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SCHOTT achieves first successes in its climate neutrality initiative

SCHOTT has achieved some important goals on its path towards climate neutrality

In 2020, specialty glass manufacturer SCHOTT announced its plan to become climate neutral across its production by 2030. Now, the company is celebrating its first milestones. In spite of the coronavirus pandemic and the major challenges facing the global economy, the technology group has achieved some important goals on its path towards climate neutrality. In addition to switching to 100 percent green electricity and making a 60 percent reduction in carbon emissions, it has also launched important projects to develop more climate-friendly melting technologies. The company has developed a global roadmap to form the basis of this demanding and complex technology change.

Successful switch to 100 percent green electricity
At the start of the Zero Carbon program, SCHOTT’s global emissions were around one million tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e). By 2022, the company has reduced its carbon emissions by more than 60 percent, despite an increase in energy consumption due to production facilities’ high capacity utilization and the construction of new ones. SCHOTT’s reduction in carbon emissions is mainly due to its global switch to 100 percent green electricity. In addition to natural gas, which is mainly used to fire furnaces, electricity is SCHOTT’s largest energy source in terms of volume. To make the switch, SCHOTT is relying on renewable energies through corresponding Energy Attribute Certificates (EACs). In order to make a strong contribution to the energy transition, SCHOTT has committed to using high-quality, independently verified green electricity certificates.

Since 2022, the company also relies on power purchase agreements (PPAs), which make a more concrete contribution to the energy transition. PPAs are contracts with operators of renewable energy plants, such as wind farms. SCHOTT has concluded three long-term contracts with renowned providers in Germany, and is pursuing further opportunities. The company will cover 17 percent of its electricity consumption in Germany for the year 2023 using PPAs.

Research projects for more climate-friendly glass melting
In terms of technology development, SCHOTT’s experts are focusing on energy-intensive glass melting. Here, the company is pursuing two transformative initiatives in order to be able to produce its products without gas in the future: electrifying its melting tanks using green electricity and utilizing hydrogen.

In both fields, SCHOTT has launched several research projects that are pioneering work for the glass industry and are partially supported by grant funding from the German government and the European Union. For its hydrogen initiative, the company is planning large-scale production tests at its Mainz site at the end of fall 2022.

Technology roadmaps outline SCHOTT’s path forward
After researching and developing these more sustainable technologies, SCHOTT is planning their widespread implementation. The company has structured this rollout using technology roadmaps, which show how research results can be implemented in production in the long-term. The roadmaps encompass all parts of the company, from the corporate level to the individual business units to every production site worldwide. The roadmap envisions pilot plants for decarbonized production starting as early as 2025.

The group-wide technology transition after the pilot phase is complex, as it depends on many factors: for example, melting furnaces cannot be replaced at any given time, because they have a defined lifetime and are planned in investment cycles. In addition, certain economic and political developments are beyond SCHOTT’s control, such as the development of a hydrogen infrastructure or the expansion of renewable energies so that sufficient green electricity is available.

Despite its efforts, SCHOTT as a manufacturing company will not be able to eliminate all its emissions. For this reason, it plans to compensate remaining greenhouse gas emissions by engaging in climate protection projects for the foreseeable future. In doing so, SCHOTT relies on certificates with strict international standards, such as the Verified Carbon Standard or the Gold Standard.

To calculate climate-relevant emissions, it assesses its greenhouse gas emissions across the company, including emissions from SCHOTT’s production (Scope 1 of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol) and from purchased energy (Scope 2). Scope 3 also includes business travel and employee mobility. In a next step, further Scope 3 emissions will be included, which consider, among other things, emissions in the supply chain. In order to establish comparability of the climate impact, SCHOTT reports its greenhouse gas emissions in CO2 equivalents (CO2e).

Environmental protection at SCHOTT

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