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Sustainability at Fronius: what are we doing?

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Climate change, a shortage of raw materials, and social injustices essentially leave us with only two alternatives. The first is that we do nothing and watch what happens from the sidelines, and the second is that we make use of the opportunities available to us and take action within our means. At Fronius we have opted for the latter; that is to make our company, our welding systems, their manufacture, and even the welding processes as sustainable as possible. You can find out exactly how this works and who benefits from it in this blog post.

When we talk about sustainability at Fronius, on the one hand we are talking about using our natural resources as carefully as possible so that future generations can still enjoy an intact environment with an excellent quality of life. But for us, sustainability goes beyond environmental protection and conserving resources. It also encompasses our interpersonal relationships, for example how we govern the way in which we work together, or how fairly opportunities for advancement are distributed. And of course it also has to do with responsible business practices.

You can read about how we define sustainability in an economic, social, and ecological sense at Fronius, what goals we are setting ourselves, and how we implement this in our daily working lives in our sustainability report entitled Earth Mission.

We believe that sustainable products can only be manufactured in a company in which the concept of sustainability is firmly anchored in all areas. For this reason, we decided to introduce a CSR Management System which was certified in 2021 by an external auditor in accordance with ONR 192500 (based on ISO 26000).

What does sustainability mean in the Fronius welding division?

Responsible business practices

Only a high-performing and strong business remains successful and able to withstand crises over the long term. The Business Unit Perfect Welding is one of the most profitable in our company. Economic strength creates reliability, stability, and secure jobs, which benefits customers, the workforce, and owners in equal measure.

Quality for long-term success: We do not create “throwaway products”. High-quality welding systems protect the environment and form the basis for our economic success. To guarantee this, we have been using a quality management system certified to ISO 9001 for almost 30 years, and we continually review our system for optimization.

Enthusiasm for new solutions: We use our enthusiasm for innovation and our know-how to develop sustainable welding systems that feature a long service life and can be repaired and recycled. These not only protect the environment, but also bring our customers a direct benefit.

Beyond company limits: Sustainable business practices do not end on the company premises. New suppliers are subject to a rigorous evaluation process in which they also have to disclose their sustainability performance. More than 95% of our sales partners are based in Europe, eliminating the need for long transport routes.

Corporate social responsibility

Sustainability in the company can only exist in harmony with all the people on whom our actions have an impact.

Best possible working conditions: Social responsibility begins within the company. Flexible schedules, childcare options, and company benefits such as a meal subsidy in the staff restaurant aim to provide our employees with a pleasant working environment. Professional development opportunities are also crucial, and we have launched our own training program for this purpose.

Occupational health and safety: All Fronius sites in Austria are certified to ISO 45001 in accordance with the occupational health and safety management system. This results in high standards for the prevention of workplace accidents, as well as medical examinations and consultations.

Social responsibility goes beyond Fronius: We always develop welding systems with the health and safety of users in mind. Our standards here are far more stringent than the legal requirements. What’s more, we also support educational institutions around the world and social initiatives at a local level.

Ecological responsibility

A key goal of ours is to make the manufacture of welding systems more environmentally friendly. In doing so, we take action at various levels:

Renewable energy: We draw the majority of the electricity for producing our welding systems from renewable energy sources: from our in-house photovoltaic systems that are being continuously upgraded and from purchased green power. The latter meets strict criteria for renewable energy set out in the “CMS Standard Erzeugung EE” (CMS standard for renewable energy generation) from TÜV Süd. At the Austrian Fronius plants, 88% of the energy used already comes from sustainable sources. Alongside the switch to renewable energy, increasing energy efficiency, i.e., saving energy, is also an important part of our sustainability strategy.

Waste and recycling management: Fronius has always been committed to the responsible use of raw materials. When collecting waste, we differentiate between 50 different types: 89% of our waste is recycled, and only 11% is incinerated.

Vehicle fleet and business trips: Since 2021 we have been powering half of our company vehicle fleet with alternative drives, i.e., using electric, hybrid, and hydrogen vehicles. When it comes to new purchases, we rely on electric and plug-in hybrid drives virtually 100% percent of the time. Following the coronavirus pandemic, many business trips have become online events instead. If employees do still need to travel on business trips, the aim is to use public transport more often.

Product development: Sustainability by Design

How welding systems are produced is only one side of the coin; how sustainable the welding systems and the associated welding processes are in day-to-day practice is just as important. Most welding systems from Fronius have long complied with Commission Regulation (EU) 2019/1784 from October 1, 2019, pursuant to the European Ecodesign Directive. And this is the case even though most energy-related regulations are only valid from January 1, 2023.

However, meeting legal requirements is not enough. Our developers are always hard at work thinking about how welding systems can be optimized to their limits. Since recently introducing the “Sustainability by Design” research and development program, we have been systematically pursuing the goal of designing welding systems that are environmentally friendly right from the start, especially with regard to a long service life and the ability to repair and recycle the systems.

Are you excited to see what else is new in the field of welding and sustainability? Then stay tuned because this article is the start of a series in which a wide range of sustainability topics relating to welding processes and systems will be covered.

You can read more about this in the blog soon!

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