Sustainability Pioneer Reduces Water Consumption at Mainz Site
The family-owned business Werner & Mertz of Mainz has released its current Sustainability Report. Again this year the company has been certified by the European Union's Eco Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS), which is considered the world's most demanding system for sustainable environmental management. Werner & Mertz has voluntarily had EMAS validate the environmental impact of its Mainz site since 2003 and of its site in Hallein (Austria) since 2005 as proof of the company's exemplary ecological orientation.
Both production sites were certified and validated by Environmental Auditor Dr. Norbert Hiller of Intechnica. The results of the audit are presented in the 100-page Sustainability Report along with other information about the company's sustainability activities.
Werner & Mertz also reported a further reduction in water consumption at the Mainz site. Since 2012 water consumption has declined by nine percent. Usage in 2015 stood at 378,506 cubic meters of water (2012: 404,541 cubic meters). The major portion was drawn from the factory's own well.
"Sustainability means in our company that we pursue ecologically consistent and socially responsible activities that add value. Because the careful handling of the valuable resource of water has such a priority here, it is part of our continuous improvement process," said Dr. Detlef Matz, Head of Sustainability Management at Werner & Mertz.
In 2015 about 39 percent of well water was used in Production to cool containers and heat exchangers and was not subject to physiochemical treatment. Since 2012 the amount of water used for cooling purposes has been reduced through the installation of new plate heat exchangers. By optimizing the management of the geothermal system, the company also reduced water consumption after it had increased slightly up to 2013.
Wastewater was also greatly reduced after 2013 as a result of changes to production sequences and continuously improved rinsing plans. Although total quantities produced and the number of items increased significantly in 2015, the waste per item was further reduced. The wastewater load decreased markedly after March 2014 when concentrated rinse water was separately captured and properly disposed of.
Progressive Energy Management
The company has made progress in energy-saving measures too. With the help of its Energy Management System, Werner & Mertz monitors and optimizes its use of electricity, gas and compressed air in order to exploit all energy-saving potential. In 2013, for example, a new lighting concept was realized in the logistics center that has led to a reduction in electricity consumption of about 55 percent.
The number of items produced has increased, but electricity consumption has decreased. Despite the overall increase in energy consumption related to the expanded three-shift operation, wastewater treatment and extensive construction of buildings and production facilities, Production used less energy per item in the reported period.
Werner & Mertz also keeps the consumer in mind during production. Product safety has been enhanced by the introduction of digital lot tracing in March 2016. The quick traceability of all materials is ensured, from the putaway strategy and inventory management to delivery of the end product.
Prizes and Awards
Once again Werner & Mertz has earned several honors for extraordinary engagement and outstanding performance in its implementation of the corporate sustainability philosophy. The Frosch brand is one of the first in Germany and Austria to receive the GREEN BRANDS seal for the second time and thus re-certification for the next two years. The brand green care Professional also received the GREEN BRANDS designation in Austria and Germany in 2015. The GREEN BRANDS seal pays tribute to outstanding brands that serve as a beacon to others.
At the end of November 2015 Werner & Mertz received the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovator Award for its Frosch brand and green care Professional. For its exemplary long-term commitment to sustainability, the company was honored with the ZEIT WISSEN prize "Encouraging Sustainability" in March 2016. The sustainable cleaning system Quick and Easy from the green care Professional series received the Amsterdam Innovation Award at ISSA Interclean 2016.
With the B.A.U.M. Environmental Award, the German Association of Environmental Management e.v. (B.A.U.M.) honored CEO Reinhard Schneider in June 2016.
As in 2014, Werner & Mertz accepted the German Packaging Award again in 2016. For the use of HDPE recyclates from the Yellow Bag, Werner & Mertz received not only the packaging award in the "Sustainability" category, but also in Gold for its pioneering work.
Another Milestone for the Recyclate Initiative
The Recyclate Initiative, which is working with new and improved sorting technologies to obtain a greater share of recycled material from the Yellow Bag collection system, has achieved more of its goals. Besides transparent PET, which is used in the recycled PET bottles for the Frosch brand, other high-quality plastic has been obtained from the Yellow Bag. In cooperation with the Green Dot and the development department at Alpla-Werke Alwin Lehner GmbH & Co KG, Werner & Mertz identified a HDPE recyclate which can be used for the manufacture of translucent bottles and canisters. Shortly after this global innovation was developed, it impressed the experts and won the German Packaging Award. Since then the bottles for Emsal hardwood floor cleaner and TANET SR 15 cleaner from the Professional division have been produced from 100 percent rHDPE. Eventually all PE packaging for the Werner & Mertz brands will be made of this new material.
Still another goal has been achieved. Since 2013 the company has used increasing amounts of surfactants made from native plants in its formulas for Frosch brand products.
Engagement for Society and Nature
For Werner & Mertz sustainability also means being socially engaged in promoting generational fairness and equal opportunity. The company has aided the Tafel organization in Germany for years and most recently donated household cleaners and shoe care products worth 400,000 EUR. Werner & Mertz also supports the initiatives of NABU, the German Society for the Preservation of Nature. For more than 15 years the company has been actively involved with NABU in the "Frosch protects frogs" project which aims to return the tree frog to the Rheinaue wetlands. In other projects the company is working toward protecting the bog woodlands in Hunsrück and Eifel. Its engagement extends beyond Germany's borders. In France the Werner & Mertz Rainette brand is cooperating with the WWF in water protection projects.
The Sustainability Report 2016/2017 is available in print from Werner & Mertz or as a download at www.ganzheitlich-nachhaltig.de
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