Preventative fire protection is the most sustainable option for our customers
This sentence speaks for itself: where there is no fire, there is no damage. Where no damage occurs, there is also no need for reinvestment. In an interview, Dr. Ulrich Schild, General Manager CWS Fire Safety, explains why the CWS Fire Safety business model is essentially already sustainable and why it is important to consider more than just the environmental factors.
CWS Fire Safety
CWS Fire Safety is a full-service provider in the fire protection industry and offers its customers tailored fire protection solutions from a single source. Experts maximise the safety for each and every individual, helping to protect people and property on a daily basis. This includes consultation and planning services, installation and commissioning as well as servicing and maintenance. Environmentally friendly extinguishing agents are used and buildings equipped with sustainable fire protection solutions – after all, prevention is the most sustainable form of fire safety.
What does sustainability mean for CWS Fire Safety?
Sustainability comprises a number of aspects for us. It is not just about the environment – our focus is also on the customer and staff. We attach great importance to training and the further development of our employees. Continuing professional development allows us to improve the quality of our consultation and customer services, helping us to strengthen our customer relations. Another aspect concerns the social standards along the supply chain. Our Code of Conduct and the selection of our suppliers offer us and our customers security in this respect.
How is a sustainable portfolio managed? What goals are pursued?
First of all, I would like to say that we are subject to a range of regulations in the fire safety sector. Our products and services comply with the relevant guidelines and standards, which also form the basis for all of our services. Essentially, we employ the company-wide enkelfähig rating to assess our portfolio. Our service focuses on the servicing and maintenance of the fire protection products, making them particularly long-lasting. In addition to the long service life, circularity also plays a big role. For example, when it comes to disposing of ABC extinguishing agents, we cooperate with a disposal company which reprocesses the powder and returns it to circulation as fertiliser for maize and rapeseed fields.
How is sustainability coupled with economic success? What makes the business enkelfähig?
Sustainability is not a distinguishing feature any more. In order to be successful, the business model must have a sustainable orientation. With preventative fire protection solutions and the durability of our portfolio, we are essentially sustainably positioned. This is complemented by the fact that we orient ourselves to the market, do business as entrepreneurs and check and implement developments at an early stage. In the field of foam extinguishing agents, we focus on fluorine-free extinguishing agents in order to satisfy the tightened EU Directives and not pollute the environment with PFAS substances: per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances that the environment has difficulty breaking down. We entered into the cooperation with our Danish partner VID in the field of water mist fire extinguishers in order to expand this niche market further. We see great potential here, as the water requirement can be reduced by 60–80% compared with conventional sprinkler systems and there is thus a far lower risk of water damage. We as a company have the responsibility to contribute to a future worth living.
When we speak about decarbonisation and the reduction of emissions, what measures are being taken?
We try to take action at our levers accordingly. Office staff can take advantage of a hybrid working model, i.e., working either in the office or from home. That saves private emissions for travel to and from the company. The same applies for our logistics: our service is utilising route optimisation so that we also keep the emissions associated with our trips as low as possible.
When we speak about customers and their requirements, what points are relevant?
Customers are increasingly asking for external validations of our sustainability efforts, for example by EcoVadis. As we are part of our customers’ supply chains, they require corresponding security. However, the same also applies for us and our own supply chain. Innovations in the field of fire safety in particular are well received. This includes the development of hybrid training sessions for fire protection and evacuation assistants. The fire extinguisher must be operated manually, but the theoretical training beforehand can be given in person or online.
What are the next steps planned?
We will survey the social standards along our supply chain and ensure compliance with them. Among other things, our Supplier Code of Conduct forms part of our framework agreements. However, ticking the box is not enough for us. Together with our customers and the experts, we will continue to search for individual and sustainable solutions in preventative fire protection.
Thank you for the interview!
CWS Workwear supports the Sustainable Development Goals of "Responsible Consumption and Production", "Climate Action" and "Partnerships for the Goals".
Enkelfähig – tomorrow now
Here at CWS, we adopt an enkelfähig approach. As part of our parent company Haniel’s enkelfähig initiative, we contribute to a healthier and safer tomorrow with our circular business model.
At CWS, we integrate the enkelfähig concept into our overarching sustainability strategy Think Circular and create value for generations by coupling economic success and value-based action. For us, sustainability and profitability go hand in hand. We work in a way that is generation-friendly and thus enkelfähig.
For a healthier and safer tomorrow. Starting today.