CEO statement on sustainability

«Geberit’s products are innovative, manufactured in a responsible manner, perfectly coordinated with one another and are easy to install and maintain. This means we can generate sustainable added value for customers, investors and society.»

Christian Buhl, CEO

Less is more

Geberit’s success is based on constant development. For almost 150 years, our goal has been to improve people’s lives and to generate sustainable added value. In 2015, Geberit entered into the ceramic sanitary appliance and bathroom furniture business with the acquisition of the Sanitec Group. This has allowed us to complement the innovative and reliable sanitary technology behind the wall with elegant and highly functional Geberit bathroom series in front of the wall. Our decision to streamline the brand portfolio and increasingly focus on the Geberit quality brand provides numerous benefits for our customers and partners, and will also simplify the development of innovative products and integrated solutions in future. This also has a positive effect in terms of sustainability.

Integrated sustainability

Sustainability is a key factor in Geberit’s success, which is why we consider economic, environmental and social aspects in our decision-making processes. It is our declared aim to leave behind the smallest possible ecological footprint along the entire value chain, while treating suppliers and business partners with respect and fairness. Thanks to eco-design, our products are designed with resource conservation in mind. Another important building block is the education and further training of our employees, as well as plumbers, sanitary engineers and architects. In doing so, we underscore our position as industry leaders – also with regard to sustainable development.

The discussions at this year’s fourth external stakeholder panel confirmed that the subject of the circular economy is extremely relevant for us. The circular concept has played an important role at Geberit for many years. Our products have a service life lasting decades thanks to the high-quality materials used, are often backwards-compatible, any plastics used are clearly labelled and spare parts are available for up to 25 years.

The efficient “flowing” factory

The successful integration of the ceramics plants is becoming apparent in production. All Geberit plants display an outstanding capacity for renewal thanks to the extensive investments made. All investments in property, plant and equipment and everyday improvement measures are consistently geared towards the principle of flow production. Maximum efficiency is targeted in this way, which is reflected in the reliable, timely supply of products to customers and savings in important resources such as working time, energy and materials.

The manufacture of sanitary ceramics is our most resource- and energy-intensive process. For this reason, eleven tunnel kilns for ceramic production have been equipped with state-of-the-art burner technology. As a result, each kiln can achieve energy savings of over 20%. Since the acquisition of Sanitec in 2015, the absolute environmental impact has been reduced by 11.6% and eco-efficiency improved by more than 20%. We are continuing to pursue our ambitious goals of improving eco-efficiency by 5% per year and reducing relative CO2 emissions by 5% per year.

The many facets of social responsibility

11,630 employees go about their work for Geberit with great dedication and drive the company forward. In this respect, it is important that the Geberit performance culture is embraced by all company divisions. Therefore, the management personnel from the ceramics plants and over 100 regional sales managers from the European sales companies were provided in 2018 with training that covered standardised management principles and instruments. We have initiated further improvements in connection with occupational health and safety. For example, the Geberit Safety System was implemented worldwide in 2018 and all of our production plants will be certified according to the new occupational safety standard ISO 45001 by the end of 2019.

We realise our social responsibility within the scope of our social projects relating to the topics of water and sanitary facilities. In autumn 2018, eight Geberit apprentices and their two coaches, together with the local Geberit office in Morocco, renovated the sanitary facilities in several schools in the Marrakesh region. We also broke new ground by setting up a skill-sharing programme, with the first projects carried out with participants in Mozambique and Nepal.

Contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and support for the UN Global Compact

Through our operations, we are making a contribution to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, focussing on four of the 17 goals (see SDG Reporting). Among these, the sixth goal “Clean water and sanitation” is especially important where Geberit provides solutions that ensure efficient water usage and sustainable building.

Geberit has been a member of the UN Global Compact since 2008 and is engaged in the area of environmental protection, responsible labour practices, human rights and the prevention of corruption. We provide information on our sustainability goals and performances in a transparent manner and in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative's GRI Standards: option “Comprehensive”. The Communication on Progress UN Global Compact on the financial year 2018 can be found at > Company > Sustainability > UN Global Compact.

Christian Buhl, CEO


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