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Sustainability is part of ACO's DNA
We protect people from water and water from people.
Working on sustainable solutions is an ongoing process that we at the ACO Group are passionate about every day.
ACO has been developing products that serve water quality since it was founded in 1946. Over the years we gradually arrived at our motto "ACO. we care for water": a maxim we take literally. Along the way, we rely on transparent processes in comprehensible steps. We work every day to make our systems more sustainable: with innovative, recyclable and durable materials and resource-saving production.
“We only see innovations as such if they are sustainable in terms of production and environmental impact."”
“Technology will make a decisive contribution to solving the climate crisis. We are innovation leaders in the field of Water-Tech, and that is what drives us.”
We are drivers of sustainable technical innovations in the field of Water-Tech
We contribute to several UN Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Goal 6
As a third-generation family business, we live social responsibility
We are a third-generation family business and driver of sustainable innovation. As a Water-Tech company, we have made the protection of water our business
Water has an enormous impact on the quality of life of the population the world over. This is why the United Nations (UN) defined the improvement of water quality as one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals in its 2030 Agenda. With our holistic business model around water we primarily contribute to the sixth (Clean Water and Sanitation), ninth (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure) and eleventh (Sustainable Cities and Communities) UN Sustainable Development Goals. Our underlying drainage strategy, the ACO WaterCycle, promotes the sustainable management of water resources and creates future-proof infrastructures by implementing durable product solutions.
ACO also strives to contribute to the other UN Sustainable Development Goals through its business activities. In particular, the eighth UN Sustainable Development Goal (Decent Work and Economic Growth) is a natural part of ACO's DNA. As a globally active family business, we act with great foresight. ACO has set itself the goal of becoming a best-in-class sustainable Water-Tech company and finding innovative solutions for the challenges of the present and the future.
UN Sustainable Development Goals
Clean water and sanitation
Industry, innovation and infrastructure
Sustainable cities and communities
Our focal points
Our four overarching sustainability focal points are: Environment, Innovation, People and Commitment.
The ACO Group consists of more than 50 independent sister companies worldwide on every continent in the world. This means that each ACO location can operate in its region while having the greatest proximity to its customers and with the greatest country-specific expertise; with direct decision-making power and customised environmental and system solutions. This company structure ensures short delivery paths and the local procurement of raw materials and semi-finished products, depending on availability. We also focus on the use of alternative, sustainable raw materials and the optimisation of existing formulations. This enables us to continuously improve the environmental footprint of our products. One example of this is the use of recycled materials. We see our suppliers as partners on our shared path. Strategic and long-term partnerships with our customers, suppliers and non-profit organisations (e.g. the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB)) are key building blocks in this process. Together, we can shape the sustainable building of the future. ACO is also actively involved in committees, professional associations and standardisation in Germany, thereby also ensuring future quality standards for water. Our ACO Supplier Code of Conduct serves as the basis for co-operation with our suppliers.
Every ACO product is also an important part of an overarching ACO circulation system: the ACO WaterCycle. The water is collected, cleaned, stored and ultimately reused: Collect, Clean, Hold, Reuse. The implementation of the ACO WaterCycle ensures the intelligent use of our most valuable resource: Water. The ACO WaterCycle and therefore all ACO products and materials are subject to ongoing development. Active improvement and sustainability projects are underway for many of our materials. The aim is to significantly reduce the ecological footprint, minimise emissions and waste, save energy and utilise waste heat. Our products make a decisive contribution to and support the blue-green transformation of our customers. The ACO ShowerDrain Public X heat exchanger shower channel enables wastewater heat recovery. ACO Stormwater Management products, such as the ACO Stormbrixx, buffer increasingly frequent „100-year” rain events and ensure that the infrastructure is not flooded. Products for rainwater utilisation are transforming the way we deal with water right into our own four walls. ACO grease traps not only clean the water of today but also ensure the development of the energy resources of tomorrow.
The more than 50 ACO sister companies worldwide are interwoven through the bonds of the ACO family business. For this reason, the internal name of the ACO Group is actually "the ACO family", as laid down in the mission statement "ACO. you can rely on a strong family". The parent company of the ACO Group, ACO Holding of Büdelsdorf, located one hour north of Hamburg/Germany, holds a protective hand over all companies. This is where the roots of the ACO Group can be found, stretching back to 1827. This is where the essence of ACO values stems from: responsibility, courage and trust. These values ensure that a spirit of innovation can develop within a framework of mutual respect and flat hierarchies. The ACO corporate philosophy is therefore not only reflected in our products, but also in the development of our employees. We offer training and further education programmes to strengthen the professional skills of our employees and promote their individual development. Safe, attractive workplaces, offers for mobile working and a large programme for occupational safety and health promotion make ACO a special employer for all those who want to shape the future.
Depending on the country and location, ACO is involved in various activities in the areas of art, culture and sport. The centrepiece of the cultural initiative is located at the Büdelsdorf site: NordArt at Kunstwerk Carlshütte, a former iron foundry and the place of origin of the ACO Group. NordArt, an annual art exhibition, has been taking place since 1999. With more than 200 artists from all over the world, NordArt is one of the largest exhibitions of contemporary art in Europe and attracts over 100,000 visitors every year. The Kunstwerk Carlshütte and the ACO Thormannhalle are also home to the Festival Orchestra of the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival and the venues for the well-known concert series. ACO also brings inspiring people together in the field of architecture to create innovative, experimental and sustainable solutions. "Beyond.aco - Architecture across continents" is an online event in which ACO offers a digital live event for architects, urban planners, engineers and landscape architects in collaboration with the Hamburg-based architectural communications agency AIT-Dialogue. Our archive provides insights into our past beyond.aco events.Furthermore, ACO has always been associated with water and, having a location between two seas, also with sailing. Since 2012, ACO has been the main sponsor of the Musto Skiff World Championships, a single-handed sailing skiff class. The boats reach speeds of up to 20 knots and are considered the fastest single-handed sailing boats in the world.
"ACO is involved in committees, trade associations and standardisation and thus ensures the quality standards of water - true to our mission "ACO. we care for water".
Michael Müller | Head of Business Unit Drainage/Shaft Covers and Tops
"Our smart controlled tree irrigation is a project with a big impact - the positive influence of a tree on the environment and biodiversity is only realised once the tree has managed to grow older and larger."
Axel Leybold | Head of ACO Smart Solutions
"We are on the right track. Our raw materials are a major lever. However, we cannot solve this alone, but only together with our partners, our suppliers."
The ACO WaterCycle Collect, Clean, Hold, Reuse - the circular, interlocking ACO Water-Tech system for the collection and protection of our vital resource: water
With the ACO WaterCycle, ACO supplies intelligent, climate-resilient systems for the professional collection, purification, storage and reuse of water. Innovative separation and filter technologies are applied to prevent the contamination of water, for example by fuels, heavy metals, pesticides, microplastics, fats and even pharmaceuticals such as antibiotics. ACO contributes to the preservation of clean groundwater as a vital resource and with its products makes a contribution to a future worth living in.
In addition to the use of alternative and renewable energy sources, the recovery of energy is becoming increasingly important. The ACO ShowerDrain Public X heat exchanger shower channel utilises this principle. Not only does it fulfil the tasks of collecting and draining wastewater but also serves to achieve wastewater heat recovery. The shower channel is an example of a product which enhances energy efficiency.
clean: Pre-cleaning and preparation
For example, through sustainable grease separation technology
Our grease separators, along with other separation technologies, are an indispensable element for sustainability. They effectively remove grease and oil from wastewater before it can enter the sewage system. This technology thus protects against blockages or corrosion and also protects the groundwater from potential contamination. The highlight: we are helping to ensure that the separated fats and oils become the fuel of the future.
hold: Holding and retaining water
For example, through responsible heavy rain and flood prevention
Extreme weather, heavy rainfall and droughts are increasingly associated with climate change. This is where the ACO Stormbrixx infiltration system comes into action. Rainwater, for example from a “100-year” rain event, is collected and either stored for reuse in future periods of drought or released into the surrounding soil. In this way, we ensure that it is returned to the natural groundwater cycle.
reuse: Pumping, draining and reusing
For example, by conserving and reusing water resources
ACO has developed a vacuum toilet that uses negative pressure to extract blackwater. It therefore only requires barely any fresh water per flush – the water is only used for the odour trap. The vacuum toilets can also be flushed using rainwater or condensate water collected with ACO products like condensate drainage for refrigerated cabinets. A conventional toilet requires 5-8 litres of water. The ACO vacuum toilet requires only 1 litre.
ACO Engineering creates a green tennis court in Barcelona using shower water and rainwater
As part of the sustainability plan of the Spanish tennis club "Reial Club de Tennis de Barcelona 1899", ACO Engineering has planned and implemented a project for the reuse of greywater and rainwater. The greywater produced at the tennis club (from hand washing and showers) is channelled through water treatment systems into water tanks that are equipped to store additional rainwater. From there, the water is filtered by sprinkler systems and used to irrigate the gardens and tennis court. The joint project between ACO Engineering and the "Reial Club de Tennis de Barcelona 1899" will reduce the club's water consumption. The reuse of greywater and rainwater by means of innovative water treatment systems enables resource-saving irrigation, whereby the club actively contributes to environmental protection.
The Blue Angel has been the German government's environmental label for over 45 years and identifies environmentally friendly products and services - such as the ACO Gravel Stabilisation eco. This fulfils the high requirements for environmental, health and usage properties in the category "Products made from recycled plastics". Our Gravel Stabilisation eco even exceeds the requirements: The honeycombs in this award-winning product are made of 100 per cent recycled polypropylene.
"Gravel stabilisation was the first product group to be awarded the Blue Angel. ACO is thus making an important contribution to reducing plastic waste and avoiding hazardous substances and is leading the way in terms of sustainability." (Marcos Touris | Project Manager Plastics Production)
ACO has developed a smart irrigation system for urban trees that has already been successfully implemented in Raalte in the Netherlands. This digital system ensures efficient and sustainable irrigation of urban trees by watering them fully automatically and as needed, using as little water as necessary. The tree systems are equipped with various sensors to obtain data on soil moisture, water levels, temperature, air pressure and other factors to determine the needs of the native plants and trees. During dry periods, the water supply is activated individually; when it rains, the water is collected and temporarily stored. The data can be viewed and controlled digitally. The system is suitable for both new plantings and existing trees. Another project in the Netherlands, at Dinxperlo, is already in progress.
Stagnant water in street drains creates ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes, including the Asian tiger mosquito, a potential carrier of pathogens such as the Zika virus, the Chikungunya virus and the dengue virus. ACO Mosquito Stop closes the connection to the stagnant water in the sludge collector and specifically prevents the laying of eggs. The innovative design not only provides protection against tiger mosquitoes, but also continues to ensure effective surface drainage. A float closes off the drain and opens access to the sludge collector when surface water enters. Sand and dirt are flushed into the sludge collector and the float then closes the sludge collector again. The positive effect has been successfully demonstrated in field trials over two years under the direction of the Institute of Microbiology at the University of Applied Sciences of Southern Switzerland.
Upcycling with a difference. Instead of buying Christmas decorations, the ACO Christmas party 2023 at the company's headquarters in Büdelsdorf was all about sustainability. The decorations were made from waste raw materials such as wood, metal and plastic big bags. The employees also had the chance to make poinsettias out of plastic big bags.
During the expansion of the British ACO site in Shefford, the surrounding environment was also given careful consideration and incorporated into the planning. The focus was on protecting habitats and promoting biodiversity. What was once farmland has been transformed into an area of biodiversity through the planting of over 10,000 trees, shrubs and pollinator-friendly plants. ACO bat boxes and nesting boxes have also been installed to provide shelter for bats and small birds, including blue tits. The extensive and successfully completed development in Shefford demonstrates that companies can expand their facilities and have a positive impact on the environment at the same time. The knowledge gained from the project will also be made available to property developers, architects and planners so that they can achieve similar results in future projects.
IThe management system of ACO companies in Germany includes the implementation of the international standards for energy management DIN EN ISO 50001, for environmental protection DIN EN ISO 14001 and for quality DIN EN ISO 9001. Depending on the location, various certificates are available, each of which provides proof of ACO's quality, energy or environmental management systems. The certificates can be viewed under Downloads.
An energy management system in accordance with ISO 50001 enables efficient control and reduction of energy consumption. This includes, among other things, the introduction of new energy-efficient technologies and the reduction of energy waste. Examples include the optimisation of lighting, heating systems and structural efficiency measures such as heat recovery. The Büdelsdorf, Reith, Philippsthal and Stadtlengsfeld sites only use green electricity.
A quality management system in accordance with ISO 9001 requires the implementation of legal requirements and the definition of guidelines, structures and objectives. This ensures the fulfilment of customer requirements and other quality standards. This process-oriented approach accompanies the central operational processes, creates room for optimisation and promotes the efficient design of work processes.
An environmental management system in accordance with ISO 14001 focuses on environmental protection, the reduction of environmental impacts and the realisation of operational environmental goals, taking into account economic, legal and social conditions. Relevant environmental requirements are already taken into account during product development. ACO's environmental goals include, for example, the expansion of energy efficiency measures and the increased use of recycled materials.
An information security system in accordance with ISO / IEC 27001 demonstrates a holistic approach to safeguarding information security within an organisation. It defines rules, methods and processes to ensure, control, monitor and continuously improve information security in a company on a permanent basis. The main objective is to ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information within the organisation.