Businessmen and consumers around the world recognize that Siemens and environmental responsibility are strongly intertwined. The partnership is a natural one that puts the focus on environmental, economic and social health.

The company was founded by Werner Von Siemens and engineer Johann Georg Halske, with meager beginnings in the back of a Berlin building. In the first few decades, sales were generated by the production of electrical telegraphs. But in the century and a half since then, Siemens has grown to become a global powerhouse serving the sectors of industry, energy and healthcare.

To sum up a long and varied history, Siemens has always been committed to finding solutions for the people. Back in 1848, the company built the first long distance telegraph line in Europe. This enabled the news that Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia was elected as the new German Emperor to reach Berlin in under an hour. Had it been 2010, Wilhelm’s new status would have been googled, tweeted, texted and blogged about instantly around the world. But in the mid-1800s, such an accomplishment was earth-shattering.

Today, Siemens continues to produce earth-shattering, and more importantly, earth-saving technologies. They hold the broadest environmental portfolio of any company in the world. To achieve and maintain this standard, they have developed a board of sustainability with representatives of their three major sectors to define and implement environmental strategies and functions.

Siemens’ current environmental goals are ambitious but realistic, based on recent achievements. In 2009, the company’s products and solutions enabled customers to reduce their carbon emissions by 210 million tons, an amount equal to the combined total emissions of New York, Tokyo, London and Berlin.

This year, that number rose to a reduction of 270 million tons. The goal is to reach and maintain reductions of 300 million tons annually. By 2011, Siemens plans to increase their CO2 and water efficiency by 20 percent, with significant progress made in both areas over the last two years.

Partnering with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Initiative earlier this year, Siemens participated in a road test of new global standards designed to help measure the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission of their products and services. The new standards provide measures to account for emissions associated with individual products across their life-cycles and of corporations across their value chains. The goals include identifying opportunities for reducing GHG emissions and improving credibility and transparency in GHG reporting.

To address green building, Siemens has solutions that apply to four of the LEED rating systems. These practices address sustainable site planning, water efficiency, energy efficiency and renewable energy, conservation of materials and resources and indoor environmental quality.

Virtually everything taken into a Siemens facility is in some way recycled. “Our goal is to produce zero hazardous waste by extracting all reusable material, to eliminate pollutants from the environment and avoid disposal costs and liability,” states the company on their website, “Our advanced processing techniques have allowed us to increase beneficial reuse rate of these wastes to over 90 percent as reusable chemicals and metallic commodities.”

Earlier this month, at the Medica 2010 trade show in Dusseldorf, Siemens presented solutions to enable hospitals to improve economic and environmental goals while increasing the quality of patient care. Siemens Building Technology Division has devised multiple programs to help hospitals and health care centers maximize energy efficiency, sustainability and environmental friendliness. Siemens has also developed a unique process of returning and refurbishing medical equipment, which is then resupplied to the market.

As the world’s leading supplier of solutions and services for power generation, transmission and distribution, Siemens has a key role to play in the energy market. Their role in this dynamic market is steadily expanding, with Siemens providing innovative and highly reliable wind turbines, photovoltaic projects and advanced technologies for solar-thermal power plants.

They’ve come a long way from ten employees turning out electrical telegraphs – Siemens now employs over 400,000 people across the globe. And while they have retained their commitment to technological excellence, innovation, quality and reliability from day one, the recent decade has certainly seen a leap in environmental strategies and solutions.

To learn more about Siemens and environmental responsibility, scroll through the indexed list of sustainable topics on the company website.

Editor's note: Siemens is a Mother Nature Network sponsor.

See also:

Siemens and the environment