10.1 Products and innovation
Product management and innovation
Management approach product management and innovation
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 wide range of products in front of and behind the wall, Geberit spans the entire flow of water within a building and helps to 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.
For an overview of product development topics, see Business Report > Business and financial review > Financial Year 2019 > Innovation. For an overview of new products, see New products.
Geberit regards eco-design as the key to environmentally friendly products, which is why eco-design has been an integral part of the development process since 2007. 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 Modeling). Based on the findings of these eco-design workshops, new solutions are developed and, where fit for purpose, 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 and Sela, electronic washbasin taps, concealed cisterns, urinal control systems, urinal systems and sanitary ceramics. The environmental product declarations (EPDs) in accordance with the European standard EN 15804 are also 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. Since the last report, another EPD has been created for AquaClean Sela.
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.
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 Sanitaryware Producers Federation) to draw up a voluntary European standard for assessing the sustainability of ceramic sanitary appliances (EN 16578).
The environmental impacts of Geberit’s products are improved continually through the consistent application of eco-design principles in product development. Current examples that make a particular contribution to reducing environmental impact are as follows:
- Geberit ONE. This comprehensive solution combines Geberit’s know-how in sanitary technology and design expertise, offering optimal flush performance and a minimum flush volume (4/2 l).
- Ongoing optimisation of the ceramic product range helps reduce the number of different products, thus 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.
- Thanks to an intelligent redesign, the fill valve type 333 for cisterns is both flow-optimised and very quiet. It uses 15% less materials in the manufacturing process, with 20% of the plastic in the valve made up of regranulate.
- Geberit’s SuperTube technology in combination with Geberit Sovent saves both space and resources in discharge systems installed in high-rise buildings. Taking the Lobby 33 reference project (a 30-storey high-rise building in Mexico) as an example, it was calculated that the new technology saved over 2,000 metres of pipes corresponding to more than 3 tonnes of material.
Management approach quality
See GRI 416.