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 2020 > 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. More than 150 eco-design workshops have already been held as part of the development process for new products. 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 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 four EPDs have been created for Geberit FlowFit pipes and fittings in accordance with EN 15804. There was also an EPD update for the AquaClean Mera shower toilet. This means that products with an EPD now account for around 20% of Group sales.
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 contributed to the foundation of 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 targets for resource efficiency.
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 flush volumes of 4/2 litres.
- Expansion of the range of rimless WC pans helps to simplify cleaning and cut down on cleaning agents.
- 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.
- New Geberit Inside cistern for the Nordic markets, with flush volumes of 4/2 litres and over 50% of the plastic in the fill and flush valve made up of regranulate.
- Thanks to an intelligent redesign, the fill valve type 333 for cisterns is both flow-optimised and very quiet. It uses 11% less materials in the manufacturing process, with around 20% of the plastic in the valve made up of regranulate.
- The new Geberit FlowFit flow-optimised piping system for drinking water and heating applications made of halogen-free materials. Geberit also offers a system for returning used protective caps and pressing indicators.
Management approach quality
See GRI 416.