With the aid of our environmental management system certified in accordance with DIN EN ISO 14001 we review our impact on the environment and identify measures for minimising these effects wherever possible. Responsibility for the system rests with our full Executive Board.
The targets and measures pursued in the context of our environmental management system form part of our sustainability strategy and are regularly updated. Under the current Sustainability Strategy 2015 – 2017 we plan to establish an international network for sustainability issues and we intend to expand the collection of environmental data to international locations of the Group. Reporting directly to the Executive Board, the Environmental Management Officer is responsible for continuous refinement of the environmental management system; he also coordinates and advises on compliance with all legal provisions in Germany relating to the environment and takes responsibility for annual conduct of the audits that are obligatory under the management system.
In December 2016 our environmental management system was certified according to the revised international standard DIN EN ISO 14001:2015. Our environmental certificate is thus valid for another 3 years. In 2016 we also drew up our first Environmental Statement in accordance with the EMAS III Regulation and had it validated by an environmental verifier. The validated EMAS III Environmental Statement covers the energy audits that have been mandatory in Germany since April 2015. Major features of the EMAS III Regulation include a rigorous orientation towards continuous improvement of environmental efficiency, the use of consistent performance indicators in relation to key environmental aspects as well as verification of compliance with legal requirements.
The standards set out in our environmental management manual and in the supplementary instructions are mandatory for all managers and staff.
Costs of around EUR 11,000 were incurred in the reporting period for certification of our environmental management system and validation of our EMAS III Environmental Statement. There are also internal personnel costs associated with ongoing implementation of the environmental management system and a Group policy providing coverage for environmental impairment liability and environmental damage.
The offsets paid to atmosfair for CO2 emissions caused by our air and train travel amounted to altogether EUR 222,583 in the year under review and were therefore a major component of our spending on environmental protection. In addition, the 2016 financial year was the first one in which we offset emissions from the use of district heating and from our paper consumption by purchasing climate certificates for the moorland project of Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND – Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland). We were thus successful for the first time in operating with a net zero carbon footprint at the Hannover location. Our total expenditures and investments for environmental protection measures can therefore be put at around EUR 350,000 in 2016.