The Frauscher way of acting and thinking sustainably
As a global producer of railway technology, we operate in an environmentally friendly industry, meaning we carry substantial responsibility for the environment and the communities we operate in. At Frauscher, we know that creating a sustainable future requires us to do things differently – and that we still have many activities in this area in the upcoming years. We are constantly working on becoming an increasingly sustainable and environmentally friendly company. Along with the global commitment and dedication of our colleagues, clear requirements and decisions at the top level are particularly essential to this. With the aim of advancing sustainability in all divisions of Frauscher, Elisabeth Maschek-Mühlbacher has taken over the function of a Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, with the intention to adopt projects and take forward-thinking decisions on sustainability topics in alignment with the global CSR strategy of the DELACHAUX Group. In the following interview, she gives insights on the latest achievements as well as upcoming initiatives and actions.
As part of the DELACHAUX Group, Frauscher contributes to a sustainable development on a global level. How does this look like in detail and what’s the current focus?
At Frauscher we have already been implementing, for a number of years, changes and initiatives that make a significant contribution to the health of our employees and our environment. In the Austrian location, the heating operates on wood chips, our photovoltaic systems have just been further expanded in 2022, we use 100% green electricity (hydro power) and possess an ample recycling area on-site. Additionally, 12 charging stations for electric vehicles have been installed which can be used by our customers and employees.
Currently, the focus – also on a group level globally – is the CO2 reduction in alignment with the DELACHAUX goals which are mentioned and reported in our Non-Financial Performance Statement. The statement on sustainability is published annually and legally binding within the DELACHAUX Group. This document is also highly relevant for our customers as it gives clear insights on the sustainability status of Frauscher.
Our constant efforts on measuring and reducing the environmental impact also counts for our products and production, which has led to outstanding EPDs (environmental product declarations) which are available here.
The position as CSR Manager has been established last year at Frauscher to coordinate the efforts and initiatives around this topic. Which key achievements have been made since then?
First of all, I would like to emphasise that CSR is an ongoing process. We will not get complacent and have big plans for the upcoming year. Our Non-Financial Performance Statement, continuously reporting safety KPIs as well as our internal Environmental Health & Safety tool give us a clear picture on where we currently stand and provide great insights on potentials for improvement. The implementation of SAP last year will also help us to gather all relevant data and showcase them in a more transparent way. Currently, we are working on a Frauscher environmental dashboard to provide a holistic overview of our carbon footprint. Comprehensive reporting should help us to implement even more efficient measures in the future.
Coming back to last year, we had among others, a clear focus on social activities to improve the liveability within our local communities and thus, the initiative Frauscher Impact has been established.
To inform our employees and raise the awareness of CSR, learning courses and webinars have been offered on our internal learning management platform (LMS) to explain the different aspects of the topic.
Of course, we are also particularly proud of our sustainability certificates such as EcoVadis Gold and all our ISO Certificates like ISO 14001, ISO 9001 and ISO 45001 which also show our strong focus on safety and the environment.
You mentioned Frauscher Impact, could you please give some examples of the social activities around this initiative?
Since the launch of Frauscher Impact, various activities and initiatives have been implemented. To mention a few examples, laptops and iPads were donated to a special-needs school. In cooperation with other companies within the region, Frauscher donated four Rickshaw Wheelchairs to a local retirement home and regional institutions such as the fire brigade have also been supported. Since in 2022 the number of available blood units in Austria reached its lowest level in 25 years, Frauscher organised two blood donation days within the company together with the Austrian Red Cross where all employees could contribute within their regular working hours.
To provide humanitarian aid and support those who needed it most, Frauscher also donated 10.000 Euro to support Ukrainian refugees.
Moreover, to improve the mental health of our employees, Frauscher dedicated the whole year of 2022 to this topic and numerous initiatives were organised. Our efforts on continuously improving the work-life-balance of our staff have even been rewarded by the Austrian certificate berufundfamilie. Frauscher has been pursuing a family-friendly corporate policy for many years. As a regional employer, Frauscher supports its employees in the best possible way with a wide range of measures to help them reconcile work and family life. The certificate is therefore a special honour for us.
What actions and initiatives are already planned for 2023 to further develop CSR at Frauscher?
For the beginning of 2023, the next release of the Non-Financial Performance Statement of the DELACHAUX Group is planned and we are also currently working on a CSR roadmap for the next months. Additionally, we need to prepare for EU targets (Green Deal) and reporting standards like the upcoming Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD).
Different initiatives focussing on our products and production are also planned which should lead to significant CO2 and waste reduction within our production sites.
We are also particularly keen on further expanding Frauscher Impact with new actions such as sponsoring a training camp for the local fire brigade but also keeping successful initiatives from last year.
An important step for us is that our CSR efforts will be audited externally for the first time in 2023. This will create transparency and show that our sustainability performance is even recognized by external agencies and institutions. In any case, we can look forward to many new initiatives around the topic of sustainability at Frauscher and I am very excited to be part of this journey.