Sustainability  >  Sustainability performance report

4. Governance, commitments and engagement

  1. 4.1 Governance structure, committees under the Board of Directors

    For details about the internal organization of the Board of Directors and its committees, see  Business report > Corporate governance > Board of directors > Internal organizational structure.

  2. 4.2 Separation of chair of Board of Directors and Executive Management

    The Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Albert M. Baehny, has also been Chairman of the Board of Directors since 2011. For further information, see  Business report > Corporate governance > Board of directors.

  3. 4.3 Independent members of the Board of Directors

    The Board of Directors consisted of six members in 2013, of whom only the Chairman, Albert M. Baehny, is simultaneously involved in operative management in his capacity as CEO. All of the committees formed by the Board of Directors are comprised exclusively of independent members. For further information, see  Business report > Corporate governance > Board of directors.

  4. 4.4 Mechanisms for shareholders and employees to address recommendations to the Board of Directors

    For the participatory rights of the shareholders, see  Business report > Corporate governance > Participatory rights of shareholders. There is no employee representative on the Board of Directors. The employee representatives of the European sites meet regularly within the context of the Geberit Europe Forum with a member of the Group Executive Board and the Head Corporate Human Resources. Selected concerns can be addressed to the Board of Directors through this channel.

  5. 4.5 Linkage between compensation for the highest bodies and the organization's performance

    For information about the remuneration of the management bodies, see  Business report > Corporate governance > Compensations, shareholdings and loans.

  6. 4.6 Processes in place for the Board of Directors to avoid conflicts of interest

    The Articles of Incorporation and Organizational Regulations of the Board of Directors stipulate how conflicts of interest of members of the Board of Directors are avoided; see  Business report > Corporate governance > Board of directors > Definition of areas of responsibility.

  7. 4.7 Determining the qualifications of the Board of Directors with regard to sustainability issues

    There are no formal procedures for determining the qualifications of members of the Board of Directors in environmental and social matters. For further information, see  Business report > Corporate governance > Board of directors > Elections and terms of office.

  8. 4.8 General principles and codes of conduct

    Among the most important mission statements and principles are the following:

  9. 4.9 Procedures of the Board of Directors for overseeing sustainability performance

    Geberit’s longstanding success is based on the fact that, together with the Board of Directors, the Group Executive Board pursues a long-term perspective, thus enabling the company to demonstrate its performance clearly in areas also including environmental protection and sustainability. The  Sustainability Strategy is examined and approved by the Group Executive Board and the Board of Directors. Results and the achievement of objectives are submitted to the Group Executive Board and Board of Directors for verification at least once annually. This also comprises the  Communication on Progress UN Global Compact and the Geberit Compliance Report, including the audit results with respect to the Code of Conduct.

    The way in which the topic of sustainability is approached has been regularly reviewed within the company. For around 20 years, Geberit has had an Environment/Sustainability department, which has been reporting directly to the CEO for the past nine years. In recent years, this department has coordinated the further development of the Sustainability Strategy and related activities, although the responsibility for planning and implementation lies with the individual areas themselves.

  10. 4.10 Processes for evaluation of the sustainability performance of the Board of Directors

    There is no formal procedure for assessing the performance of the Board of Directors from an integrated sustainability perspective.

    For information about the remuneration of the management bodies, see  Business report > Corporate governance > Compensations, shareholdings and loans.

  11. 4.11 Precautionary approach

    The precautionary principle plays an important role for Geberit as a production company. This is defined in the  Geberit Code of Conduct and reflected in the integrated Geberit management system (quality, environment, safety). In operations it is implemented by means of preventive approaches for environmental protection, occupational safety and quality assurance, see   combined Group certificate for quality and environment in accordance with ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. In line with the “best-in-class” approach, ambitious long-term goals were drawn up at the end of 2012. For example, by the year 2020 the aim is to reduce absolute CO2 emissions by 20% compared with the base year 2000 (based on organic growth) and to halve accident rates compared with 2010.

    An extensive system for the control and management of all risks involved in business activities is in place throughout the Group. For further information, see  Business report > Corporate governance > Board of directors > Information and control instruments vis-à-vis the Group Executive Board.

  12. 4.12 External agreements and initiatives

    Geberit has been a formal member of the UN Global Compact since October 2008 and was a founding member of the local Swiss network in 2011. The company has been a member of the Transparency International organization since June 2000 and supports its objectives for combating corruption. Through the voluntary application, introduced in 2007, of the G3 Guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) in the Sustainability Report and GRI Report, Geberit makes an active contribution towards ensuring transparency and comparability in sustainability reporting. Furthermore, the company became a member of the non-profit organization “Swiss Water Partnership” in 2012. The goal of this platform is to bring together all those involved in the topic of water supply (from the academic, business, public and private spheres) in order to address future challenges in this area jointly. This partnership also aims to promote international dialog on water.

  13. 4.13 Membership in associations and organizations

    Geberit is involved in various associations and organizations that make a contribution toward sustainability. In addition, various Geberit companies are members of national associations on topics such as environmentally friendly production, energy, waste management and employee protection. For major commitments, see > Company > Sustainability > UN Global Compact and Memberships.

  14. 4.14 Relevant stakeholder groups

    Significant stakeholder groups for Geberit are customers, shareholders and analysts, banks, the media, employees, trade unions, neighbors and municipalities, suppliers, transport companies, competitors, associations, non-government organizations and the general public, governments and regulators, and research institutes. Details on stakeholder engagement can be found under  4.16.

  15. 4.15 Basis for selection of stakeholders

    Systematic dialog with stakeholders helps Geberit to identify possible conflict issues and opportunities for further development and to respond to these in good time. At the national and international levels, the Geberit Group and the Group companies maintain relations with organizations and institutions in the respective countries that direct requests and suggestions to the company. The stakeholders listed under  4.14 have been identified as important for systematic stakeholder dialog as they fulfill one of two criteria: Either the stakeholder group exerts a strong influence on the economic, environmental or social performance of Geberit and/or the stakeholder group is strongly affected by the economic, environmental or social performance of Geberit.

  16. 4.16 Approaches to stakeholder engagement

    As part of sustainability reporting on the 2012 financial year, Geberit for the first time initiated and consulted a panel of external stakeholders. The objective of the work performed by the external Stakeholder Panel was to review Geberit’s Sustainability Strategy and sustainability reporting. This involved analyzing whether the most important topics were included in sustainability reporting and whether the concerns of the stakeholders were taken into consideration. The results of the Stakeholder Panel are presented in the  Panel statement. In the   Response from Geberit to the Panel statement, Geberit deals in detail with the external statement and the recommendations contained therein. The next Stakeholder Panel consultation is due to be carried out in 2014 and is intended to support Geberit in identifying key sustainability topics for its reporting in accordance with GRI G4.

    A stakeholder analysis is performed at all production plants as part of environmental management in accordance with ISO 14001. Requirements are recorded situationally in stakeholder dialogs. Based on this information, Geberit identifies potential for conflict or opportunities and essentially pursues a cooperative approach in order to discuss and further develop possible measures with the stakeholders concerned.

    Engagement of stakeholders according to stakeholder group and type:


    • Customer contacts: Around 500 technical advisors working in the field are in daily contact with plumbers, planners and architects in particular.
    • Training: During the reporting year, around 30,000 customers were provided with basic and further training in Geberit systems and software tools at the 25 information centers in Europe and overseas.
    •  ”Geberit On Tour”: Mobile exhibition that presented the advantages of Geberit products at more than 1,150 events throughout Europe in 2013. Around 34,000 visitors were registered at the events in total.
    •  ”Geberit Challenge”: The competition took place in Switzerland, Finland and twice in the United Kingdom in the reporting year. Garnering much media attention, the best team of plumbers in each of these countries was chosen by Geberit.
    • Trade fairs and customer surveys: see  Business report > Business and financial review > Customers.
    • A trend study entitled “Changes in Body Awareness and Hygiene” was carried out by Zukunftsinstitut GmbH in Frankfurt (DE).
    • Shareholders, analysts:

    • Participatory rights of shareholders, see  Business report > Corporate governance > Participatory rights of shareholders
    • Regular conference calls, bilateral meetings, conferences and roadshows by the CEO, CFO and Head Corporate Communications & Investor Relations
    • Media:

    • Regular conference calls, bilateral meetings/interviews with the relevant media for Geberit
    • Sustainability issues and in particular the proof of performance and role model status of Geberit in this area are playing an increasingly important role in Geberit's media relations
    • Employees:

    • Geberit Europe Forum: Regular meetings of the employee representatives of the European sites with a member of the Group Executive Board and the Head Corporate Human Resources
    • Training and feedback opportunities on topics regarding the Code of Conduct, see  SO3
    • Introduction of Group-wide  “Geberit Integrity Line” from January 2013 enabling all employees worldwide to report internal irregularities anonymously
    • Employee survey every four years
    • Neighbors, municipalities:

    • Consultation with and inclusion of the neighbors of production plants in larger construction projects
    • Open days at various production sites
    • Research and universities:

    • Financial support of the ETH Zurich Foundation with its key strategic area entitled “Sustainable Construction”
    • Cooperation with Tongji University (CN) on technological trends and developments directly related to sanitary technology
    • Cooperation with the University of Applied Sciences Rapperswil (CH) on the efficiency of production machines
    • Suppliers:

    • Initial contact within the scope of the assessment procedure and implementation of the Code of Conduct for Suppliers
    • Regular discussions between buyers and suppliers on site
    • On-site audits (quality, environment, safety) carried out by Geberit and since 2012 by certified third-party specialists
    • Cooperation with manufacturers of infrastructure facilities, e.g. pilot project for the use of waste heat for the preheating of granulate in Pfullendorf (DE), see  EN5
    • For further information, see  HR2

      Transport companies:

    • Discussions with transport service providers concerning the implementation of environmental monitoring, see  EN29
    • Joint planning and implementation of a  pilot project for a natural gas truck with a vehicle manufacturer and transport service provider
    • Associations:

    • Involvement in the associations listed under  4.13 with participation in corresponding management bodies and programs at least once a year, generally more frequently
    • Non-government organizations, general public:

    • Partnership with the Swiss WaterKiosk Foundation
    • Partnership with the  Swiss development organization Helvetas

    Feedback from stakeholder dialogs is incorporated into the  Sustainability Strategy and associated measures.

  17. 4.17 Response to and dealing with key topics and concerns of stakeholders

    The topics introduced by the external  Stakeholder Panel have been integrated into the updated Sustainability Strategy and reporting by Geberit; see  Panel statement and the  Response from Geberit to the Panel statement.

    Examples of important topics that were introduced by stakeholders and have been implemented by Geberit include: