The nature-friendly front garden is the most visible sign of the environmental commitment at the Institut für Integrierte Produktion Hannover gGmbH (IPH). Since the beginning of 2022, native plants have been blooming there (see Fig. 1), providing a diverse food spectrum for insects, which in turn feed endangered bird species. The break area behind the IPH has also been redesigned to be insect-friendly (see Fig. 2).
The nature garden is not the only major investment in sustainability, however. The heating system at IPH was already replaced five years ago and saves more than 20 percent energy compared to the old heating system. A photovoltaic system was installed on the institute’s roof in summer 2019 and generates more electricity than IPH needs from March to October – the rest is fed into the grid.
ECOPROFIT program boosts environmental commitment
IPH’s environmental commitment therefore did not just come about with its participation in ECOPROFIT Hannover from autumn 2019 – rather, IPH became aware of the program because sustainability was becoming increasingly important to its employees and management. In the ECOPROFIT beginner’s round, IPH received advice and support from the experts at Arqum GmbH. This gave the environmental commitment a significant boost.
Since the end of 2020, IPH has been a member of the ECOPROFIT Club, where it can network with other committed companies and exchange experiences. In addition, IPH employees benefit from the knowledge imparted in the club in a wide range of workshops – from waste management and biodiversity on the company premises to corporate social responsibility.
Sustainability in everyday work and research
In addition to the major investments in heating, solar panels and a natural outdoor area, IPH has implemented many small measures for greater sustainability in recent years: from the company’s own cargo bike, which can replace the company car for short distances, to a charging point for e-vehicles on the company premises and the digitalization of business processes to save paper.
IPH is also increasingly focusing on sustainability in its core business – research and development. At the beginning of 2021, the research area for Additive Plastics Recycling was opened: “Here we want to build a complete recycling process chain to recycle plastic waste in 3D printing,” explains IPH Managing Director Dr. Malte Stonis. “Our goal is, on the one hand, to use plastic more sustainably and reduce mountains of waste – and, on the other hand, to establish regional production cycles instead of shipping products halfway around the world.”
In other research and consulting projects, IPH is working, for example, on driving the expansion of wind farms with the help of artificial intelligence (AI), as well as on various ways to save energy and materials in manufacturing.
IPH receives ECOPROFIT award
For its environmental commitment, IPH received the ECOPROFIT award on July 7, 2022 – together with other companies in the current ECOPROFIT round. At the award ceremony, Belit Onay, Mayor of the City of Hannover, and Anja Ritschel, Head of the Directorate of Economic and Environmental Affairs, presented the certificate to IPH employee Anne Rathje (see Fig. 3). She accepted the award on behalf of the large environmental team at IPH (see Fig. 4).
Of course, IPH will continue to deal with sustainability in the future – and as a member of the ECOPROFIT Club, it will constantly educate itself, seek exchange with other sustainable companies and pass on its own experiences.