Mühlacker (DE) / Weiz (AT), 19 October 2023 – Achieving a CO2-neutral business by 2028 – this is the goal the Craiss Group has set itself for its logistics centre in Weiz. The awarding of an ISO 14001 environmental management certificate to the Austrian site at the end of June was a major step in this direction. Numerous environmental protection measures played their part, such as using resources carefully, banning environmentally harmful substances or having an energy efficient building. Soon, this could also include using alternative drives: The Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK) has recently approved a grant for the purchase of two battery-powered trucks.
“Sustainable business practices are becoming increasingly relevant in the logistics industry. In part, customers are demanding this type of corporate social responsibility but at Craiss, we essentially follow our own convictions,” says Pascal Mroncz, Team Leader for Sustainability at Craiss Generation Logistik GmbH & Co. KG. “We always weigh our actions against social, ecological and economic concerns. Innovation must therefore achieve at least an equivalence, but ideally represent further development,” Mroncz continues.
This approach is reflected in the sustainability plan for the latest Craiss new build in Weiz, where the logistics provider has been handling inbound and outbound logistics for a major German customer from the technology industry since 2021. Marco Niesen, Quality Management Officer at Craiss Generation Logistik Austria GmbH & Co. KG, and his team have set themselves a challenging climate target: “Under the slogan ‘One world, one vision, one mission’, we want to implement various measures to reduce our CO2 emissions to zero by 2028.” For the logistics provider, success will be measured by the following six key aspects: electricity consumption, heat consumption, paper consumption, consumption of auxiliary and operating material, kilometres driven and fuel consumed.
As part of this, Craiss also plans to convert part of its fleet from combustion engines to all-electric vehicles. “Conventional diesel trucks are simply suboptimal for the six to ten-kilometre drive between the production plant and the logistics centre. Therefore, together with the Municipality of Weiz, we have developed a persuasive e-concept and are in the process of agreeing this with the authorities,” says Niesen.
Basically, the logistics centre in Eastern Styria is at the cutting-edge of technology. For example, only LED lighting is used, electric blinds are automatically raised and lowered according to the light conditions, and the twelve-metre-wide doors can be controlled individually by remote control to reduce heat loss. Furthermore, the logistics centre is equipped with a modern photovoltaic system, which has a maximum output of around 1,780 kilowatts. As Niesen points out, “That’s the equivalent of supplying 316 three-person households per year or powering an electric car around the world four times.” Any electricity purchased comes from CO2-neutral sources. Heat is supplied from a district heating system using logs, wood pellets or wood chips – “Using leftovers from nearby forestry,” according to Niesen.
Attention is also paid to environmental friendliness in everyday operations. For example, only organic products are used in the cleaning process instead of environmentally harmful chemicals – such as turpentine or nitro thinner. What’s more, used cardboard boxes from incoming goods are reused and shipped with biodegradable adhesive tape. Organic waste is composted on site. “Our employees have used the new soil to create a raised bed on site and have grown their own vegetables there,” reports Niesen. By design, rainwater is not collected but instead returned directly to the environment to ensure the soil water balance is maintained. To facilitate emission-free commuting, the 61 employees can get job bikes at a discount. Craiss is currently in talks with the Municipality of Weiz about having their own stop on the current electric bus route.