Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) supports the Blue Competence sustainability initiative of the German Engineering Federation (VDMA). Blue Competence networks the mechanical and plant engineering sectors in the field of sustainability and pools resources, know-how, and strengths of the VDMA. Within the association various VDMA bodies and other organizations from the mechanical and plant engineering sectors are involved. Individual companies and institutions are also able to take an active part in the initiative.
Environmental protection and sustainability are global issues and are becoming increasingly important in the print media industry. More and more print buyers are demanding ecological production processes for print products and the call for climate-neutral printed matter is continuing to grow. At the same time, cutting-edge machinery and improved processes are helping to lower costs. Eventually, to print ecologically and to think economically are not mutually exclusive.
Improving energy efficiency, preserving resources, reducing emissions, and honing lifecycle management are all crucial aspects of the production and operation of printing presses. Sustainability is a core element of the strategic agenda pursued by Heidelberg. Agreed at the end of 2011, the company’s environmental policy sets out a binding framework for all Heidelberg divisions and external partners and suppliers. It maps out the comprehensive and holistic approach that Heidelberg has adopted in its sustainability concept. Every single stage in the product lifecycle is taken into account, from development and production to operation by the customer and recycling or disposal.
“Heidelberg is the only company in the printing press industry with a tool for accurately analyzing the CO 2 footprint of its products and services and managing them accordingly. Many of our customers follow this process very carefully and recognize that we offer numerous ecofriendly solutions and can therefore provide them with crucial support as they work towards implementing ecological printing practices,” explains Stephan Plenz, member of the Heidelberg Management Board responsible for sustainability. If they wish, Heidelberg customers can choose to procure any of the machines manufactured by the company on a climate-neutral basis. In fact, presses with Anicolor technology are only available ex-works with carbon offsetting.
On the path to ecological production
In October 2012, a cogeneration plant was taken into service at the company’s largest production site in Wiesloch-Walldorf, Germany. In the future, this plant will cut the site’s energy costs by 10 percent and save 3,700 metric tons of CO 2 each year. Since February 2012, the Amstetten site, which is home to the foundry, has been operating an energy management system certified to DIN EN ISO 50001. Ongoing projects aimed at reducing and recycling waste, putting resources and energy to efficient use, and cutting CO 2 emissions are all helping the company as it strives to implement ecological production.
The second focal point alongside the manufacture of products is their use and operation in print shops. Energy consumption and utilization are subject to continuous optimization throughout the entire life cycle. Measuring energy efficiency in the press, use of advanced drier technology with heat recovery, and efficient motors and peripherals are just some of the areas where Heidelberg undoubtedly leads the way in the sector.
Regular reporting – both internally and externally – and information events for managers and personnel are helping raise awareness of the company’s ecological commitment throughout the entire workforce.
Time and again over recent years, Heidelberg has found that ecology and economy go hand in hand. In the face of ever-rising energy prices, this symbiosis is become increasingly evident.
The VDMA Blue Competence initiative
Responsibility is the driving force and thus the backbone of sustainability. Accordingly, responsibility for sustainability is also the value basis and the compass for Blue Competence – the sustainability initiative of the mechanical engineering industry.
Sustainability is understood here to mean balancing and integrating economic, ecological, and social aims. It is thus about responsibility in a wider sense, for instance for wealth, education and security, the natural world, and the economic consequences of globalization, structural change, or demographic trends.
Mechanical and plant engineering companies not only feel an obligation to do this, but they are in fact also the driving force and engine behind pioneering technologies which in fact enable many sustainability ideas to actually get off the ground. However, sustainable production processes and products are not always obvious at first glance.
This is why Blue Competence defines credible and resilient sustainability criteria and standards that all those who join the initiative must meet. Blue Competence therefore ensures greater transparency, makes it easier for people to know what they are dealing with, and provides certainty – for all those who are looking for sustainable solutions and products or companies that act in a sustainable way.