Sustainability

Pursuing global targets

Approved by the United Nations in 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals comprise 17 specific targets and indicators which countries are required to implement by 2030. The business world plays a pivotal role in implementing these targets and indicators. The goal calling for equitable access to clean drinking water and basic sanitation for all people worldwide is of the utmost importance to Geberit. The company also focuses on the goal of “Sustainable Cities and Communities”. With its sanitary technology, Geberit makes an important contribution towards developing robust infrastructures and promoting sustainable industrialisation.

Sparing, careful use of water as a valuable resource is one of Geberit’s core areas of focus. A Geberit value chain analysis in the form of a water footprint shows that nearly 100% of water consumption is attributable to the product usage phase.

Water footprint throughout the value chain in 2018

Provision of raw materials

0.15% of the total amount of water is required in the manufacture of raw materials for products.

0.15%
(6.6 million m³)

Manufacturing

A mere 0.02% of the water is used in the manufacture of products in 2018.

0.02%
(1.0 million m³)

Use

The greatest water consumption by far occurs during the use of products manufactured in 2018 during their entire service life (cisterns, urinal flushing systems and lavatory taps).

99.83%
(4,450 million m³)

Disposal

Less than 0.01% of the total amount of water is used for disposal of products.

< 0.01%
(0.2 million m³)

Digitalisation with green building in mind

Green building is becoming ever more important. More and more buildings are being constructed in accordance with sustainability standards such as LEED, DGNB, Minergie or BREEAM. Consequently, there is demand among investors, project developers, owners and tenants for system providers with comprehensive know-how and high transparency regarding their products. Geberit meets this demand with water-saving, energy-saving, low-noise and durable products on the one hand, and the promotion of digitalisation with regard to environmental product information on the other.

Contribution to the circular economy

The purpose of the circular economy is to minimise the use of resources and materials and close material cycles. Geberit sets great store by developing and marketing products with a long service life, offering guaranteed spare parts availability of 25 years whenever possible and ensuring the backwards compatibility of new products in order to increase product longevity. The aim of production is to establish closed cycles to the greatest possible extent. The ceramics plants seek to close internal material cycles and recycle waste externally. High-quality plastics are used at the plastics processing plants and the share of regranulate is constantly increased.

Long-term value added

For decades, sustainability has been part of Geberit’s corporate culture. The binding Sustainability strategy – which is closely linked to the company’s values and core areas of focus as well as the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations – ensures that the objectives are measurable and that a significant contribution to the success of the company is thus guaranteed. A total of twelve sustainability modules form the basis of this strategy. Among these are occupational health and safety, social responsibility, energy and CO2 reduction, eco-design, green procurement and green logistics.

Since 2007, a sustainability performance review of the Geberit Group has been prepared annually in accordance with the guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). In 2018, this was carried out for the first time according to the new GRI Standards. The information disclosed within the scope of this report has been compiled in accordance with the “Comprehensive” option contained in the GRI Standards. The sustainability reporting has been subjected to and has successfully completed the GRI Materiality Disclosures Service, see GRI label and formal GRI Content Index. All aspects of the GRI Standards can be found in the Sustainability Performance Report for 2018. The materiality analysis reviewed by an external stakeholder panel in the reporting year as well as the sustainability strategy have been further developed.

Since 2008, Geberit has been a member of the United Nations (UN) Global Compact – a global agreement between businesses and the UN designed to make globalisation more socially responsible and environmentally friendly. A Communication on Progress regarding measures in the areas of human rights, labour practices, environmental protection and anti-corruption is submitted annually. Geberit is also a member of the local network of the UN Global Compact. The Code of Conduct for Employees and the Code of Conduct for Suppliers further incorporate the topic of sustainability. Continuously improved compliance processes ensure compliance with guidelines and directives. In addition, a system for the control and management of all risks involved in entrepreneurial activities is in place throughout the Group. For more information, see Risk management.

The activities in terms of sustainable business management are rewarded by the capital market. Geberit is strongly represented in the sustainability stock indices and sustainability funds segment. For example, the share is a component of the STOXX Europe Sustainability Index and the FTSE4Good 100 Index Series. Renowned sustainability funds also hold the shares in their portfolios. Geberit wants to continue to play a pivotal role in the “Sustainability” and “Water” investment segments.

Holistic view of development processes

Sustainability is an integral part of the technology and innovation processes at Geberit. This is why the eco-design approach has been consistently applied since 2007 as part of the Group’s innovation and development process. All environmental aspects are examined, from the selection of raw materials right through to disposal. Every new product must be better than its predecessor from an ecological perspective. An example of this is the energy retaining valve, which closes the openings of sanitary ventilation pipes – which are usually built into the roof – without causing any loss of function. Measurements by the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts have revealed that the heat loss via the ventilation pipe can be reduced by 98% using this valve. This is equivalent to an annual quantity of around 50 litres of heating oil.

The environmental product declarations (EPD) in accordance with the European standard EN 15804 are an important decision-making aid in the building process and can also be used directly for green building standards such as LEED. EPDs present relevant, comparable and verified information about a product’s environmental performance in a transparent manner. A total of four EPDs for discharge pipes were newly compiled in the reporting year.

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