“Not greenwashing, but tangible results”

In 2008, precisely ten years ago, Krones decided to launch the enviro sustainability programme. This focuses on the energy- and media-efficiency of Krones’ product portfolio and upgrades the eco-compatibility of Krones’ machines. When it comes to CSR, in particular, the sustainability of our products plays a crucial role. Which is why I marked this anniversary by interviewing Martina Birk, the enviro Officer at Krones AG.

What do you see as the most important building block in the enviro concept during the past ten years?

The most important factor of all is the idea that’s behind it. Krones realised at a relatively early stage that what matters is not to indulge in “greenwashing”, but to map out specific assessment criteria for eco-efficient, resource-economical engineering and technologies. This is also the crucial point explaining why enviro is still going strong.

Has there been a breakthrough for enviro?

Since we’ve been able to offer our clients enviro with relative ease. When nowadays a client wants to have an eco-compatible, energy-saving, media-economical machine, Krones can supply it at the “touch of a button”.

The programme ensures that the enviro seal may be used only when the product concerned is also verifiably eco-efficient. So what precisely does eco-efficiency mean?

We not only scrutinise the energy-efficiency, we also take due account of the media consumption exhibited by the machines and lines involved, as well as checking the eco-compatibility of the processing materials required. For this purpose, we conduct meticulously thorough full-coverage analyses, and against checklists and the associated assessment benchmarks we measure both the economic and ecological aspects concerned.

 What specific benefits do the clients get from enviro?

They get machines that consume less power, water and compressed air, that downsize environmental impact and at the end of the day, of course, also reduce the running costs involved. Sustainability is increasingly perceived in the corporate world as a contribution towards stabilising and assuring future-viability. Sustainability means achieving maximally lasting, long-term commercial earnings without ruinously exploiting the planet’s natural resources. This can be accomplished only by appropriate investments that pay off within a reasonable timeframe. However, if this capital expenditure entails additional costs, then of course a return-on-investment calculation has to demonstrate how soon the investment will start to pay for itself. The good thing about it is this: as soon as amortisation begins, money will be saved on a daily basis.

What has changed at Krones in the ten years of enviro?

The staff take the enviro idea proactively on board at the initial development stage. This has given the design people a tighter focus: enviro is meanwhile anchored in our engineers’ technical awareness. Now it has to become clearer on the market, too, that enviro is not a gimmick, but though an investment in enviro has its price, it also cuts the costs involved in everyday operation.

 How will enviro be progressed, what are the next steps for 2018?

The plan is for enviro to be selectable this year for complete lines as well, which will make it even easier to advise our clients. This means that it will then be simpler for them to order a complete enviro line with optimum values in terms of energy and media savings. One major step forward in this direction was a complete-system approach, as exemplified by assessment of an entire brewhouse, which we commenced back in 2016.

We are also engaged in tightening the focus of our forecasting data for consumption levels, in order to hone our ability to spot the influences exerted by special features. We want our clients to be able to see at first glance the beneficial effects of a particular component.

And what are the long-term plans?

In the long term, it’s important that we continue to significantly reduce energy and media consumption levels, so as to reach the climatological targets agreed in the Paris Convention. Only by focusing rigorously on resource-economical kit – not least in conjunction with renewable energies – can Krones make its contribution to this. And thanks to enviro we are well equipped for this purpose. We shall continue our efforts to minimise the use of resources. This is accomplished, for example, by both cross-line optimisation initiatives and by alterations to the processes involved, such as

  • optimised interfacing with a unit-type cogeneration plant,
  • energy recirculation and storage systems,
  • re-using residual materials,
  • and investing in new technologies.

Until issues like responsible management of resources, global warming, air and water pollution, or species extinction have been solved and until we are able to show a completely CO2-neutral energy balance, we at any rate have plenty more tasks ahead of us in progressing enviro.

What’s enviro’s status on the market?

By having enviro rated as a management system, we’re one step ahead of the market. This is an incentive for us to purposefully continue our efforts in this direction. 77 per cent of our product portfolio is already able to meet the enviro criteria with the appropriate options available.

You will find more information about enviro and the development of the sustainability programme over the past ten years on the Krones Website.