Koehler Paper joins Baden-Württemberg Climate Alliance and commits to significant greenhouse gas red
Koehler Paper, a member of the Koehler Group, has a history stretching back over 210 years. It is one of the few remaining independent German family companies in the paper industry. This long history is also reflected in the company's approach to decision making, which is based on a long term, sustainable perspective. As part of its efforts to become climate neutral, Koehler Paper has set itself the objective of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2030, compared to the baseline year 2020. This corresponds to about 360,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.
By signing the Paris Agreement, which was initiated by the United Nations in December 2015, the global community paved the way for a forward looking climate protection strategy. The objective is to maintain the average global rise in temperature at significantly below 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. Moreover, the signatories agreed to make efforts to further limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. As one of Europe's leading economic regions, Baden-Württemberg has a particular responsibility in this regard, with a key role to be played by the world of business.
In order for it to fulfill this role, a climate alliance has been agreed between the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of the Environment and various companies in the federal state. The partners have undertaken to provide each other with mutual support so that the climate protection objectives of both policy makers and businesses can be achieved. Koehler Paper has now joined this alliance.
Dr Stefan Karrer, chief operating officer at Koehler, stated: ‘At Koehler, economical and sustainable use of resources has been inextricably linked with the task of securing the future of the company since it was founded over 210 years ago.’
‘For decades, Koehler has been taking proactive steps in the field of climate protection, implementing measures to improve energy efficiency, and monitoring its own CO2 emissions as well as the share of renewable electricity and heating in its energy mix. We have already managed to significantly reduce our CO2 emissions since 2003 by increasing energy efficiency and thus reducing specific heat and electricity consumption.’
In 2020, the Koehler Group began drawing up a group wide climate strategy, which was adopted in 2021. Dr Karrer mentions one of the specific objectives of this strategy: ‘By 2025, we aim to have reduced our 'scope 2' emissions by 90% compared to the baseline year 2020. This includes emissions produced in order to generate the energy required for paper production.’ As soon as 2030, Koehler also wants to reduce 'scope 1' emissions by 80%, and obtain 100% of its electricity and heat from renewable sources in pure accounting terms. Scope 1 emissions include CO2 emissions released when generating energy from hard coal.
In order to achieve these ambitious goals, a comprehensive set of measures has already been initiated. For example, Koehler Paper is planning to fully convert its power plant at its Oberkirch site to biomass in the coming years. Switching to biomass as a primary fuel instead of coal will cut annual CO2 emissions by more than 150,000 tonnes. The converted power plant is due to be commissioned in 2024. The company is investing around EUR60 million in this endeavour.
A further example is the use of green electricity in the paper production process. Since the start of the year, the new production line 8 in Kehl has been run on 100% green electricity from a regional source, namely the Schluchsee hydropower plant. In addition, steam from the biomass combined heat and power station at Koehler Paper's Kehl site has been used to dry the paper web with virtually zero CO2 emissions since production line 8 was started up in 2019.
These are just two examples from among a broad portfolio of measures. In order to monitor the progress of the CO2 emission reduction measures, a baseline report is being drawn up. Annual changes will be precisely calculated, evaluated, and regularly published.