Sustainability: Making a big difference with small things

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Our Tractebel office in Bad Vilbel, Germany. Unser Tractebel Bürogebäude in Bad Vilbel.

Whether for convenience, to save time, or simply because it’s more practical – we are, or rather were, used to taking the car and eating out of disposable packaging. The consequences are tangible. At Tractebel we can and want to take measures to counteract this. It’s not even that difficult.

In this article, we explain how we are implementing sustainable measures in the areas of energy, climate protection and the conservation of resources, and how you can make your own contribution. Let’s take responsibility together and strive for more sustainability.

What is at stake

Nothing less than the survival of our environment. If we do not act sustainably, we endanger the future of our earth and harm ourselves. In order to leave a world worth living in for future generations, we at Tractebel are committed to sustainable solutions.

If we are aware of the impact our actions have on the environment and we organise our day-to-day life in the office and at home with due consideration for resources, we can already achieve a great deal: For example, by not using plastic, buying local products and taking the bike instead of the car. Staff at Tractebel in Bad Vilbel can opt for a JobRad*, for example, a bicycle lease through the company. And more home office days save many kilometers of travel to the office, and with it CO2.
*“Rad” is the German word for “bike”. Check our colleague Dagmar Lorenz’s blog post on the topic to find out more.

At Tractebel we would like to make our contribution to ensure that our environment remains worth living in. And to be honest: You cannot enjoy sights like this from a car nearly as well as you can on foot or on a bike:

Day-to-day office life in Bad Vilbel

We have set ourselves the goal of further reducing our environmental impact and conserving resources. To do so, we have taken a number of measures in our German head office building in Bad Vilbel:

  • Waste paper: Our printers are pre-set to “Print on both sides”, so that we reduce the amount of paper we use. Our waste paper is pressed and sent to the recycling system of a nearby waste disposal service. In general, we avoid printing whenever possible.

  • Digitalisation: We have digitalised many documents that we previously printed out by introducing online tools.

  • Transport & travel: Tractebel promotes the use of public transport. Our teams prefer travelling by train rather than by plane whenever possible, and benefit from the JobRad and Jobticket – company-subsidized public transport – for their journey to and from work.

  • Green electricity: Our electricity comes from 100% renewable sources and we save it wherever we can. For example, the corridor lighting in the administrative building is now only on 50% and the access routes in the underground car park are illuminated by LEDs.

  • Temperature control in the building: The room temperature throughout the building is intelligently controlled and set for energy efficiency. Shading is provided on the roof for protection against the summer heat. In winter, on the other hand, we allow as much sun in as possible. Not only does this contribute to energy efficiency, but also to a sense of well-being. ?

  • Reduction of office floorspace: We recently reduced the size of our office floorspace – by 2,500 m2. This is to be followed by a further 1,500 m2 in the near future. As a result, there is less space to be heated in winter and cooled in summer.

  • Charging stations: Eight charging stations will be installed shortly. Hybrid company cars and hybrid and e-cars of staff and external parties can then be charged.

  • Watering: We have stopped watering the green areas. That saves around 700,000 litres of water – per year.

Realising goals

At our office in Bad Vilbel we have managed to reduce our CO2 consumption by more than half since 2017. We are proud of what we have achieved.

Part of the enormous savings in 2020 came from travel restrictions. Nevertheless, the trend is clear: Our changes have a positive impact on CO2 consumption.

We also place great emphasis on sustainability when working with our customers and partners and are committed to an environmentally friendly and socially responsible energy supply – for renewable energies, energy efficiency and sustainable mobility. For example, Tractebel supports the development of renewable energies in developing countries.

We follow the recommendations of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21) on the reduction of emissions, and at the same time fund selected projects that contribute directly to global decarbonisation.

We are already on the right track with our efforts: In 2021 we made a commitment to achieve a significant reduction of our CO2 footprint as well the neutralisation of our residual emissions as of 2022. We have achieved this CO2 reduction goal.

In the future, we will continue to reduce our emissions year-over-year in line with COP21 recommendations and neutralise residual emissions by supporting selected decarbonisation projects and continuing to make our daily lives more sustainable.

6 tips for the daily routine

It is often small things in daily office life that help. You can contribute to environmental protection while making your workplace more sustainable with these six tips:

  1. Avoid unnecessary use of paper: Use digital facilities such as email or cloud storage to share and store documents. Print your paper on both sides whenever possible.

  2. Deal with email in a sustainable way: Email data takes up storage capacity and therefore has a negative impact on the environment. Hence, clear out your mailbox regularly. Send photos in zipped files and limit your distribution list to those who really need to receive them. Sometimes it is more effective to talk directly with colleagues than to communicate by email.

  3. Use energy-saving devices: Switch off computers, monitors, printers and other devices when you do not need them, and use energy-efficient technology.

  4. Use public transport or the bike: Avoid unnecessary trips by car and opt for train travel for longer distances whenever possible.

  5. Separate waste: Dispose of waste in the appropriate containers for effective recovery and recycling Ideally, do it at home too. ?

  6. Avoid disposable plastic: Stop buying or using disposable plastic and use reusable packaging or glass bottles instead. Drink your coffee out of a sustainable cup instead of disposable to-go cups while on the move. Thus, you not only do something for the environment, you can also treat yourself to a little time out or enjoy your coffee together with your colleagues. Our foyer in Bad Vilbel is just one of many spots which is ideal for this.
Coffee together with colleagues in our foyer.

Many of these tips can, of course, also be applied to your everyday life. For example, we can also be mindful of our purchases. Bypass products wrapped in plastic or non-recyclable packaging. Choose local and seasonal products to reduce the environmental impact of transportation. Ideally, you could even visit the chickens whose eggs you buy. ?

Towards a more sustainable future…

Sustainability in daily life at Tractebel is not an empty phrase – it is actively practiced. But there is still plenty to do. That is why it is important that we all become aware of how we can make our day-to-day lives more sustainable. Because only together can we make a positive impact on our environment and give the world a future worth living. Sometimes you can be overwhelmed by the mass of measures required to protect the environment. But everything starts with small steps. If everyone picks out a few things with which they can and want to make a small contribution, that is a good start. We at Tractebel are definitely keeping very much on the ball.

What ideas do you have for more sustainability?

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