Sustainability

Clean, fair and sustainable

Sustainability is part of day-to-day business throughout the Aebi Schmidt Group and is an established feature of our business activity. This is why we also report on the key developments in sustainability in our Annual Report.

 

We believe that sustainability means leaving future generations a world that’s just as livable as it was in the past. This involves conserving natural resources, preserving nature and ensuring political stability, social justice and economic success.

We gear our business activity towards economically viable, environmentally friendly and ethical principles – these are the cornerstones of our commercial success. Ecological and social sustainability along the entire value chain, comprehensive product responsibility, fair working conditions and a clear commitment to conserving resources are firmly anchored in our strategy. Reporting on issues of sustainability is based on Global Reporting Initiative guidelines (GRI Standards).

 

Challenges and opportunities

Our customers take a very close look – the longer the better – at the environmental footprint and fuel consumption of our vehicles and equipment. In spraying and spreading, for instance, the mixture needs to contain less salt and more brine. The European standard for salt spreaders and the measuring and distribution of spreading material (EN 15597-2) took effect in spring 2018. We believe that this trend will continue – and we will keep up with it. Our Combi Flex spreader, for example, features an improved spreading quality, saves salt and thereby protects the environment.

Reducing fuel consumption and the related carbon neutrality and/or reduction in CO2 emissions have become a critical success factor in tendering. Electric motors are increasingly sought after by municipalities, cities and airports. In response to that, we were working flat out to launch our first fully electric sweeper in the year under review, and did so with a great deal of success and a very positive reception from customers. 2018 was also characterized by a switch to the latest engine technology for compact sweepers and Aebi vehicles.

 

The latest engine technology – keeping it clean

With the market launch of the first fully electric sweeper, eSwingo, we reached a key milestone in terms of sustainable products. The series production run is being prepared. The conventional diesel engine systems were optimized further and adapted to the latest EU standards and guidelines. In other words, the Aebi Schmidt Group has already adapted its agricultural Aebi Terratracs and Transporters to the new reality. Accordingly, Aebi machines are among the first to completely fulfill the EURO 5 emission level in early 2019. Schmidt sweepers were also adapted to the latest emissions guidelines. The Swingo and Cleango not only fulfill the legally required Level 5 emissions rating; they also satisfy the latest emissions standard (EURO 6C), meaning we offer our customers the most environmentally friendly diesel sweeper. The EURO 6C engines therefore surpass even the minimum statutory requirements!

And last but not least: projects for switching other product groups, truck spreaders and airport equipment were also begun in 2018.

We have even taken another little step forwards: in 2018, we revised the car policy for the entire Group. This was done partly with the aim of reducing CO2 emission values and our vehicles’ fuel consumption and thereby cementing our credibility as a sustainable, environmentally conscious company.

 

Further priorities and goals

However, the requirements of our customers are not confined to sustainable products, but also relate to sustainable business management: energy and waste management at production facilities, as well as social aspects for employees and society. For example, in some countries we are responding to the call to employ people who are at a disadvantage on the labor market.

What’s good for our environment and society is also good for business: lean production processes and the modular design of products, local suppliers, fair working conditions, high-quality and durable products and the support of our customers with the efficient use of our machines result in less wastage, reduced CO2 emissions and lower social costs. We will continue to support our customers in achieving their sustainability KPIs. Depending on the case, this means re-manufacturing, retrofitting or prolonging the service life of their machines and equipment. Our product range is to comply with the circular economy concept in the long term.

 

A sustainable brand

In 2018, we devoted a lot of our energies to creating a new brand strategy. First of all, this involved simplifying the Group’s brand environment, which had become confusing, and combining it visually under one umbrella brand. Secondly, we are considering how we can integrate aspects of sustainability into the branding, to make our brands even more appealing. We believe that businesses that do not consider the issue of sustainability in their brand strategies will be punished by customers in future. Brands need a conscience to stay relevant, which is why the right certifications and standards, such as those issued by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), are becoming increasingly important. Our medium-term goal is to cultivate an image as an innovative and sustainable brand or business. We wish to clearly set ourselves apart from our competitors with this step – and with our innovative products, wide range of services and committed employees too. In that sense, we’re well on our way.

The United Nations’ Agenda 2030, agreed in September 2015, is a global action plan for sustainable development. The sustainable development goals (SDGs) are at the heart of this plan and aim to ensure sustainable development on economic, social and environmental levels. With our business activities, we’re also making a contribution to some of these goals, as you will see on in our Annual Report.

 

Barend Fruithof
CEO