Annual Report 2021

Annual Report 2021


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. Geberit’s innovative strength, which is above average for the sector, is founded on its own, wide-ranging research and development (R&D) activities. In the reporting year, Geberit applied for 37 patents, which is above the long-term average. Every year, around CHF 75 million is invested in the development and improvement of products, processes and technologies, not to mention investments in tools and equipment for the manufacture of newly developed products. The scientists and engineers at Geberit have the very latest technologies and infrastructures at their disposal for their development projects, and these are modernised and expanded on an ongoing basis. The existing 3D printing capacities for this purpose, which are probably unique in the industry, were added to with a silicone printing unit. A total of around 18,000 components for prototypes were manufactured using the 3D printing process in the reporting year.

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 2021 > Innovation. For an overview of new products, see New products.

Geberit regards eco-design as the key to environmentally friendly products. The aim is to develop and optimise products in such a way that each new product adds value in ecological terms, either because material, water or energy have been saved, the products can be recycled more easily, or because less CO2 is emitted during production. 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 170 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. The environmental product declarations (EPDs) in accordance with the European standard EN 15804 are also important and can also be used directly for sustainable building standards such as LEED. These show relevant, comparable and verified environmental data on products in a transparent manner. Environmental product declarations have been created for the following products: AquaClean Mera and Sela shower toilets, Piave, Brenta as well as type 185 and type 186 electronic washbasin taps, urinal systems, sanitary ceramics, PE, Silent-db20, Silent-PP and Silent Pro drainage pipes, as well as FlowFit and Mapress Stainless Steel drinking water pipes and fittings. This means that products with an EPD now account for 23% (previous year 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 establishment of 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 or CO2 emissions are as follows:

  • Further roll-out of the Geberit iCon toilet range with Rimfree Plus technology and new flush valve type 212, with optimal setting of the flush volume and flush performance with minimal water consumption.
  • 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.
  • Constant expansion of the range of rimless WC pans helps to simplify cleaning and cut down on cleaning agents.
  • New fill and flush valves for floor-standing WCs in the Nordic markets, with flush volumes of 4/2 litres and the share of plastic regranulate used exceeding 50%. A total of around 1,000 tonnes of CO2 a year can be saved here.
  • 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 is ergonomically optimised and made of halogen-free materials. Geberit also offers a system for returning used protective caps and pressing indicators.


Management approach quality

See GRI 416.

Product compliance

Management approach product compliance

See GRI 416 and GRI 417.