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2017 Sustainability Report
published 2018/08/01

Electricity or biomass instead of diesel?

A real shift towards electricity as a fuel is not yet in sight. The automobile industry and politicians are still far from taking the matter seriously.

Electric vehicles are good but…

Electricity and gas at VAUDE are 100% renewable. To date, fuels are not. So?


Naturally, at VAUDE we also want to convert our fleet to electric vehicles. We already have a few, which we recharge using our own solar power. But the majority of our fleet still runs on diesel – despite recent emissions scandals and air pollution warnings. Why?


Why we still use diesel

Apart from the high acquisition costs and the lack of charging infrastructure – there are simply no suitable models for our purposes yet. There are 77 vehicles in the VAUDE fleet. Most of these are passenger cars for our sales team.

These employees require vehicles that can sometimes transport the entire VAUDE collection. Most electric cars do not have large enough storage space for this. Also, many of our sales team have to travel distances for which the range of electric cars is simply not yet sufficient.

So, for the time being, we have decided to continue using our VW diesel vehicles. Because the technology is set to advance quickly, we are keeping a keen eye on things and hoping to make the shift away from fossil fuels in the near future.


 
 

Are biofuels an option?

To a small extent, biofuels such as ethanol from wheat or diesel from rapeseed oil currently exist in Germany (5 to 7%). But how sensible it is to generate fuel from foodstuffs is debatable, and clearing rain forests to make biofuels from palm oil is an environmental catastrophe.


 
 

Company fleet – less is more

For the most part, we continue to rely on diesel. Economical driving and low-emission vehicles are therefore important.


From our carbon footprint, we know that business travel – which includes the fuel consumption of company fleets – makes up over half of emissions at our Tettnang-Obereisenbach location. The issue of mobility and transport is therefore one of our significant instruments for further reducing climate emissions.


In the transformation of our company fleet, we are therefore focusing on these objectives:


  • Reducing the number of vehicles
  • Reducing the number of kilometers driven
  • Driver training for greater safety and lower fuel consumption
  • Changeover to alternatives such as electric cars, hydrogen, natural gas


At VAUDE, too, this is a long, difficult path with many setbacks... which can be seen in the following figures.


However, all emissions originating from our vehicle fleet that are harmful to the environment are recorded in our climate balance sheet and made climate-neutral by means of a compensation scheme. Read more about it here.

 
 

Fuel consumption for the company fleet


2016


+/- to base year 2013

+/- to 2016

kilometers driven VAUDE fleet

+0,09 %

-2 %

Fuel consumption (liter) per 100 kilometers driven

-15%


7.22 liters in base year 2013
7.11 liters in previous year 2016
8.30 liters in current year 2017

+17 %

Number of vehicles (yearly average)

+18 %

+0,00 %

Fuel consumption motor vehicles (liter diesel, petrol)

+15 %

  +14,02%

Fuel consumption VAUDE

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New system for privately used company cars

Another challenge is to offer employees who are entitled to a company car attractive alternative options to our larger models, so that they are willing to opt for smaller, more economical car models and use the train for business travel.


An example: Some employees use their large company VW van (that is authorized for private use) not just once or twice a year for family holidays, but also for the daily commute to work. This is an expensive indulgence for the employees because they have to pay tax on the monetary value, and also for VAUDE because a large car is more expensive and causes more emissions, leading to costly climate compensation fees.


Wouldn’t it make more sense to switch to a smaller (electric) car? And wouldn’t VAUDE giving its employees the use of a van for their holidays, plus a rail card, be a good way to compensate them? This is the kind of scheme we are currently working on. We’re excited about the prospect and looking forward to seeing how it pans out.

All facts and figures given here refer to the VAUDE company headquarters at Tettnang-Obereisenbach. With no data, we are unable at present any concrete figures for fuel consumption for our upstream supply chain.


It is clear, however, that transport and the resulting strain it places on the health of people and the environment creates global problems (for example, smog in Beijing). We are all facing the same challenges in the transportation of goods and people. Read more about our merchandise logistics.



GRI:   302-1
Energy consumption within the organization
GRI:   302-2
Energy consumption outside of the organization
GRI:   302-3
Energy intensity
GRI:   302-4
Reduction of energy consumption
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