The Wirtgen Group makes sustainability visible.

Hamm receives certification for its environmental management system

The ultra-modern production facilities of the Wirtgen Group are among the most advanced of their kind and work with environmentally friendly machine tools and perfectly coordinated manufacturing processes to ensure efficient production and conserve valuable resources. And certification of this is now on the agenda for the entire group of companies.

Following the implementation of a comprehensive environmental management system at the end of November 2020, the Wirtgen Group subsidiary Hamm AG became the group’s first German site to be certified in accordance with the ISO 14001 environmental management standard. But Hamm will not remain the only brand headquarters with a certified environmental management system (EMS). All other production sites of the Wirtgen Group will be certified by 2024 at the latest.

Environmental protection is vital

Following the early implementation of environmentally friendly, cost-effective and future-proof production processes at all Wirtgen Group brand headquarters in Germany and international production locations, the Hamm AG headquarters in Tirschenreuth became the first German site to be awarded the coveted ISO 14001 certification for environmental management.

The Wirtgen Group subsidiary Hamm AG has been working on the realisation of the necessary environmental management system since 2018. In the course of this, Hamm created two new management functions – those of an Environmental Management Officer and an Energy Officer. ‘Protecting the environment is vital for us. This applies not only to our operations as a manufacturing company, but also to our products. It goes without saying that we therefore comply with the statutory regulations. Through our environmental management system, we have also identified further potential for improvement that will enable us to reduce our consumption of resources and energy’, explains Dr Stefan Klumpp, member of the Executive Board of Hamm AG.

With its ISO 14001 certification, Hamm highlights the vital importance of ecological commitment.

Dr Stefan Klumpp, member of the Executive Board of Hamm AG

Hamm has been pursuing this philosophy of sustainability for many years. For instance, the administration building has been cooled and heated by a geothermal energy system that extracts renewable energy from the ground since 2013. This has enabled Hamm to reduce its carbon footprint by 60 t CO₂. Emissions have also been drastically reduced in many areas in production. One example is a trainee project, which systematically identifies and eliminates losses in the compressed air system. Another project was the development of a special low-solvent, one-coat paint for the drums in cooperation with the paint suppliers. This enabled a reduction of emissions from solvents and similar substances (VOC=Volatile Organic Compounds) of around 10%. ‘With its ISO 14001 certification, Hamm highlights the vital importance of ecological commitment. What's more, increasing numbers of customers prefer to collaborate with manufacturers who have a certified environmental management system, as this increases their competitiveness’, says Dr Klumpp. Precisely these requirements are fulfilled by Hamm AG through its commitment to continuous improvement of its environmental performance.

Since its introduction in 1996, the ISO 14001 standard has become the globally recognised and implemented standard for environmental management systems. In view of this, certification was a logical step.

Dirk Pressgott, Plant Manager at Hamm

Hamm is committed to continuous improvement of its environmental performance

During the preparation for ISO 14001 certification, Hamm first analysed all operational process with regard to resources, emissions and energy consumption. With its environmental management system, the roller manufacturer will continuously optimise its environmental performance – i.e. its contribution to improving environmental protection. With this in mind, ISO 14001 stipulates the definition of concrete targets. ‘In this respect, we will, for instance, optimise the heating in the production halls to enable us to reduce gas consumption. We also see potential in the area of waste disposal – here, our target is a 20% reduction of the waste produced per machine by 2023. A variety of measures are required to make this happen, and our logistics, purchasing and production planning teams will be implementing them step by step until we get there’, says Plant Manager Dirk Pressgott, whose remit also includes environmental management. The icing on the cake is that the measures are not only good for the environment. Reducing waste, water and energy and minimising the flow of goods ultimately also leads to lower costs.

At the Wirtgen Group, we are fully aware that the future belongs to climate-friendly products – the products we are manufacturing today.

Dr Christian Düsseldorf, Plant Manager Wirtgen Group

‘We intend to have all Wirtgen Group production plants certified by 2024.’

In conversation with Dr Christian Düsseldorf. As Plant Manager at the Wirtgen Group, he leads integration activities with John Deere in the field of production, which also includes environmental and health & safety issues.

Mr Düsseldorf, has Hamm, or should I say the Wirtgen Group, suddenly discovered its ‘green conscience’?
Environmental responsibility is by no means new to the group of companies – in fact, quite the opposite is true. ‘Green technologies’ have long been an integral part of the Wirtgen Group’s solutions, and this applies to the entire road construction material cycle. This is something that our customers have always valued highly. Perhaps less well known to the general public is the fact that here at the Wirtgen Group, sustainability begins during the very early stages of product development and continues through the design phase and subsequent manufacturing at our plants. Sustainability is firmly rooted in the group’s corporate principles. It’s just that we haven’t made a big issue of it in public up until now. But that is now set to change. We intend to have all Wirtgen Group production plants certified by 2024, and we’re not afraid to say so.

Is there any particular reason why you are publicly communicating the group’s commitment at this point in time?
There are a number of reasons for this. One of them being the certification of the Hamm AG. This is a fitting occasion to communicate our commitment to sustainability to a wider audience. Apart from this, sustainability as an economic and socio-political issue has finally moved into the spotlight. Just take a look at the European Green Deal. Its objectives include the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU by 2030 by as much as 50 to 55% in comparison with the levels recorded in 1990. The Wirtgen Group makes its contribution with innovative solutions. And, as the well-known German saying goes: ‘Do good and talk about it.’ And that’s exactly what we are now doing. Apart from this, our strong relationships with our customers also play an important role.

Could you explain what you mean?
Customers always receive a complete package of solutions from us that enables them to complete their jobs cost-effectively, with excellent quality and with minimal environmental impact. In addition to the ideal product or production system, this naturally also includes the expertise of our application specialists and valuable support from Customer Service. True to the Wirtgen Group value proposition ‘close to our customers’, there is no question that we also want to reliably fulfil the new requirements relevant to the implementation of an efficient environmental management system. Through ISO 14001 certification of our specialised plants, our customers know that they can also rely on the Wirtgen Group as a strong partner in the area of environmental protection.

ISO 14001 certified environmental management system

The international standard ISO 14001 is a globally applied and industry-independent standard for environmental management systems. Companies certified in accordance with ISO 14001 must define objectives for the reduction of emissions, conservation of resources and the minimisation of risks. Once these objectives have been formulated, the next step is the development of a catalogue of measures to ensure their achievement. At the same time, the company must ensure that all legal and other requirements are fulfilled, which requires the creation of a legal register. A further pillar of environmental management is the continuous improvement of environmental performance. For this purpose, all processes, requirements and environmental guidelines are constantly reviewed and regularly revised. ‘The legal register enables us to keep an eye on all the requirements and verify whether they are being fulfilled’, explains Plant Manager Dirk Pressgott.

After the presentation of the certificate: former Environmental Management Officer Marcus Rahm (left) and Plant Manager Dirk Pressgott (right).

Sustainable responsibility

The measures relating to ISO 14001 certification also include regular staff awareness training on the prevention of waste. The waste disposal contractors the company employs must also demonstrate their competence. Dr Christian Düsseldorf explains how: ‘Since the beginning of 2019, we check or audit all companies that dispose of our waste, paint residues, oil and other hazardous materials requiring special treatment. This shows how seriously we take our responsibility for maintaining a clean environment, both inside and beyond the bounds of our plant.’

Tolles Produkt

Going forward, the objective of the Wirtgen Group is to continuously improve its environmental performance, further reduce harmful emissions and do even more to conserve valuable resources.

Click here to discover more about our sustainability roadmap.