What does sustainability mean to you personally?
For me it is about maintaining and continuing to develop the basis of life for the benefit of future generations. In my family life, I would like to make sure that my son will enjoy at least the same or even better living conditions than I do today. That means his financial situation, the air he breathes, and his educational opportunities. Those are my three personal dimensions of economic, ecological, and social sustainability.
How important is sustainability for a company?
Naturally, a company's strategy must be geared to making genuine profits so it can create value for its owners. But I also expect a company to show equal responsibility towards its employees, society, and the environment. At FUCHS, for example, we are constantly striving to reduce our ecological footprint while increasing our “FUCHS-print.”
What do you mean by the “Fuchs-print”?
I mean the benefits of our lubricants for our customers and the environment. They help reduce friction, wear, and corrosion in end-applications. Those are benefits that can be measured using a life cycle analysis and they can give us an added competitive advantage, over and above price and performance. In view of the e-mobility trend, for our customers in the automotive industry in particular, the focus on avoiding CO2 emissions is shifting from the usage phase to the supply chain.
What role do your suppliers play in sustainable development at FUCHS?
Since we are an independent lubricant formulator and processor and therefore purchase all starting products at the end of the process and value chain, we are particularly reliant on our suppliers in the area of sustainability. We can only achieve a big reduction in our ecological footprint in collaboration with them. We endeavor to initiate (sustainable development) projects with future-oriented suppliers.
Looking ahead to the future, what are the main challenges for your suppliers?
A key issue in our industry is digitalization, because it will help us improve resource efficiency. For example, foresighted control with the aid of sensors will enable us to use exactly the right amount of energy and materials in production systems to meet our customers’ requirements. Demands for recycling to reduce pressure on primary raw materials can also be taken into account if information on the availability of secondary raw materials is fed into the relevant systems. Our suppliers also face these challenges and the associated opportunities, and we will be taking a close look at whether and how they utilize them.