Winnen-Pfab-Service: Climate management and CO2 reduction in the logistics sector

05/02/2023 | Reading time: 8 minutes

Interview partner: Tim Hoffmann, Sustainability Manager at Winnen-Pfab-Service, for more than 10 years a cooperation company from the transport and logistics sector of the two German forwarders “Hubert Winnen” and “Hans Pfab”.

The company specializes in the transport of float glass in the B2B sector. More than 160 employees at two locations look after a regular customer base of glass producers in Germany and Europe and also work every day with a network of more than 25 transport partners operating throughout Europe.

Climate transformation is in full swing! How do you keep up with these developments?

We started setting up our sustainability management five years ago. The main focus from the start was our climate and environmental management.

“Our focus is on the professionalization of our climate management”

Tim Hoffmann, Sustainability Manager.

We proceeded as follows:

  1. The primary goal was initially a comprehensive analysis of our climate and ecological priorities. As a result, within the first two years we established a calculation and reporting methodology based on global standards such as the GHG Protocol or CDP. Because for us it was elementary from the start that we not only map our ecological footprint according to the highest standards, but also communicate openly and transparently to our colleagues, shareholders and stakeholders and create global comparability.
  2. Constant development and improvement. We quickly realized that over 80% of our total emissions can be traced back to our transport activities. As a result, we have further refined our calculation methodology and adapted it to international standards for transport emissions, such as EN 16258 or the GLEC framework of the Smart Freight Center. At the same time, this once again confirmed where the main lever for the climate transformation of our company lies.
  3. Taking first actions. Since then, we have launched several small projects in recent years in order to credibly embody the first signals for our intended goal of climate transformation. These include, for example, the complete procurement of green electricity for our two locations, an extensive modernization of the office building at the Weiherhammer location, as well as our warehouses and the resulting condition of the CO₂-neutral storage activities at the Gladbeck location, which has existed since 2022.
  4. Discover and address hotspots. Nevertheless, we are aware that we can only achieve a noticeable transformation process through our vehicle fleets. Unfortunately, the current business and vehicle technology framework does not offer an opportunity for the extensive implementation of alternative drive technologies in our truck fleets. For this purpose, we cannot agree with our guiding principles to instrumentalise the often used easy bridging path of climate compensation. However, the emission-related burden on our trucks due to adequate further development of alternative drives can definitely be avoided in the coming years.
  5. Implement and expand best practices. Our current focus is therefore increasingly on the professionalization of our climate management, the expansion of cooperation and the sensitization of our network in order to involve as many partners as possible in our transformation process in the coming years. This is the only way we believe that we can fully meet our social responsibility.

What climate strategy are you pursuing as a company, and what is your own role in it?

Our climate strategy is characterized by feasibility, seriousness and openness. We don’t want to stand for green marketing statements. As a logistics service provider, we are aware that our main business areas will not be able to be managed without a certain level of environmentally relevant emissions in the foreseeable future. An important part of our daily actions is therefore to meet our social responsibility and to reduce our ecological footprint as much as possible. Our central principle for responsible ecological action follows the triad:

CO2 vermeiden, vermindern und verwerten
  1. Avoid unnecessary emissions
  2. Reduce necessary emissions
  3. Utilize unavoidable emissions

Our long-term goal is to achieve the status of climate neutrality. However, we are realistic enough not to want to rush into this. Because in order to achieve this state, we still have to take development steps that are beyond our active reach in terms of vehicle and drive technology. That is why we are filling our current climate strategy with targets that are feasible for us to tackle in the foreseeable future.

We did the Climate Performance Assessment together via our platform, how did this help you?

For us, the Climate Performance Assessment is the ideal indicator for a professional assessment of the current status of our climate transformation. It also gives us extensive feedback on the strengths and potential for improvement of our previous approach. At the same time, the assessment also forms the basis for us to go forward as a pioneer. Because we not only want to promote climate transformation ourselves, but also encourage our partner network to fulfill your climate management with similar commitment.

Climate Readiness Check

What are the things you have learned for yourself?

On the one hand, the evaluation gave us a very good status quo. On the other hand, the evaluation will also be used internally to give our stakeholders a perfect overview of how we are positioned in our climate management. In addition, the assessment was able to give us very good confirmation of what we have identified as realistic starting points during the development of our climate management system in recent years, but also where we can still improve in the company.

What next steps would you like to take as part of your climate transformation?

It is of elementary importance for us to analyze the areas of improvement listed in the assessment and to check them for feasibility. Based on this, we then create a roadmap for short-, medium- and long-term implementation goals. Accordingly, the evaluation result and the feedback from The Climate Choice will act as a basis for the specification of our next goals. As part of future annual reviews by The Climate Choice, we will also analyze the extent to which we have been able to meet our targets.

“We are now creating a roadmap for short-, medium- and long-term implementation goals.”

Tim Hoffmann, Sustainability Manager.

In the coming weeks we will also work on the topic of supply chain management. Our aim is to gradually build up our supply chain management with the The Climate Choice portal as the basic structure. Although we are not directly affected by the legal regulations of the supply chain law at the moment, we are aware that this will also become mandatory for us in the coming years. Accordingly, we want to use the coming time proactively to structure supply chain management, to raise the awareness of our partners and to make progress here as well.

How do you assess your role in the market, in your customers’ supply chains?

In our supply chain we are part of many. We know that we alone cannot bring about major decisions or changes. But we can do our part to ensure that the partners in our supply chain who are in direct contact with us are made aware of the importance of this topic. If our commitment results in large partners or industrial companies collaborating with us on holistic supply chain management, then we have already taken a big step.

How are you working together with your business partners to reduce emissions?

Cooperation with our partners was of fundamental importance to us right from the start of setting up our climate management system. Because we can only make a noticeable contribution to change in terms of climate protection together. For example, we work together with the German company “Project Climate” to tackle our climate transformation together. At the same time, we are in regular contact with our major customer in particular, where we can reduce emissions in our sphere of influence.

What tips and best practices would you like to share with other companies?

We see three points as the greatest opportunity to make a difference in terms of climate transformation.

  1. An open exchange with each other. If you intend to drive climate transformation forward in your company, then as a first step you should try to involve as many parties as possible in this process, both internally and externally.
  2. We have also learned that you cannot always start with the largest building block at the beginning. Climate transformation is a process in which you are constantly learning and gaining new insights. That’s why we initially started with small factors and implemented projects to reduce paper, purchase green electricity or modernize the lighting systems, although these only made up a marginal part of our overall balance. Because these small projects have demonstrably increased the attention and acceptance of climate transformation and thus made a much larger contribution to the development of our climate management than can be measured in absolute emission reduction at all.
  3. After all, it is extremely important to deal with the topics yourself. Certainly, input from third parties can enhance understanding. But it is essential to actively deal with the topic of climate transformation and to integrate it into everyday business life.

We can recommend every company to exchange ideas with other companies that are already more advanced in their climate management. Because it often offers content that inspire your own ideas and approaches that can be transferred to your own company. Here, too, the key lies in exchange and communication.

Thank you for the honest and exciting interview, Tom Hoffmann. We are very pleased about the cooperation with Winnen-Pfab-Service and look forward to driving forward the climate transformation of the economy together.

Do you want to make your company a Climate Champion? Register now within 5 minutes on our Climate Intelligence Platform and complete your free Climate Readiness Check.