Our Path to a Sustainable Future

Corporate sustainability is of paramount importance to us, as it guides us to align our actions and decisions in a manner that considers not only economic and social factors but also ensures responsible stewardship of natural resources and minimizes our environmental footprint. This page provides a concise overview of our efforts, and we will provide a deeper analysis with more comprehensive data in the future.

Three pillars of sustainability

Our Path to a Sustainable Future

Corporate sustainability is of paramount importance to us, as it guides us to align our actions and decisions in a manner that considers not only economic and social factors but also ensures responsible stewardship of natural resources and minimizes our environmental footprint. This page provides a concise overview of our efforts, and we will provide a deeper analysis with more comprehensive data in the future.

What we are currently doing


Local production

With the construction of one of the most modern iron foundries in Europe, we are relocating around 30% of our production to our site in northern Germany. This not only shortens transport routes, but also significantly reduces the CO2 emissions generated locally.
Melting pig iron requires temperatures of around 1200 °C, whereby coke is often used as a fuel. Gases such as methane, acetylene, ethylene and carbon dioxide are released both during the production of cast iron with coke and during coke production. In contrast, our foundry is fully electrically powered and does not emit any harmful or environmentally damaging gases on site during the manufacturing process.
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Raw materials from the surrounding area

To produce our concrete, we use sand, gravel and cement, which we source from a radius of around 160 kilometres....

Sand is one of the most important commercial raw materials in the world, and the global construction boom means that this resource is becoming scarce. This is leading to increased extraction not only inland, but also from the seabed. Sand mining has a serious impact on the environment, particularly in terms of habitat destruction and beach subsidence, which affects flood defences. To counteract these effects, beaches are often artificially filled. Our sand source is located in Germany, which has less ecological impact than seabed mining and is subject to strict controls [source].

We will obtain pig iron, which is required for the production of cast iron, directly from a raw materials and recycling dealer in our neighbourhood. These are valuable scraps that are produced in the automotive industry, for example.
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Renewable energies

We currently use 340 photovoltaic modules with a total output of around 132 kWp on our production site. These cover around 20 % of our annual energy consumption.
... However, the forthcoming construction of the iron foundry will increase our energy requirements. For this reason, we have planned to expand to 1 MW in the future so that we can cover around 20 % of our energy requirements ourselves at high power generation.read more

Material recycling

Our materials are characterised by their reusability. The cast iron in our products is 100% melted down and can therefore be completely reused. In addition, the concrete from our products is reused for road base courses, for example.

Reduction of plastic

We currently use a small amount of plastic in our products, e.g. for inserts in our manhole covers. At the beginning of 2024, we removed the use of plastic fibres from our concrete, which previously ensured improved bonding of the material. This will save us around two tonnes of plastic material per year. In order to maintain the quality, a change will be made to the concrete mix design....
It is of great importance for us to reduce the amount of plastic, as this has a serious negative impact on our environment. Plastic waste is not only present in the world's oceans, but spreads everywhere as microplastics, be it in the water, in the air or even in the human body. The effects on human health have not yet been fully researched. [source] The main sources of microplastics include tyre wear and the release of fibres when clothes are washed. [source].

Although there appears to be an efficient recycling system in Germany, only around 15.6% of the plastic waste produced is recycled. A considerable proportion is incinerated or shipped abroad, where it is incinerated or disposed of in the sea. [source]
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Introduction of an environmental and energy management system

As a family business, we work together to make our processes even more effective and sustainable. We have been certified in accordance with ISO 14001 (environmental management) since 2022.... The standard deals with the planning, implementation, monitoring and improvement of environmental performance. For example, improvements in waste generation in production processes have been reduced, photovoltaic systems installed and environmental indicators defined. We are also certified to ISO 50001 (energy management), which helps us to achieve energy consumption and emissions targets.read more

More sustainable alternatives for employees

It is important to us to sensitise our employees to more sustainable alternatives. We want to make it clear that oat milk, for example, is an environmentally friendly alternative for coffee and that it doesn't necessarily have to be plastic bottles for water - tap water can also taste great, for example with a Quooker. Since 2023, we have saved around 93% of plastic bottles.... We also enable our employees to familiarise themselves with the topic of e-mobility. This applies not only to e-cars, but also to e-bikes, which we make available to our employees. We are aware that aspects such as lithium mining have ecological consequences and that the construction of a vehicle is not climate-neutral. Nevertheless, we emphasise that e-mobility is a more climate-friendly alternative than fossil fuels over the entire lifespan of the vehicle  [source]. We assume that this conscious approach to more sustainable options will stimulate a positive change in behaviour.read more

What we still need to work on

Using climate-friendly cement

In addition to cast iron, our products are largely made of concrete. Concrete is created by mixing cement, sand and gravel. Cement is the largest CO2 emitter and, depending on the manufacturing process, causes 0.6 to 1 kg of CO2 per kilogramme. Cement is fired in rotary kilns at temperatures of 1450 C°. 1/3 of CO2 emissions are caused by the use of fossil fuels (gas, coal). 2/3 of CO2 emissions are released during the chemical reaction of limestone to cement clinker....

The cement industry is currently endeavouring to achieve decarbonisation in the manufacturing process, e.g. through the wider use of CO2-efficient CEM II/C cements, which have a clinker content of between 50% and 65% and contribute to CO2 reduction [source]. Due to the natural origin of cement, current alternatives are out of the question for us. For example, polymer concrete mainly uses plastics (polyester resins) as a binder, which can normally make up between 5 % and 15 % of the total weight. On the one hand, the recycling of polymer concrete is extremely challenging. On the other hand, it allows the use of round-ground desert sand, which is not possible with cement concrete.

Another cement-free option is geopolymer concrete. In contrast to polymer concrete, alkali solutions such as fly ash or metakoaloin are used as binding agents. The production of this material generally results in lower CO2 emissions. However, depending on the proportion of raw materials in the construction product, similar or even higher CO2 emissions can be produced [source]. We will monitor further developments.
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Increased production in European countries and neighbouring regions

The proportion of castings that we used to produce in China has been reduced to a single-digit percentage (6%) in recent years. A larger proportion currently still comes from India. From 2025... however, 30% will be produced at the site in northern Germany. Together with our partner ERKON (Türkiye), we will thus achieve 50% of total production in Europe and the neighbouring region.read more

Initiate plastic reduction in the Heigart online shop

In our online shop, a significant proportion of our products and packaging are currently made of plastic, which we source from various manufacturers. Our exclusive branded products (HYDROTEC and Takahana) are a welcome exception.... The products under the Takahana brand are completely plastic-free and are made of high-quality steel and wood. For HYDROTEC products, we mainly use cast iron and concrete. In the future, we plan to significantly reduce the proportion of plastic in these products and increasingly focus on more sustainable materials.read more

Do you have any questions or require further information?

Portrait photo Assistant to the Executive Board Linda Apke

Linda Apke
Assistant of the Board

Our Path to a Sustainable Future

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