‘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.