9. Environment (EN)

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. Eco-design is an integral part of the product development process, with the goal of making each product more environmentally friendly than its predecessor throughout the entire product life cycle. Environmental criteria are considered in all decision-making processes. These 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 GRI aspects 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. The environmental and occupational safety managers from all production plants meet once a year to discuss best practice and further develop Group-wide standards. Since 2017, a newsletter on environmental and occupational safety topics has also been published twice a year.

In 2017, the implementation of a software-based solution for managing hazardous substances began. The aim here is to implement a standardised process in all production plants, improve efficiency in the management of hazardous operating and auxiliary materials, and scale down the use of hazardous substances in the long term.

The Geberit Group has a Group certificate in accordance with ISO 9001 (quality), ISO 14001 (environment) and OHSAS 18001 (occupational health and safety) that is valid until the end of 2018. Out of 30 production plants, 30 were certified to ISO 14001, 27 to OHSAS 18001 and five to ISO 50001 at the end of 2017. By the end of 2018, all new plants should have been integrated into the Geberit management system and any outstanding plants certified according to OHSAS 18001.

The annual preparation of a corporate eco-balance has been an established part of Geberit’s environmental management since 1991. It covers 30 production plants worldwide, the logistics centre in Pfullendorf (DE), other smaller logistics units and the larger sales companies. Up to the end of June, only data on energy and water was captured from the two French ceramic plants that were closed. The corporate eco-balance permits an overall assessment of environmental impact in terms of eco-points. For the reporting in 2017, as in the previous year, the 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. The calculation was based on the national electricity mix.

The absolute environmental impact fell by 3.7% and CO2 emissions by 2.9%. The environmental impact per net sales (currency-adjusted) dropped by 5.8%, or 6.1% in organic terms (adjusted for the divestment of the Koralle and Varicor business). This figure is slightly above the long-term target of 5% per year. This progress is founded largely on continuous improvements in efficiency at the energy-intensive ceramics plants. Since the acquisition of Sanitec in 2015, the absolute environmental impact has been reduced by 7.6%.

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 847.1 million is a significant production factor for Geberit. At around 13,000 TJ (previous year 12,200 TJ) – based on basic data from Ecoinvent (version 3.1) – the consumption of grey energy associated with purchased materials (including mineral raw materials of the ceramic plants and raw materials of the plant in Ozorków (PL)) is 4.4 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 use of materials depends on the various manufacturing processes: 17 plants for processing plastic and metal, ten plants for manufacturing sanitary ceramics, and three other plants for processing acrylic 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, metal-forming 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 414,637 tonnes of materials were used in 2017 (previous year 390,421 tonnes). Besides the mineral raw materials from the former Sanitec Group, these amounts now include the materials from the plant in Ozorków (PL). 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 internal and external sources.

Internal sources:

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 9,000 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.

External sources:

The share of recycled material in purchased metals is relatively high. This data originates from the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy.

Extrapolated, the raw material metal purchased contains around 33,900 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 2017, some 900 tonnes of ABS regranulate were used for various components in exposed and concealed cisterns. Thanks to an intelligent redesign, half of the material used for the flush valve can be made of high-quality ABS regranulate, for example. The use of plastic regranulate is generally to be increased further and applied to other product areas.

9.2 Energy (EN)

Management Approach – Energy

With a share of 96.5%, the consumption of energy in the form of electricity, combustibles and fuels represents Geberit’s greatest environmental impact. A software introduced in 2012 permits monthly monitoring of water and energy consumption, as well as the Group-wide calculation of environmental impact and CO2 emissions. 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. Targets were also defined for the share of renewable energy sources as part of the development of a long-term CO2 target that is compatible with the two-degree target set out in the Paris Agreement (science-based). By 2021, the share of renewable energy sources should account for 45% for electricity and 10% for combustibles.

At present, the German plants in Lichtenstein, Pfullendorf, Langenfeld, Wesel and Haldensleben are 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 organisation

Geberit generally uses energy purchased externally. The direct energy carriers (Scope 1) include the combustibles natural gas, biogas, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), diesel for power generation, heating oil extra light and solid combustibles, as well as the fuels diesel, gasoline, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and natural gas (CNG). The indirect energy carriers (Scope 2) include electricity and district heating.

Energy consumption decreased by 4.2% in the reporting year and is now 828.5 GWh, corresponding to a reduction of 3.6% when adjusted for the divestments of the Koralle and Varicor business. Since the acquisition of Sanitec in 2015, it has thus been possible to reduce energy consumption by 9.2% in total, making a significant contribution to reductions in the environmental impact.

Combustibles (primarily from ceramic production), including district heating, still account for the greatest share of energy consumption at 69.2%, followed by electricity with 27.4% and fuels with 3.4%.

Renewable sources of energy are to be expanded continuously as a part of the sustainability strategy. Since 2012, a block heating station has been in use in Pfullendorf (DE). This plant was fed by 8.7 GWh of regionally produced biogas in 2017. The electricity generated by the plant (3.3 GWh) is fed into the transmission grid and the resulting heat (4.1 GWh) can be used in production, thereby reducing the use of natural gas. In total, renewable energy sources accounted for 5.3% of combustibles.

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 2017. However, this contribution is not included in the energy balance as the energy produced is managed by the regional energy supplier. Overall, the share of purchased green electricity was increased by 3 GWh to 47 GWh in 2017 – meaning that renewable sources of energy now account for 39.0% of total electricity consumption.

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, seeKey figures sustainability > Environment.

G4-EN4 Energy consumption outside of the organisation

Where the energy balance outside the organisation is concerned, Geberit concentrates on purchased materials, intercompany and distribution logistics, and business travel.

In 2017, purchased materials resulted in grey energy consumption of around 13,000 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 management cockpit. Those plants which are certified to ISO 50001 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, scrap, stability, energy and resource consumption
  • The continuous modernisation of the machine fleet and the purchase of energy-efficient equipment
  • Increasing the capacity utilisation and efficiency of production equipment
  • 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:

  • Demolition and safe disposal of plant and infrastructure in Wesel and Langenfeld (DE), Bromölla (SE), Digoin, La Villeneuve-au-Chêne and Selles-sur-Cher (FR) that were obsolete and no longer required.
  • Old, inefficient machines in Langenfeld (DE) and a total of four tunnel kilns in Digoin, La Villeneuve-au-Chêne (FR) and Slavuta (UA) were scrapped or decommissioned.
  • Number of injection moulding machines with energy-efficient drive technology increased from 150 to 156.
  • Process optimisation for the manufacture of Mapress fittings in Langenfeld (DE) with a reduction in electricity and natural gas consumption, reduced use of lubricants and lower quantities of hazardous waste. Implementation of first fully electrically driven production line.
  • One further tunnel kiln for ceramic production was retrofitted with state-of-the-art burner Technology. Up to now, six state-of-the-art tunnel kilns have been installed, with a further five to follow.

G4-EN7 Energy-efficient products

The biggest environmental contribution by Geberit products lies in the conservation of water, which indirectly also saves on energy. 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 waste water treatment plant. The water footprint calculated for Geberit 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 one model calculation, all dual-flush and flush-stop cisterns installed since 1998 have so far saved around 25,300 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:

  • Geberit’s latest shower toilet, Geberit AquaClean Tuma, which stands out with a sophisticated product concept and simple yet elegant design. It is offered as a complete solution including a rimless WC ceramic appliance. Alternatively, it is also available as a WC enhancement solution that can be combined with the previously installed ceramic appliances. The innovative WhirlSpray and heating-on-demand technology considerably reduces energy consumption compared to its predecessor.
  • The 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. They are now also available for renovation projects as well. For this purpose, a proprietary environmental and cost calculator was developed for various sales companies, see www.international.geberit.com > Products > Geberit urinal systems > Urinal system sustainability calculator.
  • The modular Geberit tap system is the ultimate in sophisticated installation technology, different energy concepts and elegant tap housings for the wall-mounted and deck-mounted taps. The taps can be mounted quickly and flawlessly. The mixer, valves, electronics and power supply are stored in a function box, which is mounted under the washbasin where it is protected from moisture. The product boasts both optimal user-friendliness and ease of installation as well as minimal water and energy consumption
  • All mirror cabinets are equipped with state-of-the-art LED technology.
  • The Geberit energy retaining valve uses a patented magnetic diaphragm system to cap the waste-water venting pipe above the roof. This opens only when required and ensures pressure compensation only when this is necessary. This helps avoid unnecessary heat loss and can save up to 50 litres of heating oil a year.

9.3 Water (EN)

Management Approach – Water

The water footprint, which covers Geberit’s entire value chain (including the impact of ceramic cisterns for the first time), 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 (1.1%). 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.

Since 2016, Geberit has been publishing its detailed water balance as part of the CDP’s Water Program.

G4-EN8 Water consumption

Water consumption dropped compared to the previous year by 0.4% to 1,129,893 m3 (previous year 1,133,946 m3). Above all, 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.

Water consumption can be categorised into drinking water (28%), well water (48%), lake and river water (23%) 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

The water consumption of Geberit production plants does not place a considerable burden on water sources as defined in the GRI guidelines.

G4-EN10 Water recycling

Throughout the Group, two processes are primarily responsible for much of the water requirements:

  • Relatively large quantities of water are used in ceramic production. An initial estimate shows that 5 to 10% of the water used was also recycled internally, corresponding to around 88,500 m3 per year
  • Newly developed products are tested at the Geberit sanitary laboratory in Rapperswil-Jona (CH). The tests required 101,680 m3 of water. Only around 3% or 2,874 m3 of this is fresh water. The remaining 97% was reused in a closed-circuit system.

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 important 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 on track here, see
G4-EN18. In 2016, a long-term CO2 target was established that is compatible with the two-degree target set out in the Paris Agreement (science-based). Within this context, Geberit plans to reduce its absolute CO2 emissions (Scopes 1 and 2) by 6% between 2015 and 2021 to under 240,000 tonnes (based on organic growth). Specific goals for the share of renewable energy sources were also established: 45% for electricity and 10% for combustibles.

A CO2 footprint across the entire value chain has been calculated since 2012. This carbon footprint covers the provision of raw materials, combustibles and fuels, the manufacturing of products at Geberit, logistics, use and disposal. With regard to the former Sanitec, only mineral raw materials and raw materials from the plant in Ozorków (PL) are taken into account. An analysis revealed that product use (69%) and the provision of raw materials (16.3%) 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 6% of total CO2 emissions. Similarly, transport (1.3%), the provision of combustibles and fuels (1%) and the disposal (6.4%) 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 is based on the internationally recognised Ecoinvent database (version 3.1), with the IPCC 2013 factors used, production-related process emissions included and the national electricity mix taken into account. The seven leading substances (CO2 fossil, CH4, N2O, HFC, PFC, SF6 and NF3) are 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)

In 2017, CO2 emissions amounted to 242,796 tonnes (previous year 250,108 tonnes, corresponding to a decrease of 2.9%, or 2.5% in organic terms (adjusted for the divestment of the Koralle and Varicor business). CO2 emissions per net sales (currency-adjusted) fell by 5.1% (in organic terms 5.8%), meaning that Geberit slightly exceeded its long-term target of 5% per year.

At 49.0%, combustibles are the largest source of CO2, followed by electricity at 47.7% and fuels at 3.1%, as well as process emissions and district heating at 0.2% in total. The purchase of 47 GWh of green electricity in Pfullendorf and Weilheim (DE), Kolo (PL), Bromölla and Mörrum (SE), Givisiez (CFI) and Daishan (CN) meant that it was possible to reduce CO2 emissions by around 21,800 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:

  • Raw materials used and the resulting CO2 emissions at 667,065 tonnes (previous year 632,225 tonnes).
  • The provision of combustibles and fuels, which accounted for 35,920 tonnes from combustibles and 5,335 tonnes from fuels in 2017.
  • CO2 emissions of power generation from the upstream chain are included G4-EN15.
  • Logistics (see G4-EN30), which caused a total of 52,075 tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2017 (previous year 42,179 tonnes). The increase was mainly caused by additional locations included as well as the rise in sales and the related expansion in transport volumes.
  • Business travel by air, at 1,626 tonnes of CO2 emissions (previous year 1,655 tonnes).

G4-EN18 Greenhouse gas emissions intensity

CO2 emissions (Scopes 1 and 2) in relation to currency-adjusted net sales decreased by 5.1%. In organic terms (adjusted for the divestment of the Koralle and Varicor business) by 5.8%. This figure is slightly above the long-term target of 5% per year.

G4-EN19 Initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

In 2016, Geberit purchased another 3 GWh of certified green electricity, bringing the total to 47 GWh. Overall, renewable energy sources thus accounted for 39.0% of electricity (previous year 37.7%). According to the CO2 strategy, the share of renewable energy sources should be expanded by 3 GWh annually so that it reaches 45% by 2021.

For combustibles, the share of renewable energy sources should be increased to 10% by 2021. The block heating station in Pfullendorf (DE), which was commissioned in 2012 and which was fed by 8.7 GWh of regionally generated biogas in 2017, makes a key contribution. In addition, 8.4 GWh of wooden pellets were burned and 13.1 GWh of district heating were obtained from a paper mill. This brought the share of renewable energies for district heating and combustibles to 5.3% in total in 2017 (previous year 6.3%).

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. One concrete example is the flush valve type 240 for cisterns. Half of the material used is made of high-quality ABS regranulate. Indirectly, this means that almost 500 tonnes of CO2 can be saved annually, corresponding to savings of about 1 GWh of average European electricity.

Geberit also 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. There are also local initiatives, e.g. tree planting work, forest clearing, environmental competitions and environmental newsletters.

All targets and measures for improving the carbon footprint 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 using the base data from the Ecoinvent database (version 3.1). 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.

Key figures on ozone-depleting substances can be found at Key figures sustainability > Environment.

G4-EN21 NOx, SO2 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 using the base data from the Ecoinvent database (version 3.1). 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.

Key figures concerning emissions can be found at Key figures sustainability > Environment.

9.5 Effluents and Waste (EN)

Management Approach – Effluents and Waste

Waste disposal accounted for 1.8% of the overall environmental impact in 2017. 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. Waste is sorted so that as much as possible is recycled, and as little as possible has to be incinerated or sent to landfill sites.

As part of the European vision for a resource-saving circular economy, efforts are being made to generate secondary material for other processes from waste. In both the Kolo and Wloclawek ceramic plants in Poland, for example, gypsum waste from ceramic production, which had previously been disposed of as waste to landfills, is now being used as secondary material in the cement industry since the end of 2016. This reduces waste quantities in landfills by around 6,000 tonnes per year.

G4-EN22 Water discharge

The 2017 figure for waste water was 811,769 m3 (previous year 846,998 m3). At 72%, process waste water from the production of sanitary ceramics accounted for the largest share of the total. Other important categories are domestic waste water (25%), which passes into the communal waste water treatment plant or is pretreated and fed into receiving waters, and other waste water (3%), which is pretreated and fed to a communal waste water treatment plant. 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.

G4-EN23 Waste

The total waste quantity in 2017 was 81,953 tonnes (previous year 79,864 tonnes).

72% of waste was channelled to external recycling processes (previous year 74%). The measures focused on the further separation of waste and the reduction of mixed waste and hazardous waste, as well as the utilisation as secondary material.

Key figures concerning waste by category are provided at Key figures sustainability > Environment.

G4-EN24 Spills and contamination

There were no spills of chemicals in the reporting period.

G4-EN25 Transport of hazardous waste

In 2017, 896 tonnes of hazardous waste (previous year 417 tonnes) were disposed of by incineration and 599 tonnes of hazardous waste (previous year 609 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

Sustainable products play a pivotal role for Geberit in generating added value for customers and society and for contributing to sustainable development as set out by the UN Sustainable Development Goals. With its solutions in front of and behind the wall, Geberit spans the entire flow of water within a building. They optimise significant aspects of the system as a whole, such as water and energy consumption or sound insulation. In addition to its quality, durability and high degree of water and resource efficiency, the Geberit product range also impresses with its good environmental compatibility and 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. In addition, they ensure that environmentally relevant data is collected and made available for later use, something which is of particular benefit to digital planning using BIM (Building Information Modelling). 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 process and provide arguments for the use of resource-efficient products. Detailed life cycle assessments have already been prepared for the following products: waste water and drinking water pipes, AquaClean Mera, electronic washbasin tap types 185/186 and Piave, concealed cisterns, urinal control systems, urinal systems and now also for sanitary ceramics. The environmental product declarations (EPDs) in accordance with the European standard EN 15804 are becoming increasingly important and can also be used directly for green building standards such as LEED. These show relevant, comparable and verified environmental data on products in a transparent manner.

The biggest environmental contribution by Geberit products lies in the conservation of water. An analysis of the entire value chain in the form of a water footprint shows that nearly 100% of water consumption is attributable to the product use 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 25,300 million cubic metres of water in comparison with traditional flushing systems. In 2017 alone, the water saved amounted to 2,650 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. In 2017, Geberit played a key role in establishing the European Bathroom Forum (EBF). One of the first tasks was the launch of a new European water label as a voluntary and flexible instrument to support customers in the selection of resource-efficient products. This aims to help achieve the EU goals for resource efficiency. In addition, Geberit collaborated with FECS (European Federation of Ceramic Sanitaryware Manufacturers) to draw up a voluntary European standard for assessing the sustainability of ceramic sanitary appliances (EN 16578).

G4-EN27 Mitigation of environmental impact of products

he environmental impacts of Geberit’s products are improved continually through the consistent application of eco-design principles in product development. For concrete examples of the latest new products, see G4-EN7. Current examples that make a particular contribution to reducing environmental impact are as follows:

  • Thanks to an intelligent redesign, the fill valve type 333 for cisterns is now both flow-optimised and extremely quiet. It uses 15% less materials in the manufacturing process, with 20% of the plastic in the valve made up of regranulate.
  • Ongoing optimisation of the ceramic product range helps reduce the number of different products, while cutting down on resource usage in manufacture, storage and distribution.
  • Expansion of the range of rimless WC pans helps to simplify cleaning and cut down on cleaning agents.

G4-EN28 Reclaimed packaging material

In 2017, around 20,900 tonnes of packaging material were used, of which over 75% was collected and recycled by Geberit or by financed contractual 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 is a mandatory element of ISO 14001 certification, and is monitored as part of the annual Group-wide survey on compliance with the Code of Conduct at all companies.

G4-EN29 Sanctions due to non-compliance with environmental laws and regulations

In the reporting year, Geberit received a fine for exceeding a threshold value in waste water.

9.8 Transport (EN)

Management Approach – Transport

Group logistics is being further standardised and harmonised. The logistics centre in Pfullendorf is the hub for almost all Geberit sanitary technology products. With a view to future growth and the continued optimisation of existing logistics processes, the decision was made in 2014 to further expand the capacities of this centre. The commissioning of the new buildings and infrastructures, which also include a storage area for long goods (pipes of up to six metres in length), was carried out as planned in the first quarter of 2017. The distribution of the Mapress pipe range, which had been operated separately at the production site in Langenfeld (DE), was subsequently relocated to Pfullendorf in the second quarter of 2017. As a result, the distribution of Geberit’s sanitary technology is now coordinated globally in Pfullendorf and handled there for all markets. Man and technology work hand in hand in the new logistics centre. Touchscreens, glove scanners, integrated voice control systems and built-in lift tables as well as lifting devices make the work efficient, safe and ergonomic. The new building brought about a further optimisation of logistics processes.

The logistics infrastructure of the ceramic business comprises 14 distribution sites of varying sizes across Europe. The integration of the ceramic business into Group logistics continued in 2017. The Geberit Logistics Operation System (G-LOS) was successfully introduced. G-LOS is the standard system for logistics and is used to continuously improve business processes.

Geberit does not have its own transport fleet, 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

Compared to the previous year, the logistics calculator was expanded to include two locations from the former Sanitec. In the reporting year, the largest transport service providers handled 415.1 million tonne-kilometres (previous year 302.6 million tonne-kilometres). This generated 52,075 tonnes of CO2 emissions (previous year 42,179 tonnes). The increase in transport services and CO2 emissions was mainly caused by the increase in locations included as well as the rise in sales and the related expansion in transport volumes. The share of transport services handled by Euro 5 trucks was 73% and the share handled by state-of-the-art Euro 6 vehicles 23%.

Great importance is attached to central transport management as the interface between plants, markets and transport service providers in order to enable cost- and resource-optimised transport solutions. By integrating the distribution of the Mapress range, customers now receive their entire sanitary technology order in a single truck delivery. This not only reduces the number of empty kilometres, it also increases truck capacity utilisation and reduces CO2 emissions.

Where possible, Geberit takes the opportunity to shift truck traffic to rail. 80% of the goods transported to Italy and 30% of those transported from Italy are moved by train. Consignments by rail to Turkey increased by 50%, while the percentage of rail consignments from Pfullendorf to customers in Switzerland rose to 15% thanks to the commissioning of a new Swiss logistics terminal with links to the rail network.

With regard to transportation by truck, Geberit continues to look for options for transporting even more goods per truck or using larger shipping containers. As such, the percentage of “high cube swap bodies" (offering around 10% more capacity) deployed from the logistics centre in Pfullendorf is being successively increased. In addition, the use of long trucks (with a length of up to 25 metres and a total weight of up to 60 tonnes) in Scandinavia increased load volumes and the number of transported pallets per truck by around 40%.

9.9 Supplier Environmental Assessment (EN)

Management Approach – Supplier Environmental Assessment

See chapter Suppliers.

G4-EN32 Screening of suppliers using environmental criteria

See chapter Suppliers.

G4-EN33 Environmental impacts in the supply chain

See chapter Suppliers.