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Our environmental footprint in 2020

We aim to grow our business while reducing our environmental impact.

GRI 103/305

In 2020 the spread of Covid-19 severely impacted businesses around the globe. At Beckers, we followed recommendations and regulations in each of the regions in which we operate and had to slow down or even suspend business activities for a time. As a result, our production decreased from 170,000 tons in 2019 to 158,000 tons in 2020 – a reduction of 8%. In 2020, we had 25 sites to monitor, including our head office in Berlin. It‘s all about the small steps


energy intensity since 2013


absolute CO₂ emissions from our own operations since 2013

Despite the difficulties associated with the pandemic in 2020, toward the end of the year we were largely successful in restoring production to pre-Covid levels. However, the impact of Covid has been far reaching. It influenced business activities in a direct and indirect manner, causing loss of efficiency and spikes in performance indicators in 2020. In the analysis over the following pages, we look in detail at our environmental KPIs: climate and VOCs, energy and waste. In terms of energy, we look not only at efficiencies but also at the source and provide figures demonstrating the extent to which we have been able to move away from fossil-based to renewable energy in our core and ancillary business activities.

renewable Energy, in %

Our 2020 climate impact

GRI 103/302
GRI 103/305

Overall our market-based emissions reduced by 8% in 2020 compared to 2019, from a total of 52,600 to 48,200 tons CO₂e. Reductions in our emissions from switching to renewable electricity in our premises – for example at our site in Dormagen, Germany – are most evident in our carbon footprint calculations. Another major contribution to reducing our emissions in 2020 came from business travel, which decreased by 58% compared to 2019 due to the pandemic. The only business activity where we saw an increase in emissions was outbound third-party deliveries. Here we cleared up some reporting discrepancies from 2019 reporting and adjusted the data collection method. The difference from 2019 to 2020 stems from this. Emissions from inbound third-party deliveries decreased slightly in 2020. This was due to changes in the supply chain, for example, when sites moved to more local suppliers such as our sites in Malaysia, Vietnam and China. We also optimized systems to improve multimodal deliveries – for example, in Montbrison, France – and switched to sea deliveries – for example, at our site in Nagpur, India.

The Emission Factors (EF) we use to assess our climate impact are in the tool Our Impacts. These convert units of business activity into equivalent CO₂ amounts. The EFs are constantly updated based on new science and fluid factors such as grid electricity. They are provided by international agencies on climate change, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In line with our Recalculation Policy there is no need to recalculate the base year, since the changes to the emission factors in 2020 do not significantly impact the results. If you would like to know more about our climate impact, you will find our Climate Assessment Summary for 2020 on our website. For data on our climate and environmental impact, please see the GRI Report 2020.

Carbon emissions intensity, ton CO₂e/ton product

Carbon Emissions by Activity *

1%(1% in 2019)

38%(40% in 2019)

21%(16% in 2019)

25%(24% in 2019)

10%(10% in 2019)

2%(5% in 2019)

4%(4% in 2019)

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Total Energy Consumption Decreases

The reduction in energy consumption in 2020 was not in line with the reduction in production. While production fell by 8% as a result of the pandemic, energy consumption decreased by only 4%. This is attributed to the increase in both electricity and non-electricity consumption required, for example, for ventilation, heating and air conditioning. In addition, the installation of energy-intensive equipment such as the VOC abatement system in Guangzhou, China, and new chillers at our site in Vereeniging, South Africa had an impact on our overall energy consumption. Mitigating against this, work-from-home practices at many sites, investment in an efficient air compressor in Chicago, USA, and proactive measures to reduce consumption during production down-time all helped to reduce energy consumption.

VOC intensity at same level


tons VOC emissions

We continue to measure and target VOC emissions from all our production sites. Over the years, we have reduced our absolute emissions thanks to a combination of activities such as low-solvent cleaning systems, solvent recirculation and on-site distillation. The 8% decrease in production in 2020 meant that VOC emissions also fell. We also have installed a new VOC abatement system at our site in Guangzhou, China, which has a high capture efficiency. However, this reduction was offset by a shift in our product portfolio towards products that depend on more volatile raw materials, so that we remained at the same level of emissions per ton of product in 2020 as in 2019 on a global level. We are mitigating these effects with various initiatives. In Poland, for example, we introduced a direct pipe connection that reduces the raw materials’ contact to the ambient atmosphere, resulting in lower fugitive emissions.

VOC intensity, kg / ton product

Discover Other Topics

Driving sustainability through our supply chain


Recognizing sustainability improvements in our supply chain


Sustainability Award (Operations)

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