Using natural resources in an efficient and eco-friendly way is an important pillar of ŠKODA AUTO’s company philosophy. The car manufacturer has, for example, considerably reduced its water consumption since 2010: nowadays, 654,000 cubic metres of water are recycled annually – this equates to 42 per cent of the company’s overall consumption. To mark the United Nations’ World Water Day today, ŠKODA AUTO is offering a closer look at its new paint shop, which is currently under construction at the company’s headquarters in Mladá Boleslav. As one of the most state-of-the-art paint shops in Europe, it sets benchmarks in terms of environmental compatibility as well as conservation of resources, and enables a particularly sustainable use of resources. This measure is one of numerous environmental activities, which ŠKODA AUTO groups under the umbrella of its ‘GreenFuture’ Strategy.
“With our sustainable water management, we contribute significantly to conserving natural resources. Even though we are producing 63 per cent more vehicles than in 2010, the annual water consumption at ŠKODA AUTO since 2010 – at 1.53 million cubic metres – has not increased,” said Michael Oeljeklaus, ŠKODA AUTO Board Member for Production and Logistics, adding, “We are also pursuing ambitious goals for the future. An important pillar of ŠKODA’s 2025 Strategy and of our ‘GreenFuture’ Strategy is to continue to reduce our water consumption.”
The environmental compatibility of the new paint shop also sets new standards; the paint residues from painting vehicles are absorbed using lime products – by using this innovative dry separation method, no paint sludge is created as a waste product. Another advantage is that a large proportion of the heat generated during this process is recuperated and reused via an air-recirculation pump. This enables energy savings of up to 80 per cent. Furthermore, a new application process reduces material requirements.
Water is an essential raw material for vehicle manufacturing that is used in washing and filtering processes, as well as in numerous cooling systems. ŠKODA AUTO is consistently advancing the development of innovative technologies and concepts for sustainable water management. Thanks to sophisticated water recycling, the car manufacturer has succeeded in reducing its water consumption per vehicle built by 36 per cent since 2010.
In the last year, ŠKODA AUTO has installed numerous new, even more sophisticated purification systems that are equipped with particularly thin membrane filters into its paint shops. To reduce the need for fresh water even further, the modern filter systems process waste water and recirculate it, meaning it can be used multiple times. Furthermore, the traditional Czech brand has implemented special measures for the production of vehicles that effectively counter disproportionate increases in water consumption.
Employees at ŠKODA AUTO also significantly contribute to the company’s sustainability balance. A work group set up specifically for the task monitors compliance with the ambitious environmental targets and collates suggestions for improvement that have been made by staff. Between 2010 and 2017 employees submitted 880 suggestions, 451 of which have already been implemented. The savings achieved now amount to 9.7 million euros and are also considerably improving the ecological balance.
‘GreenFuture’ Strategy: ŠKODA AUTO is actively promoting sustainable environmental protection
Every two years, the car manufacturer publishes its targets and the measures it is taking to protect the environment in its sustainability report. ŠKODA AUTO groups its activities under the umbrella of the ‘GreenFuture’ Strategy: ‘GreenProduct’ deals with the development of vehicles that are equally more efficient and eco-friendly – in terms of fuel consumption as well as the materials used and recycling capabilities. With ‘GreenRetail’, the company is promoting eco-friendly operations in its dealerships and workshops. The new, state-of-the-art paint shop belongs to the ‘GreenFactory’ pillar, which contributes to conserving resources during production. Together these three components form the backbone of ŠKODA AUTO’s sustainability strategy.
Since 1993, the United Nations has called for the support of World Water Day, which takes place annually on 22 March. This year the motto is ‘Nature for Water’. Aside from more conscious management of this vital element, the organisation is raising awareness of technologies that purify drinking water. In addition, the United Nations is demonstrating ways in which water can be used for agricultural irrigation or industrial processes in a way that uses resources efficiently.