Climate change and greenhouse gas emissions 

Climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are among the three focus topics of the company’s sustainability strategy. HUBER+SUHNER in 2018 also set targets validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) for its scope 1+2 emissions. We will submit new targets for validation in 2024. Our climate transition makes us more resilient to climate-related risks, specifically growing regulation to phase out fossil fuels and curb emissions. Nonetheless, we believe that physical and transition-related climate risks have a potentially large impact on our company, and we manage them within our standard risk management framework (see Chapter risk management).


HUBER+SUHNER for many years has determined its carbon footprint in all three scopes. To curb our emissions in line with our climate targets, we drafted a transition plan in 2023 that outlines our planned actions to minimize our GHG emissions. It builds on the following elements:

Figure 6: Carbon footprint – 2023 Scope 3 categories according to GHG protocol (in %)

Figure 6 shows that the main contributors are purchased goods and services, accounting for 79 % of our carbon footprint. Direct emissions (scope 1) and emissions from purchased energy (scope 2) together account for only 4 % of our carbon footprint.


In 2016, HUBER+SUHNER committed to achieving a science-based GHG reduction target in scope 1+2 [1] by 2025. This target was validated by experts from the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). It was initially designed to support limiting global warming to 2° C. In 2019, the CO2 reduction target was adapted to the more stringent criteria for limiting global warming to 1.5° C. The target of the HUBER+SUHNER Group is to reduce its scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions 50 % per added value [2] by 2025 from a 2015 base year. In scope 3 [3], HUBER+SUHNER has defined a voluntary, non-validated reduction target committing to reduce its scope 3 GHG emissions per added value 30 % by 2025 from a 2015 base year. With the target period coming to an end in 2025, we will submit new targets, aligned with the SBTi requirements, in 2024.

[1] Scope 1 emissions come from emission sources within the company, such as its heating systems or vehicles. Scope 2 emissions result from the generation of energy that is sourced from outside the company. These are mainly electricity and heat from energy services.
[2] Intensity data in this case refers to the added value generated as a measure of the economic performance. The added value has been calculated from profit before tax and depreciation plus personnel costs minus other financial results.
[3] Scope 3 emissions are emissions caused by the company’s activities but not under its control. The following GHG emission sources (including extraction, production and transport to the HUBER+SUHNER sites) were accounted for; purchased goods and services: raw, auxiliary, operating and packaging materials, commercial goods (as far as reliable data were available), water; fuel-and-energy-related activities (not included in scope 1 and 2) like heating and transport fuels, and electricity production; waste generated in operations: waste, wastewater; business traffic; downstream transport and distribution: transports between the sites and transports of finished products to customers; commuting traffic.


In 2023, we've stayed on track with our scope 1+2 SBTi target, cutting our emissions intensity by almost half two years ahead of time (see figure 7).

Scope 1+2: emissions in our own operations

The company is still fully on track regarding its target in scope 1+2 (see figure 7). The GHG emissions in scope 1+2 decreased to 7,735 t CO2-eq in 2023 (absolute reduction of 19 % y-o-y). Most notably this reduction can be attributed to:

Due to the impending energy scarcity in early 2023, the Swiss government requested that companies, where feasible, transition their heating fuel from gas to oil. The change to oil as heating fuel led to increased heating emissions during the 2022/2023 heating period, ultimately contributing to a 2 % y-o-y rise in scope 1 emissions.

[4] When it comes to energy attribute certificates, HUBER+SUHNER makes sure that they come from power plants in the country where the electricity is consumed.

Figure 7: Science-based target in scope 1+2 and actual performance

Figure 7 shows the development of total GHG emissions during the past eight years and our consistent progress in reducing our scope 1+2 emissions.

Scope 3: emissions in our value chain

Until 2022, our GHG emissions in scope 3 increased significantly. This can be explained by changes in our data collection method and the inclusion of purchased commercial goods, which were important steps towards reliable and realistic scope 3 data. In 2023, we expanded our data collection to encompass approximately 95 % of our scope 3 emissions, in accordance with SBTi requirements. In addition to changes in our business mix, with a growing procurement of commercial goods. This resulted in further increase in the intensity of our scope 3 emissions by 13 % y-o-y (using v391 of the ecoinvent data).

However, simultaneously, we have made efforts to reduce our scope 3 emissions. This effort is reflected in the fact that when comparing absolute emissions in 2023 to ecoinvent v310, we actually see a decrease by 1 % (see figure 8). While a declining material consumption signficantly contributes to this reduction, we have also undertaken notable efforts to decrease emissions from transportation and packaging by implementing the following measures:

To further reduce emissions from our purchased goods and services, we have started integrating climate criteria into our global sourcing process. We engage with our suppliers via an established platform, where we track their efforts in gathering climate data and setting climate targets. For new suppliers, HUBER+SUHNER introduced reporting on their emissions and climate targets as additional criteria in the supplier assessment.

We annually publish our emissions through the CDP platform where we received an A− rating in 2023.

Figure 8: Total GHG emissions 2019-2023

Figure 8 shows the development of total GHG emissions during the past five years and reflects the consistent expansion of the system boundaries and improvement of data quality in scope 3 as well as the reduction of scope 1+2 emissions. We updated the background data for 2022 using v391 of the ecoinvent data, which was released at the end of 2023. The v310 data is provided for reference.

See detailed data on emissions in the environmental performance indicators table.

Planned actions

To achieve further emission reductions in line with our targets, key actions in 2024 will include:

Story from Switzerland

Our Air Ring Packaging: a low carbon, low waste and more packaging dense alternative to wood spools

After delivering cable products to our customers, spools are often left as waste. Currently, there are few or no collection-and-return systems that would allow us to ensure the environmentally efficient reuse and recycling of these spools. In an effort to reduce the use of spools that end up as waste, we developed an alternative: Air Ring Packaging. Instead of delivering cables on spools to our customers, we deliver shorter cables coiled in cardboard boxes certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

Air Ring Packaging with a cable coiled in a cardboard box
Pallet and cardboard box used for the Air Ring Packaging

In addition to ensuring that no spools end up as waste, Air Ring Packaging has several other sustainability benefits:

  • Material efficiency: When replacing wooden spools, it reduces the use of wood
  • Circular economy: The pallet and cardboard box can be easily disassembled, reused, or recycled at low cost to our customers
  • Lower carbon footprint: The pallet and cardboard box not only save energy during production, but also reduce CO2 emissions due to the lower transport weight, higher packing density, and higher recycling rate

We are currently providing Air Ring Packaging to two of our large Swiss customers and are evaluating where else this packaging can replace spools.

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