Freudenberg has set itself some ambitious goals. By 2025, the company aims to cut its CO2 emissions by 25 percent. And by the end of the year, it will have determined its path to CO2 neutrality. As Director of Sustainability, Dr. Bilguun Bayarmagnai plays a key role in making sure the goals are met.
Next Stop: Sustainability
Talk to Dr. Bilguun Bayarmagnai and you will encounter an open-minded and inquisitive person – perhaps the result of his life experience. In 2001, when the native Mongolian accompanied his mother to study in Speyer, Bayarmagnai, 13 at the time, did not speak a single word of German. “At school, I could barely distinguish at first what was being taught. The only subject I found easy was mathematics, since a foreign language isn’t necessary,” says Bayarmagnai. “But learning the language as quickly as possible was nevertheless crucial. Many of my friends gave me a helping hand, for which I am still very grateful today.” While in school, Bayarmagnai began tutoring other students in math. “This helped me learn German even more effectively while also allowing me to give something back to my friends.”
Fascination for Chemistry
After graduating from high school, Bayarmagnai knew he wanted to study chemistry: “The subject intrigued me, particularly the practical experiments. We didn’t have them in Mongolia.” During his studies, Bayarmagnai focused on organic chemistry, especially active ingredient synthesis. Also during his studies, he volunteered at an association as a tutor for students with an immigrant background. After earning his doctorate with honors from the University of Kaiserslautern in 2016, he initially conducted research at the CaRLa - Catalysis Research Laboratory in Heidelberg.
But Bayarmagnai wasn’t interested in working for a chemical company. Instead, he joined Freudenberg Technology Innovation as a project manager in 2017. Why? “I saw an opportunity to learn something new without being bound to one field of expertise. I found that very appealing as my motto is lifelong learning.” When Bayarmagnai became acquainted with Freudenberg, he was attracted by the company’s Values and Guiding Principles.
I saw an opportunity to learn something new without being bound to one field of expertise. I found that very appealing as my motto is lifelong learning.
Dr. Bilguun Bayarmagnai, Director of Sustainability
Discovering new perspectives
As a project manager, Bayarmagnai studied trends, gained insights into market research and analysis. He worked on various strategic and operational research and development projects. “My first project was to investigate the power-to-gas market from a technological perspective. This concerns renewable energy and its storage possibilities through chemical conversions.” The aim was to show whether Freudenberg could offer the market the solutions that are currently in demand.
Joining Freudenberg was easy for him. “I soon came into contact with many people. The team work was very good, and my supervisor had complete confidence in me.” Bayarmagnai was given an opportunity to manage various projects. The young family man impressed his colleagues and completed various internal and external training programs, including materials science, the Chief Technology Manager course at the RWTH University Aachen and the Freudenberg First Leadership Development Program.
Analyzing challenges and opportunities, deriving recommendations
Since March 2020, Bayarmagnai has been the Freudenberg Group’s Director of Sustainability. He coordinates the Group’s sustainability project “Sustainability drives Climate Action” and reports to Freudenberg’s Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Tilman Krauch. Bayarmagnai acts as a Strategic Guide and is in continuous exchange with the Business Group Sustainability Coordinators. “Since sustainability is such a broad topic, I learn something new every day. It demands diverse technical expertise and a great team spirit, which I like very much.” The fact that his profession involves sustainability is also reflected in his private life. Although unable to forgo flights back to his home country, he does go about his life more consciously. “We recently acquired two chickens. Liesel and Lotte provide us with fresh eggs every day.”
Sustainability as a goal and a necessity
Freudenberg’s understanding of sustainability as resource efficiency is guided by the United Nations’ Brundtlandt Report. The company places a strong focus here on materials, waste, water, energy and emissions. “Introducing measures alone is not enough. We need to precisely and demonstrably measure them, since this is the only way to ensure that we achieve our goals.” By the end of 2022, a new Sustainability Reporting Tool will be implemented across the Group to track progress.
But why all the effort? “Alongside innovation, sustainability is becoming a key business success factor. Customers are also insisting on sustainable products.” By operating resource-efficiently while improving the resource efficiency of its customers, Freudenberg’s sustainable production and products enjoy an advantage.
Introducing measures alone is not enough. We need to precisely and demonstrably measure them, since this is the only way to ensure that we achieve our goals.
Dr. Bilguun Bayarmagnai