What makes Buzil among the 1% most sustainable companies in the world


Dr. Daniel Schühle – Head of research and development, Buzil’s explains how sustainability is etched in every aspect of the organisation’s being.


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November 1, 2023
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What makes Buzil among the 1% most sustainable companies in the world

Tell us about the sustainable initiatives by BuzilTell us about the sustainable initiatives by Buzil

We follow the three column model of sustainability and have goals and projects for the economic, ecological and social parts of sustainability. Highlights of our initiatives are for example the reduction of our onsite and energy CO2 emission (scope 1 and 2) by 66 % within only two years. This was possible by some ambitious decisions and some baseline study that we carried out under the project IRMa that is sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action.

Today, our largest company's CO2 emissions are caused by our cars. This is why we will substitute all cars to e-cars within the next few years and thus further reduce our footprint. In order to charge the cars, we have just finished the expansion of our PV-installations. Our capacity to generate solar electricity is sufficient to run the whole factory plus charge several e-cars per day during summer months with a lot of sunshine.

Another example of our sustainability efforts is to push circular design principles of our products. We are in the process of certification of the entire Planta portfolio according to cradle 2 cradle standards. This will cover mostly environmental and social aspects of sustainability and give our customers the certainty to use state-of-the art sustainable products.

We also qualify as a top provider of cleaning agents by our Ecovadis Platinum certification that ranks us among the 1% most sustainable companies in the world.

And again to IRMa: We are one of only three companies that are working on new standards of the chemical industry concerning efficiency of resources and circular economy.

What steps have you taken to reduce the environmental impact of your product packaging, such as using recyclable or biodegradable materials?

Packaging constitutes the most significant part of the product carbon footprint of our products after the raw materials. This is why we constantly work on enhancements. In a first step, we have adjusted geometry and weight to a standard that does not allow for more optimizations currently. The material is a bit more tricky: while we are using recycled plastics for our bottles and will expand the amount of recycled materials, there are difficulties with can since current legislation makes the use of recycled materials for larger containers difficult or impossible. Our barrels and IBC can be reused and thus, the cycles are closed on this end already. Furthermore, we experiment with different ideas for more sustainable packaging. Ideas include new labels that facilitate recycling processes, a higher content of recycled material and a completely new approach of product design.

Can you provide information on the carbon footprint of your manufacturing processes and transportation of products? Are there plans to reduce this footprint in the future?

As already mentioned, we reduced our carbon footprint by 66% in the last two years. And we do not stop here: the extension of our pv-installation, the decision to go for e-mobility, a consequent factory re-design and many, many small enhancements makes me very confident in saying that we can reduce our footprint even more within the next few years. Another step is to work with our supply chain with the aim of reducing the carbon footprints of everything we buy – an ambitious and long-term project that will have another enormous impact.

How do you ensure that the ingredients used in your cleaning chemicals are sourced responsibly and sustainably?

We have implemented a couple of processes in our standard processes that ensure that we source responsibly. Our procurement follows a guideline that ensures e.g. social and environmental standards in our supply chain. We verify these measures yearly by sending very detailed questionnaires to all suppliers (see Global Compact) and make sure that their code of conduct meets our standards. In this way, we identify potentials for enhancements and work on these potentials with our supply chain – if necessary with new partners. If possible, we source locally in order to minimise CO2-emissions by transportation and to have the advantage to source from suppliers that must follow German or EU-laws.

What efforts are in place to minimise water usage in your manufacturing processes and in the use of your products?

Water is one of our most important raw materials and process aids. Strategies to decrease our water consumption are manyfold and include the design of more concentrated products, to decrease the amount of water that is needed for rinsing pipes and tanks in manufacturing, the recycling of cooling water etc. Our work in IRMa shows that we are running very optimised already – but there is always room for improvements.

Have you considered incorporating renewable energy sources into your manufacturing facilities?

Not only considered. The electricity that we do not produce ourselves is 100% renewable. We also use district heating that is driven almost exclusively on renewable, non-fossil resources.

Are any of your cleaning products certified by recognized environmental organisations (e.g., Green Seal, EcoLogo, or similar)?

Our whole Planta-Line consists of products which have at least an EU-Ecolabel or the Austrian ecolabel. We are also in the process of certifying all Planta products according to Cradle to Cradle standards. All other products are developed under our internal R&Dguideline that gives e.g. very strict limits on the use of raw materials and the design for circular economy. What strategies do you have in place to ensure the safe disposal of your cleaning products after use? The first and most important thing is to teach the people and make them aware of safe disposal - how it is made right and why it is so important. We emphasise this in talks and also in our seminars. This year we also offered seminars about sustainability in professional cleaning. And we also point it out in our datasheets e.g. technical datasheets.

Do you have a take-back or recycling program for used product containers?

In Europe, all our used containers must be registered with the Dual System. This means that at the moment of sales or shipment across EU-borders, we or our partners pay for the recycling process of the containers and thus give them access to proper recycling. Countries that are far from our headquarters bring the challenge of distance: the transport of empty containers back to Germany would cause such high CO2 emissions that we currently consider such an option as not very sustainable. Recycling in the region of use should be preferred.

How do you engage with and educate your customers about the environmental benefits of your sustainable cleaning products?

There are several ways: one is advertising in different mediums e.g. we use our social media channels. We also offer seminars with a focus on sustainability that are very well frequented. Our close contact to our customers also allows us to direct our efforts in directions that give them a benefit in their daily, sustainable doing.