G4-1 CEO Statement
For the statement of Christian Buhl (CEO), see CEO Statement on sustainability.
G4-2 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 positions itself as a leader in sustainability and aims to set standards for customers, suppliers and other partners. Various awards and rankings serve to confirm Geberit’s role as a leader in sustainability in various stakeholder groups’ perceptions. For example, Geberit has made the Corporate Knights Global 100 index – a list of the 100 most sustainable companies in the world – since 2010. The “GemeinwohlAtlas für die Schweiz” (Common Good Atlas of Switzerland) published a ranking of 62 Swiss organizations for the first time in 2014. Geberit performed well here, with 4.73 points on a scale from 1 (poor contribution to common good) to 6 (outstanding contribution to common good).
The economic performance of Geberit is shaped by a sustainable approach. The 50th anniversary of the Geberit concealed cistern is a perfect example of this. 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 dual flush, 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.
Supplementary to the established Sustainability Strategy and based on the GRI G4 guidelines, the Materiality analysis carried out in 2014 prioritizes the key topics for Geberit: 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 competencies of water and sanitary facilities, and is intensified through memberships such as that with the non-profit organization “Swiss Water Partnership” aimed at promoting international dialog on water. There is also a long-term partnership with the Swiss development organization Helvetas.
The key internal challenge over the next few years will be to integrate Sanitec and – as a company with practically double the number of employees and significantly increased resource consumption in production – to then achieve the high sustainability standards for the entire company and expand them in the medium term.
Sustainability means satisfying the needs of today’s generation in a manner that will ensure a solid basis for the livelihoods of future generations. The external challenges and objectives associated with this primarily pose an opportunity for Geberit. 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. A look at the progress made to date shows that the ambitious goals are only partially being met. The sustainability goals of the UN for the post-2015 era are currently being negotiated. What is not disputed, however, is the great importance of the topic of water management for a sustainable development. 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 and resource-efficient products are becoming ever more important. The EU is increasingly putting water conservation on its political agenda and has developed ecolabels for efficient toilets, urinals, washbasins and showers.
The biggest environmental contribution by Geberit products also lies in the conservation of water. 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, all dual-flush and flush-stop cisterns installed since 1998 have so far saved around 17,900 million cubic meters of water in comparison with traditional flushing systems. In 2014 alone, the water saved amounted to 2,128 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. They impress with their quality, durability, resource efficiency, good environmental compatibility and high recyclability. Since 2007, Geberit has been consistently focusing on eco-design, meaning new products are systematically examined and optimized in terms of environmental and safety aspects. This takes place along the entire value chain – from the selection of raw materials and utilization right through to disposal. Thanks to this pioneering work, Geberit is well equipped in terms of EU requirements.
Green building has long been more than just a trend. European standards are increasingly prescribing the use of sustainable products and systems in buildings. At the same time, more and more buildings are being constructed voluntarily in accordance with sustainability standards such as DGNB, Minergie, BREEAM and LEED. Investors, project developers, owners and tenants are looking for system providers with holistic know-how regarding green building that can contribute to the respective desired standards being fulfilled in a targeted manner. This is opening up a market with major future potential in which Geberit is already present with water-saving, energy-saving, low-noise and durable products, and one in which Geberit specifically positions itself in the value chain as a green building provider. For reference projects, see the reference magazine View.
Geberit combats risks posed by increasing regulation and changing framework conditions with an effective compliance system that focuses on compliance in the five key topic areas of “antitrust legislation”, “corruption”, “employee rights”, “product liability” and “environmental protection”.