Geberit has long stood for a high level of environmental awareness and been committed to environmentally friendly, resource-saving production as well as the development of water-saving and sustainable products. Systematic, Group-wide environmental management takes centre stage here. This is the remit of Sustainability and Process Management. Guidelines and measures pertaining to all significant environmental issues 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.
Eco-design has been an integral part of the product development process since 2007, with the aim of making each product more environmentally friendly than its predecessor throughout the entire product life cycle, see Chapter 10.1 Products and innovation. 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.
The Geberit Group has a Group certificate in accordance with ISO 9001 (quality), ISO 14001 (environment) and ISO 45001 (occupational health and safety) that is valid until 2021. 28 of the 29 production plants, central logistics, and the management company incorporating all Group functions at headquarters in Rapperswil-Jona (CH) are certified in accordance with these three standards or OHSAS 18001. By the end of 2020, all production plants will be covered by these standards. In addition, five German plants are certified according to ISO 50001 (energy) and ten sales companies according to ISO 9001 (quality).
The annual preparation of a corporate eco-balance has been an established part of Geberit’s environmental management since 1991. It covers all production plants worldwide, the logistics centre in Pfullendorf (DE), other smaller logistics units and the larger sales companies. The corporate eco-balance permits an overall assessment of environmental impact in terms of eco-points. For the reporting in 2019, as in the previous year, the basic data from the internationally recognised Ecoinvent database (version 3.1) and 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 3.8%. The environmental impact per net sales (currency-adjusted) dropped by 6.9%. This figure is 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 14.9% and eco-efficiency improved by 27.5%.
Detailed key figures on the environmental impact are provided at Key figures sustainability > Environment.
Resources and circular economy (GRI 301)
Management approach resources and circular economy
The use of raw materials, semi-finished products and finished products with a global procurement value of CHF 882 million is a significant production factor for Geberit. At around 13,800 TJ (previous year 12,900 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 5.3 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 Chapter 10.1 Products and innovation > Product management and innovation. In the area of ceramic production, Geberit’s goal is to improve resource efficiency (kg ceramic waste/kg ceramic) by 10% by 2021.
As part of the European vision for a resource-saving circular economy, efforts are being made to identify and implement options in the area of closed material cycles. The aim is to minimise resource and energy usage, lengthen the service life of products as far as possible, close internal and external material cycles to the greatest extent possible, and constantly increase the use of internal and external recycled materials. Of key importance here is that Geberit products must have a very long industrial service life, as many of them will be installed in buildings for decades. This is guaranteed through the use of top-class materials and the application of strict quality requirements. An important factor here is the availability of spare parts for up to 25 years for a significant proportion of the product range. Furthermore, Geberit products are usually backwards-compatible and can be cleaned and repaired easily. Attention is also paid to using as little packaging material as possible. All these features combine sustainability aspects and support the circular economy, both in production as well as the use of the products in buildings.
Conserving resources also means making appropriate use of products that, although in mint condition, can no longer be sold. The 2019 brand switch from Keramag to Geberit, coupled with major efforts to reduce the complexity of the product portfolio, gave rise to residual items of stock still in mint condition. Rather than scrapping these products, attempts were made to put them to good use, such as in social projects.
Materials used (GRI 301-1)
The use of materials depends on the various manufacturing processes: ten plants for manufacturing sanitary ceramics, twelve plants for processing plastic and metal, and seven other plants in the area of metal composites and metal. The range of manufacturing technologies used thus includes the areas of ceramic production, injection moulding, blow moulding, extrusion, metal-forming and thermoforming, and assembly.
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 419,713 tonnes of materials were used in 2019 (previous year 409,573 tonnes). These amounts include the mineral raw materials from the former Sanitec Group and materials from the plant in Ozorków (PL). Detailed key figures on the use of materials can be found at Key figures sustainability > Environment. In 2019, more than 6,000 tonnes of gypsum waste from ceramic production were used as secondary material in the cement industry, thus making a contribution to the circular economy.
In 2017, the implementation of a software-based solution for managing hazardous substances began. This solution had been rolled out at 16 production plants by the end of 2019. 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 aim is to reduce the volume of hazardous substances used in the production plants by 5% per year in total. In 2019, a 12% reduction was achieved here.
Percentage of recycled material (GRI 301-2)
When determining the share of recycled material in production, a distinction is made between internal and external 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 9,300 tonnes. 2019 saw the launch of the “back to mould” initiative in the production plants. The aim is to use plastic waste that cannot be externally recycled for the in-house manufacture of components with low quality requirements.
Raw materials are also recycled internally and fed back into the process in ceramic production. The recycling rate for the ceramic slip is 5 to 10% and 20 to 40% for the glaze, corresponding to around 24,600 tonnes in total. Another goal is to further enhance resource efficiency in ceramic production, with a ratio of 0.51 kg ceramic waste/kg ceramic achieved in the reporting year.
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 36,900 tonnes of recycled material.
With plastics, virgin material is primarily used. The search for suitable, high-quality regranulate from external plastic waste is, however, 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, while releasing around three tonnes less CO2 into the atmosphere. In 2019, some 850 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 type 240 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. In 2019, around 65 tonnes of PE-LD regranulate (post-consumer waste) were used for the manufacture of protective caps at the plant in Rapperswil-Jona (CH).
Reuse of products and packaging materials (GRI 301-3)
In 2019, around 38,000 tonnes of packaging material (including the former Sanitec) were used, of which around 60% was collected and recycled by Geberit or by financed contractual partners. The rest was disposed of and recycled on a country-specific basis.
Energy (GRI 302)
Management approach energy
Representing a 96.2% share of the corporate eco-balance, the consumption of energy in the form of electricity, combustibles and fuels represents Geberit’s greatest environmental impact. 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 and the Science Based Targets Initiative. By 2021, the share of renewable energy sources should account for 45% for electricity and 10% for combustibles.
At present, the five 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, which was reviewed again in 2019.
For the development of energy-efficient products, see Chapter 10.1 Products and innovation.
Energy consumption within the organisation (GRI 302-1)
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, 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 3.5% in the reporting year and is now 762.3 GWh. Since the acquisition of Sanitec in 2015, it has been possible to reduce energy consumption by 16.4%, making a significant contribution to reductions in the environmental impact.
Combustibles (primarily for ceramic production), including district heating, still account for the greatest share of energy consumption at 66.9%, followed by electricity with 29.2% and fuels with 3.9%.
Renewable sources of energy are to be expanded continuously as part of the sustainability strategy. Since 2012, a block heating station has been in use in Pfullendorf (DE). In 2019, this plant was fed by 8.7 GWh of regionally produced biogas. The electricity generated by the plant (3.3 GWh) is fed into the transmission grid and the resulting heat (4.3 GWh) can be used in production, thereby reducing the use of natural gas. In total, renewable energy sources accounted for 4.3% 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 0.4 GWh of electricity in 2019. However, this contribution is not included in the energy balance as the energy produced is managed by the regional energy supplier. Overall, the volume of purchased green electricity was increased by 3 GWh to 53 GWh in 2019 – meaning that renewable sources of energy accounted for 42.1% 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, see Key figures sustainability > Environment.
Energy consumption outside the organisation (GRI 302-2)
Where the energy balance outside the organisation is concerned, Geberit concentrates on purchased materials, intercompany and distribution logistics, and business travel.
In 2019, purchased materials resulted in grey energy consumption of around 13,800 TJ.
Logistics services are provided by external transport service providers. A logistics calculator developed by Geberit is used for monitoring purposes. Compared to the previous year, the logistics calculator was expanded to include six locations from the former Sanitec and now covers logistics in its entirety. In the reporting year, the transport service providers handled 560.5 million tonne-kilometres (previous year 505.9 million tonne-kilometres). This gave rise to energy consumption of 1,148 TJ (previous year 918 TJ). The increase in transport services and energy consumption was mainly caused by the increase in locations included, as well as the rise in net sales and the related expansion in transport volumes.
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. Business flights resulted in energy consumption of 23.2 TJ in the reporting year.
Energy intensity (GRI 302-3)
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 (energy) have also introduced a more refined system of monitoring. At Group level, net sales constitute a key indicator alongside environmental impact and CO2 emissions. In 2019, energy consumption per net sales improved by 6.7% compared to the previous year.
Energy saved (GRI 302-4)
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), see Facts & Figures
- The careful use of compressed air
- The insulation of buildings
Concrete examples which show the reduction in energy consumption in production:
- Demolition and safe disposal of infrastructure that was no longer required in Pfullendorf and Langenfeld (DE), and in Digoin and La Villeneuve au Chêne (FR). Opening of new infrastructure in Pfullendorf, Langenfeld (DE), Ozorków (PL) and Slavuta (UA).
- Number of injection moulding machines with energy-efficient drive technology increased from 174 to 192.
- Commissioning of a third fully electrical blow-moulding machine in Pfullendorf (DE).
- Process optimisation for the manufacture of bent 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 additional fully electrically driven production lines.
- The project to retrofit a total of eleven tunnel kilns for ceramic production with state-of-the-art burner technology is now concluded. This will bring about long-term savings of more than 20% natural gas per kiln, which corresponds to some 27 GWh of natural gas and approximately 6,500 tonnes of CO2 every year.
Measures to reduce energy consumption in (outsourced) logistics operations:
- 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. The share of transport services handled by Euro 5 trucks was 30% and the share handled by state-of-the-art Euro 6 vehicles 68%.
- Where possible, Geberit takes the opportunity to shift truck traffic to rail. From Pfullendorf, almost 100% of ocean freight shipments to Hamburg (DE), 80% of shipments to Italy, and 15% of shipments to Switzerland are conducted by rail. The percentage of rail consignments from Italy to Pfullendorf is 55%.
- With regard to transportation by truck, Geberit continues to look for options for making more efficient use of freight compartments and using bigger 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%.
Reductions in energy requirements of products and services (GRI 302-5)
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 released per cubic metre for the conveyance, processing and distribution of water and the subsequent treatment of the unpolluted waste water in a 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 31,220 million m3 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. Specific examples include:
- The Geberit energy retaining valve ERV uses a magnetic diaphragm system to cap the ventilation pipe for waste water 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 l of heating oil a year, see Facts & Figures.
- The Geberit AquaClean Sela Comfort shower toilet uses innovative WhirlSpray and heating-on-demand technology to considerably reduce 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. For this purpose, a proprietary environmental and cost calculator was developed for various sales companies, see www.international.geberit.com > Products > Geberit urinal system > Urinal system sustainability calculator.
- The modular Geberit tap system is the ultimate in sophisticated installation technology, different energy concepts and elegant tap housings for wall-mounted and deck-mounted taps. The product boasts both optimal user-friendliness and ease of installation as well as minimal water and energy consumption.
Water and waste water (GRI 303)
Management approach water and waste water
The biggest environmental contribution made by Geberit products lies in the conservation of water with customers, which is one of the pivotal aspects in the company’s contribution towards sustainable development. Innovative Geberit sanitary products reduce the amount of water consumed and help to systematically optimise the way in which water is used in buildings while maintaining the highest hygiene standards – including in terms of drinking water. According to one model calculation, all dual-flush and flush-stop cisterns installed since 1998 have so far saved around 31,220 million m3 of water in comparison with traditional flushing systems. In 2019 alone, the water saved amounted to 3,120 million m3. This is more than half of the annual consumption of all German households. Since 2016, Geberit has been publishing its detailed water balance as part of the CDP’s Water Program.
For the development of water-saving products and Geberit’s commitment beyond product development, see Chapter 10.1 Products and innovation.
Handling and use of water (GRI 303-3, GRI 303-5)
The Water footprint, which covers Geberit’s entire value chain, 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.
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 (1.2%). Despite this, Geberit also aims to serve as a role model with respect to its own water consumption and to further optimise this every year. This includes measures such as reusing water in laboratories and production processes. Ceramic production accounts for the biggest share of water consumption. Geberit’s goal in this area is to reduce water consumption (l water/kg ceramic) by 5% by 2021 compared with 2018.
In the reporting year, water consumption in production amounted to 1,036,947 m3 (previous year 1,032,501 m3) and is categorised into drinking water (36%), well water (40%), lake and river water (23%) and rain water (1%). Key figures concerning water consumption by source can be found at Key figures sustainability > Environment.
Water withdrawal and water consumption (GRI 303-1)
Waste water of varying quality accounts for around 80% of the water withdrawn, see GRI 303-4. The remaining 20% evaporates into the atmosphere either during cooling processes or when the ceramic parts and gypsum moulds dry.
The manufacture of ceramic sanitary appliances accounts for around 80% of water consumption, i.e. during preparation of the ceramic slip and glaze, and cleaning the moulds and systems. On average, 6.8 l of water are needed for every kilo of ceramic produced. Around 5 to 10% of the water used in ceramic production is recycled internally, corresponding to around 81,300 m3 in 2019.
Another major consumer is the Geberit sanitary laboratory in Rapperswil-Jona (CH), where newly developed products are tested. The tests required 96,730 m3 of water, of which only around 3% (3,068 m3) was fresh water. The remaining 97% was reused in a closed-circuit system.
Other processes that consume water are steam foaming of expandable polystyrene (EPS), cleaning work, powder coating, and water used in staff sanitary facilities.
Handling of waste water (GRI 303-2)
All resulting process waste water and domestic waste water is treated. Process waste water can contain inorganic substances (e.g. mineral raw materials). This water is cleaned in a two-stage process involving sedimentation and filtration before being returned to surface waters. Only few Geberit processes (e.g. powder coating, electroplating, cleaning of metal fittings) produce waste water that is more heavily contaminated. This waste water is treated in a separate stage before being fed into the public sewage system.
Waste water (GRI 303-4)
The 2019 figure for waste water was 799,639 m3 (previous year 808,158 m3). At 70%, process waste water from the production of sanitary ceramics accounted for the largest share of the total. Other important categories are domestic waste water (28%), which passes into the communal waste water treatment plant or is pretreated and fed into receiving waters, and other waste water (2%), which is pretreated and fed to a communal waste water treatment plant. Waste water was not directly reused by third-party companies. Detailed key figures on waste water can be found at Key figures sustainability > Environment.
CO2 and other emissions (GRI 305)
Management approach CO2 and other emissions
Production emissions are recorded, calculated 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 current CO2 strategy, the aim is to reduce CO2 emissions per net sales (currency-adjusted) by 5% per year on average. Geberit remains on track here, see GRI 305-2. In 2016, a long-term CO2 target was established that is compatible with the two-degree target set out in the Paris Agreement and the Science Based Targets Initiative. 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). This target was already achieved at the end of 2018. Specific goals for the share of renewable energy sources were also established: 45% for electricity and 10% for combustibles by 2021. Further goals for reducing CO2 emissions will be defined in 2020 for the next period.
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 (69.2%) and the provision of raw materials (16.8%) 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 at Geberit accounts for only 5.2% of total CO2 emissions. Similarly, transport (1.6%), the provision of combustibles and fuels (0.9%) and the disposal (6.3%) 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 GRI 302.
The calculation of greenhouse gas emissions is based on the internationally recognised Ecoinvent database (version 3.1), with the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) factors from 2013 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).
Direct greenhouse gas emissions (Scope 1) (GRI 305-1) and indirect, energy-related greenhouse gas emissions (Scope 2) (GRI 305-2)
In 2019, CO2 emissions amounted to 222,639 tonnes (previous year 231,484 tonnes), corresponding to a decrease of 3.8%. At 48.1%, electricity is the largest source of CO2, followed by combustibles at 47.9% and fuels at 3.5%, as well as process emissions and district heating at 0.5% in total. The purchase of 53 GWh of green electricity in Givisiez (CH), Pfullendorf (DE), Bromölla and Mörrum (SE), Kolo (PL) and Daishan (CN) meant that it was possible to reduce CO2 emissions by around 27,900 tonnes.
Key figures concerning greenhouse gas emissions can be found at Key figures sustainability > Environment.
Other indirect greenhouse gas emissions (Scope 3) (GRI 305-3)
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 717,221 tonnes (previous year 665,087 tonnes).
- The provision of combustibles and fuels, which accounted for 32,066 tonnes from combustibles and 5,613 tonnes from fuels in 2019.
- CO2 emissions of power generation from the upstream chain are included in GRI 305-1.
- Logistics (see GRI 302-2) gave rise to CO2 emissions of 69,729 tonnes in 2019 (previous year 55,802 tonnes). The increase was mainly caused by the increase in locations included, as well as the rise in net sales and the related expansion in transport volumes. Since 2015, Geberit has managed to improve the eco-efficiency of its logistics operations (environmental impact per tkm) by around 25%.
- Business travel by air, at 1,663 tonnes of CO2 emissions (previous year 1,588 tonnes). These CO2 emissions comprise direct and indirect emissions and are based on the Ecoinvent database (version 3.1) and the IPCC conversion factors from 2013.
Intensity of greenhouse gas emissions (GRI 305-4)
CO2 emissions (Scopes 1 and 2) in relation to net sales (currency-adjusted) decreased by 7.0%. This figure is above the target of 5% per year. Since the acquisition of Sanitec in 2015, the CO2 emissions per net sales have fallen by 26.4%.
Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GRI 305-5)
In 2019, Geberit purchased another 3 GWh of certified green electricity, bringing the total to 53 GWh. Overall, renewable energy sources thus accounted for 42.1% of electricity (previous year 40.6%). According to the CO2 strategy, an additional 3 GWh of green electricity is to be purchased each year so that the share of renewable energy sources for electricity 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 2019, makes a key contribution. An additional 13.3 GWh of district heating was sourced from a paper factory and a block heating station powered by wood. This brought the share of renewable energies for district heating and combustibles to 4.3% in total in 2019 (previous year 5.2%).
Fuel consumption is determined primarily by the company’s own and leased fleet of cars and delivery vans. Since early 2008, binding guidelines have also applied for the purchase of new vehicles. As of 2019, these guidelines were adjusted to take into account the new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP).
Substantial 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, see Facts & Figures.
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, forestry projects, environmental competitions and environmental newsletters.
All targets and measures for improving the CO2 footprint are disclosed in detail as part of the company’s participation in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).
Emissions of ozone-depleting substances (GRI 305-6)
Emissions of ozone-depleting substances, measured in CFC-11 equivalents, can be calculated based on the 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.
Nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur oxides (SOx) and other air emissions (GRI 305-7)
Emissions of NOx, SO2, NMVOC (non-methane VOC) and dust (PM10) can be calculated on the basis of the 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 these emissions can be found at Key figures sustainability > Environment.
Waste (GRI 306)
Management approach waste
According to the corporate eco-balance, waste disposal accounted for just 2.0% of the overall environmental impact. The reduction and safe handling of 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 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, has been used as secondary material in the cement industry since the end of 2016. This reduces waste quantities for landfills by over 6,000 tonnes per year.
Volume of waste (GRI 306-2)
The total quantity of waste in 2019 was 80,049 tonnes (previous year 84,074 tonnes).
78.3% of waste was channelled to external recycling processes (previous year 74.8%). 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. Increasing resource efficiency in ceramic production leads to a reduction in ceramic waste.
Key figures concerning waste by category can be found at Key figures sustainability > Environment.
Spills of hazardous substances (GRI 306-3)
In the reporting year, there was an incident of process waste water that was unintentionally discharged from a ceramics plant into receiving waters leading to official requirements, and these were handled accordingly.
Transport of hazardous waste (GRI 306-4)
In 2019, 957 tonnes of hazardous waste (previous year 777 tonnes) were disposed of by incineration and 516 tonnes of hazardous waste (previous year 588 tonnes) were recycled. At Geberit, all waste is disposed of and recycled by licensed disposal companies.
Water bodies affected by waste water discharges (GRI 306-5)
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 Standards.
Environmental compliance (GRI 307)
Management approach environmental compliance
In its Code of Conduct, Geberit states that it will limit the environmental impact of its business activities to a minimum. This calls for 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 (environment), and this will be further strengthened from 2020 onwards with the roll-out of an EHS compliance tool in the production plants and logistics. Monitoring is also part of the annual Group-wide survey on compliance with the Code of Conduct at all companies, see GRI 419.
Sanctions due to non-compliance with environmental laws and regulations (GRI 307-1)
In the reporting year, official requirements relating to the incident of unintentional discharge of process waste water from a ceramics plant were handled accordingly, see GRI 306-3.