Chemicals and sustainability –
is that even possible?
Our internationally operating family business has been producing chemical products for more than 70 years. We keep the world’s industries running with our adhesives and sealants, which are used in production, repair, maintenance and servicing. But inevitably and rightly the question arises: can we as a chemical company act sustainably at all?
Our answer to that is definitely yes. Every company today has the responsibility to address the issue of sustainability in depth. And every company can take measures within its means to enable future generations to have a future worth living.
On this page we explain how we deal with the topic of sustainability at WEICON. We reveal which small and large measures we have taken to live in a sensible way today and how we initiate new developments to help shape a future full of hope.
„Any company which in this day and age still believes that the issue of sustainability is of no concern to them has not understood what it’s all about.“
ANN-KATRIN WEIDLING, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF WEICON
What we do
Saving and reducing CO2
Cardboard instead of plastic
Bike leasing & e-mobility
Sustainable tool series
Digitisation instead of stacks of paper
Even small steps make a difference
Saying goodbye to advertising material
Sustainability: a holistic view
The social dimension
Sustainability involves much more than the implementation of environmental goals. Social (aside from environmental and economic) considerations are one of the three pillars. We have been supporting charities around the world since 2017, including organisations that campaign for the environment and the welfare of people and animals. Our employees decide on which organisations to support with our donations.
In general, a company is considered carbon neutral if all the climate-damaging emissions or greenhouse gases it produces are offset by a certified carbon offsetting company.
We understand that the voluntary offsetting of unavoidable emissions is essential to tackling climate change. For this reason, Fokus Zukunft GmbH & Co KG has calculated the climate impact of our headquarters in Germany according to the GHG Standard. We provided the necessary data for the calculation in advance. By purchasing climate protection certificates for the years 2022 and 2023, we offset the greenhouse gas emissions that we produce. With these certificates, we support a hydropower project in Türkiye that was certified under the leadership of VERRA based on the Verified Carbon Standard.
In the future, we would like to have regular recertifications carried out in order to fulfil our responsibility permanently. In the long-term, we aim to record our worldwide CO2 emissions and offset them for all our subsidiaries as well.
Anyone who wishes to know what exactly a carbon footprint is, which greenhouse gases are included in the calculation or what happens to the CO2 certificates after they have been purchased will receive answers to these questions in this detailed explanation.
What does the future hold in store
Sustainable action is not an item on a to-do list that you can tick off at some point. Sustainable action is a never-ending process.
We know that we are not perfect. There are still many challenges that we need to tackle to create an even “greener” business.
We cannot work miracles and turn glue into candy, but we are constantly reviewing the implementation of various sustainability issues and processes. For example, we are currently examining further energy efficiency measures in existing buildings. This includes the use of new technology in terms of lighting, air conditioning, heating, etc. or the expansion of our photovoltaic systems.
Sustainability and environmental management are complex and time-consuming. That is why WEICON has a colleague, Henning Voß, who, as a member of our EHSC (Environment + Health + Safety + Compliance) management team, is in charge of this topic.
„Even as a chemical company, we can do a lot to ensure sustainability. Together with colleagues and external professionals, I regularly evaluate what we can do to the best of our ability.“
HENNING VOß, HEAD OF EHSC MANAGEMENT AT WEICON
A-Z of sustainability
Just start! Can you do anything wrong when it comes to climate protection? For fear of being accused of greenwashing, some companies seem paralysed and remain hesitant regarding sustainability measures despite good intentions. But if you do nothing at all for fear of doing something wrong, you are definitely doing something wrong!
Our consumption (such as energy or fuel consumption) is converted to the CO2 equivalent using emission factors. This figure is the result of the emissions balance on which our climate protection strategy is based. One tonne of methane, for example, represents 25 tonnes of CO2 equivalent.
Corporate Carbon Footprint
Together with Fokus Zukunft GmbH & Co. KG, we measured our corporate carbon footprint in Germany in 2022 based on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. The carbon footprint is divided into Scope 1, 2 and 3. Scope 1 includes all self-generated emissions (for example, emissions generated by combustion in one’s own facilities). Scope 2 includes emissions associated with purchased energy (for example electricity). Scope 3 includes emissions from services provided by third parties and purchased preliminary services (for example business travel, paper consumption, etc.). We have tried to calculate our carbon footprint in Germany as comprehensively as possible – Scope 3 emissions can only be partially accounted for, however, as not all processes along the entire value chain are known to us or can be influenced by us.
Many of our products are based on chemical substances that give them their specific properties, such as high adhesive strength or an especially high resistance to weathering. We pay close attention to the numerous legal requirements for our products and analyse and evaluate them further according to our own strict standards – also with regard to environmental compatibility.
Many companies have now realised that the digitalisation of processes can significantly reduce CO2 emissions in many areas. We have already taken several measures to digitalise our processes. For example, we have made our invoice filing or personnel administration paperless. We have also digitised processes in the warehouse and in the shipping process and replaced many face-to-face events with digital meetings.
Voluntarily reducing emissions and offsetting unavoidable emissions increases awareness among our employees, suppliers and customers for the way we use resources. Positioning ourselves as a sustainable employer is an integral part of our employer branding strategy.
Thanks to our bike leasing offer, our employees can make their way to work pollution-free. Of course, colleagues who live far away are still dependent on their car, but many people from Münster arrive by bike – as befits our bicycle-friendly city.
Those who are serious about the fight against climate change do not merely rely on offsetting CO2 through climate certificates. Only companies who take a holistic view of the three main pillars of carbon neutrality – i.e. saving, reducing and offsetting CO2 – achieve more than mere damage limitation.
Homeoffice (remote work)
Working from home makes it unnecessary for many of our employees to travel to work by car, thus reducing the burden on the environment and, additionally, on the wallet.
(International climate protection)
Climate change is global, so it does not matter where in the world CO2 is offset. The Kyoto Protocol, which is binding under international law, stipulates that climate protection projects that avoid or store greenhouse gas emissions should be located where they are most economical. Many projects are therefore carried out in emerging and developing countries, where they are also intended to contribute to improving the economic, social and environmental situation.
Junges Team (young team)
Many young people work at WEICON. The average age at our headquarters in Germany is 37. It is no secret that sustainability is becoming increasingly important, especially for the younger generations, and often plays a role in the choice of employer. All the more reason for a company to address this issue.
Klimaneutrales Unternehmen (carbon-neutral company)
Generally speaking, a company is considered carbon neutral if all the unavoidable climate-damaging emissions or greenhouse gases it produces are offset by a certified carbon offsetting company. We have acquired climate protection certificates for the years 2022 and 2023 for our headquarters in Münster and are therefore entitled to call ourselves a “carbon-neutral company” at this location. We will carry out regular recertifications in the future and continue to work for climate protection by reducing and saving CO2.
Do good and talk about it. Many companies do not dare to speak openly about their sustainability measures for fear of greenwashing accusations. But honest and transparent communication can help inspire other companies and encourage them to take action themselves.
We do not purchase our carbon neutrality for marketing purposes. By means of additional CO2 reduction and avoidance measures, we wish to show that we are making a long-term and serious contribution to climate protection and to a world worth living in tomorrow.
Messen (trade fairs)
We have reduced our participation in trade fairs, thus saving many flights, nights in hotels and kilometres driven by car. We have currently scaled down our presence at domestic fairs to the most important four or five ones.
Nachhaltigkeitsziele der Vereinten Nationen (United Nations Sustainable Development Goals)
The United Nations has set 17 sustainable development goals. The goals take into account all three pillars of sustainability (environmental, economic and social) and include the fight against climate change.
With our certification as a carbon-neutral company, we support a compensation project in Türkiye that includes three of the sustainability goals.
ÖPNV (public transport)
Despite our location in an industrial area, we are directly connected to the public transport system via a nearby bus stop. In various industry associations, we repeatedly advocate, for example, that the frequency of buses be further expanded to make public transport even more attractive.
People – Planet – Profit
These terms refer to the three pillars of sustainability. With these three, equally-important pillars, companies can specify guidelines for sustainable action. The aim is to ensure and improve the environmental, economic and social performance of societies in this way.
We attach the utmost importance to quality. This means that we pay attention to both high-quality materials and the usefulness of our products. We don’t include products that are especially harmful to the environment nor products that offer no additional technical benefit in our product range.
We are reducing our CO2 impact in many areas along the value chain. Our specific measures for CO2 reduction are explained on this page.
We have been supporting charitable organisations around the world since 2017. Among them are associations that campaign for the environment and the welfare of people and animals. Our employees decide on which organisations to support with our donations.
Our vehicle fleet requires a large amount of petrol and diesel. That is why we are gradually converting our vehicle fleet in Germany to regenerative drives.
We banned plastic blister packs from our tool range at the beginning of 2020. Since then, we have been packaging our WEICON TOOLS in recyclable cardboard boxes, thus saving around six tonnes of plastic every year.
Unternehmenswerte (Corporate values)
As a company, we hold certain values that guide our everyday actions. In addition to respect, openness, solidarity, communication and reliability, we also count responsibility and sustainability among our corporate values. Responsible and sustainable action is very important to us, which is why we continue to focus our actions on sustainability in addition to the measures we have taken so far.
Saving CO2 should be part of any sustainability strategy. Because even if we offset a tonne of CO2 elsewhere in the world, it remains a tonne of CO2. That is why we regularly examine and evaluate existing processes at our company to find out whether they can be optimised further in terms of sustainability.
For us, sustainability also means consciously paying attention to people (human resources), starting with the people in our company. For example, we ensure that our employees benefit from a good work-life balance.
X-, Y- und Z-Generation
(Generation X, Y and Z)
When WEICON was founded in 1947, environmental issues played a minor role for many companies. We were no exception in that respect. But for the following generations Y and Z, the topic of sustainability is increasingly gaining in importance – also at WEICON. Being a millennial herself, Managing Director Ann-Katrin Weidling represents the fourth generation of our family business. It is extremely important to her that WEICON makes its own significant contribution to climate protection.
Sustainable action is not an item on a to-do list that you can tick off at some point, but a continuous process. We never stop setting ourselves new targets to reduce our CO2 emissions wherever we can.