The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


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Case study: How ABB improves energy efficiency in its operations

As a global technology leader, whose portfolio ranges from switches to industrial robots and from transmission and distribution networks to software that manages entire factories, helping customers address 
the challenges of changing markets, technologies and regulations, ABB works hard to improve the energy efficiency and reduce the carbon intensity of its operations.  Tweet This!

This case study is based on the 2015 Sustainability Performance Report by ABB published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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Abstract

ABB has set a target to reduce energy intensity by 20% by 2020, from a 2013 baseline. This goal includes direct fuel consumption, and the use of electricity and district heating for manufacturing processes and to operate buildings. In order to improve energy efficiency in its operations ABB took action to:

  • implement energy efficiency projects
  • apply energy-efficient lighting solutions
  • review processes and invest in new technology
  • implement energy savings plans

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2015 Sustainability Performance Report ABB identified a range of material issues, such as products and services, responsible sourcing, human rights, integrity. Among these, improving energy efficiency in its operations stands out as a key material issue for ABB.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups ABB engages with:

Stakeholder Group
ABB employees
Customers
Suppliers
Investors
Civil society

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics ABB engaged with its stakeholders through a sustainability report review panel, whose members represented key market and non-market stakeholders.

What actions were taken by ABB to improve energy efficiency in its operations?

In its 2015 Sustainability Performance Report ABB reports that it took the following actions for improving energy efficiency in its operations:

  • Implementing energy efficiency projects
  • During 2015, ABB implemented over 190 individual energy efficiency projects that resulted in 32.2 GWh of energy savings. These projects focused on the efficiency of compressed air systems and heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) processes, and on the energy efficiency of ABB’s buildings, including heat recovery from machines and processes. ABB also achieves energy savings as side benefits in other projects. At its robotics operation in Västerås, Sweden, a programme designed to improve water filtration and cleaning in degreasing processes also helped ABB achieve a 75% reduction in energy used to heat the cleaning water. At ABB’s factory in Roigheim, Germany, changing a raw material to improve product quality also helped the facility save approximately 220 MWh during manufacturing processes.
  • Applying energy-efficient lighting solutions
  • ABB’s energy-efficient lighting solutions involve increased use of daylighting, replacing old lighting with LED technology, and implementing lighting control systems. For example, at ABB’s production facility in Turgi, Switzerland, ABB and Philips developed a new lighting system that provides better illumination of the production hall while significantly reducing electricity consumption, cutting annual electricity costs and associated CO2 emissions of the production hall by 50%.
  • Reviewing processes and investing in new technology
  • Many ABB facilities carry out comprehensive reviews of processes and infrastructure to achieve energy savings. For example, ABB’s medium-voltage products plant in Nashik, India, upgraded its lighting system, installed more efficient HVAC technologies, modified the fume extraction system, developed new standby programmes for energy-intensive processes and invested in new technology to control conditions in its cleanroom. These actions reduced electricity consumption by over 50%, eliminated 54,000 litres of diesel consumption and saved over 1,200 MWh per year.
  • Implementing energy savings plans
  • All ABB manufacturing, workshop and office facilities implement energy savings plans and assess the main sources of GHG emissions, developing action plans to reduce them. Improvement activities across ABB facilities include conducting feasibility studies, modifying processes, updating equipment and infrastructure, working with suppliers and changing behaviours.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 302-1 Energy consumption within the organization

2) Disclosure 302-3 Energy intensity

3) Disclosure 302-4 Reduction of energy consumption

 

Disclosure 302-1 Energy consumption within the organization corresponds to:

Disclosure 302-3 Energy intensity corresponds to:

Disclosure 302-4 Reduction of energy consumption corresponds to:

 

80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

Research by well-recognised institutions is clearly proving that responsible companies can look to the future with optimism.



FBRH GRI Standards Certified and IEMA approved Sustainability Course | Venue: London LSE

By registering for the next 2-day FBRH GRI-Standards Certified and IEMA approved Course you will be taking the first step in gaining the many benefits of sustainability reporting.

 

References:

1) This case study is based on published information by ABB, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:

http://database.globalreporting.org/

2) http://www.fbrh.co.uk/en/global-reporting-initiative-gri-g4-guidelines-download-page

3) https://g4.globalreporting.org/Pages/default.aspx

4) https://www.globalreporting.org/standards/gri-standards-download-center/

Note to ABB: With each case study we send out an email requesting a comment on this case study. If you have not received such an email please contact us.

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