JUN 19, 2017
The Amer Sports ski factory in Altenmarkt, Austria, has been operating for over 45 years. Today, it produces around 400,000 pairs of Atomic and Salomon skis per year and employs more than 750 people, making it one of the largest ski factories in the world. But most importantly, it’s also one of the greenest factories of its kind.
THE ‘GREENEST’ SKI FACTORY IN THE WORLD
“At Atomic we’re all skiers, so just as our consumers we’re very much concerned about our winters and the future of our sport,” says Ansgar Habich, Atomic’s Brand Manager. “That’s why we’re proud to manufacture our skis in what is probably the ‘greenest’ ski factory in the world.”
For sure, operating one of the largest ski factories worldwide entails a huge environmental responsibility. “We always think how we can bring our carbon footprint down, be more sustainable, and recycle more. These questions are the cornerstones of all our operations,” assures Michael Schineis, President of Winter Sports Equipment. “We are in the outdoor business. It is our obligation to make everything as environmentally friendly as possible.”
“As a ski manufacturer, we can’t stop global warming, but we can set an example by reducing CO2 emissions and energy consumption.”
REDUCING THE CARBON FOOTPRINT
Over the last couple of years Amer Sports has undertaken a number of measures to significantly reduce the factory’s carbon footprint.
Take the electrical power consumption, for instance: it is now 100% renewable, fully in line with Austria’s energy strategy focusing on water power plants. Then the company also sets a high value on energy efficiency and has heavily invested in building insulation, infrastructure and heat recovery systems – reducing the energy needed for heating facilities by 50%.
But that’s not all. The heating energy for both the factory and the town of Altenmarkt – Atomic’s home base – comes 100% from biomass, produced by a local power plant that’s financed by Amer Sports and he community equally. The deal: The community needs energy in winter, the factory mostly in summer. “Winter is our low production season. We produce and ship most of our skis in the summer,” explains Michael Schineis. In the past, the factory consumed almost one million liters of oil every year. Today, oil is not needed any more, and the factory’s annual CO2 emissions are down by 10 million kilograms.
A good ski is made out of quite a few different layers, so a ski factory uses many kinds of raw materials like wood, aluminum, steel, plastics, glass fiber, carbon and so on. And although the manufacturing process in Altenmarkt utilizes these ingredients efficiently, a small part of the materials inevitably becomes waste.
Luckily, there’s an award-winning waste management system in place. At the heart of the factory’s wellthought- out recycling process, a special shredder crushes waste material into small particles that are easy to pack, transport and recycle within other industries.
And Stephan Buchsteiner, Head of Industrial Ski Operations, reveals that there’s more to come in the future: “We’re currently looking at using wood chips from our ski production or collecting hot cooling water from the press process for heating our buildings. We’ve still got a way to go until we’re as ‘green’ as we can be. And we won’t stop until we’re there.”