Business and financial review
Sustainability in practice – Group-wide
As the European market leader in the sanitary industry, Geberit stands for conserving water, the efficient use of resources and green building. The Group has been proving for decades that long-term business success is compatible with environmentally friendly and socially responsible action. Sustainable business management helps cut costs and minimize risks at the same time. Geberit aims to be a role model and set standards for customers, suppliers and other partners. This includes water-saving, sustainable products; safe, environmentally friendly and resource-efficient production; procurement and logistics with high environmental and ethical standards as well as good working conditions for the more than 6,000 committed, competent employees worldwide. Geberit's corporate responsibility is realized in the scope of global social-aid projects relating to its core competency of water and is intensified through a long-term partnership with the Swiss development organization Helvetas.
With its Millennium Development Goals of 2000, the United Nations intend by 2015 to halve the number of people who do not have access to clean drinking water and sanitary installations. This demonstrates the great importance of the topic of water to world health, world nutrition and peacekeeping. Increasing world population, migration, urbanization, climate change and natural catastrophes can lead to regions that are currently well supplied with water becoming problem regions in the future. These global trends will have a significant impact on the sanitary technology of the future: Water-saving, resource-efficient products are becoming increasingly important. With the successful launch in 2011 of the product-classification system WELL (Water Efficiency Label), the European sanitary industry determined that improved information for consumers is important to achieving broad acceptance. WELL is an information and orientation aid for conscious purchasing decisions with respect to the responsible handling of water. Six Geberit products have already been classified in the highest efficiency categories.
Green building has long been more than just a trend. It is a global development in which Geberit is placing its faith with appropriate products. The Company is already supplying water-saving and energy-saving, low-noise and durable products that meet sustainable construction standards. In this way, Geberit is positioning itself as the leading system provider of sanitary solutions in green building. This is plain to see in numerous → reference buildings in which Geberit products are installed: Le Monolith in Lyon (FR) is part of one of the most impressive urban-development projects in Europe. 80% of the energy consumed in the building comes from renewable energy sources. Geberit Mapress Carbon Steel pipes were used for the connections between the solar collectors and the water heating system. They guarantee long-term resistance to corrosion, can be quickly and safely connected to each other and are exceptionally well suited for closed hot-water circuits. The 126-meter-tall Prime Tower recently built in Zurich (CH) required special installations, especially considering the strict requirements with respect to waste water, acoustic insulation and the hydraulics in the roof drainage system. Various Geberit products contributed to convincingly meeting these challenges: the Pluvia roof drainage system and the GIS installation system, the electronic urinal flush controls and washbasin taps, as well as the PE- and Silent-db20 piping systems.
Geberit's positioning as a sustainable company is playing an ever more important role in various stakeholders' expectations, as demonstrated by a series of → awards. The consistent implementation of the sustainability strategy is an essential guideline for the development of all internal organizational units. The strategy focuses on individual sustainability modules. Among these are → green procurement, → green logistics and → environmental management in production, → occupational safety and → eco-design in product development as well as → social-aid projects. Each module contains a clear objective, derived measures and quantified key figures for effective monitoring. Overall, objectives were achieved to a great extent in 2011. For more information, see the → sustainability strategy.
Geberit is committed to internationally recognized principles of sustainability and since 2008 has been a member of the United Nations Global Compact, a global agreement between businesses and the UN designed to make globalization more socially and environmentally friendly. → Communication on progress regarding measures in the areas of human rights, labor practices, environmental protection and combating corruption is submitted annually. Geberit is also a member of the local Swiss network of the UN Global Compact. The formal anchoring of the subject of sustainability is reinforced by the → Code of Conduct for Employees, the → Code of Conduct for Suppliers and a Code of Conduct for transport service providers. Compliance with the directives is ensured by continuously improved compliance processes. In addition, an extensive system for the control and management of all risks involved in entrepreneurial activities is in place throughout the Group (refer to → Corporate Governance, 3. Board of directors, article “Information and control instruments vis-à-vis the Group Executive Board”).
A performance review of sustainability is published annually in accordance with the guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). All aspects of the directives can be found in the → Sustainability Performance Report. The information disclosed in the scope of the report fulfills the maximum transparency grade A set out in the GRI directives, which has been verified and confirmed by GRI (refer to the → GRI-Statement). Based on this transparent approach, for instance, in the year under review, Geberit won the highest rating in the Swiss Annual Report Ranking of the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland, which has a strong focus on sustainability reporting.
Geberit's performance was honored with numerous awards in 2011, among them the → Marketing Prize of the Swiss Marketing Association (GfM) and the → German Logistics Prize for its radical restructuring of logistics and the development of logistics to a core competency. In addition, the Company was awarded the highest honor, → Most Innovative Brand Award at the Plus X Awards, a German prize for innovation of products in the areas of technology, sports and lifestyle, as well as various awards for individual products in the Sanitary product group.
The efforts in terms of sustainable corporate management are also being rewarded on the capital market. At the end of 2011, more than 10% of Geberit stock was held by sustainability-conscious investors. Geberit is well represented in the continuously growing sector of sustainability stock indices and sustainability funds. Thus Geberit shares are listed in the STOXX Europe Sustainability Index as well as the FTSE4Good Index (Europe/Global). In addition, renowned sustainability funds hold Geberit shares in their portfolios. Geberit’s objective is to continue to play a significant role in the constantly growing investment segments Sustainability and Water.