Sustainability  >  Sustainability performance report

10. Product responsibility (PR)

  1. DMA-PR Management approach to product responsibility

    At Geberit, product responsibility lies with several corporate departments: customer health and safety with Product Development and Quality Management, product labeling and services, advertising and customer data with Marketing, and compliance with statutory requirements with Legal Services.

    For Geberit, high quality standards mean fulfilling customers’ requirements in terms of functionality, reliability and application safety to the greatest possible extent. The company is guided by the zero-error principle. Corporate Quality Management is responsible for ensuring that suitable framework conditions promote a quality culture throughout the company, and that all employees act in a quality-conscious and independent manner.

    Products undergo a defined optimization process from the first draft. Product Development is responsible for ensuring that the products developed are safe and user-friendly, and that they comply with all standards and statutory requirements. As an independent department, Quality Management is responsible for defining, arranging and monitoring all necessary inspections to ensure that these requirements are met. A clear organizational distinction is drawn between development and quality management. In addition, many products are also examined by external authorization bodies.

    Following market launch, an efficient handling of complaints with integrated error analysis, the initiation of sustained corrective measures and the continuous development of concepts for customer support takes place in cooperation with Sales, Production and Development. Geberit has achieved a high standard in the processing of complaints, and reacts directly and in a solution-oriented manner in each individual case.

    When it comes to training its employees on Geberit products, competition, standards, industry or core topics, Geberit relies on a bundle of measures: These include a Group-wide e-learning platform rolled out in the fall of 2012 as well as global product training by specially trained instructors.

  2. PR1 Health and safety impact along the product life cycle

    Generally speaking, Geberit products and services involve low risks for customers in terms of health and safety. Geberit nevertheless adopts a preventive approach within the scope of its comprehensive quality planning in order to test and ensure the health and safety requirements of all products from development to certification, through manufacture and storage, to use and disposal. Among other things, Quality and Safety Management include an FMEA (Failure Mode and Effects Analysis) as a precautionary measure to prevent errors and increase the technical reliability of products. Eco-design workshops are held in the course of product development in order to optimize the use of suitable and ecological materials. If the products or their use involve an increased risk to health or safety, Geberit’s technical editorial staff ensures that this is communicated appropriately to customers (see  PR3).

  3. PR2 Non-compliance with health and safety regulations

    Throughout the Group, there have been no court judgments or warnings against Geberit involving contraventions of regulations on the health and safety of products and services or product and service information.

  4. PR3 Product labeling

    Most of the installation instructions are non-verbal, consisting of detailed illustrations in order to provide the most important customer-relevant information. For all products that involve the use of electricity, gas or dangerous substances, comprehensive instructions regarding target group, qualifications, use, maintenance, safety, disposal and constituent materials are provided and translated into all languages required in the respective markets. Where possible, all plastic components feature material labeling in order to facilitate recycling.

    The WELL label (Water Efficiency Label) introduced in 2011 by the European umbrella organization for valve manufacturers (EUnited) is intended to address the growing environmental awareness of consumers. It takes its direction from the well-known and well-established energy labels for electrical household appliances and fulfills a similar function. WELL provides consumers with information about a product’s water efficiency at a glance. The new classification system will also encourage responsible use of water as a resource. In 2013, eight Geberit product groups (comprising over 370 sales products) bore the WELL label, seven of which are represented in the top A class and one in the B class.

    Geberit was involved in the revision of SIA recommendation 493 (“Declaration of environmental attributes of building products”) from the Swiss Society of Engineers and Architects (SIA). This recommendation defines which attributes have to be declared for various building product groups and is thus – similar to Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) – an important instrument for green building in Switzerland.

  5. PR4 Non-compliance with labeling requirements

    In the reporting period, there were no known cases of violation of applicable laws or voluntary codes.

  6. PR5 Customer satisfaction

    A high degree of customer satisfaction in the regional markets is central to Geberit’s success. Of particular importance in 2013 was the new cross-media Geberit AquaClean advertising campaign in a total of eleven markets – including Italy and Poland for the first time. The Geberit AquaClean Sela shower toilet was also introduced at the start of the new Geberit AquaClean campaign. Water is the key element of this campaign. Brand tracking studies for end users were carried out in all eleven markets where the campaign took place in 2013. In addition to sociodemographic data, the studies also provided information on the respective awareness of the shower toilet product category, attitude and behavioral parameters, and also the perception of the Geberit AquaClean brand and the most important competitors. In all affected markets, the awareness of the product category and the perception of the Geberit AquaClean brand in particular have significantly increased since the start of the campaign – and the upward trend shows no signs of abating. The study reflects the success of market cultivation and the campaign in the individual markets. The intensive branding is thus proving a significant success factor for company growth.

    The  ”Geberit Challenge” took place in Switzerland, Finland and twice in the United Kingdom in 2013. Garnering much media attention, the best team of plumbers in each of these countries was chosen by Geberit. The Challenge was most popular in Finland, where 850 participants were registered. The Geberit Challenge was awarded the  “Xaver” in 2013, the Swiss event industry’s most important award. The format won over the independent jury and stole the show from other high-profile competitors.

    In recent years, Geberit has built up a standardized Customer Relationship Management (CRM) process for all markets with the aim of further boosting customer satisfaction. Thanks to this system, which is specially tailored to Geberit, customers benefit from more targeted communication with the relevant contact persons. From 2014, the CRM system will be gradually migrated to a new technological platform to enable a deeper integration into daily business processes.

    For more information, see  Business report > Business and financial review > Customers.

  7. PR6 Compliance with laws and standards with regard to marketing communications

    Geberit adheres to the Group-wide Code of Conduct and the statutory requirements with respect to advertising. All advertising materials worldwide are inspected from this point of view prior to each publication. Geberit does not sell any products whose sale is forbidden on certain markets or which are the subject of public controversy.

  8. PR7 Non-compliance with communications requirements

    There were no incidents in the 2013 reporting period.

  9. PR8 Complaints regarding customer privacy

    There are no known cases of complaints based on violations of data protection.

  10. PR9 Sanctions due to non-compliance with product liability regulations

    No fines have been imposed in connection with Geberit products and services or their use.