Our commitment to climate protection centres on resource-efficient processes and climate-friendly products and technologies. The basis of our activities is a systematic analysis of the relevance of the Group's business activities to climate protection. For this purpose, we record and evaluate emissions along the value chains of our products worldwide. When accounting for greenhouse gases, we take into consideration the guidelines in the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.
Our direct emissions (Scope 1) include all greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere for activities that lie within Linde's scope of responsibility. The majority of these direct CO2 emissions are generated by chemical reactions in our plants during the production of hydrogen, carbon monoxide and synthesis gas (HyCO plants). Our transport fleet generates further direct CO2 emissions.
Indirect emissions (Scope 2) result from the generation of energy (electricity and steam) by our energy suppliers. We calculate these emissions from our power consumption. The main share of electricity is consumed by our air separation units to generate nitrogen, oxygen and argon.
We also account for indirect emissions (Scope 3) outside our own processes on a group-wide basis, including for example the emissions of our contractors’ transport fleet.
We created CO2 balance sheet calculations for our products from air separation units as well as for certain additional major product groups. These balance sheets make the ecological impact of our technologies more transparent for our customers. To make the CO2 balance sheet of individual products available for our customers, we have developed a standard formula for our main air gases. The calculation method takes into account the entire life cycle of the products and has been certified by external experts.
Our climate protection measures focus in particular on the areas responsible for the major share of our CO2 emissions – or on areas where we see the greatest potential to reduce emissions significantly.
Our air separation units are responsible for the majority of indirect CO2 emissions at Linde. Linde has already exceeded the global target it had set itself of improving the average energy intensity of the Group’s air separation plants by 5 percent by 2017. By the end of 2015, Linde had achieved efficiency improvements of more than 6 percent compared with the reference year 2008. The benchmark is the global average efficiency of the air separation plants operating at the design plant load. The Group achieved the target mainly through continuous improvements in efficiency in the air separation plants newly brought on stream: for example, by using more efficient compressors and turbines.
In 2015, we set ourselves a new climate protection target. By 2020, we are seeking to avoid a total of 6 million tonnes of CO2 emissions compared with the year 2009, of which 4.8 million tonnes from air separation plants (scope 2 emissions) and 1.2 million tonnes from HyCO plants (scope 1 emissions). To meet this target, we are focusing on technical improvements in plant design and more efficient production processes in those plants.
Measures to reduce emissions
A number of initiatives make a contribution to reducing our energy consumption and attaining our climate protection goals. Worldwide, we identify projects that improve the energy efficiency of our facilities and processes while simultaneously cutting CO2 emissions. These projects are recorded in a global database. Depending on the business activity involved, we implement these projects at various points in our process chains.
The measures we use in production include:
- Replacing older plants with new and more efficient models
- Using more efficient cooling towers or water pumps
- Replacing diesel generators with gas-powered alternatives
- Installing energy-saving lamps
Alongside production, we also examine other central links in the value chain for their climate protection potential. One focus area is our transport activities. To reduce emissions generated from the transport of our products, we implement a range of measures. These include:
- Optimised routes
- Improved usage of transport capacity (for example, the deployment of larger tankers so that fewer journeys are required)
- Driver training on fuel-efficient driving
- Modernisation of the transport fleet with more efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles
- Replacement of diesel vehicles with gas-powered alternatives
We have determined the CO2 emission specifications for our vehicle fleet in Germany, which consists of almost 1,000 cars. In recognition of our sustainable company-car strategy, TÜV Süd, a leading German testing, inspection and certification company, has presented its Green Fleet Award to Linde on several occasions.
Additionally, we include fuel consumption as a criterion in tenders for transport suppliers and consider low emission values when making purchasing decisions.
Further emission reduction measures include:
- Replacing business travel with video conferences
- Training employees on the efficient use of energy
- Providing rail discount cards to employees who travel frequently
- Financial incentives for selecting low-emission company cars
Products for climate protection
We have a major impact on climate protection as a result of developing innovative products and processes that help renewable energy sources to become economically viable, significantly reduce the consumption of natural resources and lower environmentally harmful emissions.
Against this background, Linde set up the in-house Clean Energy Group. The goal of this cross-business team is to develop innovative products and processes that help make it cost-effective to use renewable energies, lower the consumption of natural resources and reduce emissions harmful to the environment.
Responsibility along the value chain
Highlighted: Areas of the value chain relating to the issues covered on this page