We take responsibility for people and the environment and ensure that we operate in an environmentally sustainable manner. This is why we work with a wide range of partners on a daily basis.
Audited environmental management
Protecting the environment is not just an afterthought. It is a question of management and will. We have been developing our environmental management since BGZ was founded in 2017. It is now part of our Integrated Management System (IMS). It applies throughout BGZ and is binding for all sites. Others, not the organisation itself, should judge whether we are successful and consistent in pursuing our environmental objectives. All BGZ sites are certified to DIN EN ISO 9001:2015. As of 2023, sites will also be validated in accordance with the EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS). Our headquarters in Essen and the interim storage facility in Ahaus have made a start and all our other sites will follow. We aim to further integrate environmental protection into our processes through the successive validation of our established environmental management system. This will help us to monitor and improve our long-term environmental performance towards climate neutrality, and to adopt strategic measures that will save resources and costs.
BGZ Environmental Statement 2023
Protecting the environment is the essence of BGZ: We are explicitly mandated to store the waste produced by the nuclear industry temporarily and safely until repositories are available. But our mandate does not end with reliable and safe interim storage. This is why, since our foundation, we have been committed to meeting and exceeding the legal requirements to protect the environment. For example, we source our electricity from renewable sources where possible and support “Project Togo” to reforest natural forests. We have also set up a sustainability programme in line with the German government’s targets and have committed to being carbon neutral by 2045.
Powered by green electricity
We source 100 per cent of our electricity from environmentally friendly renewable sources at all sites where we already have our own power supply.
The average CO2 emissions of our vehicle fleet are regularly reviewed and have been significantly reduced by converting to battery-powered vehicles. BGZ is working to further minimise its CO2 emissions.
The climate-neutral website
Like all websites, our website generates CO2 emissions from the energy consumed each time it is visited by a user’s device, from the transmission of data and the hosting of the site in a data centre. The basis for calculating emissions is the number of page views on the website. An average CO2 value of 10 grams per page view is assumed for all visitors to the site. This value is based on many years of experience, analyses and various publications from all over Europe.
To offset our emissions, we have chosen the DEUTSCHLAND PLUS climate protection project which supports a Gold Standard or VCS-certified climate project and PROJECT TOGO, a natural forest reforestation programme. By opting for Deutschland Plus, we support additional forest ecology projects in Germany for every tonne of CO2 offset. We are also involved in a social project to support women: the “3 rabbits in the hutch” project. Women in Togo are very much tied to their household – fetching water, looking after the children and cooking. These women have little time to supplement the family income with an additional job. Raising rabbits can be combined with housework and childcare without creating a huge additional daily workload for women. Special courses are run to help women get started. They learn how to build their own hutches, care for and feed the rabbits in a species-appropriate way and recognise early signs of illness. After they have completed the course, the women are given three rabbits to start breeding. During the start-up phase, first time rabbit breeders will be supported with advice and practical tips from a rabbit breeding expert. The project aims to build the self-confidence of women in Togo, enabling them to contribute to their income and improve the living conditions of local families.
The project is part of the climate protection PROJECT TOGO, in cooperation with the non-profit organisation ecoCent e.V. (Wiesbaden) and the Togolese NGO ACTION DURABLE (Kpalimé). Both organisations submit regular progress reports.
Sustainability also plays a key role in the choice of printers for our press and public relations materials. For example, most of the printers we have chosen use 100% recycled paper and mineral oil-free, vegan, organic inks that are based on vegetable oil. The electricity required for production is generated from renewable sources and the shipping operation is carbon neutral and supports various climate change projects. Some products are eligible for Blue Angel certification.
BGZ sources advertising materials from fair and sustainable processes. Our eco promotional products are made from environmentally friendly materials such as sustainably sourced wood, bamboo or bioplastic and recycled PET.
All giveaways are guaranteed to meet at least EU standards by the partners we work with in this area.
European bison have been kept on the 3-hectare site outside the Ahaus interim storage facility since 1994. This means that the areas at the front of the facility are used productively by animals that can graze all year round. At the same time, keeping bison in Ahaus contributes to a European conservation and breeding programme for these animals. European Bison were originally found throughout Europe and much of Asia. They were almost extinct at the beginning of the last century, with only 26 left in the world. Since then, several smaller bison reintroduction projects have been carried out and there is now a larger herd in the Bialowieza National Park in Poland.