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Decrease across energy, water and waste metrics – 100% renewable energy at UK sites

As an environmentally responsible company, we support our customers in managing their operations more sustainably. We focus our R&D activities on solutions for a circular economy and energy-efficient equipment, and we incentivize sustainable product development. In 2020, Sulzer’s energy and water consumption declined, and our sites generated less waste. To date, 16 of our 17 UK sites have switched to 100% renewable energy sources. Sulzer plans to convert further facilities across Europe to the use of exclusively renewable energy sources in the course of 2021.

Large infrastructure depends on the reliable, safe and efficient handling of fluids of all kinds. Sulzer’s solutions help to minimize the environmental impact. Our innovative and efficient technologies bring fresh water and sanitation to the population, reduce waste, avoid environmental pollution and provide alternatives to products with a high carbon footprint.

Setting incentives for sustainable product development

Sulzer actively drives research and development for sustainable solutions. A growing proportion of our development budget goes into areas that make our customers’ plants safer and produce fewer emissions.

To encourage employees and highlight its importance, Sulzer has introduced ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) metrics in its compensation framework. ESG is included in the personal objectives of all our long-term-incentive eligible leaders, shining a spotlight on the contribution every employee can make to build a more sustainable and positive future. Some of the company’s achievements in this area in 2020 were:

  • Sulzer’s beauty business Geka received the Platinum award from the prestigious EcoVadis business sustainability rating provider, placing Geka amongst the top 1% of companies assessed worldwide. Geka was also awarded the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) – an independent, globally applicable certification system for the sustainability of raw materials and products, traceability through the supply chain and the determination of greenhouse gas emissions and savings. On top of that, Geka scored a “B” in the Carbon Disclosure Program (CDP), while the average grade for peers was lower (C and D grades), recognizing the company’s coordinated action on climate issues. As of July 2020, Geka has committed to reduce its CO2 footprint in its global value chain via the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), taking the next step on its sustainability journey.
  • Sulzer’s equipment plays a vital role in a Danish flood protection project, designed to mitigate the impact of rising water levels in the Ringkøbing Fjord over the next 40 years and beyond. During the tendering process, Sulzer’s virtual reality simulation of the installation also helped other contractors visualize the site.
  • With the creation of a Global Bio-based and Renewables application development team, Sulzer’s Chemtech division puts its innovation focus on the conversion of renewable feedstocks into oleochemicals (substances derived from natural sources, including plant fats), biofuels, bio-chemicals and biopolymers. It also supports the development of cutting-edge solutions for plastic and textile recycling.

Businesses with diverse footprints

Sulzer strives to continuously improve performance measured against working hours (whr) compared with the previous year in areas of water and waste management, energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions. Our products and services differ widely from one another, resulting in different requirements and ecological footprints. Thus, the business units and local sites evaluate their footprints and set their agendas individually to reduce their environmental impact.

Comprehensive reporting system

Sulzer has a comprehensive reporting system in place to collect financial and non-financial data at site level. The total number of working hours, which serves as a reference, remained at the previous year’s level in 2020 because the additional hours of newly acquired businesses was counterbalanced by the COVID-19-related reduction in working hours. Global coverage of sites integrated in the reporting system remained high: all sites report on occupational health and safety data, and the coverage for environmental data was 80% of total working hours in 2020 (previous year: 79%). Sulzer collects non-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, 2019, to September 30, 2020.
  • The reporting cycle for HR data and the health and safety performance was January 1, 2020, to December 31, 2020.

Reduced energy consumption

Due to the economic slowdown and the resulting sales contraction, the company’s overall environmental impact decreased in 2020. Total energy consumption decreased by 2.7%, and by 2.4% relative to 1’000 working hours. The more efficient use of energy was partially mitigated by an extended scope of five new sites reporting on energy usage for the first time. As the Chinese market reemerged from lockdowns and went from strength to strength, Sulzer’s sites in China saw higher demand. This resulted in increased energy consumption – a 23% rise at Sulzer Pumps Suzhou and 12% at Chemtech Shanghai.

In 2020, total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in absolute terms decreased by 6.4%, and by 6.3% relative to 1’000 working hours. While scope 1 emissions remained stable, scope 2 emissions increased by 6.4%. This increase can be attributed to switching to a more comprehensive set of emissions factors. Scope 3 emissions decreased by 27.8%, mostly due to the decrease in business travel activities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The overall decline in GHG emissions was supported by the switch to renewable energy at Sulzer’s UK sites: To date, 16 of Sulzer’s 17 sites in the UK have switched to 100% renewable electricity from renewable sources consisting of a fuel mix from bioenergy, wind, photovoltaic and hydropower. The company intends to increase the use of renewable electricity for Sulzer sites across Europe and other locations in 2021 and beyond.

Energy consumption
Hazardous waste

Decrease in waste and water usage

Total waste produced was reduced by 6.9%. The sites saw a decline across many waste categories, partly due to the continued implementation of LEAN initiatives and helped by the reduced manufacturing capacity following lockdowns. Overall waste reduction was partially counterbalanced by five additional sites that were newly included in the reporting scope.

Sulzer’s consumption of water declined by 4.1%, despite an increase in Pumps Equipment Finland of roughly 24’500 m3 as part of a special pump testing project. The overall decrease resulted mainly from more efficient water management processes.

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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.

Please find further sustainability data at www.sulzer.com/sustainability.