2020 Sustainability Report

44 Ecology An awareness of the environment and high quality have been vital elements in the Girsberger corporate philosophy for over 130 years. The Girsberger companies in Bützberg/Switzerland and Endingen/Germany have had an EN ISO 9001-certified quality management system for quality control in place since 1995 and since 2007 have also been EN ISO 14001-certified for their comprehensive environmental management system. This means that, in addition to complying with the legislation, we are also committed to adhering to regulatory norms, systematically taking account of all key environmental aspects and continuously improving our environmental performance. An external certified body audits our compliance with these regulations every year. It is our aim to have Boreal d.o.o. in Serbia, a subsidiary of Girsberger Holding AG since 2016, also certified under ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 by the end of 2022. In addition to our environmentally-friendly production methods, we also take specific action to protect the environment and pre- serve species diversity. We have been supporting the Smaragd (Emerald) project (part of the EU’s “Natura 2000” network) since 2009. As well as providing financial support, we also use this platform in-house to raise awareness of environmental issues. We do this as part of special information campaigns and at employee events. In our last report, we set out our intention to do more to encourage species diversity in our immediate local area, but we were only partly able to achieve this. At the Bütz- berg site, the project had to be deferred for financial reasons. However, at the company site in Endingen, the grounds have been redesigned for a more natural appearance and a new, insect-friendly wildflower area has been created. All production at Girsberger has been carbon-neutral since 1 January 2015. We use energy-efficient production methods and handle resources carefully. Nevertheless, it is not possible to avoid CO 2 emissions completely in our production and distribution processes. We offset those remaining emissions – in 2020 they amounted to 639 tons – by supporting the Fair Recycling foundation. In Brazil, where this Swiss foundation’s pioneering project is based, it has been working with a local partner for over 12 years to recycle old fridges containing HCFCs, thereby making an important contribution to climate protection. The appliances are dismantled, the valuable raw materials are recovered and the HCFCs incinerated. For every fridge that is recycled in Brazil in an environmentally-friendly way, the equivalent of a ton of CO 2 is saved and 50 kg of raw materials are recovered. The destruction of greenhouse gases is verified by external certification bodies. By the end of 2020, about 850,000 appliances had been sent for environmentally-friendly recycling. That prevented greenhouse gases equivalent to 850,000 tons of CO 2 from es- caping into the atmosphere. 42,500 tons of materials such as copper, steel and aluminium were processed into valuable raw materials. Fair Recycling bases all its work on the Paris Agreement and the sustainability goals (SDGs) of Agenda 2030. By recycling electronic waste, Fair Recycling is preventing toxic waste from entering the environment. The organisation is also socially engaged and works to set up training programmes for waste recyclers in developing countries. The demand for trained personnel in this field is particularly high because many places do not have profes- sional waste management systems in place. These training courses give people who have previously had no access to the education system a chance to receive training. It is mainly women who work in Brazil’s cooperatives, so training them as waste recyclers, on the same terms as their male working colleagues, with a qualification at the end, gives them a way of bettering their situation in life and their future prospects. By the end of October 2019, 20 people had completed the recycling training. Unfortunately, the recycling programme Environmental resources “ An awareness of the environment and high quality have been vital elements in the Girsberger corporate philosophy for over 130 years. ” The Fair Recycling Foundation