The industrial revolution has had a phenomenal impact on society. It ushered in positive change which saw an increase in population, higher people’s standard of living and the overall pace of modernization drastically improved. Automotive industry changed the way people moved, to be faster, more productive and efficient. The focus is on creating connected solutions that serve the society. During this period of modernization, we also witnessed another important change that remained in subtlety – climate change and impact. Climate change now needs some attention and immediate action.
Bosch has built a strong foundation of social responsibility, through sustainability initiatives that counter any negative impact industrialization has on society and the environment. The promise of carbon neutrality by 2020 stems from this core value and commitment to better living. The present forecast shows that the global temperature is set to increase by 3 degrees at the end of this century. The Paris Agreement on climate action had set a target to limit the increase to just 2 degree, which would make a lesser impact on the environment. With the forecasts suggesting otherwise, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), aptly demanded immediate action. It was imperative that Bosch extended its support to the Paris Agreement and expand upon its corporate social responsibility and lead the change in making carbon neutrality a goal for all industries.
Approaching carbon neutrality
There are two major approaches to pursue carbon neutrality. The first is through balance, achieved by carbon offsetting. It may not be possible to completely avoid consumption of fuel and reduce carbon emission to 0, especially in large industries such as manufacturing, automotive and energy. In such cases, it is important for organizations to embrace carbon offsetting measures. Carbon offsetting refers to initiatives that work towards carbon removal. These could be as little as planting trees, cleaning lakes or even eliminating trash through recycling. 1 ton of carbon offset is equal to 1 ton of carbon dioxide or other equivalent gases reduced in the environment. Which in turn should be balanced to the amount of emission by an organization. The second approach is through elimination of carbon dioxide using renewable energy or alternative fuel that does not produce carbon emissions. The prevention of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere will make a company carbon neutral.
Reduction of Bosch’s carbon footprint
Bosch group carbon footprint amounts to 3.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year in scope 1 (direct emissions) and scope 2 (indirect emissions). The aim is to reduce these emissions to 0, and hence achieve carbon neutrality, by the year 2020. To achieve this ambitious goal Bosch group has approved investment of 1 billion euros on energy efficiency from 2019 to 2030. Return on investment is expected through energy savings (Eg – HVAC improvements, Illumination & process improvements). Also, purchase of green electricity and other offsetting measures would be additional 1 billion euros.
Currently Bosch India has energy consumption of 285GWh, which is equivalent to 175,000 tonnes of carbon emission. Carbon neutrality will be achieved with multiple options like Installation of Solar PV in existing premises, going with Long term power purchase agreements (PPA’s), compensation measures like purchasing carbon credits, International Renewable Energy Certificate (IREC) & short term PPA’S.
Considering Bidadi plant as an example, Bosch Bidadi has a consumption of 46 GWh of which 13 GWh is In-house solar (both ground mounted and installed on roof top). Further, Bidadi has short term PPA for green power procurement amounting to 10 GWh. With this, Bidadi location is Carbon neutral to the extent of 50%. Remaining 50% will be realized through long term PPA’s & other compensation measures like Carbon credits and renewable energy certificates.
Similar initiatives are being taken in other Indian manufacturing locations too.
An automotive industry perspective
Talking about the automotive market, it is true that 18 percent of the greenhouse gases emitted globally comes from road traffic. Combine this with the emissions from production of fuel that runs the engines and the power that is generated, the emissions have far more impact on the climate. With regards to this, Bosch’s commitment to the technological transition from internal combustion engine to electric powertrain will impact the future emissions. Currently the modern diesel engine technology keeps the existing powertrain system’s nitrogen oxide emissions to a minimum, well below the set limits. But, in order to achieve optimal reduction in emissions, even the electric vehicles’ energy should come from renewables, while on the other hand the internal combustion engine should use lower emission fuels.
The future of sustainability
The future requires connected solutions with an ecological perspective, which will conserve the natural resources and benefit the society on multiple levels. Presently Bosch has initiated about 300 energy efficiency projects at the various locations. The promise of carbon neutrality by 2020, was fuelled by ongoing initiatives that were already a part of the corporate social responsibility strategy. Reduction of carbon emissions began in 2014 and saw short term goals, achieved iteratively. This allows the ambitious net 0 emission endeavour, an imminent realization in 2020.