Verschiedene Faktoren wirken auf den CO2-Fußabdruck ein

The carbon footprint of the Schwabe Group

Since 2019, the Schwabe Group has been collecting data so it can calculate its carbon footprint at its German sites. In 2021, the Group included data from its global sites as well for the first time.

Carbon footprint of the Schwabe Group Germany

In response to the focus area of emissions and energy, we performed an assessment of our carbon footprint for the years 2019 and 2020. This entailed determining our energy use and the related emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide at the German sites of the Schwabe Group, and subsequently we defined initial action areas.

The findings: the Schwabe Group Germany’s CO2 footprint of direct and indirect emissions totaled 47,021 t CO2e in 2019 and 44,785 t CO2e in 2020. Our CO2 emissions were slightly reduced in 2020, which corresponds to our expectations, since the corona pandemic meant that there was a decline in commuter traffic and use of electricity.

Converting the figures helps us to understand them better. According to, the average person in Germany is responsible for some 11.1 t CO2e emissions a year. The Schwabe Group Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions thus correspond to the output of around 4240 and 4040 individuals (2019 and 2020, respectively).

Ginkgo-Plantage in Frankreich

Ginkgo leaves and lactose

There are two factors in the value chain which strongly stand out in our carbon footprint: drying ginkgo leaves, and the spray-dried lactose we purchase. Both of these Scope 3 starting materials make a major contribution to CO2 output, since the drying processes consume a great deal of energy.

Here we are discussing matters with our partners and suppliers so we can implement optimizations, since doing so will help significantly decrease our carbon emissions. We successfully made changes at our ginkgo farms in 2022 and have thus improved the balance sheet already.

For example, we were able to optimize our drying systems and make greater use of residual heat. By planting groundcover plants, fewer weeds grow, which means we do not need our tractors as often, and this consumes less diesel fuel. Deploying robots as well as optimizing our irrigation systems and pumps has also led to a reduction in CO2 emissions. We also have further plans involving agro-photovoltaic systems, and we hope that this will make an additional meaningful impact on our emissions. 

Reduction – substitution – compensation

We are busy implementing other measures to achieve carbon neutrality so that our output will be lower, even in the near future. All of the measures can be categorized in the groups of reduction, substitution, compensation - in that order.

Our top priority is reducing and preventing greenhouse gases by measures such as optimizing our processes. We have managed to find lower-impact alternatives to major sources of CO2 emissions by converting to energy from renewable sources, setting up our own photovoltaic system, and switching our fleet of company cars to electric vehicles. That said, the Schwabe Group cannot completely prevent or substitute carbon emissions. At the moment we are exploring suitable options so that in the areas where we can neither avoid our CO2 output nor find a substitute, we can implement sustainable and efficient environmental-protection projects to compensate.

Green electricity

Since 2022 we have been using green electricity from renewable sources for the power we need at the German sites and cannot generate ourselves. Starting in 2023, we gradually want to instal photovoltaic systems in Durlach so we can generate our own electricity.

Global carbon footprint 2021 

After determining the CO2 footprint for the German sites, the next milestone was to compile it for the entire Schwabe Group. Our current global carbon footprint only covers Scope 1 and 2.  Both of these categories include all of the CO2 emissions which result from extraction, manufacturing, logistics, administration, the vehicle fleet or energy we purchase at the Schwabe Group sites.

Given the complexity and the extent of the data needed to document Scope 3 across all international sites, we are not going to collect information about CO2 emissions for Scope 3 until the next phase. This category encompasses all of the goods and services we purchase, the waste we produce, employee commutes, business travel, and transporting, using and disposing of our products.

Betriebsstätte der Extracta in Karlsruhe

Extraction and manufacturing in Germany

The extraction and manufacturing processes are responsible for the majority of the Schwabe Group’s CO2 output. Even without the Scope 3 data, we now have a robust image of the current status at the Schwabe Group’s international sites. With the total Schwabe Group carbon emissions totaling nearly 59,000 t CO2e, Germany makes up the largest proportion of this figure with almost 22,000 t CO2e or 37%.

Together with Ireland (including the plantations), the US and India, Germany rounds out the group of the four largest CO2 emitters in the Schwabe Group, comprising 91% of the greenhouse gases the Group produces: 53,462 t CO2e. These sites all have either extraction facilities and/or manufacturing areas with clean zones. This is where we consume the vast majority of our energy and thus produce the most greenhouse gases.

These figures alone show clearly that measures at these sites can certainly help lead to a significant reduction in the Schwabe Group’s CO2 output.  As a result, we are focusing our efforts here as we pursue the path to becoming a more sustainable corporate group.

The top 7 make up 98% of carbon emissions

If we add Mexico, Austria and Switzerland to the group’s four largest CO2 sources, we can see that these seven Schwabe sites account for 98% of the group’s CO2 emissions. Having calculated our carbon footprint gives us a solid foundation of data with which we can take strategic steps to make the Schwabe Group a more sustainable company. 

Carbon-neutral in Scope 1 and 2 by 2035

In light of its German and global carbon footprints, the Schwabe Group has set itself the goal of reducing its CO2 emissions in Scope 1 and 2 by 50% by the year 2030 in comparison to its baseline year of 2021. We want to be carbon-neutral by 2035.

We will have completed a Group-wide carbon footprint for Scope 3 in 2023. By 2025 we will have developed a detailed program of measures in conjunction with our suppliers and partners in the supply chain, and together we want to set the goal of complete CO2 neutrality for Scopes 1, 2 and 3. 

What are Scopes?

The graphic below shows developments in energy consumption and emissions along the value chain of the Schwabe Group. We distinguish between three different scopes which involve different sources of emissions.

The sources of emissions are either allocated to what is known as the upstream value chain (for example, which emissions result from generating the energy we obtain and use), the company’s own reported activities (i.e., which greenhouse gases are created as we manufacture our products) and the downstream value chain (such as which emissions are created when using and disposing of our products).

Extracta Detailaufnahme

Scope 1 covers the direct emissions a company generates at its own sites or in mobile equipment, e.g. vehicles. These emissions mostly result from using fossil fuels like petroleum or natural gas.

In the process of calculating our carbon footprint, we also measure the energy consumption rates of our buildings, production processes and logistics facilities. These are the primary components of our carbon footprint. 


Scope 2 covers indirect emissions which originate from other sources that provide energy to the reporting company. Among other things, this includes electricity and district heating.

Scopes 1 and 2 are aspects of every carbon footprint. Scope 3 is optional. In other words, a company is not required to document emissions which fall within Scope 3.

Mitarbeiterpendelverkehr Straßenszene

Scope 3 contains all of a company’s indirect / not directly controllable emissions.

It depicts the entire value chain of a company, i.e. not only the services and goods it purchases, but the waste it produces as well as its employees’ commutes and business trips.

The Schwabe Group's greenhouse gas emissions along the value chain

Scopes 1 to 3 over the supply chain

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