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An EU directive came into force in 2017 that makes it obligatory for listed companies with more than 500 employees to disclose non-financial information about their operations – the so-called Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR Directive. At the same time, it is becoming increasingly important for SMEs to voluntarily publish reports about their sustainability performance. No matter whether a business manufactures products or provides services, partners, customers and suppliers all expect the highest possible levels of transparency and to be able to see proof that sustainability criteria are being fulfilled. Which is why REMONDIS Thermische Abfallverwertung (also known as RETA) in Staßfurt recently had their operations reviewed in line with the Sustainability Code.
REMONDIS Thermische Abfallverwertung GmbH in Staßfurt generates electricity and steam from waste. The electricity produced is fed into the grid and used to cover the plant’s own requirements. In addition, steam is supplied to the neighbouring soda works as process steam. By combining heat and power, the plant makes the very most of the energy contained in the waste.
As efficiency and sustainability are both key criteria at EfW plants, RETA Staßfurt decided to take part in the Sustainability Code project, an initiative of the ITAD [Association of Thermal Waste Treatment Plants in Germany]. The Sustainability Code was developed by the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE) and contains 20 criteria for an accredited, efficient and high quality sustainability reporting process. As part of its application, RETA Staßfurt had to complete a declaration of conformity and have two employees trained to become sustainability officers specialising in the thermal treatment of waste.
Dr Jörg von Smuda, Managing Director RETA Staßfurt
The process was accompanied throughout by the IfN, an institute in Münster offering sustainability training. The Sustainability Code, however, not only takes a detailed look at environmental issues. It also contains equally important criteria such as equal opportunities, employment and human rights, compliance regulations, political influence, sustainable development responsibilities and the depth of the value chain. With sustainability being at the very heart of RETA Staßfurt’s corporate philosophy, it scored points across all areas of its business. “We soon realised that we already run a very sustainable business,” explained Dr Jörg von Smuda, managing director of RETA Staßfurt, who had initiated and accompanied the accreditation process. “Our task is, therefore, to communicate this to others. The Sustainability Code is a useful way to do this,” Dr von Smuda continued.
The declaration of conformity issued by the Sustainability Code can be viewed online on the RNE’s website. The results can also be found on RETA Staßfurt’s website where they are displayed in a so-called ‘sustainability calling card’, which provides a clear and simple explanation of the process. Click here to take a look at RETA Straßfurt’s declaration of conformity on the RNE’s website