Tightened climate requirements for (robot) companies: How to get started on reducing your climate footprint

Francois  Picard

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Tightened climate requirements for (robot) companies: How to get started on reducing your climate footprint

How do you get an overview of your robot company's contribution to climate effects? And how do you find the biggest possible reductions? A robot specialist points out how to get started.

Our CO2 emissions drive an increase in the temperature of the atmosphere.

The resulting climate change has already had noticeable impacts and predictions for the future are alarming. And precisely for this reason increasing demands are placed on us as private individuals, society, and not least on our companies.

In the robotics industry – just like in most other industries – one is faced with several challenges when it comes to the climate footprint. The industry has not previously had so much focus on measuring sustainability through climate accounts or life cycle analyses, and therefore a completely new way of thinking must be incorporated.

What needs to be tightened up?

Robots are now present in large parts of society – everything from food production to cars and much more. Precisely for this reason, environmental sustainability in the manufacturing of robots and in their functionality have become important parameters about ensuring a good environmental balance for general industrial production.

– There are many things that robotics companies can improve In this connection, points out Francois Picard, a Senior Specialist working with robotics at DTI.

– If a company in the robotics industry wants to reduce its climate footprint, there are many parameters to consider. For instance, the choice of materials, the possibility of introducing recycled components, the general lifespan of the products, long value chains in a global market, and much more, he begins and continues:

– The type of company and its products restricts where one can and should invest when it comes to the individual company's climate footprint. The robotics industry, which year by year becomes a bigger and bigger part of the vast majority of processes, has a great influence on the general climate footprint – both now and in particular in the future. It is therefore important that the industry as a whole also considers its environmental sustainability.

Below you can learn more about how you can get started with calculating your company's climate footprint.

How can you calculate your climate footprint?

A climate account is prepared in the same way as a financial account. It must be documented and calculated typically once a year so that it becomes possible to follow the company's climate impact and efforts to reduce its climate impact over time.

According to the GHG (Greenhouse Gas) Protocol, companies should record their emissions in three categories called “scopes”.

Scope 1 covers direct emissions from the company e.g. mobile and stationary fuel and emissions from industrial processes.

Scope 2 covers indirect emissions from the company e.g. emissions from the electricity purchased, or from heating and cooling systems.

Scope 3 includes indirect emissions associated with upstream and downstream activities in the value chain. This covers the purchase and transport of materials for making products, from screws and plastic to the robot assistant, waste treatment, etc. Scope 3 usually covers 75-95 percent of the company's total emissions.

A review of these three scopes can help the individual company to form an overview of the company's total climate impact and can point out where the major costs are, showing where to focus to reduce the general impact.

How do you get started?

Do you and your company want to start calculating your climate footprint? There are already some tools you can use:

Online guides: GHG Protocol and Guide to Climate Accounts

Online calculation tool: Climate compass

DTI can also help you to carry out life cycle analyses and holds workshops that can get you started with a climate account and assessments of potential environmental and climate impacts linked to a product.

If you are interested in hearing more, contact Francois Picard at +45 72 20 17 92 or fpi@teknologisk.dk.

Why should companies calculate their climate footprint?

It has been scientifically proven with 100 percent certainty that there is a correlation between CO2 emissions linked to human activities and temperature rise.

The IPCC's (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) latest report points out the need for and the importance of understanding and reducing our carbon budget - i.e. how much CO2 each nation, person, and company can emit on average to avoid exceeding critical temperature increases.

In the Danish context, the National Climate Act is central. The purpose of the law is to fulfill Denmark's international and national climate obligations. It stipulates a legally binding reduction of 70% in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990, to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 at the latest. The Climate Act also implies that Denmark must halve its emissions from 2020 to 2030, which is a significant challenge for Danish companies.

– All companies will undoubtedly be – either directly or indirectly – affected by the CSRD (Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive) already from this year. With the new requirements for sustainability reporting, the individual company must, among other things, publish its indirect emissions associated with upstream and downstream activities in the value chain. It will undoubtedly be a challenge for companies such as those in the robotics industry, as the concept is completely new for the vast majority. If, for example, you sell a robot to an industrial company, then the given company has a right to see your environment-related data on the robot. At present, very few are equipped to meet this demand. That is exactly what will change with CSRD, says Francois Picard.

– As a company, however, you should not only see the increasing requirements for sustainability reporting as an obligation but also as a good and value-creating opportunity, he adds.

– I think it is important to state that, although it may seem like a challenge for the individual company, there are also quite a few exciting perspectives in this development. There is potentially great value to be gained for the companies in the long run – especially if you move quickly, he says and continues:

– As a result of the increasing focus on companies' climate footprint, internal and external processes must be optimised and workflows must be developed, which can lead to increased innovation and the development of new technologies and services.

For the individual company, a proper climate balance can also lead to increased flexibility and better results in the long run, at the same time as the company builds a recognised greener profile.It is something that can strengthen the company's credibility and reputation as well as competitiveness.

There are many positive layers in this if you as a company manage to take advantage of it, get an early start, and thus position yourself as leaders in sustainable development.