Geberit has long stood for a high level of environmental awareness and been committed to environmentally friendly, resource-efficient production as well as the development of water-saving and sustainable products. Environmental criteria are considered in all decision-making processes. In addition, processes are continuously being optimised so that a proven high standard is achieved which often greatly exceeds legal requirements. Geberit’s environmental principles are defined in the Code of Conduct.
Systematic, Group-wide environmental management takes centre stage. This is the remit of Corporate Environment and Sustainability. Guidelines and measures pertaining to all aspects of the GRI guidelines are coordinated here. A network of environmental managers practises active environmental protection at the production plants, thus ensuring that the targets and measures laid down in the Sustainability Strategy are implemented worldwide.
In June 2015, all environmental and occupational safety managers from the production plants of the former Sanitec Group were invited to a kick-off workshop in Rapperswil-Jona (CH) for the first time, where they learned about Geberit’s existing processes and standards and found out about the activities relating to the sustainability strategy that are planned for the future. The first important measure was to establish a comprehensive reporting structure in the areas of environment and occupational safety so that useful key figures could already be collected for 2015. On this basis, it was then possible to identify potential areas for improvement for the new plants and to implement these improvements within a framework that is comparable to that of the network of existing plants.
The Geberit Group has a Group certificate in accordance with ISO 9001 (quality), ISO 14001 (environment) and OHSAS 18001 (health and safety) that is valid until the end of 2018. Out of 35 production plants, 29 were certified to ISO 14001, 18 to OHSAS 18001 and three to ISO 50001 at the end of 2015. By the end of 2018, all new plants will be integrated into the Geberit management system and will be certified according to ISO 9001 and 14001 as well as OHSAS 18001. Furthermore, the European Energy Efficiency Directive 2012/27/EU was implemented at all Geberit companies in 2015.
The annual preparation of a corporate eco-balance has been an established part of Geberit’s environmental strategy since 1991. It covers the existing 17 production plants worldwide, the logistics centre in Pfullendorf (DE), the largest sales companies and, for the first time, the 18 new European production plants of the former Sanitec Group. The corporate eco-balance permits an overall assessment of environmental impact in terms of eco-points. For the reporting in 2015, new basic data from the internationally recognised Ecoinvent database (version 3.1) and the latest version of the method of ecological scarcity (version 2013) were used, while the national electricity mix was used instead of the continental electricity mix. This meant that the figures from the previous year had to be adjusted.
The acquisition of Sanitec – in particular the twelve ceramics plants – has a significant impact on Geberit’s ecological footprint. Because of the processes involved, the manufacture of ceramic sanitary appliances is very resource- and energy-intensive, with the result that Geberit’s energy consumption for 2015 increased almost fivefold due to the acquisition. Its environmental impact and CO2 emissions also increased significantly. Its absolute environmental impact increased due to the acquisition by 279%; however, organically, it reduced by 2.1%. The environmental impact per net sales (organic, currency-adjusted) dropped by 4.7%.
Detailed key figures on the environmental impact are provided at Key figures Sustainability > Environment.
9.1 Materials (EN)
Management Approach - Materials
The use of raw materials, semi-finished products and finished products with a global procurement value of CHF 755.0 million is a significant production factor for Geberit. At around 11,500 TJ (previous year 12,200 TJ) – based on the updated basic data from Ecoinvent (version 3.1) – the consumption of “grey energy” associated with purchased materials (including mineral raw materials at the new ceramics plants) is 3.6 times the entire energy consumption of the production plants themselves. This emphasises the importance of treating raw materials with care. The resource-efficient use of raw materials is determined as early as the product development process as part of eco-design workshops, see Management approach products and services.
G4-EN1 Materials used
The way that materials are used has changed significantly following the acquisition of the Sanitec Group. The existing 17 plants for processing plastic and metal were joined by 18 sites, twelve of which produce ceramic sanitary appliances. The six others process acrylic, mineral casting compound as well as aluminium and glass (in the case of shower partition walls). The range of manufacturing technologies used thus includes the areas of injection moulding, blow moulding, extrusion, metalforming and thermoforming, assembly and ceramic production.
The most important materials for production are plastic and metal raw materials, mineral raw materials and various semi-finished products and finished products. A total of 384,807 tonnes of materials were used in 2015 (previous year 198,229 tonnes). This includes at present only the mineral raw materials from the former Sanitec Group. Detailed key figures on the use of materials can be found at Key figures Sustainability > Environment.
For packaging materials used, see G4-EN28.
G4-EN2 Percentage of recycled material
When estimating the share of recycled material in production, a distinction is made between external and internal sources.
The share of recycled material in purchased metals is relatively high. This data originates from the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy (2008). Extrapolated, the raw material metal purchased contains around 28,000 tonnes of recycled material.
With plastics, virgin material is primarily used. The search for suitable, high-quality regranulate from external plastic waste is an integral part of Geberit’s procurement strategy. In terms of the material ABS, a suitable alternative made of 100% recycled material was found. This alternative is based on high-quality plastic waste from the electronics industry (e.g. used computer cases). According to the supplier, the manufacture of this regranulate consumes over 80% less energy compared to the manufacture of a tonne of new petrochemical-based plastic. Furthermore, between one to three tonnes less CO2 are released into the atmosphere, depending on the material. In 2015, over 450 tonnes of ABS regranulate were used for the mounting frames for concealed cisterns and the new OEM flush valve. Thanks to an intelligent redesign, half of the material used here can be made of high-quality ABS regranulate.The use of plastic regranulate is generally to be increased further and applied to other product areas, such as the technical cisterns or Monolith.
In terms of the raw material plastic, recycled material is primarily generated internally and is ground on site or via a decentralised mill and fed back into the process. The proportion fluctuates depending on the manufacturing process. For blow moulding it is around 35%, for injection moulding around 15%, depending on product class, and for pipe extrusion around 3%. This corresponds to a total of around 7,900 tonnes.
Raw materials are also recycled internally and fed back into the process in ceramic production. The recycling rate for the ceramic slip is around 10%, while this figure is 20 to 40% for the glaze.
9.2 Energy (EN)
Management Approach - Energy
A software introduced in 2012 permits monthly monitoring of water and energy consumption, as well as the Group-wide monitoring of environmental impact and CO 2 emissions. The new sites of the former Sanitec have already been fully integrated. With a share of 96.9%, the consumption of energy in the form of electricity, combustibles and fuels represents Geberit’s greatest environmental impact. This is continuing to grow, primarily due to the twelve newly added ceramics plants. In addition a systematic energy monitoring and an energy master plan are being implemented in the most energy-intensive plants to manage and plan energy consumption. This is based on the three pillars “energy saving”, “increased energy efficiency” and the “targeted expansion of the share of renewable energy sources”. The long-term targets relating to the share of renewable energy sources in electricity and combustibles must be adapted to the new situation and revised in 2016.
Following on from Lichtenstein (DE), the Pfullendorf (DE) and Langenfeld (DE) plants are currently also certified according to the ISO 50001 standard for energy management. Furthermore, all Geberit companies implemented the European Energy Efficiency Directive 2012/27/EU in 2015.
For the development of energy-efficient products, see Management approach products and services.
G4-EN3 Energy Consumption within the Organization
Geberit generally uses energy purchased externally. The direct energy carriers (Scope 1) include natural gas, biogas, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), diesel for power generation, heating oil extra light, solid combustibles and the fuels diesel, gasoline and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). The indirect energy carriers (Scope 2) include electricity and now also district heating.
Because of the processes involved, the manufacture of ceramic sanitary appliances is very resource- and energy-intensive. Consequently, Geberit’s energy consumption increased fivefold in 2015 due to the acquisition. However, organically, total energy consumption decreased by 1.2%.
The major changes in energy consumption are briefly presented and explained below:
- Owing to the acquisition, electricity consumption approximately doubled, while organically it increased by 0.4%. The environmental impact caused by electricity consumption has decreased significantly, dropping from 76.1% to 41.6% of the overall impact.
- Consumption of combustibles has increased by a factor of around thirteen due to the acquisition. This is primarily due to the firing of ceramic sanitary appliances in the twelve ceramics plants. Natural gas consumption is around 14 times higher than before. The figures now also include liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and solid combustibles. The environmental impact caused by combustibles has increased significantly, rising from 8.0% to 47.5% of the overall impact. Consumption of combustibles has decreased organically by 4.3%.
- Fuel consumption has approximately doubled due to the acquisition, while organically it decreased by 3.4%. The environmental impact caused by fuel consumption has remained roughly the same and has decreased slightly from 9.0% to 7.8% of the overall impact.
Since 2012, a block heating station has been in use in Pfullendorf (DE). This plant was fed by 8.3 GWh of regionally produced biogas in 2015. The electricity generated by the plant (3.2 GWh) is fed into the transmission grid and the resulting heat (4.0 GWh) can be used in production, thereby substantially reducing the use of natural gas.
The share of purchased green electricity was increased by 17.6 GWh to 41.0 GWh in 2015 – meaning that renewable sources of energy now account for 36.5% of total electricity consumption.
Since 2013, the roof area at the plant in Givisiez (CH) has been made available to an energy services provider for a 3,050 m2 photovoltaic installation. It generated 0.5 GWh of electricity in 2015. However, this contribution is not included in the energy balance as the energy produced is managed by the regional energy supplier.
For detailed key figures on the consumption of combustibles and fuels (Scope 1), as well as electricity and district heating (Scope 2) and the electricity mix, see Key figures Sustainability > Environment.
G4-EN4 Energy Consumption outside of the Organization
Where the energy balance outside the organisation is concerned, Geberit concentrates on purchased materials, intercompany and distribution logistics, and business travel.
In 2015, purchased materials (including mineral raw materials at the new ceramics plants) resulted in “grey energy” consumption of around 11,500 TJ.
For the environmental impact caused by logistics, see G4-EN30.
Business flights have been recorded and included in the assessment since 2012. The flight distances are calculated according to the respective departure and arrival airports. The CO2 emissions comprise direct and indirect emissions and are based on the Ecoinvent database (version 3.1) and the IPCC conversion factors from 2013, see G4-EN17.
G4-EN5 Energy Intensity
Energy intensity is an important performance indicator at the production plants, and is monitored monthly in the form of a key figure in the management cockpit. Those plants which are ISO 50001-certified have also introduced a more refined system of monitoring.
G4-EN6 Energy saved
Important energy-saving measures in production include:
- The optimisation of production processes in terms of efficiency, waste, stability, energy and resource consumption
- The continuous modernisation of the machine fleet and the purchase of energy-efficient systems
- Increasing the capacity utilisation and efficiency of production installations
- The optimisation of cooling systems through the use of natural ambient cold (free cooling, ground water)
- The improved use of waste heat available internally (heat recovery)
- The careful use of compressed air
- The insulation of buildings
Concrete examples which show the reduction in energy consumption:
- The number of injection moulding machines retrofitted with energy-efficient drive technology was increased in the reporting year from 109 to 134. Analyses show that a modified machine consumes over 40% less energy on average.
- In 2015, the first fully electrically driven production line for fitting bends was ordered in Langenfeld (DE). This increases process stability while reducing the set-up time, electricity consumption and lubricant quantities needed.
- A new cooling system in Villadose (IT) reduces electricity consumption by 1.3 GWh per year – a saving of 8% of total energy consumption.
- Since 2015, a new raw material for the inner layer of Mepla pipes is being used at the plant in Givisiez (CH). While maintaining the very highest product quality for customers, this reduces the consumption of water and natural gas by around 50%.
- By carefully planning new buildings, the company is also investing in the energy-efficient infrastructure of the future, for example at the new, top-modern plant in Ruše (Sl). The site’s sophisticated holistic energy concept includes the use of all waste heat from industrial processes as well as the complete absence of fossil fuels. The available ground water is used for cooling. Rain water is collected and used both as fire-fighting water and for watering the surrounding area.
- Retrofitting of nine tunnel kilns for ceramic production with EnerVit technology at six European plants startet in 2015. This will cut NOx emissions, reduce gas consumption by around 27 GWh/a and save some 6,500 tonnes of CO2.
G4-EN7 Energy-efficient products
The biggest environmental contribution by Geberit products lies in the conservation of water, which indirectly also saves on energy. A number of estimates illustrate the scale of this saving: According to the Ecoinvent database (version 3.1), some 10.3 MJ of energy are required and 0.64 kg of CO2 emissions are released per cubic metre for the conveyance, processing and distribution of water and the subsequent treatment of the unpolluted waste water in a wastewater treatment plant. The water footprint calculated for Geberit (excluding former Sanitec products) shows that nearly 100% of water consumption is attributable to the usage phase. The water volume saved owing to Geberit products is enormous: According to a model calculation, all dual-flush and flush-stop cisterns installed since 1998 have so far saved around 20,200 million cubic metres of water in comparison with traditional flushing systems. These water savings go hand-in-hand with substantial energy savings.
Direct energy savings when using the products are made possible thanks to systematically improved energy efficiency. Current examples include:
- The shower toilet Geberit AquaClean Mera Comfort, which debuted at the ISH 2015 in Frankfurt, is a premium-class complete solution featuring the highest levels of comfort. The patented WhirlSpray shower technology ensures particularly thorough, gentle cleaning while virtually halving water and energy consumption. The hybrid hot water technology with continuous flow heater and boiler only heats the water spray when required. The odour extraction unit now works with a long-life catalytic filter that needs to be replaced less often. Despite these additional comfort functions, the energy consumption is comparable to that of the AquaClean 8000 plus.
- The Monolith Plus sanitary module sets new standards in both comfort and style, while permitting a high degree of energy efficiency. Its integrated odour extraction unit means window ventilation is no longer required and a considerable amount of energy can be saved.
- The new Geberit urinal system comprises urinals with electronic flush controls but also with completely waterless operation. The central elements are the two rimless urinal ceramics Preda and Selva, which were developed by Geberit. Thanks to the low consumption of resources and the option of a control system supplied with electricity by an autonomous energy source, the urinals satisfy the most stringent requirements for green building and economic operation.
9.3 Water (EN)
Management Approach – Water
The water footprint, which covers Geberit’s entire value chain (excluding former Sanitec products), shows that nearly 100% of water consumption is attributable to the use of the products, while the manufacture of the products by Geberit accounts for less than 0.1% of water consumption. For the development of water-saving products and Geberit’s commitment beyond product development, see Management approach products and services.
The corporate eco-balance shows a similar picture. Here, the environmental impact caused by water consumption and subsequent waste water treatment also accounts for only a minor share of the company’s overall impact (1.2%). Despite this, Geberit also aims to serve as a role model with respect to its own water consumption and to further optimise its water consumption every year. This includes measures such as reusing water in laboratories and production processes.
G4-EN8 Water consumption
The manufacture of ceramic sanitary appliances requires a great deal of water, both for preparing the ceramic slip and glaze and for cleaning the moulds and systems. Consequently, water consumption increased more than eightfold in comparison with the previous year due to the acquisition, reaching 1,170,356 m3 (previous year 138,156 m3).
Water consumption can be categorised into drinking water (28%), well water (46%), lake and river water (25%) and rain water (1%).
Key figures concerning water consumption by source can be found at Key figures Sustainability > Environment.
G4-EN9 Water sources significantly affected by withdrawal of water
Geberit production plants’ water consumption does not place a considerable burden on water sources as defined in the GRI guidelines.
G4-EN10 Water recycling
Throughout the Group, three processes are responsible for much of the water requirements:
- Newly developed products are tested at the Geberit sanitary laboratory in Rapperswil-Jona (CH). The tests required some 229,798 m3 (previous year 222,173 m3) of water. Only around 4% or 8,836 m3 of this is fresh water. The remaining 96% is used in a closed-circuit system.
- During the production of multilayer pipes in Givisiez (CH), the pipes are cross-linked in autoclaves. A total of 14,558 m3 (previous year 26,405 m3) of water was used for this purpose in 2015. Around 31% (previous year 31%) or 6,576 m3 of this is fresh water; the remaining 69% was recycled internally.
- Relatively large quantities of water are used in ceramic production and are also recycled internally. However, the amounts for recycled water are not yet quantifiable at present.
9.4 Emissions (EN)
Management Approach – Emissions
Production emissions are recorded and analysed in detail as part of the corporate eco-balance – CO2 emissions are particularly crucial to Geberit. other air emissions (NOx, SO2, hydrocarbons etc.) are also recorded and calculated, but have a comparatively minor impact on the environment. Under the established CO2-strategy the CO2 emissions per net sales (currency-adjusted) should be reduced annually by 5% per year on average. Geberit is organically on track here, see G4-EN18. The long-term target values for absolute CO2 emissions and the share of renewable energy sources in electricity and combustibles will have to be re-evaluated in 2016 owing to the acquisition of Sanitec. They must be oriented towards the EU target values.
A comprehensive carbon footprint has been calculated since 2012. The carbon footprint covers the entire value chain – from the provision of raw materials, the combustibles and fuels, the manufacturing of products at Geberit, logistics and use, right through to disposal (with regard to the former Sanitec Group, only production and mineral raw materials are currently taken into account). An analysis of the carbon footprint revealed that product use (63%) and the provision of raw materials (19%) are by far the largest sources of CO2 emissions. During product use, the provision of water, treatment of unpolluted waste water and generation of hot water play a central role. Production by Geberit accounts for only 8% of total CO2 emissions. In comparison, transport (1%), the provision of combustibles and fuels (2%) and the disposal (7%) of the products also cause only few emissions.
The measures for implementing the CO2 strategy are based on the three pillars energy saving, increased energy efficiency and targeted expansion of the share of renewable energy sources, see also Management approach energy.
The calculation of greenhouse gas emissions was updated in the 2015 financial year, with the result that the old values from previous years also had to be amended. The following changes were implemented: New basic data from the internationally recognised Ecoinvent database (version 3.1), new assessment according to the 2013 IPCC factors, the incorporation of production-based process emissions, the switchover to the national electricity mix and the adjustment of Scope 3 emissions. The seven leading substances (CO2 fossil, CH4, N2O, HFC, PFC, SF6 and NF3) were used for the calculation of the greenhouse gas emissions and shown as a sum parameter according to IPCC (CO2 equivalents or simply CO2).
G4-EN15 Direct greenhouse gas emissions (Scope 1) and G4-EN16 Indirect greenhouse gas emissions (Scope 2)
CO2 emissions increased in 2015 by 296% to 251,430 tonnes as a result of the Sanitec acquisition. Organically, however, they were reduced by 3.1%. CO2 emissions per net sales (organic, currency-adjusted) declined by 5.6%, with Geberit thus remaining on track to meet its long-term target in organic terms.
At 50.8%, combustibles are the largest source of CO2, followed by electricity at 45.4% and fuels at 3.6%, as well as process emissions and district heating at 0.2% in total. The purchase of 41.0 GWh of green electricity in Pfullendorf and Weilheim (DE), Bromölla and Mörrum (SE), Givisiez (CH) and Daishan (CN) reduces the CO2 emissions by more than 16,500 tonnes.
Key figures concerning greenhouse gas emissions can be found at Key figures Sustainability > Environment.
G4-EN17 Other relevant greenhouse gas emissions (Scope 3)
Where other indirect greenhouse gas emissions (Scope 3) are concerned, Geberit concentrates on the following categories:
- The raw materials used (including mineral raw materials from ceramic production) and the CO2 emissions that result from them: Increase to 598,946 tonnes due to the acquisition.
- The provision of combustibles and fuels, which accounted for some 39,506 tonnes from combustibles and around 6,440 tonnes from fuels in 2015.
- CO2 emissions of power generation from the upstream chain are included in G4-EN15
- Logistics, see G4-EN30, which caused a total of 29,671 tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2015 (previous year 29,526 tonnes). Emissions from the logistics activities of the former Sanitec plants are not yet included in these figures.
- Business travel by air, at 1,956 tonnes of CO2 emissions (previous year 711 tonnes) – this includes the whole of Geberit.
G4-EN18 Greenhouse gas emissions intensity
In relation to currency-adjusted net sales, CO2 emissions (Scopes 1 and 2) increased in 2015 by 186% due to the acquisition, from 30.4 g CO2/CHF net sales to 86.8 g CO2/CHF. Organically, relative CO2 emissions fell by 5.6%, meaning that Geberit is on track to meet its long-term targets in organic terms. For the consolidated value, it must be noted that the CO2 emissions cover the entire financial year, while the net sales of the former Sanitec business only apply to eleven months.
G4-EN19 Initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
The massive increase in CO2 is solely due to the acquisition; organically, emissions decreased by 3.1%.
In 2015, Geberit purchased another 17.6 GWh of certified green electricity, bringing the total to 41.0 GWh. Overall, renewable energy sources thus accounted for 36.5% of electricity.
The share of renewable energies when it comes to combustibles is also being increased gradually. An important milestone was reached in 2012 with the commissioning of the block heating station in Pfullendorf (DE), which was fed by 8.3 GWh of regionally generated biogas in 2015. In addition, 24.8 GWh of wooden pellets were burned and 16.9 GWh of district heating were obtained from a paper mill. This brought the share of renewable energies for district heating and combustibles to 8.0% in total in 2015 (previous year 19%).
Fuel consumption is determined primarily by the company’s own and leased fleet of cars and delivery vans. Since early 2008, binding guidelines have applied for the purchase of new vehicles. An emission value of 100 grams of CO2/km is to be reached by 2020, as targeted by the EU.
Substantial volumes of CO2 emissions can also be saved by consistently applying eco-design principles in new product development. A current example is the new OEM flush valve type 240. Thanks to an intelligent redesign, it was possible to increase the flush performance by 40% while also reducing the quantity of material used. In addition, half of the material is made of high-quality ABS regranulate. Indirectly, this means that almost 500 tonnes of CO2 can be saved, corresponding to a saving of about 1 GWh of average European electricity.
Geberit promotes awareness among all employees for the promotion of environmentally friendly behaviour. New employees receive training on the subject of sustainability at Geberit as part of their job orientation programme. In the largest plants, this is also tailored to the target group of production employees.
All targets and measures for improving the CO2 balance sheet are disclosed in detail as part of the company’s participation in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).
G4-EN20 Ozone depleting substances
Emissions of ozone-depleting substances, measured in CFC11 equivalents, can be calculated based on the Geberit corporate eco-balance. In comparison to the previous year’s report, new basic data from the Ecoinvent database (version 3.1) was used. The calculation includes both direct emissions (Scope 1) from the burning of combustibles and fuels and process emissions (solvents), as well as indirect emissions (Scope 2) resulting from electricity consumption and the provision of district heating. Both direct and indirect emissions rose considerably due to the acquisition.
Key figures on ozone-depleting substances can be found at Key figures Sustainability > Environment.
G4-EN21 NOx, SOx and other air emissions
Emissions of NOx, SO2, NMVOC (non-methane VOC) and dust (PM10) can be calculated on the basis of the Geberit corporate eco-balance. In comparison to the previous year’s report, new basic data from the Ecoinvent database (version 3.1) was used. The calculation includes both direct emissions (Scope 1) from the burning of combustibles and fuels and process emissions (solvents), and indirect emissions (Scope 2) resulting from electricity consumption and the provision of district heating. Both direct and indirect emissions rose considerably due to the acquisition.
Key figures on these emissions are available at Key figures Sustainability > Environment.
9.5 Effluents and Waste (EN)
Management Approach - Effluents and Waste
According to the corporate eco-balance, waste disposal accounted for 1.3% of the environmental impact of production in 2015. The reduction and safe handling of waste water and waste is promoted at the plants within the scope of the environmental management system according to ISO 14001. Where waste is concerned, it is ensured that this is sorted so that as much as possible is recycled, and as little as possible has to be incinerated or sent to landfill sites.
G4-EN22 Water discharge
As with the water consumption, the waste water quantities also increased considerably on account of the acquisition, with the consolidated value for 2015 reaching 927,053 3 (previous year 112,521 m3). The processes involved in manufacturing ceramic sanitary appliances are now generating process waste water, which makes up the largest share at 66% of the total. Other important categories are domestic waste water, which passes into the communal wastewater treatment plant or is pretreated and fed into receiving waters (31%), and other waste water, which is pretreated and fed to a communal wastewater treatment plant (3%). Waste water was not directly reused by third-party companies. Geberit does not engage in the unplanned discharge of water. All resulting process waste water and domestic waste water is treated.
Key figures on waste water can be found at Key figures Sustainability > Environment.
In 2015, waste increased significantly on account of the acquisition, totalling 83,405 tonnes (previous year 11,587 tonnes). The categories inert waste landfill and waste to external recycling saw a strong increase in particular owing to the ceramic manufacturing processes.
72% of waste was channelled to external recycling processes (previous year 85%). The measures focused above all on the further separation of waste and the reduction of mixed waste and hazardous waste.
Key figures concerning waste by category are provided at Key figures Sustainability > Environment.
G4-EN24 Significant spills and contamination
There were no significant spills of chemicals in the reporting period.
G4-EN25 Transport of hazardous waste
In 2015, 479 tonnes of hazardous waste (previous year 262 tonnes) were disposed of by incineration and 729 tonnes (previous year 505 tonnes) were recycled. At Geberit, all waste is disposed of and recycled by licensed disposal companies.
G4-EN26 Effects of water discharges on bodies of water
This indicator is not relevant to Geberit as no bodies of water are affected by significant water discharge from Geberit facilities as defined in the GRI guidelines.
9.6 Products and Services (EN)
Management Approach - Products and Services
In addition to their quality, durability and high degree of water and resource efficiency, Geberit products also impress with their good environmental compatibility and high recyclability. The basis for sustainable products is a systematic innovation process in which the most environmentally friendly materials and functional principles possible are chosen, risks are minimised and a high level of resource efficiency is targeted for the production process as well as the product itself. Geberit regards eco-design as the key to environmentally friendly products and an integral part of the development process. Employees from different disciplines take part in eco-design workshops so that each new product outperforms its predecessor in environmental aspects. The workshops involve systematic product analysis that covers the entire life cycle, a review of legal requirements and an analysis of competing products. Based on the findings of these eco-design workshops, new solutions are developed which are then adopted into the specifications for that product.
Specially created product life cycle assessments are important decision-making tools for the development processes and provide arguments for the use of resource-efficient products. Detailed life cycle assessments have already been prepared for the following products: drainage/supply pipes, AquaClean 8000plus, AquaClean Mera, electronic washbasin tap type 185/186, concealed cisterns, urinal flush controls and the new Geberit urinal system. The environmental product declarations (EPDs) in accordance with the new European standard EN 15804 are becoming increasingly important and can also be used directly for green building standards such as LEED. For example, the EPD for the Geberit urinal system Preda and Selva presents relevant, comparable and verified information about the product’s environmental performance in a transparent manner.
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 (excluding former Sanitec products) that nearly 100% of the water consumption is attributable to the product usage phase. The water savings are impressive: According to a model calculation, all dual-flush and flush-stop cisterns installed since 1998 have so far saved around 20,200 million cubic metres of water in comparison with traditional flushing systems. In 2015 alone, the water saved amounted to 2,280 million cubic metres. This is more than half of the annual consumption of all German households.
Geberit also advocates the economical use of water beyond processes and products. This can be seen by its collaboration in the development of the product classification system "WELL" introduced in 2011 and its work (in collaboration with FECS (European Federation of Ceramic Sanitary Ware Manufacturers) on a new voluntary European standard for assessing the sustainability of ceramic sanitary appliances (EN 16578).
G4-EN27 Mitigation of environmental impact of products
The environmental impacts of Geberit’s products are improved continually through the consistent application of eco-design principles in product development. Examples that make a particular contribution to reducing environmental impact include:
- Since 2011, a new technological solution has been developed to simplify the conversion of the large flush volume on nearly all concealed cisterns from 6 or 9 litres to 4.5 litres. The gradual conversion of the product range is creating great potential for even more water conservation.
- The new Geberit urinal system fulfils the most stringent water and energy consumption standards while minimising life-cycle costs. For example, the spray head is precisely aligned with the sophisticated inner geometry of the ceramic appliance, meaning that optimal flushing out can be achieved even with just 0.5 litres of water. The flushing programmes, such as the intelligent interval flush, can be set individually for even lower water consumption.
- The new shower channel is designed to allow optimal user friendliness and ease of installation while reducing the resources used.
- The plastic components in the technical cistern and in the Monolith are made up of approximately 50% regranulate.
- The new concealed cistern Omega is available in three installation heights, and with extra-small actuator plates. In addition, the large flush volume can be set to 4.5 litres, meaning the product conforms to WELL class A.
- A new WhirlSpray shower technology was developed for the AquaClean Mera complete shower toilet. This reduces water and energy consumption while improving cleaning performance. Despite more comfort functions, the energy consumption remains unchanged and the flushing volume can be reduced down to 4.5 litres thanks to TurboFlush flush technology.
- Thanks to an intelligent redesign of the new OEM flush valve type 240 – which was launched on the market in 2015 – it was possible to increase the flush performance by 40% while also reducing the quantity of material used. In addition, half of the material is made of high-quality ABS regranulate.
G4-EN28 Reclaimed packaging material
The following quantities are based on internal estimates from the sales companies: On the product side, approximately 23.8 tonnes of old products (mainly electrical equipment) were taken back and disposed of professionally in 2015. In some markets (DE, CH), parts of the multilayer drinking water pipes (Mepla) are also taken back. The exact quantity is not known, but is estimated to be almost five tonnes Group-wide.
In 2015, approximately 16,000 tonnes of packaging material were used at the former Geberit, over 40% of which was collected and recycled by Geberit itself or by financed contract partners. The rest is disposed of and recycled on a country-specific basis.
9.7 Compliance Environment (EN)
Management Approach - Compliance Environment
In its Code of Conduct, Geberit states that it will limit the environmental impact of its business activities to a minimum. This is achieved by means of consistent compliance with all applicable laws, internationally recognised guidelines and industry standards. With many of the initiatives that it implements, Geberit goes above and beyond legal and official requirements. Reviewing and ensuring compliance with the law, which is a mandatory element of ISO 14001 certification, is monitored as part of the annual, binding Group-wide survey on compliance with the Code of Conduct.
G4-EN29 Sanctions due to non-compliance with environmental laws and regulations
In the reporting year, there were three cases among the former Sanitec companies where fines or sanctions were announced or imposed. The first case concerned the omission of a sewer inspection, while the second related to an incident regarding a sewer which led to an unplanned discharge of storm water and process water into a body of surface water. The third case concerned an incomplete production licence, which led to fines totalling approximately CHF 50,000.
9.8 Transport (EN))
Management Approach - Transport
Reliable, on-time product deliveries to the customer are an important core competence. For this reason, Geberit opened a state-of-the-art logistics centre in Pfullendorf (DE) in 2010 and established an independent logistics unit a year later. With a view to future growth and the continued optimisation of existing logistics processes, Geberit decided to further expand the capacities of the logistics centre in Pfullendorf and invest around EUR 40 million in this by 2017.
In contrast to this centralisation strategy, the logistics organisation at the former Sanitec had a rather more decentralised structure and was oriented towards the needs of the various brands and regions. Nonetheless, it was still possible to forge the first synergies and start various integration measures in 2015. For example, former Sanitec’s logistics organisation and reporting were incorporated in Geberit’s Group logistics, while a start was also made on integration into the Geberit ERP system. The logistics infrastructure at the former Sanitec comprises 15 distribution centres of varying sizes across Europe, with a total capacity of almost 250,000 pallet spaces.
Geberit does not have its own fleet of vehicles, having outsourced this to external transport service providers. Intercompany and distribution logistics play a major part in Geberit’s environmental impact, amounting to a significant proportion of the total figure. Cooperation with the transport service providers is therefore of key importance. Partners agree to actively support Geberit in its efforts to use energy and packaging material efficiently and to reduce emissions. Furthermore, the partners support Geberit by providing the data needed for the environmental reporting. The logistics calculator developed in 2010 facilitates the annual capture of data on the vehicle fleet composition, transportation performance and fuel consumption of all transport service providers, as well as the preparation of the eco-balance.
G4-EN30 Environmental impact of transport
In the reporting year, the largest transport service providers for the former Geberit handled 183.0 million tonne-kilometres (previous year 181.0 million tonne-kilometres). This generated 29,671 tonnes of CO2 emissions (previous year 29,526 tonnes). The increase in transport services and CO2 emissions was mainly caused by the increase in sales and the related increase in transport volumes. The share handled by Euro 5 vehicles is high at 84.5%. The share handled by state-of-the-art Euro 6 vehicles came to 11.7%.
Where possible, Geberit takes the opportunity to shift truck traffic to rail. Alongside road transport, rail consignments have been used for around 20% of traffic transported on the longest overland route in Europe – from Pfullendorf (DE) to Turkey – since 2014. 80% of the goods transported to Italy and 30% of those transported from Italy are moved by train. The use of mega-trailers, which can carry an approximately 15% greater load volume, also increases energy efficiency: Compared with the previous year, the number of such transport runs was increased by 20 to 2,200. Geberit is also working on innovative solutions aimed at enabling a higher goods per truck ratio – i.e. increasing capacity utilisation of the transport volume.