Annual Report 2016

8. Economy (EC)

8.1 Economic Performance (EC)

Management Approach - Economic Performance

As a key objective of the company, the economic performance of the Geberit Group is under the strategic control of the Board of Directors and the operational management of the Group Executive Board (aspects economic performance, market presence, indirect economic effects).

With its innovative solutions in the field of sanitary products, Geberit aims to achieve sustained improvement in the quality of people’s lives. Its proven, focused strategy for doing so is based on four pillars: Focus on sanitary products, Commitment to innovation and design, Selective geographic expansion and Continuous optimisation of business processes.

For detailed explanations of the four strategic pillars, see Business Report > Business and financial review > Strategy and goals.

For a description of the economic position of the Geberit Group, see Business Report > Business and financial Review > Financial Year 2016 .

G4-EC1 Economic performance

Significant indicators for the creation and distribution of value in accordance with the GRI requirements can be found in the financial report:

Direct Economic Value Added

Economic Values Passed On

Retained Economic Values

G4-EC2 Financial implications of climate change

The 2015 UN climate change conference in Paris and the agreement reached by its participants to limit global warming to below two degrees Celsius represent far-reaching goals for limiting climate change. Now, there is a growing need to take action to minimise climate change and its consequences. One of the most visible effects of climate change that we are already experiencing is the limited availability of water resources in many areas, which is becoming a major issue in the eyes of the public. In the Global Risks Report periodically published by the World Economic Forum (WEF), water scarcity was classified in 2016 as one of the three highest risks in terms of impact. Consequently, the subject of water has also been included in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which have been applicable since the beginning of 2016. Goal number 6 calls for people around the world to receive access to clean drinking water and sanitary facilities.

These trends will determine the sanitary technologies of the future. Water-saving, resource-efficient products will become increasingly important. Geberit is taking advantage of the opportunity to meet the growing worldwide demand for water-saving products and to contribute towards the diligent handling of water, thus making a name for itself as a leader in sustainability. Products classified as special water-saving products already make a substantial contribution to Group sales.

Compared to these relatively high chances of success, Geberit is exposed to an average risk of natural disasters triggered by climate change, which can fundamentally affect production areas or transport areas. None of the production sites are particularly at risk in this respect, however.

The manufacture of ceramic sanitary appliances is a resource and energy-intensive process that has become a part of Geberit production. This increases the company’s exposure to CO2 regulations, meaning that their future development must be carefully monitored. However, these risks are currently still low – only one ceramic plant in Sweden pays CO2 taxes. With the definition of a long-term CO2 target in 2016 that is compatible with the two-degree target set out in the Paris Agreement (science-based), an increasingly detailed understanding is becoming established within the company regarding CO2 emissions. The aim is to reduce absolute CO2 emissions (Scopes 1 and 2) by 6% between 2015 and 2021 to under 240,000 tonnes (based on organic growth).

In addition, Geberit is indirectly affected by higher energy or raw materials prices and by generally increasing requirements in terms of energy management. With its internal energy master plan, the targeted introduction of the ISO 50001 energy management system, and the measures related to its CO2 strategy (see aspect emissions), Geberit is reacting proactively and working continuously on saving energy, improving its energy efficiency and reducing its CO2 emissions. For example, Geberit is currently investing in the infrastructure of ceramic production: By the end of 2016, five tunnel kilns for ceramic production had already been equipped with state-of-the-art burner technology, with the equipping of a further six planned. Each kiln can bring about energy savings of over 20%.

As far as corporate risks are concerned, the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors introduced a comprehensive system for the monitoring and management of the risks associated with the company’s business activities, including the risk category CO2 emissions, see Financial Report > Consolidated financial statements Geberit Group > Notes > Note 4.

G4-EC3 Scope of the organization’s defined benefit plan obligations

The Geberit Group sponsors defined benefit plans for its employees in Switzerland, Germany, Austria and the USA. For further details on pension and benefit plans, see Financial Report > Consolidated financial statements Geberit Group > Notes > Note 3 > Retirement benefit plans and Financial Report > Consolidated financial statements Geberit Group > Notes > Note 17.

G4-EC4 Significant financial assistance received from government

Significant assistance received from the public sector includes:

  • Income taxes, see Financial Report > Consolidated financial statements Geberit Group > Notes > Note 25.
  • Investment subsidies for new investments to promote the respective business location and secure jobs: CHF 1.2 million (of which approx. CHF 0.54 million for the Kolo plant and CHF 0.66 million for the Ozorkow plant).
  • Contributions received to support training and part-time employment prior to retirement: CHF 0.3 million.
  • Support for apprentices and subsidies for severely disabled persons: CHF 0.05 million.

The public sector is not represented on the Board of Directors of the Geberit Group.

8.2 Market Presence (EC)

Management Approach - Market Presence

Geberit has grown from a family-run firm into a listed global company that has proven its ability to adapt to a rapidly changing environment. Within its core strategy, see Management approach economic performance,Geberit’s aim is to ensure that production plants and sales companies alike function well as units which enjoy a high degree of autonomy. A high level of acceptance among the local workforce is a fundamental part of this, thanks in part to an attractive pay structure and the involvement of local know-how at the management level.

G4-EC5 Ratio of standard entry-level wage compared to local minimum wage

Geberit pays market-rate wages, taking into account local circumstances and laws. When selecting employees and determining their assignment in the company, Geberit attaches great importance to qualifications appropriate to the task description. In accordance with their qualifications, the majority of Geberit employees at the 33 production sites and at the sales companies are paid well above the minimum wage range. Stability and a high level of motivation among employees are important to Geberit. This is being encouraged at the new site in India, for example, by means of a comparatively attractive pay structure. The applicable requirements on minimum wages are well met.

G4-EC6 Procedures for local hiring

Geberit has no personnel policy or employment practices providing for the preferential treatment of persons from local vicinities in connection with the hiring of members of management boards for the respective country organisations. However, Geberit would like to establish organisations at its production and sales sites that function on a local basis, which is why it often integrates locally appointed managers. For example, the sales companies in India and China are both headed by managing directors who have been recruited locally.

8.3 Indirect Economic Impacts (EC)

Management Approach - Indirect Economic Impacts

Indirect economic impacts arise primarily due to positive side-effects from direct economic action. With its innovative solutions for sanitary products, Geberit aims to achieve sustained improvement in the quality and standard of people’s lives. The economy benefits from this in several respects: through the contribution to better sanitary standards, a durable, resource-efficient sanitary infrastructure, through know-how transfer in the sanitary industry, via impetus for the economy in regional economic areas, and through orders with suppliers. There is no management approach to indirect economic impacts in the narrower sense. Instead, the company works with the stakeholders concerned to identify the best solutions in each case.

Geberit pursues a clear strategy as part of its social responsibility, and therefore supports social projects each year that exhibit a relationship to the topic of water and sanitary facilities, as well as to Geberit’s core competencies and corporate culture. Equally important is the aspect of personal and professional education: By getting actively involved in the social projects in developing regions across the world, apprentices become familiar with other cultures and also acquire new social, linguistic and professional competencies. Furthermore, these social projects make a tangible contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, which include giving all humans access to clean drinking water and basic sanitation by 2030.

G4-EC7 Investments in infrastructure and services primarily for public benefit

Donations and financial contributions, including product donations, totalling CHF 3.7 million (previous year CHF 2.6 million) were made during the reporting year. In addition, Geberit employees contributed 2,336 hours of charitable work (previous year 1,657 hours). Geberit also supports facilities for disabled persons and long-term unemployed, where simple assembly and packaging work in the amount of around CHF 6.3 million was carried out in 2016 (previous year CHF 6.2 million), see also Key figures sustainability > Employees and society.

The focus was on the following projects and partnerships in 2016:

  • A social project carried out in Warsaw (PL) with apprentices: renovation of several sanitary facilities at a primary school with a team of ten apprentices from Geberit, as well as volunteer work with students on the subject of water.
  • The partnership with Helvetas on projects relating to clean drinking water and sanitary facilities and supporting the new Helvetas campaign for clean drinking water and latrines with a substantial contribution.
  • Participation in the charitable organisation Swiss Water Partnership to promote international dialogue on the topic of water.
  • Implementation of the project Change of Perspective, in which two Swiss plumbers travelled to Nepal and worked together with two Nepalese colleagues for one week. This project was repeated in Switzerland a short time later.
  • Volunteer work of 17 Geberit employees for two weeks helping a village community in western Nepal to construct a water pipeline. Geberit also made a major donation to support Helvetas-run water projects in Nepal.
  • Support for six vocational schools for plumbers in Ukraine with the goal of providing professional, contemporary training in plumbing.
  • Various local initiatives and collection campaigns in Poland, the UK, France, Germany and Switzerland round off the Geberit Group’s social engagement at the local level.

G4-EC8 Indirect economic impacts

Geberit forms part of the value chain in the construction industry. It has significant indirect economic impacts downstream on the customer side at planners, plumbers and end users, as well as upstream at suppliers and transport companies. Continuous investment in 33 production plants in Europe, China, India and the USA, as well as the logistics centre in Germany, will strengthen these individual economic areas.

Geberit know-how and products significantly reduce the burden on water and waste water systems. According to one model calculation, all dual-flush and flush-stop cisterns installed since 1998 have so far saved around 22,600 million cubic metres of water in comparison with traditional flushing systems. In 2016 alone, the water saved amounted to 2,430 million cubic metres. This is more than half of the annual consumption of all German households.

Geberit is committed to sustainable sanitary systems which, as elements in construction, help to shape the infrastructure as a whole. For example, Geberit actively worked on adapting the applicable standard for the dimensioning of waste water piping to smaller diameters. This is important so that the full functionality of the piping system is ensured even with lower quantities of waste water. Geberit also supported WELL (Water Efficiency Label), a product classification system for water-saving and resource-efficient sanitary products that was introduced in 2011. Similar to its work in the field of waste water hydraulics, Geberit also played a major part in ensuring that topics such as noise insulation and fire protection, as well as hygiene in drinking water and sanitary areas, have been developed to the benefit of the end user and laid down in standards and recommendations.

Geberit lends impetus to the sanitary industry with innovation and new products that are sold and implemented worldwide by wholesalers, plumbers and planners. In 2016 alone, around 30,000 customers were provided with education and further training on Geberit products and software tools in the 25 information centres in Europe and overseas, see Business Report > Business and financial review > Financial Year 2016 > Customers.

Geberit employed 233 apprentices at the end of 2016 (previous year 255). The transfer rate to a permanent employment relationship was 75% (previous year 64%). All apprentices are essentially required to work at several sites during their training. Experience abroad and the transfer of know-how are beneficial, especially for young employees.

Geberit employed 233 apprentices at the end of 2016 (previous year 255). The transfer rate to a permanent employment relationship was 75% (previous year 64%). All apprentices are essentially required to work at several sites during their training. Experience abroad and the transfer of know-how are beneficial, especially for young employees.