ZF says it expects its partners and suppliers to contribute to climate change reduction, as the issue continues to gather pace among regulators and the manufacturing sector.

This is particularly true of Europe, whose ever-more attentive  regulators are increasingly eyeing automotive emissions as key to driving down CO2 in a bid to meet ambitions set by the COP 21 conference in Paris and which will almost certainly be toughened yet further in its Glasgow equivalent later this autumn in Scotland.

“Climate protection is going to become an increasingly important social task for us,” said ZF CEO, Wolf-Henning Scheider at the supplier’s first-half financial presentation from the shores of Lake Constance in Southern Germany.

“We would like to become climate-neutral by 2040, ten years earlier than the Paris agreement. Sustainability is a mandatory criteria for our companies and we told our partners and suppliers we expect them to contribute to climate protection. For ZF locations, it is our target to reduce our CO2 emissions by 80% compared to 2019.

“We would like to [also] source our steel from electric furnaces and no longer from coke furnaces. It is quite a challenge to become completely climate neutral. It is not going to be a walk in the park, but we are confident of achieving this goal.”

Scheider made his comments as the supplier unveiled first-half 2021 sales up significantly to EUR19.3bn (US$23bn) compared with EUR13.5bn in the first six months of Covid pandemic-hit 2020, a rise of 43%.

Adjusted EBIT was EUR1bn compared with a loss of EUR177m in H1, 2020.

The manufacturer added it was sticking to its 2021 forecast of sales of between EUR37bn and EUR39bn.

“We are facing high uncertainties, for example, material prices and bottlenecks are major challenges,” noted Scheider. “We have been reacting flexibly and we are agile when it comes to overing the crisis of the past year.”

The supplier added it would be present at this year’s IAA in Munich from 7-12 September and would highlight how it was “more than just an automotive supplier,” according to Scheider.