Climate action Contributing to climate goals with pioneering technologies

International and national measures to mitigate climate change are essential business drivers for ABB

ABB solar panels (photo)

In partnership with our stakeholders, we are getting closer to achieving each of our climate action goals.

ABB supports the Paris Agreement, which came into force in November 2016, and considers it a critical opportunity to limit global warming and mitigate the potentially devastating consequences of climate change. We are committed to reducing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that stem from our use of fossil energy and transportation and from the handling of sulfur hexafluoride gas (SF6).

Setting a Science-Based Target is an important step for ABB; one that will provide the financial sector with hard data

Eva Axelsson – Swedbank Robur
ABB Stakeholder Panel

ABB also engages in initiatives and partnerships with businesses, governments and non-governmental organizations around the world to raise awareness of the need to further decarbonize society. Among many others, we are active participants in the United Nations-driven “Sustainable Energy for All” initiative, the Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders, and the Science Based Targets (SBT) initiative. For the SBT initiative, ABB has committed to establishing a science-based GHG emissions target for our post-2020 sustainability objectives, and is currently working to calculate what this target should be. Our primary contribution to the mitigation of climate change is via the development of pioneering technologies that enable utilities, industry and customers in transport and infrastructure to improve their performance and energy efficiency while reducing emissions.

Total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
(Scope 1 and 2) and GHG intensity
Total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – (Scope 1 and 2) and GHG intensity (bar chart)

ABB’s current target for climate action is to reduce our GHG emissions by 40 percent by 2020 from a 2013 baseline. We performed well against this target in 2018, as ABB’s total GHG emissions (Scope 1 and 2) decreased to 988 million tons, representing a 3.2 percent reduction from 2017 and a 36 percent reduction from 2013. Our achievements to date are due in part to an improved methodology for monitoring emissions from our vehicle fleet. On its own, this new methodology accounted for 19 percentage points of the GHG emissions reduction we reported on in 2017.

All of our organizational units are obliged to assess their respective opportunities to cut emissions and energy consumption. In 2018, we provided the sites with comprehensive guidance and upgraded the quarterly HSE/SA dashboard for management teams across ABB; it now displays a straightforward climate KPI to help drive progress.

Emissions of SF6 gas from our operations continued to decline in 2018, amounting to a nearly 50 percent reduction from 2013. Groupwide measures to improve the handling of SF6 are serving to reduce accidental leakage, thereby further shrinking our carbon footprint.

We achieved further emissions reductions thanks to initiatives to reduce the carbon intensity of our energy sources. Compared to 2013, we have reduced our use of fossil-fuel oil and diesel by more than 40 percent, while our use of biofuels has nearly doubled and now constitutes a similar share of our energy as fossil-fuel oil and diesel.

In several European countries we purchase all of our electricity from renewable sources. In 2018, 237 GWh, or 15.1 percent, of all electricity used by ABB, was purchased as certified “green” electricity, an increase of 4.5 percentage points over 2017. More of our facilities are also installing on-site photovoltaic power plants; ABB’s production of solar power for its own use nearly doubled in 2018.

At present, the more than 230 energy efficiency projects underway at ABB sites around the world are projected to deliver more than 50 GWh of annual savings, or 2.0 percent of ABB’s total energy use.

Case study ABB uses its own products and solutions to power its facilities with renewable solar energy

Reveal case study

In 2018, a number of ABB teams, using their own products and solutions under the scope of our ABB4ABB initiative, worked together to install a solar power system at the company’s facility in Belton, South Carolina, USA. This system will generate enough electricity to provide one-third of the site’s annual energy needs.

As a whole, electricity generation from solar panels in the United States grew from 4,505 GWh per year in 2010 to 77,097 GWh per year in 2017 – an increase of more than 1,611 percent in just seven years. ABB is helping to drive this growth through the full range of products, services and solutions it provides to the photovoltaic industry.

The solar system at ABB Belton uses 3,816 Heliene 340W solar modules, which cover 2.15 hectares of land, and will generate an average of 1891 MWh of electricity per year. By using renewable energy, the site will reduce its annual emissions of CO2 by 561,806 kg and its annual electricity costs by $130,000.

ABB believes it has a responsibility to produce energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly products, as well as to deploy those products at its own facilities. The project at ABB Belton is a stepping stone for the implementation of photovoltaic technologies on a larger scale at ABB sites across the world.

Close case study

We are progressively introducing energy monitoring and management systems at several ABB sites. The number of sites with certified energy management systems has more than doubled over the last two years. For example, in 2018 ABB Finland implemented a certified energy management system and installed ABB Ability cpmPlus Energy Manager software packages at all its sites. The system, which can track the progress of energy initiatives on live dashboards, paid for itself in less than four months by lowering ABB Finland’s energy bills.

Also in 2018, “ABB Real Estate's” energy savings program reported a total of US$6.3 million annual savings from 190 completed, ongoing and planned energy saving projects in ABB buildings. ABB Real Estate’s next step will be to work with our Integrated Facility Management (IFM) suppliers to reduce the consumption of energy at all ABB IFM sites around the world.