ThyssenKrupp Elevator Americas knows elevators. In fact, the company is one of the leading producers of elevator technology in the world, with over 13,500 employees in more than 200 locations across the western hemisphere.
ThyssenKrupp Elevator Americas understands that with its size and market share come environmental responsibility – a responsibility it takes very seriously.
In 2008, the ThyssenKrupp Elevator Americas leadership team hired PE INTERNATIONAL to perform a sustainability audit in support of their long-term strategy. The audit uncovered many opportunities for improvement and cost reduction. The company immediately set on a path toward greater understanding of its challenges and began to gather key metrics to track the progress and success of its transparency and disclosure journey.
Scope of Initiatives
ThyssenKrupp Elevator Americas mantra is “waste nothing.” And when it comes to sustainability, it has four main objectives:
- Reduce the company’s overall carbon footprint
- Eliminate as much waste as possible, whether from decreased productivity, inefficiencies in manufacturing, or physical, chemical and material waste
- Improve customer solutions by working closely with business partners on ways to reduce energy consumption through upgraded processes and production
- Maintain a high level of social responsibility. ThyssenKrupp Elevator Americas places great importance on its social responsibility initiatives, making sure that there is equality within its workforce and among suppliers in areas such as diversity, race, gender, fair wages and excellent working conditions.
Executives at ThyssenKrupp Elevator Americas understand that when they “do well and do good” they are better able to innovate, increase revenue and improve productivity, all while decreasing the company’s environmental footprint.
After defining requirements and establishing a strategy to reduce its overall footprint and address problem areas, ThyssenKrupp Elevator Americas determined the best pathway to meet disclosure and market requirements for transparency. The company implemented the GaBi software platform from PE INTERNATIONAL for life cycle assessment (LCA). The results of the LCA became the foundation for the entire program. Shortly after, the company compiled a list of chemicals used throughout the life cycle of its products. Immediately, many of these chemicals were banned, and plans to eliminate others were established for both the short and long term. The chemical listing process was critical for ThyssenKrupp Elevator Americas, as prospects, partners and other key audiences are increasingly requesting full disclosure of materials used in production throughout the supply chain.
With all the accumulated knowledge, the LCA and chemical inventory helped to push the company toward an even more extensive goal – to provide full transparency into its products and processes by creating environmental product declarations (EPDs), reports that outline and communicate product footprints. Once the LCA and EPD processes began, there was a natural progression for the company toward health product declarations (HPDs). By creating HPDs, ThyssenKrupp is able to communicate where it has eliminated chemicals of concern to employees, partners, customers and even passengers using its elevators.
The process for developing EPDs for ThyssenKrupp Elevator’s US elevator systems was no small task. The systems are comprised of 12 distinct functional sections, from electronics and motors to the interior elevator cab. For truly credible and transparent EPDs, all these sections needed to be evaluated thoroughly. Based on PE INTERNATIONAL’s studious and thorough dissection of its technology, ThyssenKrupp Elevator Americas was able to identify areas in which energy and chemical reductions were possible. As a result of this work, the company’s standard line of elevator cabs received validation from UL as a low-emitting material per California’s section 01350, an obvious competitive advantage.