ABB is seeking continuous improvement of environment. Environmental management is an inseparable part of ABB sustainable Affairs through development strategy, business process and daily operation of the entire firm.
ABB’s companies in China are managed in accordance with ISO 14001, resulting in less use of hazardous materials, energy and other resources.
- ABB’s local companies have integrated environmental, quality, health and safety management systems in China;
- ABB regularly sets new environmental objectives as part of its efforts to improve performance.
All industrial activities have varying degrees of environmental impact caused by emissions, waste, and the use of energy and materials that result in pollution and depletion of natural resources. ABB has been working for many years to reduce its impacts, both within its own plants and offices, and those caused by its products.
As part of these efforts, ABB now uses less material and energy, streamlines its means of transportation and makes increasing efforts to design products that can be recycled.
Improving performance starts in the design phase of new products and processes. Tools and training are provided for design engineers to carry out environmental Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) to assess a product’s environmental impact throughout its life cycle. An LCA indicates where improvements can be made, for example in areas relating to material selection, energy efficiency and recycling.
ABB has therefore developed intranet-based tools and procedures to make these systems more effective. One example is the company’s list of prohibited and restricted substances, supported with guidelines on the phasing out of these substances.
To foster continual improvement as required by ISO 14001, ABB regularly sets Group-wide environmental objectives which address significant environmental aspects of its operations. Results are monitored continually and the objectives redefined annually.
A multinational company such as ABB benefits from the economy of scale, which permits the sharing of best practices between approximately 360 companies. For example, water-based painting systems have been developed at one site and then transferred to others to reduce emissions of organic solvents.