3. Material Aspects and Boundaries

G4-17 Reporting boundaries in the consolidated financial statements

In general, the report covers the entire Geberit Group and the 2017 financial year. Owing to its sale in 2017, the company Varicor including the plant in Wisches (FR) was no longer included. Up to the end of June, only data on energy and water was captured from the two French ceramics plants that were closed.

If only part of the company is meant as an example or due to the availability of data, this is clearly indicated.

For the reporting limits in the consolidated financial statements, see Financial Report > Consolidated financial statements Geberit Group > Notes > Note 33.

G4-18 Process for defining report content

For the fourth time in succession, the GRI G4 guidelines serve as the basis for this report. Geberit implements the report option “comprehensive” and adheres closely to the GRI guidelines regarding the determination of material aspects and boundaries. The starting point is a comprehensive Materiality analysis based on the sustainability topics described in the GRI aspects.

For the materiality analysis, it was possible to build on the substantial basis of GRI reporting that has been created since 2007. Material sustainability topics and related measures are already presented in compact form within the Sustainability strategy. Also of a material nature are the principles of the UN Global Compact that Geberit has committed itself to uphold and that are presented in the Communication on Progress UN Global Compact.

On this basis, an internal materiality analysis was developed in 2014 as part of workshops with members of the Group Executive Board and later approved by the Group Executive Board. The results were reviewed and amended slightly by an external stakeholder panel in September 2014. As part of the integration of Sanitec, a further review was carried out in 2015. There were no major changes in the material aspects. The materiality analysis was again discussed by an external stakeholder panel in September 2016. It became clear that a high degree of consensus existed between the internal standpoint of the company and the assessment of the stakeholder panel, see Panel statement and the Response from Geberit to the Panel statement. Following an internal review, no changes to the material aspects were carried out for reporting on the 2017 financial year. A further review of materiality is planned for the next reporting cycle as part of the switchover to the GRI Standards.

G4-19 Material aspects

Material aspects are deemed material if they are significant for Geberit from the internal perspective of the company and/or the external perspective of stakeholders. No differentiation was made between internal and external dimensions. The aspects were divided into four categories: most material, material, less material and not material or not requiring any action. The GRI aspects that Geberit identified as material in the economic, environmental and social dimensions can be seen in a dynamic chart.

The results of the internally conducted materiality analysis were reviewed and approved by the external stakeholder panel in September 2016, see Panel statement.

The following aspects were identified as not material or as not requiring any action:

GRI aspects that are not material or not requiring any action Reason
Procurement practices (in the narrower sense in connection with local suppliers) Collaboration with local suppliers has no strategic significance for Geberit. Criteria such as reliability and price, quality and sustainability etc. are material, whereas the supplier’s proximity to the production site is not (except in a handful of individual cases). As a result, there is no preferential treatment of local suppliers or special criteria for them.
Biodiversity Geberit production sites do not endanger biodiversity in protected areas. Biodiversity plays a role when procuring mineral raw materials for ceramic production. This subject was addressed and examined as part of supplier audits. During these audits, it was found that the suppliers in this sector actively address the topic of biodiversity and take appropriate measures within the context of their licence to operate.
Investments environment Geberit plans holistically and integrates the aspect of environmental protection in the development of its products and production sites. In the context of integrated, sustainable planning, it makes no sense for Geberit to report investments in environmental protection separately.
Environmental grievance mechanisms Any risks or problems cited by stakeholders are addressed and resolved directly. The newly introduced Geberit Integrity Line available to suppliers for anonymously reporting irregularities in the procurement process also contributes to this.
Labour/Management relations (in the narrower sense of formal notice periods) Geberit cultivates transparent internal communication and a close dialogue between management and employees. There are no formally binding agreements on communication in case of severe measures.
Security practices Geberit is not active in any countries where special security precautions have to be taken.
Indigenous rights Geberit is not active in any countries or regions where the rights of indigenous people are endangered.
Human rights grievance mechanisms The risks of human rights violations by Geberit are low in general. Any risks or problems cited by stakeholders are addressed and resolved directly. The newly introduced Geberit Integrity Line available to suppliers for anonymously reporting irregularities in the procurement process also contributes to this.
Local communities Geberit production sites do not entail special risks for local communities or adverse effects on the neighbourhood. Geberit attaches great importance to maintaining good relations with its neighbours in the vicinity of its production sites. Continuous exchanges with authorities and the local community are part of this process.
Public policy No support is given to political parties or politicians. Participation in the political process is confined to membership in certain associations and is therefore limited.
Social grievance mechanisms Any risks or problems cited by stakeholders are addressed and resolved directly. The newly introduced Geberit Integrity Line available to suppliers for anonymously reporting irregularities in the procurement process also contributes to this.
Marketing communi­cations Owing to its marketing strategy, Geberit is little exposed to risks from aggressive advertising or marketing. All external means of communication are checked for correctness and appropriateness.
Customer privacy Geberit does not possess sensitive data on end users. Data on customers and end users are safeguarded as required by statutory requirements.

G4-20/21 Material aspects and report boundaries outside and within the organisation

In the case of the GRI aspects determined to be material, Geberit’s business activities have an impact on internal and external stakeholders. The following table shows the stakeholder groups (within the value chain) for which the impact is material and therefore determines the reporting limits for the information presented.

Material GRI aspects Reporting limits inside the organisation   Reporting limits outside the organisation  
Employees Production,
Customers Suppliers,
Society Others
Economic performance x x     x x Shareholders
Market presence   x       x  
Indirect economic impacts   x   x x x Regional economy
Materials     x x x    
Energy x     x   x  
Water x   x   x  
Emissions x   x   x  
Effluents and waste     x     x  
Products and services x     x x x  
Compliance environment     x     x  
Transport     x   x x  
Supplier environmental assessment         x x  
Employment   x       Regional economy
Occupational health and safety   x       Regional economy
Education and further training   x       Regional economy
Diversity and equal opportunity   x          
Equal remuneration for women and men   x          
Supplier assessment in terms of labour practices         x x  
Labour practices grievance mechanisms   x        
Screening Investments x         x  
Non-discrimination   x          
Freedom of association and right to collective bargaining   x         Unions
Child labour   (x)     x x  
Forced or compulsory labour   (x)     x x  
Human rights assessment x       x x  
Supplier human rights assessment         x x  
Anti-corruption x     x x x  
Anti-competitive behaviour x     x   x Competitors
Compliance x         x  
Supplier assessment on impacts on society         x x  
Customer health and safety x     x      
Product and service labelling x     x      
product responsibility x     x      

G4-22 Effects of any restatements of information provided

If, in individual cases, a new form of presentation, calculation method or optimised data collection has led to other results for the previous years, then this is noted under the respective indicator.

G4-23 Changes from previous reporting periods in scope, boundary or measurement methods

The annual sustainability reporting for the 2006 to 2013 financial years is based on the GRI G3 guidelines in force since October 2006. The 2014 financial year was the first time the GRI G4 guidelines were followed, and they were also applied to the 2015, 2016 and 2017 financial years. In this way, Geberit has developed a consistent reporting system in which individual indicators are further developed each year. The switchover to the new GRI Standards is planned for the 2018 financial year.

There were no significant changes during the reporting period for topics identified as material (GRI aspects). If, in individual cases, a new measuring method is used, this is noted under the respective indicator. With regard to the change to reporting limits, see G4-17.