Response from Geberit to the Panel Statement
Geberit thanks the members of the stakeholder panel for the constructive discussions and valuable suggestions. For over 30 years, Geberit has been committed to sustainability and wants to take on a leading role in the change towards a sustainable sanitary industry. The analyses and suggestions made by the panel offer welcome assistance in this regard.
Geberit’s goal is to create sustainable added value. To do this, Geberit takes on responsibility and concentrates on the implementation of verifiable short-term and medium-term goals. For this reason, among others, the implementation of the current CO2 strategy is bonus-related with a weighting of 20% for the entire Group management (around 220 managers) as well as for the some 1,500 employees in Switzerland.
Geberit’s product and system innovations play a key role in creating sustainable added value. As a global company specialising in sanitary technology, Geberit can create sustainable solutions through the development of innovative, durable sanitary products with exceptional quality and design, which have a positive impact on both the sanitary industry and on society and the environment.
Orientation of key topics towards economic, environmental and social effects
In the reporting year, Geberit revised its Materiality analysis in accordance with the new GRI Universal Standards. The key topics represent the most important impacts made by Geberit on the economy, environment and society. The goal of the revision was also to bring the topics closer in line with the corporate strategy and sustainability strategy.
In general, all of the topics included in the materiality analysis and the associated goals and measures are constantly promoted, see Sustainability strategy. The Panel Statement confirms Geberit’s perception – often expressed both internally and externally – that Geberit products are crucial for the added value of the company. Additionally, customers and other stakeholders are increasingly focusing on environmental and sustainability performance. The efficient handling of water remains one of the most important topics at Geberit. Saving water is directly linked to reducing energy consumption, which in turn indirectly reduces CO2 emissions in the product use phase. The company has emphasised this link for years with reference to the water footprint. Accordingly, Geberit’s most significant contribution to climate change mitigation is then through water-saving solutions. An example of this is the new Acanto WC system solution with TurboFlush technology, which also features an extremely quiet flush and requires minimal cleaning.
Geberit is particularly proud of its newly launched CO2 strategy. While relative CO2 indicators are used as the basis for control by the company, management is aware that a consistent reduction of absolute CO2 emissions is an important objective. In order to achieve this, Geberit not only relies on monthly monitoring of CO2 emissions, but also on continuous improvements and innovations both in terms of products and production. By consistently applying the eco-design principle, each product is inspected and optimised in relation to its CO2 emissions throughout the entire life cycle. The eco-design principle used by Geberit since 2007 thus not only includes the direct CO2 emissions from production (Scopes 1 and 2), but also indirect emissions resulting from the extraction and transportation of raw materials, in logistics, and during product use and disposal (Scope 3). As previously mentioned, Geberit contributes both directly and indirectly to reducing CO2 emissions by developing and selling water-saving sanitary solutions.
Geberit has the goal of significantly reducing CO2 emissions on its own, wherever possible. There is an increasing demand for low-carbon or carbon-neutral products among customers. As part of the new CO2 strategy, Geberit is testing out the approach of calculating currently unavoidable CO2 emissions based on the environmental product declaration (EPD) for ceramic appliances and compensating for these by investing in selected climate change mitigation projects. In 2023, a pilot project was started with the myclimate foundation from Switzerland in order to gather initial experiences.
Diversity and inclusion
Employees are of key importance to Geberit. Staff management is thus also an important area of responsibility for the entire Group Executive Board. As a result, gender equality is also considered as an important part of management’s responsibilities. At 11%, the current share of female employees in management positions is not satisfactory for Geberit. Equal opportunities and the reconciliation of family and working life are the most important pillars for increasing the proportion of female employees. Regular employee surveys ensure that specific challenges and needs are identified.
Inclusion is also taken seriously at Geberit. The company currently employs or awards work to people with disabilities, corresponding to around 400 full-time positions. This is approximately 3.5% of the total workforce. In the medium term, the goal is to increase this share to 5%. To do this, partnerships with third-party institutions for people with disabilities will be expanded and people employed in further inclusive positions wherever possible and practical. In order to promote awareness of inclusive workplaces, Geberit aims to increase transparency in the area of inclusion. The topic will also be reflected in the Annual Report.
Geberit has also set itself the goal of constantly improving in the area of responsible corporate governance. While the implementation of compliance and governance directives appears a matter of course, the number and frequency of regulations and guidelines are constantly increasing – particularly in terms of sustainability. Geberit checks these carefully and implements them appropriately.
The topic of sustainability is integrated across all business areas at Geberit. The Board of Directors at the company addresses sustainability on a regular basis and is aware of its special responsibility in this area. There is a particular focus on climate change and Geberit’s responsibilities in this field. In order to emphasise this and create transparency, Geberit drew up and published a report on climate-related risks and opportunities according to TCFD guidelines for the first time in 2022.
Geberit thanks all the panel members for their valuable contribution. The next stakeholder panel is planned for 2024.