HANOVER, Germany — Continental A.G. is claiming to have achieved a green energy milestone — having converted the procurement of electricity for all of its manufacturing facilities to renewable energy sources.
Conti said this week that as of fiscal 2020 its purchase of roughly 4 million megawatt-hours of electricity come from renewable energy sources such as hydro-electric, solar and/or wind. Auditor KPMG International Ltd. verified the event recently, Conti said.
Doing so helped the company reduce its own direct and indirect global CO2 emissions by 70% to less than a million metric tons from around 3.2 million metric tons in 2019,
"Sustainable business is the future. With our ambitious goals, we are decisively pursuing the transformation to a sustainable economy," according to Ariane Reinhart, who is responsible for sustainability on Continental's executive board.
"We are delighted by this objective validation of our work. The result of the audit shows that we take our sustainability ambitions seriously and are meeting the targets we have set ourselves."
Continental said to ensure that green is not only green in theory but also in practice, it relies on self-generated energy, specially designed green power purchase agreements and "energy attribute certificates," which certify from which sources and from which locations the green electricity originates.
Only in a few exceptional cases were such certificates obtained in 2020 from countries that were directly connected to the electricity grid of the country in which the electricity was consumed, Conti said. If there is no direct connection between the countries, Continental purchases energy attribute certificates from the nearest neighboring country. All energy attribute certificates can only be used once because they are deleted directly from the respective certificate registers.
Continental said it bases the quality characteristics of its EACs on the criteria of the RE100 initiative, a worldwide alliance of companies that have set themselves the goal of using only green electricity in the future.
Transitioning to green electricity is a first step of Conti's drive toward companywide decarbonization. Continental's decarbonization targets were recently recognized as being compatible with the 1.5°C goal of the Paris climate agreement by the independent Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).
By 2040, Continental aims to make the processes at all of its 500-plus locations carbon-neutral through investments in energy efficiency, zero-carbon technology and the use of green electricity.
By 2050 at the latest, the entire value chain should then be carbon-neutral.
"I am delighted with the commitment and motivation shown by all colleagues involved. Climate change is one of the most important challenges of the 21st century, and the preservation of natural resources is vital for both ourselves and for future generations," Thomas Sewald, head of environmental and climate protection at Continental, said.