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 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. The results have been published at the following link to the LCA section on the sustainability page.
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 aspects and establish findings from energy and resource management. Identified environmental aspects, defined objectives and approved company policy are closely interrelated.
Making ecologically sound use of raw materials increases our efficiency and preserves natural resources. Hanwha Q CELLS identifies its environmental aspects and environmental impact on a yearly basis according to the specifications outlined in DIN EN ISO 14001 and DIN EN ISO 50001.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 executive board 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.
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. You can read more about this in our sustainability report.
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.