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Decrease in water and energy consumption – less waste

Sulzer is aware of its environmental responsibility as a leading global industrial company and continually focuses on designing products with high efficiency levels. In 2018, overall energy consumption decreased along with a large reduction in water consumption. Sulzer was also able to reduce its total waste production as well as the percentage of hazardous waste – allowing for more landfill conversion.

Sulzer is aware that many of its industrial products can have a large energy footprint due to the sheer size and scale of the function they are delivering. Sulzer’s design teams recognize these issues and consistently work to develop more energy-efficient products and solutions.

Serving our customers and the environment

Sulzer believes strongly in doing its part to protect the environment while simultaneously helping our customers to find the most efficient solutions for their needs, saving them time, space and money. This is why Sulzer products have such a strong emphasis on efficiency. They use as little material as possible while conforming to the company’s high quality standards.

Because it is not always necessary to replace your existing equipment, Sulzer offers revamps, retrofits and upgrades to increase efficiency and extend its lifetime – irrespective of the brand. The 12Cr welding option that Sulzer has developed for repairing geothermal steam turbines provides longer life than the original material – and saves our customers huge amounts on costly replacements (read the full story here). The new Sulzer HST 30 high-speed turbocompressor offers increased flow and pressure at a significantly higher level of efficiency than its predecessors. This translates into big savings in the energy consumed by low-pressure air compression, both in wastewater treatment and industrial processes.

To achieve ideal efficiency levels throughout a product’s life cycle, Sulzer advises its customers on the safe and efficient installation, operation, maintenance and disposal of their equipment.

Businesses with diverse footprints

The company reports on its energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, waste production and water consumption, because Sulzer considers these as material for its operations. The company’s overall goal is to maintain, but ideally to improve, performance measured against working hours (whr) compared with the previous year. Sulzer’s products and services differ widely from one another; its portfolio encompasses pumps, separation equipment and applicators as well as services for rotating equipment or for turnaround projects. These businesses have different requirements and different ecological footprints. Thus, Sulzer follows a local approach to reducing its environmental impact. The business units and local sites evaluate their footprints and set their agendas individually.

Comprehensive reporting system

Sulzer has a comprehensive reporting system in place to collect financial and extra-financial data at site level. The company uses the number of total working hours as a reference. The total number of working hours remained steady because the reduction of working hours through restructuring measures was offset by additional working hours from newly acquired businesses. In 2018, 78.5% of total working hours reported on environmental data (2017: 76%). The number is slightly higher than in the previous year because the businesses acquired from Geka and Ensival Moret are now integrated into the environmental data collection process. The coverage of HR and occupational health and safety data is 100% (of total working hours). The organization collects extra-financial data according to two different reporting cycles and confirms the accuracy of the figures through regular internal audits:

  • The reporting period for environmental data was October 1, 2017, to September 30, 2018.
  • The reporting cycle for HR data and the health and safety performance was January 1, 2018, to December 31, 2018.

Smaller environmental footprint due to less waste and reduced energy and water consumption

In 2018, Sulzer was able to reduce its overall environmental impact. Overall energy use decreased slightly by 1.3%, and the rate of energy consumption per 1’000 working hours decreased by 4.2%. These reductions are largely a consequence of efficiency gains at all three main production sites of the Applicator Systems (APS) business. The decreases would have been even greater, but were somewhat offset by several large projects in the Pumps Equipment division using natural gas as an energy source.

Energy consumption
Hazardous waste

In 2018, the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in absolute terms decreased by 2.2%. Contributing factors included a reduction in emissions from purchased electricity (7%) and district heating (18%), resulting from the closure of two Sulzer plants in Europe. However, there was a slight increase of approximately 2% in air travel emissions. In total, the specific GHG footprint (per 1’000 working hours) decreased by 5.5%. This over-proportional reduction was mostly attributable to a change in emissions factors due to an improved energy mix.

The total waste produced by Sulzer decreased slightly to 0.8 tons per 1’000 whr. The share of waste converted to landfill increased significantly by 13 percentage points. This was partly driven by a reduction of hazardous waste requiring special treatment, which decreased by 5 percentage points.

Sulzer’s use of water decreased by 20.1%, leading to a reduction in the water consumption rate of 23.0% per 1’000 whr. This is the second consecutive year with large reductions in water consumption. The majority of this reduction (86%) can be attributed to improved water management in the APS division, which is responsible for over half of all water used at Sulzer. The division put great emphasis on improved water management in its processes and facilities in 2018.

Key figures





Change in +/–%






Energy consumption per working hours (whr)

GJ per 1’000 whr




Share of electricity





Share of gases





Share of fuels





Share of fuel oils





Share of district heating





Share of other sources





Greenhouse gas emissions

tons CO 2 eq.




GHG emissions per working hours

tons CO 2 eq. per 1’000 whr




GHG scope 1 1)

tons CO 2 eq.




GHG scope 2 2)

tons CO 2 eq.




GHG scope 3 3)

tons CO 2 eq.









Waste per working hours

Tons per 1’000 whr




By treatment:










Waste to landfill / incineration / other treatment





By hazardousness:





Non-hazardous waste





Hazardous waste






m 3




Water consumption per working hours

m 3 per 1’000 whr




1) Direct emissions from Sulzer stemming from primary energy sources such as natural gas and fuels used on-site.

2) Indirect emissions from secondary (converted) energy sources such as electricity and district heating.

3) Indirect emissions from the production and transport of fuels and gases not included in scopes 1 or 2.