Schwalbe publishes its first CSR report with ‘ambitious’ goals for the future

Ralf Bohle GmbH, with its Schwalbe brand, has published its first CSR report.

The family-owned company said it wants to create transparency, formulate concrete, measurable goals and anchor the topic of the ecological and social responsibility holistically within the company.

The CSR report for 2021 aims to be informative and is intended to serve as an inspiration for the bicycle industry as a whole to further expand its responsibility.

It is based on the Sustainability Reporting Standards of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI Standards). The internationally recognised guidelines enable standardisation and comparability of all sustainability topics between different companies, even outside the bicycle industry.

The basis for Schwalbe’s understanding of ecological responsibility is based on the circular economy according to the cradle-to-cradle principle. This involves designing products and processes from the outset in a way that all materials can be recycled even after they have been used and no waste is produced.

One example of this is the Schwalbe Recycling System, after successfully operating a tube recycling programme for the past seven years, used tyres are now also recycled and used for new Schwalbe products beginning in summer 2022.

CEO Frank Bohle said: “Anyone who offers products for climate-friendly mobility should act sustainably themselves. That is what we demand of our corporate responsibility.

“We pursue the goal of achieving our business objectives with less resource consumption and environmental impact. To achieve this, we want to inspire and involve as many partners as possible. Our vision is to create lasting economic, environmental and social value.”

Schwalbe has defined four strategic areas of action: products, company, supply chain and social. The goals include:

– In 2023: To introduce the first mass-produced tyre made with RCB obtained from tyre recycling (product)
– By 2026 Schwalbe plans to recycle 14 million tyres and 15 million inner tubes (product)
– All unavoidable aviation emissions to be offset from 2022 onwards by financing certified international development and climate protection projects in the countries of production (company)
– To use 100% renewable energy at the company’s headquarters in Germany from 2025 (company)
– To launch the supply chain transparency project, Schwalbe joins the Responsible Sports Initiative (RSI) as a member in 2022 (supply chain)
– A key goal in the supply chain area is to expand the Fair Rubber programme. The number of members is to be increased by over 700% by 2023
– In the social area, Schwalbe plans to establish its own Children’s Advisory Council in 2022 as part of a joint project with Children e.V.

Felix Jahn, CSR manager, said: “We are reaching a milestone with the publication of the first CSR report because we are transparently disclosing, in accordance with GRI standards, where we currently stand at Schwalbe and where we want to go.

“Our corporate responsibility not only relates to our own products or our social commitment, but also to the upstream and downstream supply chain. We want to make a real positive contribution and are not satisfied with reducing negative impacts.

“Our goals are ambitious, but our tyre recycling exemplifies that we can overcome difficult hurdles as a team.”

In 2021, Schwalbe carried out its own climate balance for the company headquarters in Germany. The outcome of the analysis showed total emissions of 1,351.84 tons of CO2e. Compared to the base year 2018, this resulted in a reduction of over 1,100 tons of CO2.

The company aims to build on this in the coming years and reduce emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 2018.

Read more: Leaps and bounds: The story behind Frog Bikes

Schwalbe has also been cooperating with Fair Rubber e.V. since 2019. Together, the two campaigned for fair trade in natural rubber and actively support the improvement of living and working conditions for rubber tappers.

After seven years of running its tube recycling programme, which is still unique to date and has recycled over seven million tubes, Schwalbe officially launched its tyre recycling program this year.

Currently, the Schwalbe Recycling System already has around 950 participants from the specialist trade, and the number is growing daily. In the first stage, it is available exclusively in Germany.

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