Interview with Ralf W. Dieter, CEO Dürr AG
Sustainability for Dürr has many facets
What does sustainability mean to Dürr?
Our aim is not just to achieve financial success; we are also determined to conduct ourselves responsibly towards the environment, society, our employees, customers and suppliers in all our activities.
In which areas is this sustainable action reflected?
Our customers notice this in particular in connection with our products and systems. These help them to reduce their consumption of energy, material and resources and cut their emissions. A product’s environmental compatibility is becoming an increasingly important factor in purchase decisions and is one of the main criteria in our R&D work. Low unit costs and life cycle costs thanks to optimization of consumption also secure the cost efficiency of our machinery and systems. In addition, we make every effort to act responsibly and fairly towards our stakeholders.
Can you give us examples of energy-efficient products from Dürr?
Of course, there’s a whole range I could choose from. Our EcoLCC color changer in the arm of the painting robot is fast and reduces the unavoidable paint loss from up to 45 milliliters to up to 10 milliliters. This increases the throughput rate of bodies when our customers are applying the top coat and reduces the energy consumption per body by 5% in each case.
Our EcoDryScrubber has won multiple awards, e.g. the “Industrial Equipment Performance Award” from Peugeot Citroën. This paint booth system for the dry removal of overspray operates entirely without chemicals or water. It ensures energy savings of up to 60% in the paint booth. Our ORC, i.e. Organic Rankine Cycle, systems generate electricity from waste heat which previously went unused. They can be connected, for example, to combined heat and power plants and biogas systems. Our claim “Leading in Production Efficiency” is evidence of the high status that such innovative products have for us.
What’s the position with efficient use of resources and energy savings on your sites in 28 countries?
We set great store by energy efficiency and sustainability when it comes to new-build premises and renovating existing buildings. The Dürr Campus in Bietigheim is our showcase example: in the innovative “Campus Energy 21” energy concept we use a range of processes, such as deep geothermal energy, geothermal heat exchange and photovoltaic. “Campus Energy 21” also exemplifies energy-saving construction methods with effective insulation, concrete core activation for space tempering and daylight- and movement-controlled lighting. Compared with conventional buildings, energy savings of 40% are achieved using these technologies.
We systematically capture figures such as the energy and water consumption and waste production of our sites and continue to work on optimization measures. The exact figures are contained in our factsheet.
How important are the employees at Dürr?
They are the basis of our company’s success. We want our employees to be happy in their work here. For this reason, in June 2013 we conducted our regular employee survey for the first time on all our sites worldwide. The results demonstrate the high level of commitment to our company by our employees and how closely they identify with it. Dürr is rated as a very attractive employer. Not without pride, I would like to point out that we have come sixth in Focus magazine's "Germany's Best Employers 2015" ranking in the category "Large Companies Mechanical and Plant Engineering". The HOMAG Group (part of the Dürr Group since October 2014) came 9th.
You employ around 14,700 staff on 92 sites. What impact does this global presence have?
Internationalism shapes our day-to-day operations. We appreciate the cultural diversity of our workforce. Utilizing their abilities enables us to achieve the best, most sustainable results. Diversity and equality of opportunity are important aspects of our HR policy.
How does your company take on its social responsibility?
We support social and cultural projects in the region. We are particularly committed to promoting education and training. For instance, we have cooperation agreements with various schools in Germany and abroad and offer internships and apprenticeships, among other things. Schenck Shanghai Machinery (SCCN), one of our two subsidiaries in China, for example, has been supporting two local vocational colleges for several years with educational mentoring schemes. In one of them, Shanghai Electric Industry School (SEIS), we have developed a Schenck class. We have also given financial support for many years to a school for children with learning difficulties. In addition, we promote scientific exchange via collaborative agreements with universities.
Do you detect a growing interest in the sustainability of your corporate activities?
Yes, quite definitely. Customers and investors would like to know what we are doing, for example, to conserve resources and what we offer our workforce. Our annual report and sustainability report are our response to this development. We have been providing information on our energy consumption and waste production since 2008 in the Carbon Disclosure Project, which was launched by international investors. However, our customers also ask us directly what we are doing in this field.
Furthermore, we want to encourage even greater awareness among our employees for this issue. Together we wish to continue along the path – because corporate interests fit excellently with social and environmental responsibility.