13. Product responsibility (PR)

13.1 Customer Health and Safety (PR)

Management Approach – Customer Health and Safety

For Geberit, high quality standards mean fulfilling customers’ requirements in terms of functionality, reliability and application safety to the greatest possible extent. The company is guided by the zero-error principle. Corporate Quality Management is responsible for ensuring that suitable framework conditions promote a quality culture throughout the company, and that all employees act in a quality-conscious and independent manner.

Products undergo a defined optimisation process from the first draft. Product Development is responsible for ensuring that the products developed are safe and user-friendly, and that they comply with all standards and statutory requirements. As an independent department, Quality Management is responsible for defining, arranging and monitoring all necessary inspections to ensure that these requirements are met. A clear organisational distinction is drawn between Product Development and Quality Management. In addition, many products are also examined by external authorisation bodies.

Following market launch, an efficient handling of complaints with integrated error analysis, the initiation of sustained corrective measures and the continuous development of concepts for customer support takes place in cooperation with Sales, Production and Development. Geberit has achieved a high standard in the processing of complaints, and reacts directly and in a solution-oriented manner in each individual case.

Product Development and Quality Management are responsible for customer health and safety.

G4-PR1 Health and safety impact along the product life cycle

Generally speaking, Geberit products and services involve low risks for customers in terms of health and safety. Geberit nevertheless adopts a preventive approach within the scope of its comprehensive quality planning in order to test and ensure the health and safety requirements of all products from development to certification, through manufacture and storage, to use and disposal. Among other things, quality management includes an FMEA (Failure Mode and Effects Analysis) as a precautionary measure to prevent errors and increase the technical reliability of products. Eco-design workshops are held in the course of product development in order to optimise the use of suitable and ecological materials. If products or their use involve an increased risk to health or safety, Geberit’s technical editorial staff ensures that this is communicated appropriately to customers, see G4-PR3.

G4-PR2 Non-compliance with health and safety regulations

Throughout the Group, there were no court judgements or warnings against Geberit in the reporting period involving contraventions of regulations on the health and safety of products and services or product and service information.

13.2 Product and Service Labelling (PR)

Management Approach – Product and Service Labelling

Most of Geberit’s marketing activities continued to target plumbers and planning offices. Besides new or revamped digital tools, proven measures were continued – such as customer visits, training, and the publication of regularly updated technical documents, catalogues, brochures and magazines.

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is an interdisciplinary planning method for optimising the entire planning and building process and enables architects, sanitary engineers and building owners to share information efficiently. This helps them to avoid planning errors and improve productivity. In 2017, a dedicated team of BIM experts to develop BIM tools and prepare BIM data within the Geberit Group was put together.

Corporate Marketing is responsible for the labelling of products and services. Conveying product and application information in accordance with laws, standards and target groups is one of the main tasks of the Technical Documentation department that forms part of Corporate Marketing. A comprehensive portfolio of various document types and publication channels is available for this purpose. In the area of assembly and installation, Geberit focuses on multicultural and generally understandable images comprising detailed illustrations and guiding symbols. On top of this, more far-reaching information is provided for the plumber, architect and engineer target groups via various handbooks and skills brochures. In addition, product and safety data sheets are available for all products and target groups.

The end user target group is becoming more and more important in the conveying of product information, as Geberit is addressing end users with more and more products. Geberit ensures safe handling and correct labelling by means of detailed operating documentation based on the prevailing standards and laws.

G4-PR3 Product labelling

Products involving the use of electricity, gas or dangerous substances – or those containing such substances – need to be appropriately labelled in accordance with the prevailing standards and laws. This includes providing information about the target group and its qualifications as well as the intended use and the existence of substances subject to labelling requirements. The distributor/supplier must publish this information in a national language of the target market in accordance with the prevailing laws and regulations. Whenever possible, plastic components must feature material labelling in order to facilitate recycling.

Geberit has joined forces with the European Bathroom Forum (EBF) founded in 2017 to work on a new European water label that is to be used for a wide range of sanitary products. This is an all-encompassing, voluntary and flexible instrument launched by the sanitary industry to support EU goals on resource efficiency.

Since 2017, the first bathroom furniture series from the brands Keramag and Sphinx are made of FSC® certified (FSC-C134279) materials, while the first products in the Ifö Sense bathroom furniture series received the “Nordic Swan” ecolabel.

G4-PR4 Non-compliance with labelling requirements

In 2017, there were no significant violations of applicable laws or voluntary codes.

G4-PR5 Customer satisfaction

Geberit’s product portfolio comprises of more than 40,000 sales articles, a range that calls for extensive know-how on the procurement, assembly and functionality of each product. This knowledge is essential in order to hone the specialist skills of the employees and prepare them for the challenges posed by the market, as well as to stand out as a company with qualified specialist personnel. In order to ensure that this know-how is kept up-to-date, Geberit has developed the Geberit Campus – an international learning platform for employees that can be used in every market. The Campus enables Geberit to centrally collect and provide know-how. Furthermore, interactive e-learning courses and seminars are offered at the Geberit Information Centres. Geberit products and areas of expertise such as fire protection and sound insulation are focal points of knowledge transfer.

In a written survey conducted at the end of 2016, over 10,000 customers in Switzerland were asked about their satisfaction with Geberit products and services. Almost 900 plumbers, sanitary engineers and architects responded. Innovation and expertise most strongly characterise the image of Geberit (90% and 92% agreement respectively). Geberit is also clearly perceived to be responsible and sustainable (72%) and a fair partner (71%). The excellent assessments and competitiveness of the individual products are pleasing – particularly with regard to quality – as is the high satisfaction with the technical advice given. In 2017, Geberit’s customer service team conducted a random online survey in Switzerland of end users after they had received a service call. The response rate was over 40%, with around 96% of the replies confirming that users were either very satisfied or satisfied with the service received.

For further information, see Business Report > Business and financial review > Financial Year 2017 > Customers.

13.3 Compliance – Product Responsibility (PR)

Management Approach – Compliance – Product Responsibility

See Management approach customer health and safety and chapter Society.

G4-PR9 Sanctions due to non-compliance with product liability regulations

In 2017, no sanctions have been imposed in connection with Geberit products and services due to non-compliance with product liability regulations.