Thanks to owning its own forests, the Faber-Castell Group can boast a climate-neutral production and 82% of the energy it uses comes from renewable sources. Germany and Peru have also signed new energy contracts for 2020.
The company is sticking to its ambitious environmental targets – despite the stagnating economy and crisis markets in Latin America.
A small yet highly efficient Faber-Castell factory is idyllically situated on the banks of the Danube, very close to the world-famous Danube Loop in Engelhartszell, Austria. Here, highly pigmented inks are mixed and filled for the global Faber-Castell Group, and millions of pen parts are produced from recycled plastic: for example for the “Ecco Pigment” fineliner and the “Textile Marker”. When the factory was hit by flooding in 2013 and machinery and goods disappeared into the Danube, the company used the disaster as an opportunity for a makeover and moved the building services into a new, flood-safe building. At the same time it also became a self-sufficient heat supplier thanks to the installation of modern energy recovery systems in the production halls and offices. Since then, the subsidiary factory has been purchasing 100% of its electricity from sustainable sources.
Engelhartszell was therefore regarded as a pioneer in the Group. By now, over 82% of the thermal and electrical energy used in Faber-Castell factories across the group comes from renewable sources. Thanks to a water turbine, the head office in Stein in central Franconia has been a green electricity producer for decades. Latin America in particular is playing a leading role when it comes to energy demand. Brazil, the world’s largest pencil producer and exporter of writing and drawing instruments to over 70 countries, began purchasing energy from renewable sources in 2006.
Since 2019, the Brazilian factories have been using only green electricity and have improved significantly in the area of wastewater and waste disposal thanks to ambitious environmental targets.
Carbon-neutral production through the company’s own afforestation measures
Around the world, Faber-Castell’s production companies in nine countries manage to achieve carbonneutral production thanks to the 10,000 hectares of company-owned pine forests in Brazil. This is unique in the industry. The 100% FSC-certified forests supply the raw material for the Brazilian pencil factory and cover 87% of the Faber-Castell Group’s global wood demand. The additional wood used is also FSC and PEFC certified, so that the 2.3 billion pencils and crayons produced by the Group itself come
wholly from sustainable and renewable sources.
Faber-Castell regularly publishes its Group-wide environmental performance indicators, creating transparency in terms of sustainability. By using 82% environmentally friendly energy sources and the proven carbon-neutral production thanks to its own forests, the company has a unique position in the market. The high share of renewable energies – and thus the advantage in the positive climate balance – is set to be expanded further: Germany and Peru have signed contracts with green electricity suppliers
for 2020, and Peru alone expects carbon emissions to be halved in the medium term.
Strict environmental targets despite drop in sales
Faber-Castell has also set itself the global goal of reducing the proportion of plastic in packaging and to increasingly use recycled materials for products. Despite the economic slowdown, the company is sticking to its ambitious environmental targets. In the past 18/19 financial year, the Group generated sales of EUR 587.5 million (-4% year-on-year). Adjusted for currency effects, there was a slight rise of 2.2% year-on-year.
“The Chinese market, where we believe our potential has not yet been fully realised, is performing particularly well,” says Chairman of the Board Daniel Rogger. For the current 19/20 financial year, Rogger expects sales to match the previous year’s level, especially in light of the Latin American markets, which are important for the Group and are affected by political and economic crises.
“At the moment, the situation there is unclear. Chile and Peru had been doing well until mid-2019, but now we have to wait and see what happens; the same goes for the markets in Argentina, Colombia and Brazil.”
South America plays a central role for the Faber-Castell Group and is responsible for approximately 45% of sales. Rogger is confident about the future: “With our focus on creative products, our decentralised organisational structure and sound financial ratios, we are prepared for an increasingly difficult market environment. We believe that our environmental topics, which set us apart from the competition, will enable us to win over consumers – not only in Europe, but increasingly in Asia and America as well.”