Our Solutions

Achieve Zero Carbon for a better world

By Vincent Briard
October 26, 2020

Our sustainability goal to Achieve Zero Carbon focuses on minimising both the impact of our products and our plants. We’ve achieved a great deal in the past decade, but we now need to be more ambitious.

Knauf Insulation has always been in the business of saving energy and reducing carbon emissions in buildings. Today one unit of energy used to manufacture a typical Glass Mineral Wool product saves 570 units over its 50-year-use phase.

And clearly this has a long-term positive environmental impact. We estimate that since 2009 we have produced enough Mineral Wool to save a whole year of CO2 emissions in Belgium.

But, of course, it is not enough. Over the past decade we have worked hard to tackle our own emissions as well. Since 2010, using cleaner technology, better processes and teamwork we have reduced our emissions and energy use by 23%.

We now need to be more ambitious. Our new sustainability vision For A Better World makes this ambition clear — Achieve Zero Carbon.

You can read about our long-term commitments here and how they support the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, but our most urgent priority is achieving the short-term concrete targets we set ourselves for 2025.

By this deadline we will have reduced our organisational carbon footprint by 25%, invested 10% of our general capital expenditure in new projects to cut emissions and/or landfill waste and reduced embodied carbon in our products by 15%.

Our ambitions to reduce carbon will mean forensically examining every stage of our processes including how we source raw material, our manufacturing processes, packaging and distribution. Effectively, it will mean a fundamental change in the way we do everything and we are very excited about what the future holds.

The lessons we have learned over the years will inform our journey to zero carbon. Here are some examples:

  • At our Cwmbran site, for example, we cut our annual emissions by 5,000 tonnes a year thanks to new technology. This adds up to the carbon emitted by 1,062 cars driven for a year.
  • Our Visé plant in Belgium was one of the top five companies in the Wallonia region to use renewable energy in 2019 following the installation of 6,000 photovoltaic panels at the site. The panels generate around 2% of the annual energy required by the plant.
  • We try to choose local suppliers that are close to our plants. This matters in vast countries such as Russia where tonnes of carbon are generated by the transportation of materials over hundreds of kilometres.
  • We want to use less truck fuel (and produce less truck CO2) so we compress our products to get more packs per load. For example, 5,800 square metres of 50mm Mineral Plus can be delivered in one truck with an 80-cubic-metre capacity. The same amount of traditional Rock Mineral Wool would need 3.6 trips.
  • We’ve used railways in the Czech Republic rather than trucks (saving 424 tonnes of CO2 in the first 15 months or the equivalent of 90 cars driven for a year) and we are using waterways for deliveries at our plant in Illange in France.

 

ABOUT FOR A BETTER WORLD

Knauf Insulation’s new sustainability strategy For A Better World focuses on four key goals: Putting People First, Achieving Zero Carbon, Delivering A Circular Economy and Creating Better Buildings.