Sustainability and environmental protection are one of the core pillars of WEROCK’s corporate philosophy. We want to constantly get better. Not only in terms of our robust computers, but we also want to continuously reduce our environmental footprint. We are still a very young start-up. It was only about a year ago that we sat at the notary’s office and signed the papers for our foundation. We have already achieved a lot this year. But we can’t yet open a development department to research particularly sustainable materials that also meet the demands of robust devices.
With our products, we don’t just want to make the lives of everyday heroes easier. We also want to have a positive impact on the climate. That’s why we fully offset all emissions from our own-brand products. At regular intervals, we review with our suppliers to what extent we can make packaging, logistics, but also the product itself more environmentally friendly.
Compared with the first quarter, our emissions increased sharply. By a factor of around 2.5. The reason for this is the fortunately strong increase in sales and the simultaneous growth in the team. Unfortunately, we are not yet able to calculate emissions accurately at the moment. The inaccuracy comes in particular from a lack of real emissions data. While we have fairly accurate figures for the manufacture of computers, there are numerous other materials – especially in the office sector – for which we do not have precise figures on greenhouse gas emissions. Overall, however, we calculate so generously that we still remain climate-positive on balance.
In the second quarter, we again offset our total emissions with Gold Standard projects. With this offset payment, we not only support climate protection, but also the local community in the areas of healthcare, education, clean drinking water and economic development.
Climate protection must not be pure actionism. Particularly in the case of offset projects, it is important that the associated infrastructure is also sustainably strengthened so that the climate protection projects can also be maintained in the long term by the local population.
For quarter 2/2021, we are supporting the construction of a 22.5 megawatt wind power plant in the state of Rajasthan in India (on the border with Pakistan). Our local partner is Orange Renewable Power Pvt Ltd, an operator of wind turbines and solar farms. The project meets five Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations:
- Goal 3 Health and well-being:
Ensure a healthy life for all people of all ages and promote their well-being
The total of 450 students of the Sr. Higher Secondary School in the village of Rampuriya benefit from the construction of two separate toilet blocks for boys and girls.
Our project partner is involved in various projects. Among other things, in the treatment of sick people, education and cancer prevention, e.g. through the construction of medical camps.
- Goal 4 Quality education :
Ensure inclusive, equitable and quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
Distribution of essential school equipment to Sr. Higher Secondary School in Rampuriya village, benefiting over 150 children. Bicycles will also be distributed to 30 schoolgirls to improve mobility.
- Goal 6 Clean water and sanitation
Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
A bore well with submersible pump and a water storage tank will be constructed at Sr. Secondary School Ambirama to provide a safe source of water for drinking and domestic purposes (cooking, washing and sanitation) for over 850 students and the local community. A 500-meter water pipeline will be laid to provide safe and clean water to 100 girls in a government-run hostel to support the education of tribal girls in Pratapgarh district in the tribal region of Rajasthan. Also provided are two water tanks to store water.
A water tank and water treatment plant will be installed at Devgarh Police Station and Salamgarh Police Station, which will provide easy access to clean and safe drinking water, benefiting employees and the public.
- Goal 8 Decent work and economic growth
Promote lasting, broad-based and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
This project created permanent jobs for 88 people (including security personnel, supervisors, and engineers), 55 of whom were hired locally.
- Goal 13 Climate protection measures
Take immediate action to combat climate change and its effects.
While the construction of the wind farm is in itself a climate protection measure, additional trees will be planted. Tree planting campaigns will be held regularly at schools, substations and public places to create awareness of environmental protection.
The offsetting of our rugged computers takes place directly after receipt of goods and not with the sale. As soon as we have the final shipping weights, the emissions generated by these devices are offset with the next billing period. In doing so, we try to strike a balance between short delivery times and only producing as much as is needed. For shipping to our customers, we usually choose DHL GoGreen shipping, which is also fully CO2 compensated.
We are very pleased that in future the packaging of our Rocktab L110, Scoria A104 and Scoria A105 products will be optimized. This is an important step for the environment. Because currently the packaging for these products consists not only of paper but also of a piece of foam that is cut to fit the product exactly. This causes double waste: On the one hand, the foam is hardly necessary for robust computers, because they can withstand bumps and falls anyway. On the other hand, the cut-out part remains as production waste. This makes neither economic nor ecological sense.
In the future, this packaging will be made a bit simpler and we will do without the previous foam parts of the packaging. At the moment there are still numerous stocks of the old packaging, these will first be used up and then seamlessly switched to the new packaging. Nothing will change for our customers, only the packaging waste will be reduced. The Rockbook X550 is already completely without foam packaging; here, the packaging is only made of paper.
By signing up to Leaders for Climate Action (LFCA), we also want to show our climate neutrality in an externally certified way and hope to gain further insights on how we as a business can make an even better impact. After the audit started recently, we expect to receive our “Green Pledge” towards the end of the third quarter and thus be in best company with companies like Flixbus, Ecosia or Spotify.
So far, all of our presentations and meetings have been handled through our own communication platform, thus avoiding travel. Everyone at WEROCK currently works entirely in their home office, so hardly any additional resources are consumed here.
In the future, we will no longer release new mobile products where the battery cannot be replaced by the user. Currently, there are still too many products in our portfolio where this is not the case. These include the Impakt BC200 bodycam, the Rocktab S108 tablet, and the Scoria A104 and Scoria A105 mobile handheld devices. Until further notice, these products will remain available as part of their regular product sales cycle.
The component shortage around electronic components remains tense. After months of delivery problems, e.g. with the Rocktab L110, this is now available again, but environmentally friendly shipping is currently extremely difficult.
In “pre-Corona” times, around three to four weeks of transport time by rail from China to Germany was normal. Due to the lack of capacity in air and sea freight, there are now regular waiting times for a package to be shipped in all shipping modes. In addition to increased production times due to the shortage of parts, shipping by rail has now reached an unacceptable six to seven weeks. At the same time, prices for shipping by air are increasing.
Experts expect the parts shortage to keep us busy into 2022. Personally, I expect freight traffic to return to normal towards the end of 2021, provided the global coronalage continues to ease.
For the third quarter, we expect further growth in our emissions as the company continues to grow, and we hope that our involvement with LFCA will give us a better overview of our actual emissions. After all, “a lot helps a lot” cannot be the long-term solution either.
We continue to keep our eyes and ears open as to how we can – within the possibilities of a start-up – further reduce our footprint.