We are visionary when it comes to climate protection

A Visionary ­Approach to
Climate Action

In 2021, we adopted our internal climate strategy. This has now been summarized in a roadmap.

The goal is to reduce Scope 1 (i. e., direct) greenhouse gas emissions by 80 % by 2030 and to fully neutralize them by 2045 compared to the baseline year 2022. Since 2020 we have been drawing up a comprehensive annual inventory of the greenhouse gas emissions produced based on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.

Scope 1 emissions are primarily produced due to the use of fossil fuels at the Oberkirch and Greiz mills. In addition to this, further emissions, such as those produced from natural gas, are used to dry paper webs. In 2021 and 2022, the economic recovery compared to the year 2020 resulted in greater production and sales volumes and therefore an increase in emissions. These emissions are due to be cut drastically at the Koehler Paper sites in Greiz, Oberkirch, Weisenbach, and Kehl in the coming years thanks to ambitious decarbonization projects.

Reduction targets have also been set for indirect emissions. These targets aim to fully compensate for Scope 2 emissions, which relate to purchased energy, by the year 2030. In order to meet this target, the company is relying on the purchase of green electricity and using Guarantees of Origin for renewable energy. Production Line 8 in Kehl has been buying green energy since 2021 thanks to Guarantees of Origin for renewable energy, which ensure the energy supplied is from renewable hydropower sources in the Black Forest and wind power sources in the Netherlands. This has enabled the line to reduce emissions in comparison to the previous year, despite an increase in production.

All other emissions along the value chain are covered by Scope 3. As these are not produced directly by Koehler, ensuring these are precisely recorded and reduced is significantly more challenging. Nonetheless, we also want to contribute to lowering global emissions and reduce Scope 3 emissions by 25 % by 2040 compared to the baseline year 2022.

At Schaefer Koehler Onsite in Kehl, CO2 is also being captured from flue gas produced by the cogeneration plants and converted into filler for the paper industry, meaning that it is permanently bound into the product.

Climate Action Strategy Roadmap

Climate Alliance

Alongside internal targets, Koehler has been part of the Baden-Württemberg Climate Alliance since the end of 2021. This initiative from the Ministry of the Environment aims to promote climate action in Baden-Württemberg. Through this agreement, the members of the alliance commit to supporting each other in achieving political and corporate climate change mitigation goals.

Binding greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals, to be achieved by 2030, have been defined for the paper mills in Kehl and Oberkirch for Scope 1, 2, and 3. Progress is recorded on an annual basis and submitted to the ministry. A detailed interim report is compiled every five years.

Koehler Group Greenhouse Gas Emissions in metric tons

Energy Efficiency

Improving energy efficiency on an ongoing basis is a cornerstone of the climate strategy. This involves ongoing technology enhancements for more efficient paper production.

We operate a certified energy management system, which includes measures like annual internal and external audits, which can then be used to identify opportunities for improvement, for example. During the energy assessment, energy consumers are methodically categorized according to their significance and the potential to influence them. The areas for improvement of the main energy consumers identified in this way are prioritized and addressed.

Energy Efficiency Targets

Koehler sets itself annual energy efficiency targets.
The amount of energy consumed by the cogeneration plants in order to produce live steam is constantly being optimized.

Savings in Paper Production as
a Result of Energy Efficiency Measures in 2022
0 Mio.

kilowatt hours of electricity

0 Mio.

kilowatt hours of heat

Our energy working groups take the lead on this and cover all relevant work and production areas. They define action plans with concrete measures for achieving defined energy goals and efficiency measures, and monitor the implementation of these measures.

The savings effect of each individual energy efficiency measure is taken into account over 12 months as specified internally. Measures with an amortization time of less than five years are implemented in each case.

Approximately 4,551,523 kilowatt hours of electricity and 8,504,566 kilowatt hours of heat energy were saved in 2022 thanks to energy efficiency measures. Since we started recording energy data back in 2003, we have lowered the specific electricity consumption by 22.5 % and specific heat consumption by 24.2 % for each metric ton of ready-for-sale paper.

Continuous increases in efficiency are planned between now and 2030. This value is evaluated regularly and increased if necessary. We are also aiming to increase efficiency in energy generation on an ongoing basis.

Collaborations at the Kehl Mill

Schaefer Koehler Onsite is a joint venture between the two successful family enterprises Schaefer Kalk and Koehler at the Kehl mill. It is a win-win situation for all involved: Schaefer Kalk produces PCC, which is an important component in the production of specialty paper. PCC is produced using biogenic CO2 that is obtained from the two biomass combined heat and power plants owned by B E B Bioenergie Baden, which is also a member of the Koehler Group.

The Next Steps Towards Decarbonization

The power plant at our Greiz mill will switch from lignite to fine wood fraction fuel by as early as 2023. Then in 2024, the Oberkirch mill will switch from black coal to wood chips, green waste, and mill residue. We buy the renewable and essentially carbon-neutral fuel locally. These two projects will enable the Group’s largest greenhouse gas emitters to be decarbonized, drastically improving the company’s climate footprint in the process. We are also working on feasibility studies for multiple projects regarding the optimization of paper drying. Our aim here is to secure our future energy supply and meet the requirements for achieving the global climate change mitigation goals and complying with the move away from the use of coal agreed in Germany.