Geberit had already drawn up its first environmental strategy and implemented specific measures in 1990. Over the years, this strategy was gradually developed into a comprehensive Sustainability strategy, is now an integral part of the corporate culture, and makes a significant contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, see SDG Reporting.
Geberit stands for a high level of environmental awareness and has been committed to environmentally friendly, resource-saving production as well as the development of innovative, water-saving and sustainable products. Systematic, Group-wide environmental management takes centre stage here. This is the remit of Sustainability and Process Management. Guidelines and measures pertaining to all significant environmental issues are coordinated here. A network of environmental managers practises active environmental protection at the production plants, thus ensuring that the targets and measures laid down in the sustainability strategy are implemented worldwide. The environmental and occupational safety managers from all production plants meet once a year to discuss best practice and further develop Group-wide standards.
Eco-design has been an integral part of the product development process since 2007, with the aim of making each product more environmentally friendly than its predecessor throughout the entire product life cycle, see Products and innovation. The goal here is for products to be manufactured locally, where possible, using durable, sustainable raw materials from carefully selected, predominantly regional suppliers in order to keep transport routes as short as possible. The developed products are optimised both in terms of the amount of materials used and in resource and energy consumption during use. Returning products to an appropriate material cycle after removal is becoming increasingly important here.
Environmental criteria are considered in all decision-making processes. These processes are continuously being examined so that a proven high standard is achieved which often greatly exceeds legal requirements. Geberit’s environmental principles are defined in the Code of Conduct. The Geberit Group has a Group certificate in accordance with ISO 9001 (quality), ISO 14001 (environment) and ISO 45001 (occupational health and safety) that is valid until 2024. All production plants (with the exception of the new bathroom furniture manufacturing plant in Stryków (PL)), central logistics, and the management company incorporating all Group functions at headquarters in Rapperswil-Jona (CH) – and thus 99.8% of the production workers – are certified in accordance with these three standards. In addition, five German plants are certified according to ISO 50001 (energy) and nine sales companies according to ISO 9001 (quality).
The annual preparation of a corporate eco-balance has been an established part of Geberit’s environmental management since 1991. It covers all production plants worldwide, the logistics centre in Pfullendorf (DE), other smaller logistics units and the larger sales companies. The applied Swiss Ecological Scarcity Method takes into consideration a wide range of environmental impact factors (emissions, resources, waste) and summarises them as a key figure known as eco-points. In 2022, the corporate eco-balance was updated in terms of the relevant basic data and eco-factors (version 2021). The environmental impact of the Geberit Group calculated for the reporting year reflects these changes. In order to ensure comparability with previous years, the values from the previous years were also recalculated. The ecological assessment of additionally purchased electricity was also updated. This now takes into consideration the effectively purchased local electricity mix (market-based) instead of the electricity mix of the respective country.
The environmental impact decreased by 17.1% and CO2 emissions by 18.1% in the reporting year. The environmental impact in relation to currency-adjusted net sales (eco-efficiency) dropped by 20.9%, and sales-related CO2 emissions by 21.9%. These figures are well above the long-term target of 5% per year. This progress is founded largely on measures implemented in the new CO2 strategy, including improvements in efficiency at the energy-intensive ceramics plants and the targeted purchasing of green electricity. Since the acquisition of the ceramics business in 2015, the absolute environmental impact has been reduced by 38.2% and CO2 emissions by 37.7%. Eco-efficiency improved by 56.8% in the same period, while sales-related CO2 emissions (CO2 intensity) fell by 56.4%. Established in 2022, the CO2 strategy includes numerous measures, see also GRI 305.
For a compact overview of all the relevant developments in the reporting year, see Business Report > Business and financial review > Financial Year 2022 > Sustainability. Detailed key figures on the environmental impact are provided at Key figures sustainability > Environment. Geberit’s contributions to the UN Sustainable Development Goals can be found in the separate SDG Reporting.