The declared aim of ROWE MINERALÖLWERK GmbH is to minimise its impact on the environment in all its operations. Above all, our company is guided by the following five principles, which are laid down in its quality and environmental policies binding for all our stakeholders:
- Prevention of accidents and work-related health risks
- Prevention of environmental and property damage
- Efficient use and conservation of energy, raw materials and materials
- Preference for environmentally friendly products
- Compensation of our CO2 emissions
The reduction of the ecological footprint has long been a top priority at ROWE. The company has been certified in accordance with the ISO 14001 standard since April 2010. This internationally valid standard describes the requirements for environmental management systems. Besides the standard requirements to comply with all laws and guidelines on the subject of the environment, the aim is to achieve the goals the company has set itself and to continuously improve its environmental performance.
To expand its scope of activities, ROWE began the year 2017 with the conversion campaign towards the introduction of the energy management system in accordance with ISO 50001. This certification enables ROWE to monitor energy flows throughout the enterprise and to analyse energy efficiency for the purpose of implementing technical measures and modifications aimed to improve it. To this end ROWE, as a CO2-neutral company, not only focuses on the criteria of sustainability and the improvement of the energy balance, but also on increasing economic efficiency. For saving energy does not only mean conserving resources and cutting emissions, but also reducing energy costs - in this case ecology and economy can be perfectly harmonized.
Another aspect of resource conservation is the configuration of the production processes at the plant in Worms. Due to the rigid allocation of pipes and tanks for raw materials (additives and base oils) as well as of more than 140 pipes and tanks for processed products, otherwise common flushing processes that involve large quantities of flushing oil are eliminated. Each tank is equipped with its own pump and, in combination with the storage tanks for raw materials, more than 200 pumps of various capacity classes are operated. Over 60 km of pipeline have been laid across the entire production area - equivalent to a distance from Worms to Frankfurt.
But even comparatively small building blocks have a remarkable cumulative effect. These include, for example, using LED lighting, electric forklifts, reducing paper consumption in our administrative operations through a document management system, and motivating all employees to observe sustainable practices both at work and in their private lives. ROWE supports this with various benefits, e.g. a preferential rate for the use of e-bikes. In addition to all these measures, the cooperation with our partner company "PALBO" located in our own building allows us to produce the containers locally and thus to reduce CO2 emissions.
Climate change is a social challenge and the focus is increasingly placed on corporate responsibility. The foundation for an active contribution to climate protection is maintaining the CO2 balance. A CO2 balance can be established in various areas and quantifies, for example, the greenhouse gas emissions of individuals, companies or individual products. The balance allows companies to monitor emissions and to reduce and eliminate them with customised strategies and measures.
In 2017, ROWE opted to have its climate impact calculated by an independent organisation on the basis of all the data available. The analysis revealed that the majority of emissions occur mainly at the upstream stages of the value chain. The emissions of the entire value chain correspond to 10 times the emissions directly generated by ROWE.
In addition to measures taken towards reducing emissions, ROWE has committed to compensating all remaining emissions by supporting a number of projects. ROWE's certificates comply with the CER (Certified Emission Reductions) standard, a climate protection procedure supervised by the United Nations (UN). The UN acquires CERs from trustworthy, climate-friendly projects, the so-called "Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Projects". Most CDM projects are located in developing countries, where they contribute to sustainable development. In addition, the projects are a major driver for the development of clean technologies and sustainable economic development. In some cases, certificates are also acquired in accordance with the Gold Standard, which has been used as an additional standard for UN-registered projects since 2006 and was developed following the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDSs). This standard can be leveraged to measure, for example, the influence of projects for various SDGs.
ROWE's emissions are currently being offset through the support of the following projects:
- Biomass project in India
- Project for natural gas in India
For customers, ROWE's commitment means that every product they buy, from 1 litre to 1,000 litre containers, is 100 per cent climate-compensated. This way, our customers themselves can contribute to global CO2 offsetting. The climate-friendly production of the ROWE product purchased can be recognised by the printed "CO2-compensated" label. Through implementing this practice, ROWE is one of the first companies to offer its customers climate-compensated lubricants.
Future prospects: The initial establishment of the CO2 balance was but a first step for ROWE towards becoming a climate-friendly company. As its next goal, ROWE has committed itself to improving the balance and thus the data situation. This step is to be carried out primarily in cooperation with the suppliers with unique factors contributing towards CO2 balance. As a result, the CO2 balance is gradually improved, revealing new insights and approaches into ROWE's impact on the climate.
The production of lubricants at ROWE is part of a complex value chain that begins with the extraction of the raw materials and extends to the disposal or recycling of the end products.
For ROWE as a CO2-neutral company, it goes without saying that not only do we optimise our own manufacturing processes, but we also promote sustainability initiatives throughout the entire length of the value chain. The greatest impact in the lubricants industry lies primarily in the upstream stages of its value chain. This makes the process of selecting suppliers and above all the selection of raw materials particularly important.
Already at the stage of selecting suppliers we pay close attention to requirements which, in addition to the standard quality criteria, also include ecological (e.g. environmental and energy management systems, CO2 balances) and social aspects (e.g. BSCI, ILO core labour standards). Our ultimate objective is to promote the principles of sustainability in those areas upon which we have no direct influence as well as to develop them further in cooperation with our suppliers. One of the current projects is the further development of our CO2balance through the integration of supplier-specific emission factors. It is being implemented with the aim of obtaining a more precise data situation and making use of the optimisation potential.
When selecting raw materials, we increasingly focus on the use of renewable raw materials as well as various basic liquids.
The majority of the plastic containers used are produced by our partners, Palbo GmbH, and manufactured on-site in Bubenheim and Worms. Thanks to such short transport routes, we can offer a high degree of flexibility and, above all, cut CO₂ emissions. Another key step towards a more positive product balance is our use of regrind from recycled plastic materials, so-called recyclate, when we produce our containers. By adding this recyclate to the production process, not only do we reduce the amount of newly produced plastic, but we also extend our sustainability portfolio in the upstream corporate operations.
For each container produced, the content of recycled material is over 20 percent. Our customers can check this with the special embossing stamp on the rear side of our containers. This stamp stands for sustainability and environmental protection - and it begins with our packaging
As a licensed partner of GVÖ, ROWE also takes its responsibility at the end of the value chain very seriously. In order to avoid environmental pollution, empty containers are collected free of charge and recycled by GVÖ at a certified specialised company.
ROWE MINERALÖLWERK GMBH is committed to responsible corporate conduct (corporate governance) as the basis for economic success as well as the recognition of our business practices on the part of our various stakeholders. The cornerstone of the company's success is a corporate culture characterised by commitment and motivation, supported by the responsible and ethical conduct of every employee. A committed, motivated and responsible corporate culture also includes a self-commitment to maintaining integrity in business activities.
ROWE therefore observes legal and regulatory requirements and expects the same from its employees and business partners. In addition to compliance with laws, this also includes corporate guidelines and policies, binding commitments and shared values. The basis for responsible corporate management is the Code of Conduct along with additional guidelines and policies pertaining to various areas (quality, environmental and energy policy; EHQS guideline; HR and IT policies). These standards of conduct describe the framework for the way in which ROWE's goals are to be implemented in its daily work. It is not just the results that count, but also the way in which these goals are achieved. The scope and intensity of our compliance measures result from subject-specific risk analyses carried out by our operational units. As part of the introduction and maintenance of management systems, a legal cadastre has been implemented to ensure the reliable verification and implementation of legislative provisions.
To meet the constantly growing demands within the context of international commerce as well as the mandatory requirements of the automotive industry, ROWE obtained certification as an "Authorised Economic Operator" (AEO) in 2017. An "Authorised Economic Operator" benefits from a special status: It is considered to be a particularly reliable and trustworthy economic operator and can therefore take advantage of special benefits in the context of customs clearance. The goal is to secure the continuous international supply chain starting from the manufacturer of a product to the end consumer. As part of the certification process, ROWE had to comply with a number of licensing requirements, including, for example, anti-terror screening of all persons who have access to the plant premises. Besides customs benefits, certification also offers a number of indirect benefits such as fewer security-related issues and better collaboration with business partners.
In addition to complying with legal regulations and internal guidelines, ROWE has long assumed responsibility in its association work and participates in a wide range of initiatives:
- UNITI federal association of medium-sized mineral oil companies
- UNITI federal association of medium-sized mineral oil companies pools expertise in the areas of fuels, the heating market and lubricants. It represents about 90 percent of the organized mineral oil medium-sized companies in Germany. More than 1,000 member companies of UNITI generate a total annual turnover of around 35 billion euros and employ approximately 80,000 employees in Germany.
- VSI – lubricant manufacturers association
- The Lubricant Manufacturers Association (VSI) is an association of all major manufacturers of automotive and industrial lubricants in Germany. With 83 member companies, VSI represents over 90% of the German lubricant industry. Its members are large multinational petroleum companies and many small and medium-sized enterprises. The task of the association is the perception and promotion of the ideological, economic and technical interests of its members. It represents these interests in particular when dealing with public authorities, entities incorporated under public law and trade associations.
- FSQ – lubricant quality association
- The objective of the Association for Lubricant Quality is to ensure the quality of lubricants distributed in Germany, in particular to ensure compliance with the API, ACEA, ISO, DIN, ASTM, RAL and SAE classifications as well as the manufacturing specifications, and hence to promote a competitive and equal environment for all market players and to safeguard the interests of consumers. The members of the association commit themselves to the compliance with the advertised standards and subject themselves to continuous self-monitoring. The products of the members are inspected at a minimum once per year.
- NaSch - lubricant industry's sustainability initiative
ROWE has been a member of NaSch - the sustainability initiative (NAchhaltigkeitsinitiative) of the German lubricant industry (SCHmierstoffindustrie) since 2017. Sustainability is becoming increasingly relevant across all industries. The subject is of particular importance for lubricant manufacturers. It was therefore a logical further step for ROWE to join the sustainability initiative established in 2016 and to take part in it, on the basis of the previous company policies and the measures already implemented. By joining NaSch in 2017, ROWE as a CO2-neutral company was one of the first medium-sized lubricant manufacturers to make a deliberate decision to support the initiative and act proactively in this area. The reason for this is the idea that lubricant companies should not wait for the EU to lay down the legal framework and regulations, but rather set their own standards to guide the industry and promote sustainable management. Accordingly, NaSch is the first association in Germany dedicated to the development and definition of sustainability key performance indicators (KPIs) for the lubricant industry. These shall be determined by an independent, neutral agency among the members of NaSch and serve as a benchmark for other companies. Key sustainability indicators are the result of energy consumption, CO2 emissions, waste generation and the increase in water consumption. In all these areas, ROWE sees great potential that is worth of conscious effort. It is all the more pleasing that NaSch has created an instrument that serves as a platform for lubricant companies to cooperate, exchange information and learn from each other.
Quality is the cornerstone of a long-term success of a company. It starts with planning and ends with the customer - no matter in which part of the world the product is delivered. This process is subject to constant development and therefore always places new demands on all parties involved.
ROWE has been certified in accordance with the DIN EN ISO 9001 standard for quality management systems since 2001. In accordance with the current version DIN EN ISO 9001:2015. Every company and authority can be certified under this minimum inter-industry standard. Besides increasing quality by eliminating sources of error, the main objective is to reliably and consistently meet the specified quality requirements in accordance with transparent and comprehensible standards. The commitment to quality corresponds to the requirements of the market, our ambitious customers and above all to the standards that ROWE, as a manufacturer of high-quality products, sets for itself.
Providing for all the relevant certifications set forth by the automotive industry standards is another tradition at ROWE. This becomes clear in the industry-specific supplement to ISO 9001 - the IATF 16949. ROWE has been certified to this standard since February 2009.
The abbreviation IATF stands for "International Automotive Task Force". It is a work group of representatives of mostly North American and European automobile manufacturers and automotive associations (e.g. the German VDA). Its purpose is to harmonize the standards governing the development of product quality in the automotive sector and to achieve the greatest degree of transparency throughout the entire supply chain. For this reason, this is where the special further requirements based on ISO 9001 are anchored. Although only 30 percent of the more than 100 existing OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) are members of the IATF, the world's leading OEMs such as BMW, Chrysler, Daimler, Fiat, Ford, General Motors, PSA, Renault and VW nevertheless belong to it. Any lubricant manufacturer who seeks to further qualify as an automotive parts supplier to assert itself in this lucrative market inevitably has to implement IATF 16949, as this is the minimum standard for suppliers who want to supply directly to OEMs.
The decisive element for this certification is the quality management anchored in the corporate strategy, which ensures the organisation of processes and workflows towards customers, suppliers and all the other stakeholders. Strategic control tools, which have been implemented within the operational processes, ensure a higher effectiveness and quality of the business processes throughout the company. The focus at ROWE is on proactive quality management designed to prevent any mistakes. Regular customer surveys also contribute to localizing and eliminating any potential weaknesses, extending beyond daily customer feedback.
ROWE has laid down its philosophy of quality in a corresponding policy on quality:
The quality of our products and services is the decisive factor for success. Our
management system is based on a holistic, integrative and above all process-oriented
system. This system incorporates all relevant standards and requirements of stakeholders concerned,
in particular IATF 16949:2016.
We commit ourselves to implement all necessary measures in order to consistently
meet the requirements of our customers. To ensure this, we apply the
standard methods of the management system norms.
To achieve these objectives, we train our personnel to the best of our ability. We constantly involve all
employees in the continuous improvement process to optimize quality, service,
costs and technology. Our employees are aware that the future of
our company and job security can only be guaranteed through customer satisfaction.
We always favour measures designed to prevent mistakes,
as nothing is more economical than not allowing mistakes to occur in the first place. Should we nevertheless discover any mistakes, then we will develop, implement and
verify corrective measures for the permanent elimination of the causes of such mistakes.
We invest in state-of-the-art production technology and plan every relevant step of our workflow.
All business partners who work on or enter our premises
are obliged to observe and apply our quality-relevant regulations and procedures. ROWE is committed
to an open dialogue with customers, suppliers, authorities and the public. In cooperation with
our customers and suppliers, all qualitative requirements are appropriately
evaluated and incorporated into our operations.
The golden yellow spread from a good old beekeeper is a must on every breakfast table.
But honey is not a given, as the population of bees is declining and with it - countless plants that depend on the small buzzing insect for daily pollination.
As part of our sustainability projects, we support the Röhrs family of beekeepers, who are actively building up new bee colonies with the proceeds from their honey, thereby strengthening the bee population in Germany.
The high-oleic sunflower oil as a raw material is characterized by its unique properties. First of all, it's renewable — in the sense of sustainability. Its use conserves the finite resources of fossil fuels. Moreover, high-oleic sunflower oil can be produced, processed and used on a regional basis. In addition to adding value at home, shorter transport routes reduce the environmental impact. Even when compared to rapeseed, the greenhouse gas impact of the high-oleic Sunflower is lower, as it thrives even without extensive fertilisation. But what makes this high-oleic sunflower particularly interesting are its chemical properties as the basis for the production of hydraulic oils. Commercial sunflowers or rapeseed oils are mainly composed of polyunsaturated fatty acids and a small proportion of saturated fatty acids such as stearin or palmitic acid. What is desirable for a healthy diet is very problematic for lubricants, because these fatty acids are very oxidizing and prone to gummification and are therefore far from ideal for technical processes. In the case of the High-Oleic-Sunflower, the proportion of monounsaturated oleic acid with only one double bond predominates. In contrast to rapeseed oil, the highly reactive triple double bonds are not present. A double bond - the actual lubricating element of the compound - can be stabilised quite easily by additives. A base oil with such fatty acids distribution is therefore very well suited for industrial use. The name is also explained by this fatty acid profile: "high-oleic" stands for "high oleic acid".
On the one hand, the "HIGHTEC SUNLUB® ULTRAINDUSTRY" developed by ROWE is a classic industrial hydraulic oil approved for industrial use. On the other hand, as a classic bio-oil it also complies with ISO 15380 HETG standards for high-oleic sunflower oil. Below, we describe two experiments in which high-oleic sunflower-based oil is compared to mineral oil-based products.