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Atlas Copco is committed to doing its’ part by developing solutions
that support sustainable development.
Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges facing the world today. It is now widely accepted that an increase in global warming of 2 degrees Celsius would have catastrophic consequences on food production, water supply and ecosystems. We are committed to doing our part by developing solutions that support the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and are taking into account issues such as water stress, and material and energy consumption in our own operations.
Life cycle analyses show that the bulk of our environmental impact comes from the use of our products. As a result, we have taken a value chain approach to innovation and have environmental management systems at the heart of our operations. Our goal is to have all major product facilities and customer centers certified to the international environmental management standard ISO 14001.
Some of our business areas have dedicated eco-design engineers who assess the impact of sourced materials, product energy consumption and waste disposal in product development. Our environmental footprint is largely related to carbon emissions from the use of products and, to a lesser degree, from transport and manufacturing. Energy consumption and carbon emissions are key indicators, but we also track and report performance on water consumption and waste.
Improving resource efficiency in the manufacturing process and in the value chain:
Energy prices have been rising steadily which ultimately leads to higher costs, both financially and environmentally. We report energy consumption in terms of direct and indirect energy, as well as renewable and non-renewable energy. We are committed to building energy and resource-efficient buildings and some operations have installed solar panels. Managing risks related to energy consumption can also create opportunities. One of our key priorities is to improve customer energy efficiency by creating more energy-efficient product lines in each of our business areas.
Materials used in the production process and for packing of finished products or parts are tracked and recorded. In terms of weight, steel represents more than 90 percent of the raw material used in production and is largely recycled. The use of recycled steel for raw materials reduces operational costs and environmental impact. Regarding other materials, we maintain lists of prohibited and restricted substances to make sure that only approved substances are used in the production and supply chain.
Water consumption is considerably lower than for some of our industry peers. This is largely due to the fact that our business model focuses on assembly and does not include steel production. We have mapped where our operations overlap with water-stressed areas and our goal is to reduce our consumption in these risk zones. Managing water risks also presents significant opportunities. Many of our customers work in water-intensive industries such as textiles or mining where there is a market for innovative products that consume less water.
Tackling climate change and carbon emissions:
We are constantly measuring the environmental footprint of our own operations, including logistics and transport. Most major production units have now invested in renewable energy sources, resulting in reduced carbon emissions.
We are continually developing energy-efficient products that reduce carbon emissions. For example, a variable-speed drive compressor can cut customers’ energy consumption and related carbon emissions by up to 35 percent, lowering their environment impact and energy costs. Our rental operation is switching to more environmentally sound equipment to minimize its carbon footprint. And we are using cooling agents in some products and processes. All cooling agents used in Atlas Copco products have a zero ozone-depleting impact.
We are also encouraging our transport suppliers to adopt sustainable solutions and to keep track of their carbon emissions.
We try to avoid creating waste and to make sure that any waste is reused or recycled. We keep track of the various kinds of waste created in the production process, including regulated or hazardous waste. Scrap metal constitutes most of our waste, and nearly all of it is either reused or recycled.