In order to make sustainable economic activity a reality, it is essential to incorporate environmental and social considerations into business calculations.
The principle of sustainability integrates seamlessly into Hanwha's strategy of qualitative growth and also takes priority at Hanwha Q CELLS. This is guaranteed by policies such as the implementation of an environmental and energy management system. Comprehensive implementation and an integrated vision of sustainability are still in their infancy as a corporate model but they allow companies to save costs, increase profits and achieve market leadership.
Sustainability is competitive
In Germany, it is already possible to use green electricity on an industrial scale at competitive prices, something which Hanwha Q CELLS has been demonstrating since 2009. Production at its Thalheim plant is powered exclusively by renewable energy sources. The Berlin plant made the change in 2011 and is now also supplied with green electricity. The company has managed to reduce CO2 emissions by 90 per cent at its German production sites compared with 2008.
Hanwha Q CELLS aims to ensure transparency when describing the impact that its solar cell and solar module manufacture has on the environment. In 2011, a project was launched to produce life-cycle assessments for our products. Main indicators are the carbon footprint and the energy payback time. The datas will be updated on a yearly base.
It is our aim to check business activities systematically for possible environmental risks and vulnerabilities and identify potential for optimisation.
Efficient environmental controlling
Successes in environmental protection can also be measured and managed. Hanwha Q CELLS regularly analyses environmentally relevant data and costs to produce benchmarks that demonstrates the company's environmental efficiency. Such analyses focus on the entire value creation chain involved in the production of a solar cell or module and encompasses the assessment of whole systems. For Hanwha Q CELLS, environmental controlling begins with sustainable procurement and ends with the recycling of end products.
The input-output analysis summarises the annual flow of our main materials. Data is reviewed on a monthly basis to detect any impact on the environment in good time and increase the standard of the environmental protection on site.
Energy- and resource management
The basis for efficient energy and resource management is a transparent database. The instruments to provide such a database consist of environmental controlling and our process monitoring system, introduced in 2011. Energy analyses based on these data are carried out on a continuous basis and used to identify saving potentials. After an internal evaluation, our specialists enter the findings into a EHSQ (Environmental, Health, Safety and Quality) program.
The basis for defining objectives and determining measures is a fixed process to identify environmental and energy aspects and establish findings from energy and resource management. Identified environmental and energy aspects, defined objectives and approved company policy are closely interrelated.
|Reduction in printed material at Berlin plant.||Optimisation of IT - settings for printers:
1. Adjustment of standard setting to black and white printing
2. Adjustment of standrad setting to double-sided printing.
|Increase in the percentage of renewable energy used to reduce CO2 emissions.||Signing of a contract to supply "green electricity" to Berlin location||100%|
|Collection of data regarding consumption rates to establish potential reduction of CO2 2Emissions at Berlin location.||Recording of electricity consumption rates for 2011.||100%|
|Optimisation of compessed air supply.||Redution of residual oil content in compressed air by 0,29mg/m³.||100%|
|Reduction in emissions from employee transportation.||Reduction in company vehicle pool||100%|
|Logging of all production-relevant electricity supplies as the basis for identifying any faults and for introducing measures for improvement.||Logging of all production-relevant electricity supplies with a process control system. System was put into operation in 2011.||100%|
|Reduction of waste generated at Bitterfeld-Wolfen site.||Bitterfeld-Wolfen managed to reduce waste by 6.897 t in 2011. This was achieved by a newly installed flue gas purification system.||100%|
|Creations of a life-cycle assessment for Hanwha Q CELLS products.||Acquisition of a software application to produce an LCA. Modelling of overall life cycle for our products. Analysis of findings.||100%|
|Implementation of an Energy Management System.||The certification fo the standard DIN EN ISO 50001 was succesfully completed in March 2012.||100%|
|Implementation of an Health- and Safety Management System.||The certification fo the standard BS OHSAS 18001 was succesfully completed in April 2012.||100%|
|Decrease of accident rate to lower than 3.6 accidents per 1 million man hours.||Execution of E-learning trainings and implementation of "health-days" in the company.||80%|
|Optimization of compressed air and vacuum consumption.||Reduction of pressure level in the system in combination with an alteration of head control in vaccum pumps.||100%|
|Decrease of accident rate for Thalheim to lower than 4.9 accidents per 1 million man hours.||Execution of E-learning trainings and implementation of "health-days" in the company.||20%|
|Increase the part of own produced green energy in Thalheim.||Implementation of a feasibility study and installation of a new solar power plant.||10%|
|Reduction of the natrual gas consumption.||Additional pipe insulation and optimization of the heat recovery.||20%|
|Systematic study of the key consumption regarding the individual consumers.||Conducted consumption analysis and listing of the major consumers.||30%|
Environmental and energy aspects
Making ecologically sound use of raw materials increases our efficiency and preserves natural resources. Hanwha Q CELLS identifies its environmental and energy aspects and environmental and energy impact on a yearly basis according to the specifications outlined in DIN EN ISO 14001 and DIN EN ISO 50001.
The avoidance of waste is our highest priority, followed by potential recycling before disposal. We have set ourselves targets in this respect which go beyond legal requirements. After putting into operation a flue gas purification system (SCR system) at our Thalheim location in March 2010, we managed to reduce chemical waste at the site by 7,000 t. The system is based on a treatment of nitrous oxides (NOx) using a thermal, catalytic process. In addition to avoiding waste, any waste produced is recycled using an environmentally friendly process. The recycling rate gives an indication of how much waste is recycled in an environmentally friendly way as a percentage of all the waste produced. The rest of the waste is disposed of according to regulations. We verify this process on a regular basis by carrying out audits at the waste management company’s actual facilities.
When calculating CO2 emissions we take into account direct emissions (Scope 1), indirect emissions (Scope 2) and emissions from employee transportation (Scope 3). Since 2010, we have also included emissions produced by the company vehicle pool. The data refer to the Thalheim (Germany) location and the Cyberjaya (Malaysia) location.
Exhaust emissions from production processes (Scope 1):
Exhaust treatment systems have been installed with state-of-the-art technology in our production facilities. Voluntary monitoring of our exhaust emissions using an emission inventory allows us to respond quickly to any changes. The emission inventory is updated and the acquired data analysed on a regular basis.
Exhaust emissions from power generation (Scope 2):
The emissions produced while generating electricity are not produced directly at the Hanwha Q CELLS location, but from the respective electricity producer’s facility. An electricity producer may generate emissions by burning coal, for example. In order to reduce emissions, Hanwha Q CELLS has been using CO2-free electricity for manufacturing processes at its Thalheim plant since 2009. Unfortunately, we are not able to do the same yet at our Malaysian plant due to the local power supply networks in the country.
Exhaust emissions due to transport and travelling on company business (Scope 3):
For a globally active company such as Hanwha Q CELLS, business trips worldwide are unavoidable. In cooperation with the German railway company, Deutsche Bahn, we offer our employees a jobticket, an inexpensive, environmentally sound way of commuting to work. For our own short-notice deliveries, we use forwarding agents who operate in the region. We ensure that we make optimum use of forwarding service capacities. 80 per cent of our shipments are collected by our customers themselves on site.
At Hanwha Q CELLS, water mostly used during production process. The wastewater produced is cleaned in water treatment systems. The cleaned water is then fed back into the production process. This system allows Hanwha Q CELLS Thalheim (Germany) an Hanwha Q CELLS Cyberjaya (Malaysia) production locations to reduce wastewater by about 30%.
Responsible handling of resources is assured at Hanwha Q CELLS. That’s why we further develop our processes and the equipment and materials that we use in production on a continuous basis. In doing so, our main objective is to reduce the use of raw materials, additives and consumables.
When new hazardous materials are introduced into production processes, our hazardous material management team checks to see if a substitute material could be used. All potential risks from the use of materials is checked and assessed right up to waste disposal.
Product life cycle
In preparation for the future, Hanwha Q CELLS is involved in the sustainable recycling of photovoltaic modules. As a member of the European Association for the Voluntary Take Back and Recycling of Photovoltaic Modules in Europe, PV CYCLE for short, Hanwha Q CELLS is helping promote the creation of a mandatory, cost-effective return system.
Thorough organisational and technical preparations were made for the system in 2009, which were set out in a formal Voluntary Agreement of the European Commission and the European Parliament in April 2010. The members of the association undertake to guarantee the return of PV modules and finance their return on a cost-effective basis. Used modules are collected and professionally recycled at special return stations.
This voluntary initiative enables Hanwha Q CELLS to meet its own requirement for sustainable trading which takes into account the entire life cycle of our products. Our efforts have been extremely worthwhile as can be seen from our modules, such as the Q.PRO-G2, for which we already provide free module return as part of the PV Cycle initiative.
A life-cycle assessment is a systematic analysis of a product’s environmental impact during its entire life cycle. This includes all environmental impacts during raw materials production, production, usage, transport, product disposal and associated upstream and downstream processes, such as the production of raw materials, additives and consumables.
The environmental performance of Q CELLS products over their entire life cycle is of prime importance to us. By including information from processes which are upstream and downstream from actual production at Hanwha Q CELLS locations, we also take responsibility for environmental impacts which occur in the supplier chain and during disposal. We are working to create life-cycle assessments for our products during all stages of their life, from silicon extraction, wafer manufacture and cell production through to module manufacture and the use of Q CELLS solar modules in ground- and roof-mounted systems. These assessments take into account the production and packaging materials used, energy consumption, transport distances, emissions and waste produced at each life cycle stage. This enables us to obtain a complete picture of the environmental impact that our products have and to work actively on providing improvements. Using an assessment software application and a scientifically sound database allows us to ensure that findings are comparable and based on solid facts. Results from this analysis comprise a comprehensive CO2 footprint and energy-returned-on-energy-invested times. If we take a reference value, it is clear that Q CELLS solar modules are more energy-efficient and significantly more climate-friendly than the average module. Our energy-efficient solar modules thus allow us to help protect the climate as generating CO2-free electricity releases fewer emissions into the environment than fossil-fuel energy producers, for example. The transparent presentation of results is important to us, as understandable statistics play a significant role in promoting the changeover to renewable energy sources worldwide.
The energy payback time of our modules installed on a representative roof system amounts 1.42 years. The energy payback time of our modules without system components amounts 1 year. The data includes all stages of the life cycle.
The presentation shows which production stage in the life cycle of a PV module is the most energy intesive one. In this case the wafer production has the biggest ratio (55.3%) followed from the module conversion (19.8%).
The excess energy shows the amount of times the electricity generation in the use phase exceeds the invested energy in the production process.
The carbon footprint shows the carbon dioxide equivalent emissions of a product througout its complete life cycle.
Making a difference with social commitment
A company active in an industry which focusses on sustainability has a special responsibility. We wish to embrace such a responsibility by supporting social commitment initiatives.
In July 2009, two Hanwha Q CELLS technicians taught 25 college students in Addis Ababa the basic principles of solar cell physics and production.
In November 2009 and November 2011, two Hanwha Q CELLS employees travelled to Ethiopia once again to train 25 solar technicians in Rema and Hawassa. Since 2007, Hanwha Q CELLS has provided patronage for the International Solar Energy School in the country, which is managed by the Solar Energy Foundation. The two Hanwha Q CELLS technicians arrived with solar cells, measuring devices, cables, soldering irons and comprehensive visual aids relating to photovoltaics and successfully taught the basics of solar electricity generation theory and practice within one week. After completing their training, the ‘Rural Solar Energy Managers' trained through this support programme now work in solar centres across the country, where they offer financing, installation and maintenance of small rooftop systems.
In a country where less than one per cent of the population has access to electricity, solar power, stored in a car battery, makes a huge difference by providing electric light. Solar electricity allows people to read, sew, cook, draw and listen to the radio after dark. Progress is thus being achieved.
Since 2012, Hanwha Q CELLS has been assisting in a construction project to provide a solar-powered water supply system to the Ethiopian mountain village of Rema. The old diesel-powered generator that used to pump the water from the well in the valley to the mountain village had broken down in autumn 2011. Ever since the people of Rema had to walk on foot scrambling an altitude of 400 m to get fresh water. In addition to supplying solar panels, Hanwha Q CELLS collected 8000,- € from an in-company donation to help install a solar-powered water pump. The Q CELLS solar modules will make the water flow uphill again.
The Solar Energy Foundation´s principal aim is to promote development aid. This primarily involves combatting proverty through the use of environmentally friendly technology. The foundation also seeks to promote environmental protection, education and training. It runs solar electricification projects in Ethiopia under the slogan "Light for education" and maintains a school for solar technicians in Ethiopia. Hanwha Q CELLS supports the foundation's work with financial contributions and by sending trainers to Ethiopia.
We were very much inspired by the Swiss adventurer and climate activist Louis Palmer’s idea of traveling around the world using solar energy, because it shows how solar mobility is possible in the future. That's why Hanwha Q CELLS is supporting the Solartaxi on its journey around the world, during which it will pick people along the way and give them a lift, thereby promoting the use of solar energy.
Fairness, Training and Responsibility
Fairness, training and responsibility are corporate values that we take as seriously as we do as performance, efficiency rates and quality.
Fairness, training and responsibility are corporate values that we take as seriously as we do as performance, efficiency rates and quality. We use international standards to guide us, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations, the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the principles of the Global Compact of the United Nations.
Knowledgeable, committed and motivated employees are the basis of our success. That’s why we attach great importance to our employees’ expertise. In 2012, a total of 508 employees took part in 157 training events and 2,102 hours of training. This included legal training for managers as well as the training of auditors.
Q CELLS had contracts for a total of 64 trainees and students in four training programmes and three student programmes in 2012. Students receive optimum grounding for a successful start to a career in the solar industry in the twelve outstandingly equipped specialist study rooms at our in-company training centre. One of our trainees was awarded the prize for the best machine and systems operator by the Halle-Dessau District Chamber of Commerce and Industry in November 2009.
Our social responsibility extends to initiatives far beyond the region, as can be seen from our involvement in the Solar Energy Foundation.
In cooperation with charitable organization Diakonieverein e.V. Bitterfeld-Wolfen-Gräfenhainichen, we carried out an advanced training project with five young mentally and multi-handicapped people in 2010. One of our trainers taught participants how to use calculation and text editing programs at our in-company training centre, aided by business administration trainees.
Our employees are increasingly focussing on finding a balance between their career and family life. Employees shouldn’t need to choose between a child and a career. We'd like them to combine the two, so that our employees are able to fulfil their personal and professional responsibilities in equal measure. Depending on the job and place of work, we thus offer a range of different working-time models, such as trust-based working hours, flexitime and a one-year extension to parental leave involving part-time employment and telecommuting from home. In 2010, we set up a day-care centre near the company with 20 places for our employees’ children in cooperation with the town of Sandersdorf-Brehna.
Establishing organisational regulations has enabled us to create the required conditions for Hanwha Q CELLS to also lead the way in company healthcare and work safety in terms of quality and performance. It is our strategic goal:
1. To ensure that Hanwha Q CELLS employees are healthy and fully fit for work and that no work accidents or occupational diseases occur (target = zero)
2. Our machinery and equipment are scrutinised with regard to their safety-related layout, safe operation and minimisation of impact due to breakdowns thanks to organisational hazard prevention measures.
This allows us make use of our machinery and equipment in line with the latest safety engineering standards when planning, setting up, operating and shutting down our equipment and machinery.
Download Accident Statistic
Social commitment in the region
Hanwha Q CELLS supports initiatives and associations in the Bitterfeld-Wolfen region and provides assistance to sports clubs and their youth work. These projects take on an important role in social cohesion and political education in the region. They also aid the political work involved in attracting new investors, this helping the projects of as many people as possible in the region.
The ‘Solar energy goes to school in Sachsen-Anhalt’ project was initiated by Magdeburg-based engineering company MUTING and the Sachsen-Anhalt Ministry of Science and Economic Affairs. Hanwha Q CELLS, solar system provider Mp-Tec and engineering services company Technik Centrum Thale financed photovoltaic systems and information material for lessons at 20 schools. The primary objectives of the project are to interest children in future energy supply issues, educate them with a particular focus on the environment and show them career options in the forward-looking photovoltaics industry. The project receives further support from the Ministry of Agriculture and the Environment, the Sachsen-Anhalt Ministry for Culture and the European Social Fund.
Hanwha Q CELLS donated 25 mini-photovoltaic modules, accompanying ammeters and displays for use in lessons. The mini-modules allow teachers and pupils to visualise solar electricity generation in an experiment and thus include the subject of photovoltaics and renewable energies in the timetable.
Hanwha Q CELLS has appointed a management systems officer with many years’ experience in DIN EN ISO 9001, 14001, 50001 and BS OHSAS 18001. He is responsible for implementing and developing quality, environmental, energy and health and safety requirements further with the support of all executive board members. Hanwha Q CELLS has advanced the issue of sustainability significantly through its certified quality, environmental, energy and health and safety management system. Quality, environmental, energy and health and safety-related aspects along with our company’s legal requirements for are continuously analysed, evaluated and communicated.
Modern Process Management System
The basis for our management system is Hanwha Q CELLS process landscape.
The core business processes are underpinned by detailed sub-processes and procedural requirements. Processes are further developed and improved, based on a plan-do-check-act cycle.
Future-Looking Corporate Policy
We take responsibility for the future. A sustainable product requires a sustainable company policy, because sustainability is an investment in our future together. Financial and ecological criteria as well as our employees’ health are issues closely interrelated with our high quality standards when it comes to making decisions about investments and the launch of new processes and products.
Further Development Of Our Management System
The improvement process integrated into the management system ensures that the quality of processes and products are improved on a continuous basis.
The management and the management system officer carry out a management system review every business year or when far-reaching changes are made to the management system. Focuses for further development are planned and agreed by taking into consideration the required activities, costs and the necessary resources.
A yearly audit programme ensures that company processes and corporate standards are implemented effectively. All company departments are subject to an audit every three years while key departments undergo audit on an annual basis. Responsibility for planning and implementing audits lies with quality management. The management system is controlled in the group of companies with the aid of standardised evaluations.
Hanwha Q CELLS aims to optimally adapt to customer and market needs at all times. That is why the Quality Management Department‘s quality assurance system monitors the quality level of our products in accordance with established, documented quality criteria to ensure a level of quality in accordance with the customer's requirements. A large number of instruments are available to measure and monitor product and process quality.
As a globally operating company, Hanwha Q CELLS is in contact with suppliers worldwide.
Corporate responsibility is an essential part of the Hanwha Q CELLS procurement strategy. Suppliers are selected and assessed based on a fully integrated supplier management system. The development of a comprehensive code of conduct for our suppliers was a logical consequence for us. All our suppliers are required to act according to the code of conduct. Checking compliance with these principles is a permanent, inherent part of our suppliers' audits.
We assume responsibility. For our environment, customers, employees and shareholders.
Our sustainability report
And the winner is...
As one of the major photovoltaics enterprises, we want to help shape the future of solar energy. We develop customised solutions for different customers' requirements and thus help to ensure that solar electricity increasingly becomes a cost-effective, safe and reliable source of energy. In doing so, it is our aim to make certain that both our products and our production methods are sustainable. That’s why we work with an integrated, certified environment and quality management system and also publish this system’s findings in reports for the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). We thus provide transparency to all our stakeholders and, consequently, to society as a whole, of which we are a part. This is also evident from our social engagement.
Hanwha Q CELLS was officially launched on 24 October 2012 after the South-Korean Top-Ten conglomerate Hanwha Group had taken over major parts of the former Q-Cells SE. Since the company has only existed for less than three months of the fiscal year 2012 we ask for your understanding, that there is no sustainability report for 2012. Nevertheless all integrated and certified management systems are up and running and we will again be reporting as soon as possible.
Please find the sustainability report of 2011 here:
Carbon Disclosure Project
Hanwha Q CELLS has opted to take part in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) survey. Participation is a matter of course for us as disclosing company-related climate information enables us to provide greater transparency with regard to greenhouse gas emissions detrimental to the environment. The CDP is an association consisting of 655 institutional investors holding a total of US$78 trillion in assets between them. In 2010, Hanwha Q CELLS was the first ever solar company to be listed on the CDLI Index. This index comprises the 30 best companies which take part in the survey.