Sustainability  >  Sustainability performance report

1. Strategy and analysis

  1. 1.1 CEO statement

    For the statement of Albert M. Baehny, Chairman and CEO, see  > Sustainability > CEO Statement

  2. 1.2 Key impacts, risks and opportunities with regard to sustainability

    A sustainable corporate culture makes it possible to increase the value of the company over the long term and minimize risks for its future development. Geberit aims to be a role model and to set standards for customers, suppliers and other partners. This applies to water-saving, sustainable products; environmentally friendly and resource-efficient production; procurement and logistics with high environmental and ethical standards; and good, safe working conditions for the more than 6,200 committed and qualified employees worldwide. The corporate social responsibility is realized among other things within the scope of global social projects relating to the core competence of water and is intensified through partnerships such as that with Swiss WaterKiosk aimed at cleaning polluted drinking water in Bangladesh. There is also a long-term  partnership with the Swiss development organization Helvetas.

    The  50th anniversary of the Geberit concealed cistern is a perfect example of how long-term business success is compatible with environmentally friendly action. This highly successful product, which has been sold over 60 million times, was a far-sighted strategic step on the journey from a sanitary unit to the bathroom of today in its modern form. Water saving through reduced flush volumes, reliable quality and comfort for end users as well as the 25-year guaranteed spare parts availability for plumbers are all convincing aspects of a sustainable product.

    Sustainability means satisfying the needs of today’s generation in a manner that will ensure a solid basis for the livelihoods of future generations. With its Millennium Development Goals from the year 2000, the United Nations aims to halve the number of people without access to clean drinking water and sanitary facilities by 2015. This demonstrates the great importance of the topic of water for world health, world nutrition and peacekeeping. The increase in the world’s population, migration, urbanization, climate change and natural disasters 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 future sanitary technology: Water-saving, resource-efficient products are becoming even more important. The study published in 2013 by the European Commission on the criteria for an ecolabel aimed at reducing water consumption in European toilets was therefore broadly received and discussed. The EU is increasingly putting water conservation on its political agenda and is developing ecolabels for efficient toilets, urinals, washbasins and showers. As an industry leader in the area of sustainability, Geberit imposes stricter standards on its products than those prescribed by the European ecolabels. Leading Geberit WC flushing systems therefore already meet the requirements for this ecolabel. According to the product classification system WELL (Water Efficiency Label) for water-saving and resource-saving products introduced by the industry back in 2011, seven out of eight certified Geberit product groups are represented in the highest classification class A. The analysis of the entire value chain in the form of a  water footprint shows that nearly 100% of the water consumption is attributable to the product usage phase. The water savings are impressive: According to one model calculation, the entire dual-flush and flush-stop “fleet of cisterns” produced since 1998 has so far saved around 15,800 million cubic meters of water in comparison with traditional flushing systems. In 2013 alone, the water saved amounted to 1,980 million cubic meters. This is more than half of the annual consumption of all German households.

    However, the continuous reduction of the ecological footprint of Geberit products goes beyond water saving. Since 2007, Geberit has been implementing the  eco-design approach. This means that concepts are tested in their entirety during a product’s early development phase in order to examine how water, energy and material consumption in the product and value chain can be optimized. At the same time, production processes can often also be simplified and cost savings made. Thanks to its pioneering work on the topic of eco-design, Geberit is well equipped in terms of possible requirements as envisaged as part of an EU ecodesign directive.

     Green building has long been more than just a trend. European standards in this area are becoming more and more important and new standards are setting out the basic rules for environmental declarations for individual products and systems in buildings. Geberit published the first Environmental Product Declaration for lavatory taps in 2012 and a pilot project for the systematic and simpler development of environmental declarations and ecological product information was launched in 2013. At the same time, more and more buildings are being constructed in accordance with voluntary sustainability standards such as DGNB, Minergie, BREEAM and LEED. Investors, project developers, owners and tenants are looking for system providers with holistic expertise regarding green building that can contribute to the respective desired standards being fulfilled in a targeted manner. This is opening up a future market with major potential in which Geberit is present with water-saving, energy-saving, low-noise and durable products. The Group is well positioned as a leading system provider of sanitary solutions in green building and plays an active role in the relevant associations. The importance of the topic is also reflected in the increasing number of green building reference projects in which Geberit products are installed.

    For further information on key sustainability topics and objectives for the long-term development of Geberit, see > Sustainability > Sustainability Strategy