Environmental footprint

HUBER+SUHNER regards care for the environment as an important and vital aspect of its sustainability efforts. As stated in our environmental policy, we strive to continuously improve our environmental performance. Although environmental stewardship for many years has been a priority of HUBER+SUHNER, we have intensified our efforts to improve our environmental performance over the past few years.


As early as 1999, the company implemented an environmental management system according to ISO 14001 and obtained certification for its sites in Switzerland. Today, two-thirds of all production sites are certified: Pfäffikon and Herisau, Switzerland; Changzhou, China; and Tczew and Krzeszowice, Poland; Warren, New Jersey, United States; and Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Since 2009, HUBER+SUHNER has used life cycle analysis (LCA) to determine its environmental performance annually on a quantitative basis and, since 2019, the significant environmental aspects as required by the ISO 14001 standard. The procedure is described in the company’s environmental management processes. It is based on the LCA phases according to ISO 14040. In 2022, for the first time, all sites under the full operational control of HUBER+SUHNER AG (head office) provided at least data on energy consumption and employee commuting. The data on raw materials and commercial goods, transport of goods within the Group and to customers, as well as business travel, were taken from central systems. Based on the number of production employees and the manufacturing activities carried out, it is estimated that more than 95 % of the company’s environmental impact has therefore been recorded. HUBER+SUHNER has applied an inventory analysis based on input-output models. Each production site is considered a unit into which energy and materials enter (input) and from which emissions, waste, wastewater, and products are generated (output).

Figure 4: Environmental impact 2023

Figure 4 shows how the various material and energy flows contribute to the total environmental impact of HUBER+SUHNER. The total balance is our complete environmental impact. The core balance includes those material and energy flows that the company can directly influence.

Total balance* (in %)

Core balance (in %)

*Unlike our greenhouse gas inventory, which distinguishes between different emission scopes, our environmental impact accounting delineates between a total balance and a core balance to differentiate between our operational impact and our impact across our value chain.

In 2023, the largest share of the company’s environmental impact came from commercial goods which accounted for 44 %. In contrast to previous years, the extraction, processing, and transport of copper which accounted for 34 %, has only the second largest impact. The growing impact from commercial products is a result of a shift in our business mix, leading to a reduction in our own value creation.

Other significant environmental aspects were the remaining raw, auxiliary, and process materials (12 %) [1], product transports to customers and between HUBER+SUHNER sites (4 %), paper and packaging material (2 %), electricity (1 %), and commuting (1 %).

Looking at the company’s core balance, the significant environmental aspects were electricity (58 %), heating (15 %), and waste disposal (13 %), followed by direct emissions of chemicals (9 %) [2] and fuel (5 %).

Addendum 1 provides further details on the scope and methodology on our life cycle impact assessment (LCIA).

[1] In particular: glass fiber, plastics, metals other than copper, refrigerants, sulphur hexafluoride, dry ice, and solvents.
[2] Losses of solvents, sulphur hexafluoride, dry ice, and refrigerants


Our life cycle analysis determines most environmental targets of our production, which generally relate to the top three environmental aspects of the core balance. At all sites, we aim to avoid air and water pollution and to minimise the use and disposal of toxic and hazardous chemicals. Our efforts to reduce our environmental footprint go hand in hand with our efforts to reduce our resource use and greenhouse gas emissions, which are detailed in subsequent chapters.


In 2023, we reduced both the absolute impact of our core and total balance. However, only the intensity of the company's core balance is decreasing (see Figure 5 left side), whereas the company's total impact is showing a slight increase.

Core balance: Encouragingly, the downward trend in the intensity of the environmental impact (core balance) continued in 2023. It decreased by a further 10 % compared to the previous year (see Figure 5 left side). This reduction is almost exclusively due to the production and purchase of more green electricity.

Total balance: In 2023, there was a decrease of 5 % in the overall environmental impact compared to the previous year, as illustrated in figure 5 (right side). The transition to greener sources of electricity is not the sole factor contributing to this change; a decrease in the utilization of copper has also played a significant role. Furthermore, we have conscientiously implemented measures to reduce our environmental impact, including efforts to mitigate the impact of product transportation and packaging. The growing impact from commercial products is a result from a shift in our business mix as explained above.

Figure 5: Environmental impact total balance and core balance 2023

Figure 5 illustrates that until 2022, the overall environmental impact experienced a substantial increase. This rise is primarily attributed to the expansion of the scope of collected data. 

Intensity of the environmental impact
(core balance)

Environmental impact
(total balance)

* We updated the 2023 background data using v310 of the ecoinvent data, released at the end of 2023.

Planned actions

As mentioned above, our efforts to reduce our environmental footprint are aligned with our efforts to reduce our resource use and greenhouse gas emissions. While we describe these in more detail in the following chapters, our ambitions for 2024 include minimising our resource use by, for example, building on advanced analytics to reduce our operational scrap, further reducing our emissions by implementing our transition plan, and limiting the use of plastics in packaging.

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