New production network
With the acquisition of the Sanitec Group, the number of Geberit plants increased. The existing 17 plants for processing plastic and metal were joined by 18 sites, 12 of which manufacture ceramic products. The other 6 process acrylic, mineral casting compound as well as aluminium and glass (in the case of shower enclosures). The range of manufacturing technologies used thus includes the areas of plastic injection moulding, blow moulding and extrusion, appliance construction, metalforming and thermoforming, assembly and ceramic production.
Efforts were focused during 2015 on the integration of the new sites and their workforces. One of the key aspects was establishing the principle of continuous, noticeable improvements in a sustainable manner and thereby achieving substantial increases in productivity over the longer term. The central component of this undertaking is the Geberit Production System (GPS), which comprises the main elements of lean manufacturing and is universally applicable, i.e. it can be applied to the situation at every plant. Intensive training attended by all managers of the former Sanitec plants placed a particular focus on this.
Environmental management in production
The acquisition of Sanitec and, in particular, the integration of the new ceramics plants had a considerable impact on Geberit`s ecological footprint. Because of the processes involved, the manufacture of sanitaryware is very energy-intensive. For this reason, the Group's energy consumption increased fivefold in 2015. Its environmental impact and CO2 emissions also increased significantly. In absolute terms, its environmental impact increased due to the acquisition by 279%; however, organically, it reduced by 2.1%. Environmental impact in relation to net sales (organic, currency-adjusted) decreased by 4.7%. As regards the long-term target, which is based on a decrease of 5% per year, Geberit therefore remains on course in organic terms.
Despite the acquisition-related development outlined, Geberit's ambitious reduction targets formulated in 2006 are unchanged: Geberit is pursuing the goal formulated in the Sustainability Strategy 2016-2018 of maintaining or further extending its sustainability leadership. One of the main instruments that helps achieve this goal is the integrated Geberit management system, which unites the themes of quality, environment, health and occupational safety as well as energy. By the end of 2018, all new sites are to be integrated into this system and accordingly satisfy the requirements of standards ISO 9001 (quality), ISO 14001 (environmental management) and OHSAS 18001 (occupational safety and health protection). Adding certification according to ISO 50001 (energy management) will be on the agenda for selected sites.
CO2 emissions increased in 2015 by 296% to 251,430 tonnes as a result of the Sanitec acquisition. Organically, however, they were reduced by 3.1%. CO2 emissions in relation to net sales (organic, currency-adjusted) declined by 5.6%. This enabled the targets set out in the long-term CO2 strategy sheet to be met and all measures to reduce CO2 emissions to be implemented.
Geberit bases the implementation of its ambitious CO2 strategy on three pillars. The first pillar is about savings in energy consumption. The second pillar relates to increasing efficiency and the third pillar comprises the selective acquisition of high-quality, renewable energy sources. The detailed CO2 balance sheet and all measures taken to reduce CO2 emissions are also disclosed in detail as part of the company's participation in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).