9. Environment (EN)
Geberit has long stood for a high level of environmental awareness and been committed to environmentally friendly, resource-efficient production as well as the development of water-saving and sustainable products. Eco-design is an integral part of the product development process, with the goal of making each product more environmentally friendly than its predecessor throughout the entire product life cycle. Environmental criteria are considered in all decision-making processes. These processes are continuously being optimised 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.
Systematic, Group-wide environmental management takes centre stage. This is the remit of Corporate Environment and Sustainability. Guidelines and measures pertaining to all aspects of the GRI requirements 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. All environmental and occupational safety managers from all production plants were present at the annual international meeting in 2016.
The Geberit Group has a Group certificate in accordance with ISO 9001 (quality), ISO 14001 (environment) and OHSAS 18001 (occupational health and safety) that is valid until the end of 2018. Out of 33 production plants, 30 were certified to ISO 14001, 24 to OHSAS 18001 and five to ISO 50001 at the end of 2016. By the end of 2018, all new plants will be integrated into the Geberit management system and will be certified according to ISO 9001 and 14001 as well as OHSAS 18001.
The annual preparation of a corporate eco-balance has been an established part of Geberit’s environmental management since 1991. It covers 33 production plants worldwide, the logistics centre in Pfullendorf (DE), other smaller logistics units and the larger sales companies. The corporate eco-balance permits an overall assessment of environmental impact in terms of eco-points. For the reporting in 2016, as in the previous year, the new basic data from the internationally recognised Ecoinvent database (version 3.1) and the latest version of the method of ecological scarcity (version 2013) were used. The calculation was based on the national electricity mix.
It was possible to make a year-on-year comparison with the expanded company for the first time. Both the environmental impact and the CO2 emissions were reduced. The absolute environmental impact reduced by 4.0% (3.6% in organic terms) and CO2 emissions by 3.0% (2.7% in organic terms). The environmental impact per net sales (currency-adjusted) dropped by 10.8%, or 11% in organic terms (adjusted by the sale of the Koralle business). This figure is above the long-term target of 5% per year.
Detailed key figures on the environmental impact are provided at Key figures sustainability > Environment.
9.1 Materials (EN)
Management Approach - Materials
The use of raw materials, semi-finished products and finished products with a global procurement value of CHF 789.3 million is a significant production factor for Geberit. At around 12,200 TJ (previous year 11,500 TJ) – based on basic data from Ecoinvent (version 3.1) – the consumption of grey energy associated with purchased materials (including mineral raw materials at the ceramics plants) is 3.9 times the entire energy consumption of the production plants themselves. This emphasises the importance of treating raw materials with care. The resource-efficient use of raw materials is determined as early as the product development process as part of eco-design workshops, see Management approach products and services.
G4-EN1 Materials used
The use of materials depends on the various manufacturing processes: 17 plants for processing plastic and metal, twelve plants for manufacturing sanitary ceramics and four other plants for processing acrylic, mineral casting compound as well as aluminium and glass (in the case of shower partition walls). The range of manufacturing technologies used thus includes the areas of injection moulding, blow moulding, extrusion, metalforming and thermoforming, assembly and ceramic production.
The most important materials for production are plastic and metal raw materials, mineral raw materials and various semi-finished products and finished products. A total of 390,421 tonnes of materials were used in 2016 (previous year 384,807 tonnes). At present, this amount includes only the mineral raw materials from the former Sanitec Group. Detailed key figures on the use of materials can be found at Key figures sustainability > Environment.
For packaging materials used, see G4-EN28.
G4-EN2 Percentage of recycled material
When estimating the share of recycled material in production, a distinction is made between internal and external sources.
In terms of the raw material plastic, recycled material is primarily generated internally and is ground on site or via a decentralised mill and fed back into the process. The proportion fluctuates depending on the manufacturing process. For blow moulding it is around 35%, for injection moulding around 15%, depending on product class, and for pipe extrusion around 3%. This corresponds to a total of around 8,450 tonnes.
Raw materials are also recycled internally and fed back into the process in ceramic production. The recycling rate for the ceramic slip is around 10%, while this figure is 20 to 40% for the glaze.
The share of recycled material in purchased metals is relatively high. This data originates from the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy. Extrapolated, the raw material metal purchased contains around 32,500 tonnes of recycled material.
With plastics, virgin material is primarily used. The search for suitable, high-quality regranulate from external plastic waste is an integral part of Geberit’s procurement strategy. In terms of the material ABS, a suitable alternative made of 100% recycled material was found. This alternative is based on high-quality plastic waste from the electronics industry (e.g. used computer cases). According to the supplier, the manufacture of this regranulate consumes over 80% less energy compared to the manufacture of a tonne of new petrochemical-based plastic. Furthermore, between one to three tonnes less CO2 are released into the atmosphere, depending on the material. In 2016, over 700 tonnes of ABS regranulate were used for the mounting frames for concealed cisterns, the technical cisterns, the Monolith and the flush valve type 240. Thanks to an intelligent redesign, half of the material used for the flush valve can be made of high-quality ABS regranulate. The use of plastic regranulate is generally to be increased further and applied to other product areas.
9.2 Energy (EN)
Management Approach - Energy
A software introduced in 2012 permits monthly monitoring of water and energy consumption, as well as the Group-wide calculation of environmental impact and CO2 emissions. With a share of 96.9%, the consumption of energy in the form of electricity, combustibles and fuels represents Geberit’s greatest environmental impact. In addition, a systematic energy monitoring and an energy master plan are being implemented in the most energy-intensive plants to manage and plan energy consumption. This is based on the three pillars energy saving, increased energy efficiency and the targeted expansion of the share of renewable energy sources. Targets were also defined for the share of renewable energy sources as part of the development of a long-term CO2 target that is compatible with the two-degree target set out in the Paris Agreement (science-based). By 2021, the share of renewable energy sources should account for 45% of electricity and 10% for combustibles.
At present, the German plants in Lichtenstein, Pfullendorf, Langenfeld, Wesel and Haldensleben are certified according to the ISO 50001 standard for energy management. Furthermore, all Geberit companies implemented the European Energy Efficiency Directive 2012/27/EU in 2015.
For the development of energy-efficient products, see Management approach products and services.
G4-EN3 Energy Consumption within the Organization
Geberit generally uses energy purchased externally. The direct energy carriers (Scope 1) include the combustibles natural gas, biogas, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), diesel for power generation, heating oil extra light and solid combustibles as well as the fuels diesel, gasoline and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). The indirect energy carriers (Scope 2) include electricity and district heating.
Energy consumption decreased by 5.2% in the reporting year and is now 864.7 GWh, corresponding to a reduction of 4.9% when adjusted for the divestments of the Koralle business. After the strong increase in energy consumption in 2015 as a result of the Sanitec acquisition, Geberit has successfully adopted a reduction plan within the enlarged company.
Combustibles (primarily from ceramic production) still account for the greatest share of energy consumption at 70.7%, followed by electricity with 26% and fuels with 3.3%.
In 2015, errors were made in some companies from the former Sanitec due to the initial consolidation when collecting the energy consumption data. This led to a shortfall of around 27 GWh of energy and thus the environmental impact and CO2 emissions reported were too low on a Group level at 2.0% and 2.5% respectively. The values from previous years have been amended in the information disclosed within the scope of this report.
Renewable sources of energy are to be expanded continuously as a part of the sustainability strategy. Since 2012, a block heating station has been in use in Pfullendorf (DE). This plant was fed by 8.8 GWh of regionally produced biogas in 2016. The electricity generated by the plant (3.4 GWh) is fed into the transmission grid and the resulting heat (4.1 GWh) can be used in production, thereby reducing the use of natural gas. In total, renewable energy sources accounted for 6.3% of combustibles.
Since 2013, the roof area at the plant in Givisiez (CH) has been made available to an energy services provider for a 3,050 m2 photovoltaic installation. It generated 0.5 GWh of electricity in 2016. However, this contribution is not included in the energy balance as the energy produced is managed by the regional energy supplier. Overall, the share of purchased green electricity was increased by 3 GWh to 44 GWh in 2016 – meaning that renewable sources of energy now account for 37.7% of total electricity consumption.
For detailed key figures on the consumption of combustibles and fuels (Scope 1), as well as electricity and district heating (Scope 2) and the electricity mix, see Key figures sustainability > Environment.
G4-EN4 Energy Consumption outside of the Organization
Where the energy balance outside the organisation is concerned, Geberit concentrates on purchased materials, intercompany and distribution logistics, and business travel.
In 2016, purchased materials (including mineral raw materials at the new ceramic plants) resulted in grey energy consumption of around 12,200 TJ.
For the environmental impact caused by logistics, see G4-EN30.
Business flights have been recorded and included in the assessment since 2012. The flight distances are calculated according to the respective departure and arrival airports. The CO2 emissions comprise direct and indirect emissions and are based on the Ecoinvent database (version 3.1) and the IPCC conversion factors from 2013, see G4-EN17.
G4-EN5 Energy Intensity
Energy intensity is an important performance indicator at the production plants, and is monitored monthly in the management cockpit. Those plants which are certified to ISO 50001 have also introduced a more refined system of monitoring.
G4-EN6 Energy saved
Important energy-saving measures in production include:
- The optimisation of production processes in terms of efficiency, scrap, stability, energy and resource consumption
- The continuous modernisation of the machine fleet and the purchase of energy-efficient systems
- Increasing the capacity utilisation and efficiency of production installations
- The optimisation of cooling systems through the use of natural ambient cold (free cooling, ground water)
- The improved use of waste heat available internally (heat recovery)
- The careful use of compressed air
- The insulation of buildings
Concrete examples which show the reduction in energy consumption:
- In 2016, a focus was on the demolition and safe disposal of infrastructure and systems in Wesel and Haldensleben (DE), Gaeta (IT), Limoges, Digoin and Selles-sur-Cher (FR) and Ekenäs (FI) that were obsolete and no longer required. Inefficient machines in Langenfeld (DE) and a total of four tunnel kilns in Haldensleben (DE) and Slavuta (UA) put out of operation and scrapped.
- Five tunnel kilns were retrofitted for ceramic production with the latest burner technology by the end of 2016, with a further six kilns currently being planned. This reduces NOx emissions and gas consumption per kiln by more than 20%. Overall, annual savings of around 27 GWh of gas and 6,500 tonnes of CO2 are expected.
- The number of injection moulding machines retrofitted with energy-efficient drive technology was increased in the reporting year from 137 to 150. Analyses show that modifying a machine can reduce energy consumption by up to 40%.
- A new raw material for the inner layer of Mepla pipes is being used at the plant in Givisiez (CH). While maintaining the very highest product quality for customers, this reduced the consumption of water and natural gas for manufacturing by over 70%.
- In Weilheim (DE), an optimised manufacturing process for the production of urinal divisions reduces throughput times and energy consumption thanks to heat recovery, and at the same time reduces occupational safety risks.
- In 2015, the first fully electrically driven production line for fitting bends was put into operation in Langenfeld (DE). This increases process stability while reducing the set-up time, electricity consumption and lubricant quantities needed.
- In Lichtenstein (DE), savings of around 80% per metal frame are expected as a result of switching from hydraulic to servomechanical drives on the new Kombifix production line.
G4-EN7 Energy-efficient products
The biggest environmental contribution by Geberit products lies in the conservation of water, which indirectly also saves on energy. A number of estimates illustrate the scale of this saving: According to the Ecoinvent database (version 3.1), some 10.3 MJ of energy are required and 0.64 kg of CO2 emissions are released per cubic metre for the conveyance, processing and distribution of water and the subsequent treatment of the unpolluted waste water in a waste water treatment plant. The water footprint calculated for Geberit (excluding former Sanitec products) shows that nearly 100% of water consumption is attributable to the usage phase. The water volume saved owing to Geberit products is enormous: According to one model calculation, all dual-flush and flush-stop cisterns installed since 1998 have so far saved around 22,600 million cubic metres of water in comparison with traditional flushing systems. These water savings go hand-in-hand with substantial energy savings.
Direct energy savings when using the products are made possible thanks to systematically improved energy efficiency. Current examples include:
- The shower toilet Geberit AquaClean Mera Comfort is a premium-class complete solution featuring the highest levels of comfort. The patented WhirlSpray shower technology ensures particularly thorough, gentle cleaning while virtually halving water and energy consumption. The hybrid hot water technology with continuous flow heater and boiler only heats the water spray when required. Despite these additional comfort functions, the energy consumption is comparable to that of the AquaClean 8000plus.
- Geberit’s latest shower toilet Geberit AquaClean Tuma stands out with a sophisticated product concept and simple yet elegant design. It is offered as a complete solution including rimless WC ceramic appliance. Alternatively, it is also available as a WC enhancement solution that can be combined with the previously installed ceramic appliances. The innovative WhirlSpray and heating-on-demand technology considerably reduces energy consumption compared to its predecessor.
- The new Geberit urinal system comprises urinals with electronic flush controls but also with completely waterless operation. The central elements are the two rimless urinal ceramics Preda and Selva, which were developed by Geberit. Thanks to the low consumption of resources and the option of a control system supplied with electricity by an autonomous energy source, the urinals satisfy the most stringent requirements for green building and economic operation. For this purpose, a proprietary environmental and cost calculator was developed for various sales companies, see www.international.geberit.com > Plumbers and planners > Products > Sanitary Products > Urinal systems.
- The new modular Geberit tap system is the ultimate in sophisticated installation technology, different energy concepts and elegant wall-mounted or deck-mounted taps. The taps can be mounted quickly and flawlessly. The mixer, valves, electronics and power supply are stored in a function box, which is mounted under the washbasin where it is protected from moisture. The product boasts both optimal user-friendliness and ease of installation as well as minimal water and energy consumption.
9.3 Water (EN)
Management Approach – Water
The water footprint, which covers Geberit’s entire value chain (excluding former Sanitec products), shows that nearly 100% of water consumption is attributable to the use of the products, while the manufacture of the products by Geberit accounts for less than 0.1% of water consumption. For the development of water-saving products and Geberit’s commitment beyond product development, see Management approach products and services.
The corporate eco-balance shows a similar picture. Here, the environmental impact caused by water consumption and subsequent waste water treatment also accounts for only a minor share of the company’s overall impact (1.1%). Despite this, Geberit also aims to serve as a role model with respect to its own water consumption and to further optimise its water consumption every year. This includes measures such as reusing water in laboratories and production processes.
In 2016, Geberit also published its detailed water balance as part of the CDP Water Program for the first time. The results of the evaluation have been integrated into the 2016 Annual Report of Corporate Water Disclosure from CDP.
G4-EN8 Water consumption
Water consumption dropped compared to the previous year by 3.1% to 1,133,946 m3 (previous year 1,170,356 m3). Above all, the manufacture of ceramic sanitary appliances requires a great deal of water, both for preparing the ceramic slip and glaze and for cleaning the moulds and systems.
Water consumption can be categorised into drinking water (26%), well water (47%), lake and river water (26%) and rain water (1%).
Key figures concerning water consumption by source can be found at Key figures sustainability > Environment.
G4-EN9 Water sources significantly affected by withdrawal of water
Geberit production plants’ water consumption does not place a considerable burden on water sources as defined in the GRI guidelines.
G4-EN10 Water recycling
Throughout the Group, two processes are primarily responsible for much of the water requirements:
- Relatively large quantities of water are used in ceramic production. An initial estimate shows that 5 to 10% of the water used was also recycled internally, corresponding to around 100,000 m3 per year.
- Newly developed products are tested at the Geberit sanitary laboratory in Rapperswil-Jona (CH). The tests required 114,033 m3 of water. Only around 2% or 1,877 m3 of this is fresh water. The remaining 98% was reused in a closed-circuit system.
9.4 Emissions (EN)
Management Approach – Emissions
Production emissions are recorded and analysed in detail as part of the corporate eco-balance – CO2 emissions are particularly important to Geberit. Other air emissions (NOx, SO2, hydrocarbons etc.) are also recorded and calculated, but have a comparatively minor impact on the environment. Under the established CO2-strategy the CO2 emissions per net sales (currency-adjusted) should be reduced annually by 5% per year on average. Geberit is on track here, see G4-EN18. A long-term CO2 target was developed in 2016 that is compatible with the two-degree target set out in the Paris Agreement (science-based). Within this context, Geberit plans to reduce its absolute CO2 emissions (Scopes 1 and 2) by 6% between 2015 and 2021 to under 240,000 tonnes (based on organic growth). Specific goals for the share of renewable energy sources were also established: 45% for electricity and 10% for combustibles.
A CO2 footprint across the entire value chain has been calculated since 2012. This carbon footprint covers the provision of raw materials, combustibles and fuels, the manufacturing of products at Geberit, logistics, use and disposal. With regard to the former Sanitec Group, only production and mineral raw materials are currently taken into account. An analysis revealed that product use (64.5%) and the provision of raw materials (19%) are by far the largest sources of CO2 emissions. During product use, the provision of water, treatment of unpolluted waste water and generation of hot water play a central role. Production by Geberit accounts for only 7.5% of total CO2 emissions. Similarly, transport (1%), the provision of combustibles and fuels (1%) and the disposal (7%) of the products also cause only few emissions.
The measures for implementing the CO2 strategy are based on the three pillars energy saving, increased energy efficiency and targeted expansion of the share of renewable energy sources, see also Management approach energy.
The calculation of greenhouse gas emissions is based on the internationally recognised Ecoinvent Database (version 3.1), with the IPCC 2013 factors used, production-related process emissions included and the national electricity mix taken into account. The seven leading substances (CO2 fossil, CH4, N2O, HFC, PFC, SF6 and NF3) are used for the calculation of the greenhouse gas emissions and shown as a sum parameter according to IPCC (CO2 equivalents or simply CO2).
G4-EN15 Direct greenhouse gas emissions (Scope 1) and G4-EN16 Indirect greenhouse gas emissions (Scope 2)
In 2016, CO2 emissions amounted to 250,108 tonnes (previous year 257,909 tonnes), corresponding to a decrease of 3.0%, or 2.7% in organic terms (adjusted for the sale of the Koralle business). CO2 emissions per net sales (currency-adjusted) fell by 9.9% (in organic terms 10.2%), meaning that Geberit exceeded its long-term target of 5% per year.
At 50.9%, combustibles are the largest source of CO2, followed by electricity at 45.9% and fuels at 3.0 %, as well as process emissions and district heating at 0.2% in total. The purchase of 44 GWh of green electricity in Pfullendorf and Weilheim (DE), Bromölla and Mörrum (SE), Givisiez (CH) and Daishan (CN) meant that it was possible to reduce CO2 emissions by around 17,700 tonnes.
Key figures concerning greenhouse gas emissions can be found at Key figures sustainability > Environment.
G4-EN17 Other relevant greenhouse gas emissions (Scope 3)
Where other indirect greenhouse gas emissions (Scope 3) are concerned, Geberit concentrates on the following categories:
- Raw materials used (incl. mineral raw materials from ceramic production) and the resulting CO2 emissions: 632,225 tonnes (previous year 598,946 tonnes).
- The provision of combustibles and fuels, which accounted for 38,573 tonnes from combustibles and 5,377 tonnes from fuels in 2016.
- CO2 emissions of power generation from the upstream chain are included in G4-EN15.
- Logistics, (see G4-EN30), which caused a total of 42,179 tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2016 (previous year 29,671 tonnes). The increase was mainly caused by the increase in locations included as well as the rise in sales and the related expansion in transport volumes.
- Business travel by air, at 1,655 tonnes of CO2 emissions (previous year 1,956 tonnes) – this includes the whole of Geberit.
G4-EN18 Greenhouse gas emissions intensity
CO2 emissions (Scopes 1 and 2) in relation to currency-adjusted net sales decreased by 9.9% in the reporting year, and in organic terms (adjusted for the sale of the Koralle business) by 10.2%. This figure is above the long-term target of 5% per year. For the previous year’s figure, it must be noted that the CO2 emissions relate to the entire year and that net sales include only eleven months of the former Sanitec business.
G4-EN19 Initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
In 2016, Geberit purchased another 3 GWh of certified green electricity, bringing the total to 44 GWh. Overall, renewable energy sources thus accounted for 37.7% of electricity (previous year 36.5%). According to the CO2 strategy, the share of renewable energy sources should be expanded by 3 GWh annually so that it reaches 45% by 2021.
For combustibles, the share of renewable energy sources should be increased to 10% by 2021. The block heating station in Pfullendorf (DE), which was commissioned in 2012 and which was fed by 8.8 GWh of regionally generated biogas in 2016, makes a key contribution. In addition, 15.9 GWh of wooden pellets were burned and 14.1 GWh of district heating were obtained from a paper mill. This brought the share of renewable energies for district heating and combustibles to 6.3% in total in 2016 (previous year 7.2%).
Fuel consumption is determined primarily by the company’s own and leased fleet of cars and delivery vans. Since early 2008, binding guidelines have applied for the purchase of new vehicles. An emission value of 100 grams of CO2/km is to be reached by 2020, as targeted by the EU. In 2016, Geberit gained experience in using electric vehicles as pool vehicles as part of a pilot project.
Substantial volumes of CO2 emissions can also be saved by consistently applying eco-design principles in new product development. One concrete example is the flush valve type 240 for cisterns. Half of the material used is made of high-quality ABS regranulate. Indirectly, this means that almost 500 tonnes of CO2 can be saved, corresponding to savings of about 1 GWh of average European electricity.
Geberit also promotes awareness among all employees for the promotion of environmentally friendly behaviour. New employees receive training on the subject of sustainability at Geberit as part of their job orientation programme. In the largest plants, this is also tailored to the target group of production employees. There are also local initiatives, e.g. tree planting work, forest clearing, environmental competitions and environmental newsletters.
All targets and measures for improving the CO2 balance sheet are disclosed in detail as part of the company’s participation in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). In this largest climate protection ranking, Geberit has achieved the status of “Sector Leader Industrials” in reporting, meaning that it is one of the ten best companies in the sector in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
G4-EN20 Ozone depleting substances
Emissions of ozone-depleting substances, measured in CFC11 equivalents, can be calculated based on the Geberit corporate eco-balance using the base data from the Ecoinvent Database (version 3.1). The calculation includes both direct emissions (Scope 1) from the burning of combustibles and fuels and process emissions (solvents), as well as indirect emissions (Scope 2) resulting from electricity consumption and the provision of district heating.
Key figures on ozone-depleting substances can be found at Key figures sustainability > Environment.
G4-EN21 NOx, SOx and other air emissions
Emissions of NOx, SO2, NMVOC (non-methane VOC) and dust (PM10) can be calculated on the basis of the Geberit corporate eco-balance using the base data from the Ecoinvent Database (version 3.1). The calculation includes both direct emissions (Scope 1) from the burning of combustibles and fuels and process emissions (solvents), and indirect emissions (Scope 2) resulting from electricity consumption and the provision of district heating.
Key figures concerning greenhouse gas emissions can be found at Key figures sustainability > Environment.
9.5 Effluents and Waste (EN)
Management Approach - Effluents and Waste
Waste disposal accounted for 1.4% of the overall environmental impact in 2016. The reduction and safe handling of waste water and waste is promoted at the plants within the scope of the environmental management system according to ISO 14001. Where waste is concerned, it is ensured that this is sorted so that as much as possible is recycled, and as little as possible has to be incinerated or sent to landfill sites.
As part of the European vision for a resource-saving circular economy, efforts are being made to generate secondary material for other processes from waste. In both the Kolo and Wloclawek ceramic plants in Poland, for example, gypsum waste from ceramic production, which had previously been disposed of as waste to landfills, is now being used as secondary material in the cement industry since the end of 2016. This reduces waste quantities in landfills by around 8,000 tonnes per year.
G4-EN22 Water discharge
The 2016 figure for waste water was 846,998 m3 (previous year 927,053 m3). At 71%, process waste water from the production of sanitary ceramic appliances accounted for the largest share of the total. Other important categories are domestic waste water (26%), which passes into the communal waste water treatment plant or is pretreated and fed into receiving waters, and other waste water (3%), which is pretreated and fed to a communal waste water treatment plant. Waste water was not directly reused by third-party companies. Geberit does not engage in the unplanned discharge of water. All resulting process waste water and domestic waste water is treated.
Key figures on waste water can be found at Key figures sustainability > Environment.
The total waste quantity in 2016 was 79,864 tonnes (previous year 83,405 tonnes).
74% of waste was channelled to external recycling processes (previous year 72%). The measures focused on the further separation of waste and the reduction of mixed waste and hazardous waste, as well as the utilisation as secondary material.
Key figures concerning waste by category are provided at Key figures sustainability > Environment.
G4-EN24 Significant spills and contamination
There were no significant spills of chemicals in the reporting period.
G4-EN25 Transport of hazardous waste
In 2016, 417 tonnes of hazardous waste (previous year 479 tonnes) were disposed of by incineration and 609 tonnes (previous year 729 tonnes) were recycled. At Geberit, all waste is disposed of and recycled by licensed disposal companies.
G4-EN26 Effects of water discharges on bodies of water
This indicator is not relevant to Geberit as no bodies of water are affected by significant water discharge from Geberit facilities as defined in the GRI guidelines.
9.6 Products and Services (EN)
Management Approach - Products and Services
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. In addition to their quality, durability and high degree of water and resource efficiency, Geberit products also impress with their 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. Geberit regards eco-design as the key to environmentally friendly products and an integral part of the development process. Employees from different disciplines take part in eco-design workshops so that each new product outperforms its predecessor in environmental aspects. 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 e.g. with BIM (Building Information Modeling). Based on the findings of these eco-design workshops, new solutions are developed which are then 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. Detailed life cycle assessments have already been prepared for the following products: wastewater and drinking water pipes, AquaClean Mera, electronic washbasin tap type 185/186, concealed cisterns, urinal control systems, urinal systems and now the electronic washbasin tap Piave. The environmental product declarations (EPDs) in accordance with the European standard EN 15804 are becoming increasingly important and can also be used directly for green building standards such as LEED. These show relevant, comparable and verified environmental data on products in a transparent manner.
The biggest environmental contribution by Geberit products also lies in the conservation of water. The analysis of the entire value chain in the form of a water footprint shows (excluding former Sanitec products) that nearly 100% of the water consumption is attributable to the product usage phase. The water savings are impressive: According to one model calculation, all dual-flush and flush-stop cisterns installed since 1998 have so far saved around 22,600 million cubic metres of water in comparison with traditional flushing systems. In 2016 alone, the water saved amounted to 2,430 million cubic metres. This is more than half of the annual consumption of all German households.
Geberit also advocates the economical use of water beyond processes and products. This can be seen by its collaboration in the further development of the product classification system WELL, which was introduced in 2011. In addition, Geberit collaborated with FECS (European Federation of Ceramic Sanitary Ware Manufacturers) to draw up a voluntary European standard for assessing the sustainability of ceramic sanitary appliances (EN 16578).
G4-EN27 Mitigation of environmental impact of products
The environmental impacts of Geberit’s products are improved continually through the consistent application of eco-design principles in product development. For concrete examples of the latest new products, see G4-EN7. Other examples that make a particular contribution to reducing environmental impact include:
- Thanks to an intelligent redesign of the flush valve type 240, it was possible to increase the flush performance by 40% while also reducing the quantity of material used. In addition, half of the material is made of high-quality ABS regranulate. The plastic components in the technical cistern and in the Monolith are also made up of approximately 50% regranulate.
- The new shower channel CleanLine is designed to allow optimal user-friendliness and ease of installation while reducing the resources used.
- The revised Pluvia roof drainage system features an ergonomic and more compact design, resulting in savings in materials of 25%, which translates into savings of around 350 tonnes of CO2 each year in the latest sales figures.
G4-EN28 Reclaimed packaging material
The following quantities are based on internal estimates from the sales companies: Approximately 152.4 tonnes of old products (mainly electrical equipment) were taken back and disposed of professionally in 2016. In some markets (DE, CH), parts of the multilayer drinking water pipes (Mepla) are also taken back. The exact quantity is not known, but is estimated to be over seven tonnes Group-wide.
In 2016, around 18,250 tonnes of packaging material were used (excluding companies from the former Sanitec), of which over 50% is collected and recycled by Geberit or by financed contractual partners. The rest is disposed of and recycled on a country-specific basis.
9.7 Compliance Environment (EN)
Management Approach - Compliance Environment
In its Code of Conduct Geberit states that it will limit the environmental impact of its business activities to a minimum. This is achieved by means of consistent compliance with all applicable laws, internationally recognised guidelines and industry standards. With many of the initiatives that it implements, Geberit goes above and beyond legal and official requirements. Reviewing and ensuring compliance with the law is a mandatory element of ISO 14001 certification, and is monitored as part of the annual Group-wide survey on compliance with the Code of Conduct at all companies.
G4-EN29 Sanctions due to non-compliance with environmental laws and regulations
In the reporting year, there was one case already cited in the previous reporting year from a former Sanitec company for which fines were announced. It related to an incident regarding a sewer which led to an unplanned discharge of storm water and process water into a body of surface water. A trial and two fines of TEUR 15 each are still pending.
9.8 Transport (EN)
Management Approach - Transport
The logistics centre in Pfullendorf (DE) is the central logistics hub for almost all Geberit sanitary technology products. With a view to future growth and the continued optimisation of existing logistics processes, the decision was made in 2014 to further expand the capacities of this centre by over 25,000 m2 and invest around EUR 40 million in this by 2017. The project is on track in terms of timing and finances, with commissioning scheduled for April 2017.
In contrast to this centralisation strategy, the logistics organisation at the former Sanitec had a rather more decentralised structure and was oriented towards the needs of the various brands and regions. The logistics infrastructure at the former Sanitec comprises 15 distribution centres of varying sizes across Europe, with a total capacity of almost 250,000 pallet spaces. Nonetheless, it was still possible to forge the first synergies and start various integration measures at an early stage. For example, logistics organisation and reporting at the former Sanitec were incorporated in Geberit’s Group logistics, while a start was also made on integration into the Geberit ERP system. The number of transport service providers in the former Sanitec was reduced further. For example, customer deliveries in Germany (including Keramag) will be executed by a central main forwarder from 2017 onwards.
Geberit does not have its own fleet of vehicles, having outsourced this to external transport service providers. Intercompany and distribution logistics play a major part in Geberit’s environmental impact, amounting to a significant proportion of the total figure. Cooperation with the transport service providers is therefore of key importance. Partners agree to actively support Geberit in its efforts to use energy and packaging material efficiently and to reduce emissions. Furthermore, the partners support Geberit by providing the data needed for the environmental reporting. The logistics calculator developed in 2010 facilitates the annual capture of data on the vehicle fleet composition, transportation performance and fuel consumption of all transport service providers, as well as the preparation of the eco-balance.
G4-EN30 Environmental impact of transport
Compared to the previous year, the logistics calculator was expanded to include an additional Geberit location as well as two locations from the former Sanitec. In the reporting year, the largest transport service providers handled 302.6 million tonne-kilometres (previous year 183.0 million tonne-kilometres). This generated 42,179 tonnes of CO2 emissions (previous year 29,671 tonnes). The increase in transport services and CO2 emissions was mainly caused by the increase in locations included as well as the rise in sales and the related expansion in transport volumes. The share handled by Euro 5 vehicles was 70.8% and the share handled by state-of-the-art Euro 6 vehicles increased further to 26.2%.
Where possible, Geberit takes the opportunity to shift truck traffic to rail. Alongside road transport, rail consignments have been used for traffic transported on the longest overland route in Europe – from Pfullendorf (DE) to Turkey – since 2014. The quantity transported by rail was expanded in 2016 to over 15%. 80% of the goods transported to Italy and 30% of those transported from Italy are moved by train. Since 2016, deliveries to customers in the Cologne region have been transported by combined transport via the Ulm terminal.
With regard to truck transportation, Geberit continues to look for options for transporting even more goods per truck to increase the capacity utilisation of the transport volume. The use of long trucks (with a length of up to 25 metres and a total weight of up to 60 tonnes) in Scandinavia increased load volumes and the number of transported pallets per truck by around 40%. The bundling of transportation and freight capacity optimisation also improved capacity utilisation in sea shipments to the USA by up to 20%.