The time to act is now
The work of avoiding climate disaster requires urgency. That is why OPHARDT Hygiene is committing to becoming climate neutral by 2045. This goal applies to both direct emissions from sources owned and controlled by OPHARDT (also known as Scope 1 emissions) as well as indirect emissions in the form of purchased energy (Scope 2 emissions). 
“It can feel like climate change is a slow approaching storm,” Heiner Ophardt, CEO of OPHARDT Hygiene recently shared. “It is coming towards us, but its presence is not always obvious. It will have lasting effects. Islands will disappear, dikes will need to be built higher, there will be wars over water. This is something that will affect us all. Alone, we cannot fix the problem of climate change. But we have to be a part of the solution.”
A monumental task
The undertaking ahead of us all is immense. Jessica Hunt, Sustainability Team Leader at OPHARDT, outlined the scope and need of this project. “Transitioning to a circular, low-carbon economy is a monumental task. It will require governments, companies, and individuals around the world to work together to achieve this goal. It’s time to adapt. According to the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, to stay within the 1.5 degrees of warming and avoid the most drastic effects of climate change, humanity must cut our net emissions to zero by 2050. We are aiming for the more aggressive goal of 2045.”
How to get there
In order to achieve the goal of net-zero emissions, OPHARDT Hygiene will (1) become more energy efficient, (2) electrify and expand our own renewable energy sources, and (3) purchase green energy.
Increasing energy efficiency and conservation in our manufacturing plants enables us to lower our footprint while we transition away from fossil-fuel sources. It also equips us to do more with less. This will help us speed up our shift to renewable energy. Key improvements include upgrading insulation, using LEDs with occupancy and daylight sensors, and purchasing high-efficiency equipment and machines.
To become climate neutral, we will be growing our renewable energy portfolio. To date, we have installed photovoltaics at two of our manufacturing plants, generating approximately 90,000 kWh per year. By 2045 we hope to generate more than 7,000,000 kWh of renewable energy to power our manufacturing plants. To put this into perspective, the average electricity consumption per dwelling is 3,700 kWh in the EU. By generating more than 7 million kWh of energy, this would be equivalent to the annual electricity needs of more than 1,890 EU homes.  This will include expanding solar panel-use on our plant roofs and properties, investing in other renewable sources such as wind, integrating batteries for storing renewable energy, and switching to electric heating. Buying and renting electric cars is another way we are planning to move away from fossil fuel use.
These efforts are related to our direct emissions, but we have also committed to net-zero indirect emissions from the power that we purchase. In Europe, we are already purchasing Guarantees of Origin, which verify the source of renewable energy.  As all our plants are in countries that are signatories of the Paris Agreement, local power grids will also become greener over the next 24 years. In locations where we can choose between energy sources, we will choose renewable energy.
Good news for the planet
Thankfully, OPHARDT Hygiene is not starting from scratch. Already, 52% of our purchased electricity comes from renewable sources.  In the decades to come, we expect the percentage of power that comes from solar technologies to massively increase. This is due to projected advances and cost decreases for solar power.
According to the Fraunhofer Institute, with the introduction of new technologies, the efficiency of solar panels will double by 2050 (compared to 2015 figures). Meanwhile, costs will decrease by 1/3 by 2025 and by 2/3 by 2050 (also compared to 2015 prices). According to these projections, solar power is on track to become cheaper than any fossil-based power.
The choice before us
Assessing the climate crisis, American author Kim Stanley Robinson paints a picture of the paths that humanity can take. “The future isn’t cast into one inevitable course. On the contrary, we could cause the sixth great mass extinction event in Earth’s history, or we could create a prosperous civilization, sustainable over the long haul. Either is possible starting from now.”
Care for people is at the heart of our company’s mission, to break the chain of infection. As Jessica Hunt points out, there is a clear connection between our physical and planetary health. “Improving health and well-being is ingrained into our company-culture. To have healthy people, we need a healthy environment. We know that the effects of climate change are going to affect the health and well-being of people around the world. Becoming climate neutral is the right thing to do. It will be a team effort, but we have a lot of motivated and committed people at OPHARDT.”
We are committed to do our part to create a sustainable and healthy planet, for the long haul.
 As defined by the GHG protocol
 Council directive 2009/28/EC on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources and amending and subsequently repealing Directives 2001/77/EC and 2003/30/EC (Text with EEA relevance) .(2009). Official Journal L 140, p. 16.
 According to 2019 data on self-generated and purchased electricity.
 Fraunhofer ISE. (2015). Current and future cost of photovoltaics. Long-term scenarios for market development, system prices and LCOE of utility-scale PV systems. Study on behalf of Agora Energiewende. https://www.ise.fraunhofer.de/content/dam/ise/de/documents/publications/studies/AgoraEnergiewende_Current_and_Future_Cost_of_PV_Feb2015_web.pdf