Bayer Cuts Global Emissions 7 Percent in 2008

Bayer Cuts Global Emissions 7 Percent in 2008

Bayer reduced its global greenhouse gas emissions 7.1 percent in 2008 and expects to maintain 2020 emissions at 2007 levels, the company said in its latest sustainable development report.

To get the company to its 2020 target, it devised the Bayer Climate Program in 2007 to serve as an action plan pooling its technological expertise. Through 2010, the company estimates it will have spent €1 billion (US$1.4 billion) on the program.

One of the tools the company is using is the Bayer Climate Check, which analyzes the carbon footprint of production plants and processes, investments, technology projects, logistics, and resource use.

Using this information, the company can then identify opportunities to reduce emissions and improve efficiency. By the end of the year, the company plans to use Climate Check to assess 100 production plants that generate 85 percent of the company’s emissions.  

The company cut energy use 2.9 percent in 2008, compared to the year before, largely due to site consolidation, production cutbacks and energy efficiency measures.

Bayer is comprised of subgroups, the most carbon-intensive of which is Bayer Material-Science, which produces polymers and plastics. It expects this unit will reduce emissions per ton of product sold by 25 percent by 2020. Historically, the company’s overall greenhouse gas emissions have fallen more than 37 percent between 1990 and 2007.

Bayer plans to spend 2.9 billion (US$4.1 billion) on research and development this year to remain competitive in the marketplace, Werner Wenning, Bayer’s chairman of the board of management, wrote in the report's foreword.

“In this connection, we are focusing clearly on the global megatrends -- including in particular the development of the world population and the associated issues of safeguarding food supplies, health care provision, energy efficiency and effective climate protection,” Wenning wrote. “We are aligning our portfolio and our sustainability management to these challenges.”

Other highlights from the report:
• Water use remained fairly flat in 2008, compared to 2007 levels.

• A rise in production at a Vapi, India, site drove up ozone-depleting emissions, although the amount remained below the maximum level of 20 metric tons per year. Volatile organic compound emissions (VOC) also grew last year by more than 10 percent.

• Construction and demolition at several of its worldwide sites increased the amount of waste it generated by 16 percent. Production increases at certain sites led to an 11 percent increase in hazardous waste. The company’s overall recycling rate grew from 23 percent to 28 percent, but landfill-bound hazardous waste fell by 20 percent.

Image courtesy of Bayer.