberg site.

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us!

Find out more information about our environmental management system here.

By Monika Stobrawe


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