Autobahn GmbH has set itself ambitious goals in terms of environmental protection and social responsibility. FORLIANCE supports Autobahn in calculating and analyzing the company’s carbon footprint. In our interview, Oliver Krenz, Head of Sustainability Program, shares insights into Autobahn GmbH’s sustainability strategy as well as advice for other companies looking to develop their sustainability strategy.
Overview of the sustainability strategy
FORLIANCE: Could you give us an overview of Autobahn GmbH’s sustainability strategy? What goals and visions are you pursuing regarding the environmental protection and social responsibility?
Oliver Krenz: Through the reduction of our greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible, we aim to achieve climate neutrality by 2037. This includes Scopes 1 and 2. At the same time, we are focusing on circular economy, noise abatement, the protection of ecosystems, and the reduction of congestion and serious accidents. The establishment of fast-charging infrastructure for passenger cars and an initial network for heavy-duty vehicles is also part of our strategy. Social sustainability, including reducing occupational accidents and employee satisfaction, is also a high priority for us.
CO2 footprint and reduction targets
FORLIANCE: What motivated Autobahn to calculate its carbon footprint?
Oliver Krenz: For most of our predecessor institutions, calculating the carbon footprint was not an issue. In order to have a suitable basis for our sustainability efforts, the annual calculation of our carbon footprint is essential. This is the only way we can identify and track meaningful reduction paths.
FORLIANCE: What were the biggest challenges in the calculation and how were they overcome?
Oliver Krenz: The biggest challenge in the CO2 footprint calculation was data availability in our young company. We are working on expanding our data systems to ensure that all the necessary data is available.
FORLIANCE: What are Autobahn’s long-term goals in terms of reducing its carbon footprint? What strategies are being pursued to achieve these goals?
Oliver Krenz: We have already taken measures such as switching to energy that is generated from natural resources, converting our vehicle fleet to alternative drive systems and replacing the heating systems to more sustainable alternatives in our properties. We have set ourselves ambitious targets for reducing our carbon footprint and will continuously adapt our strategies to achieve our goals.
Partnerships and collaborations
FORLIANCE: How important is the partnership with FORLIANCE in promoting sustainability?
Oliver Krenz: Our partnership with FORLIANCE holds significant importance in the development of effective climate strategies. Working closely with FORLIANCE paved the way in achieving the best results for both our business and sustainability.
Environmental impacts and ecosystems
FORLIANCE: How does The Autobahn consider the potential impacts of its operations on surrounding ecosystems and biodiversity? Are there specific programs or initiatives in place to minimize these impacts?
Oliver Krenz: In Germany, the legal standards are already very high, compared with other industrialized countries. We follow these standards in the planning, construction and operation of our roads, for example by operating water recycling plants and constructing green bridges and other crossing aids to minimize the impact on the environment.
Innovation and technology
FORLIANCE: Can you give us some examples of innovative technologies or approaches that Autobahn has incorporated into its operations to become more environmentally friendly?
Oliver Krenz: Just to mention one that was introduced to us just recently: In some parts of the country, we use innovative solutions like biodegradable hot foam to control invasive plant species. This technology protects the environment, our employees and local residents.
Challenges and milestones
FORLIANCE: What challenges has Die Autobahn overcome so far on its way to greater sustainability? Are there any milestones or successes that you are particularly proud of?
Oliver Krenz: In addition to building our sustainability program, we are particularly proud of the publication of our first audited sustainability report for 2022. This report will be the basis for future reports, as the requirements for such reports will increase in the coming years.
Transparency and reporting
FORLIANCE: How does Autobahn ensure that it is transparent about its sustainability progress? What metrics or indicators do you use to measure and communicate progress?
Oliver Krenz: Our transparency and reporting are anchored in our annual sustainability reports. These reports contain comprehensive information about what we are doing in the very broad area of sustainability and what our plans are for the future. In the coming years, we will introduce additional key performance indicators to measure sustainability that will be published in our reports to show progress in a transparent way.
Advice to other companies
FORLIANCE: What advice would you give to other companies looking to develop their own climate strategy? What are the important steps they should consider?
Oliver Krenz: My advice to other companies is: Just start! It may sound simple, but if you don’t start early, you could fall behind in the competition later on and be at a disadvantage compared to companies in the same industry that have already embarked on the path toward more sustainability. This affects funding opportunities, talent attraction, compliance and the company’s attractiveness to customers, employees and business partners.
FORLIANCE: What future plans and initiatives does Die Autobahn have to further advance its sustainability goals? How do you see the company’s role in furthering the overall sustainability movement?
Oliver Krenz: As a company at the intersection of several energy-intensive sectors, we acknowledge that becoming „the most sustainable“ may be very challenging. Nevertheless, by clearly demonstrating our commitment to sustainability and acting transparently and honestly, we can lead the way for other companies. Autobahn GmbH has ambitious sustainability goals and relies on innovation, transparency and partnerships to achieve them.
FORLIANCE is looking forward to continuing to support Autobahn GmBH on its sustainability journey.
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Picture credits: Die Autobahn GmbH