Flavour of oranges and sustainability

Weinheim. July 9, 2012. The Freudenberg Group's "We all take care" award has three cornerstones, is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year and honors the best ideas of associates from all the Group's world-wide facilities in the fields of health, safety and environmental protection. This year, there were 213 projects competing for the awards. First place was taken by two inventive projects that convinced the jury. The EagleBurgmann Business Group implemented a sustainability campaign with 6,000 employees at 70 affiliates launching a total of 90 projects. Freudenberg Nonwovens in Cape Town, South Africa, was honored for the idea of replacing diluents and solvents by an oily extract from orange-peel. "Responsibility is a key element in our corporate culture," said Dr. Mohsen Sohi, Speaker of the Management Board. "You can read about it in our Guiding Principles and experience it through the more than 2,400 "We all take care" projects of the past ten years."

This year, the Freudenberg jury had to judge a large number of high-quality projects. The fact that the jury gave first place to two projects is indicative of the tough competition. A second place was not awarded and Freudenberg Filtration Technologies from Weinheim took third place with its project "Wir helfen mit" ("We All Help."). "The quality of the projects submitted this year was very high. In the final resort, it was individual details that determined the winners," said Ismet Kutay, Group Environmental Protection and Occupational Safety Officer, on behalf of the jury. "Other plants could find some useful suggestions and perhaps even simply adopt individual projects." The two first-place projects receive a cash prize of €12,500 and the third-place project €5,000.

It was the consistent implementation of a sustainability campaign throughout the Business Group that impressed the jury in the case of the winning EagleBurgmann project. The objective was to systematically reduce energy consumption, implement social projects and initiate measures to improve occupational health and safety. The second winning project from Freudenberg Nonwovens in Cape Town impressed the jury by its simplicity and its very good transferability. At the plant, diluents and solvents that pose health hazards were replaced by D-limonene, an oily extract from orange-peel. As a gratifying side-effect, D-limonene is less costly than the chemicals previously used. The changeover to the biogenic cleaning agent is easy and could also be an attractive alternative for other Freudenberg plants.

How safe is my workplace? What procedures could be improved still further? How can we save energy? These and other meaningful questions are asked by the project of Freudenberg Filtration Technologies in Weinheim. Every day, a different associate assesses his or her workplace for 15 to 20 minutes with respect to accident and environmental risks as well as energy wastage. The following day, the associate concerned reports on the results in the morning team meeting with the production manager and suggests some possible solutions. These are then developed jointly and implemented as soon as possible.

We all take care
The "We all take care" initiative was launched in 2002 at a meeting of 220 managers from the Freudenberg Group. The objective of the initiative is to ensure that health, safety and environmental protection issues become even more firmly anchored in people's minds and to heighten the awareness of all associates and managers in these areas. Since then, the ideas and projects of Freudenberg associates have become a key factor. More and more ideas are generated and then adopted and developed in the course of the award process.