Ecologically sustainable design of products and services

For economic reasons alone, all entities of Vossloh aim to use resources as sparingly as possible. Sustainability criteria have been incorporated into the development and design process for new products and services for years. In 2021, all innovation processes were harmonized across business units with the help of the Group-wide innovation guideline (Innovation Playbook). In 2022, the approaches and criteria our business units use to design sustainable products and services were compiled so that they could be standardized. The company also made additions to the corresponding Innovation Playbook and prepared detailed recommendations for action with a focus on the sustainability aspects of low energy consumption (and low carbon emissions) and avoiding the use of problematic raw materials. The entire life cycle of a product is taken into account from the outset, including its recycling and/or disposal. Vossloh also analyzes the long-term impact of its services on the basis of life cycle assessments in accordance with international standards such as ISO 14040 or 14044.

The current Group-wide sustainability initiative aims to reduce the environmental footprint of products and services along the entire value chain. A life cycle assessment (LCA) was carried out on the basis of one or more products from all three divisions using the „cradle to grave“ approach. The results are being integrated into the innovation and development process for products and services as EcoDesign principles in order to minimize their impact on the environment. The views of customers and suppliers and their needs regarding sustainability are also incorporated into the development process at an early stage in order to achieve a good product-market fit.

Suitable LCA software and a database system were selected in parallel to the life cycle assessments. At the end of the year, (at least) one product or service in each division had undergone an LCA with a focus on carbon emissions. The amount of effort required to analyze a product or service varies significantly between business units. In 2023, the results of the LCAs will be used to identify the changes which are most likely to result in the highest reduction in carbon emissions. The Fastening Systems business unit has so far documented the environmental impact of 19 products from their development to the time that they leave the factory. Vossloh Rail Services carried out its first life cycle assessment for a HSG-city railgrinder in the third quarter using the same approach.