Georg Fischer has been recording and analyzing environmental indicators since 1997. The global reporting system was upgraded in 2005 to include social per-formance data and was expanded into the Sustainability Information System (SIS). Various policy documents, for instance the Social Responsibility Policy, support the mainstreaming and implementation of these policies in the 30 countries in which we now operate.
Responsibility and commitment
The currently applicable sustainability objectives were adopted by the Executive Committee and cover the five-year period from 2010 to 2015. At the operational level, the divisions and the Corporate Companies derive their en-vironmental and social objectives from these quantified targets valid throughout the Corporation. Achievement of the targets is monitored by means of a corporation-wide reporting system. The environmental goals include, for instance, a reduction in CO2 emissions and an improvement in energy efficiency. The social responsibility targets encompass a reduction in the accident and absence rates and the fostering of employee development by means of modern training programs. The gener-al sustainability objectives also call for sustainability aspects to be embedded in GF’s cooperation with suppliers (the GF Supplier Code). GF published its last interim report with extensive data in June 2013. The report is made in accordance with the GRI guidelines (Global Reporting Initiative).
Tools and systems
In 2007 GF decided to have all its production sites certified to OHSAS 18001 (Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series). This certification, which is compatible with ISO 9001 (quality management) and ISO 14001 (environmental management), integrates occupational safety and health protection into the management system. By year-end, 45 out of 47 sites in scope were certified, a success rate of 96%. Newly founded or acquired production companies must achieve OHSAS certification within three years at the latest.
Reporting systems //
The systematic recording of sustainability figures, which was initiated in 1997, is carried out by all production companies and by all sales companies with more than ten employees. In the year under review, 95 operations, or close to 100% of all employees, were covered. The Sustainability Information System (SIS), which has been steadily upgraded over the years, ensures that the data are compiled and that they are comparable corporation-wide. Trained employees in the local companies collect and report the data, which are then consolidated and analyzed in the central database. The findings form the basis for monitoring success and for sustainability reporting and also serve to formulate future objectives.
The internal Contaminated Land Register (CLR) lists all sites at which there is a suspicion of potential legacy waste pro-blems caused by contamination of the soil. No such listed sites are known to require any measures. The internal Contaminated Land Register is updated regularly.
Organizational measures, training plus information and advice ensure that the Corporate Companies are able to comply with local legislation and the principles of business ethics applicable in the Corporation. The Executive Committee and the Board of Directors receive a report each year. Binding directives ensure that there is absolutely no leeway in areas crucial for an international industrial corporation such as violations of antitrust law or acceptance of unlawful advantages and that no exception will be permitted to the principle of legal compliance. Employees may report infractions of the law or internal guidelines to their line manager(s), Corporate Audit or directly to the Compliance Officer, anonymously if they so wish. This option of whistle-blowing is another instrument designed to prevent illegal behavior. No use was made of this option in 2013.
Safety at work and health protection
Occupational health and safety protection are part of the management system in all production companies and the system is certified to OHSAS 18001 (Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series). One of the sustainability goals defined by the Executive Committee is to reduce the accident rate by 15% by 2015.
On corporate level a task force focuses on a comprehensive health and safety approach covering all GF sites worldwide. Even though GF’s occupational health and safety activities indicate a decrease in accidents, sadly, GF had to regret six fatal accidents in 2013. Two of the fatalities were employees of external companies. The accidents were analyzed in details and actions will be taken to maximize safety around the entire Corporation. Every loss of life is a loss too many and cannot be accepted.
Professional training // GF has a long tradition of training apprentices. We will continue to make every effort to maintain the high percentage of trainees in the workforce and to offer attractive training positions for basic vocational training. Granting interested school-leavers an early insight into the range of training and study opportunities is also an integral part of the corporate culture in training. In 2013, GF offered a total of 476 positions, of which 199 were in Switzerland, for training in various technical or commercial professions.
GF offered a total of 476 positions, of which 199 were in Switzerland, for training apprentices in various technical or commercial professions.
Management training //
The GF Corporation has operated a clear management development process for a number of years. Vacancies in senior management can thus be filled by internal candidates in the majority of cases. In the year under review, managers had the opportunity to attend a number of basic and advanced training courses important for their work such as Industrial Business Training (IBT), Financial Management Training (FMT), People Management Training (PMT), and Corporate Management Training (CMT). The Business Economics and Finance Training (EFT) is tailored to the specific require ments in China and is held in Mandarin. Around 200 managers from different regions and all parts of the Corporation underwent intense and customized training at the in-house GF Academy.
Moreover, a corporation-wide initiative on management issues and cooperation – based on the FranklinCovey Program (a management training institute) – were continued. Managers and employees from all divisions attend these training courses. In addition, the three divisions conduct their own training programs, which are geared specifically to their own operations.
Net value added //
Profit is the focus of every corporate report. For the economy as a whole, however, the factor that really counts is net value added. Net value added is the added value that is available after all external costs. It came to CHF 1.132 billion in 2013, compared to CHF 1.078 billion in 2012. More than 80% of this amount was paid out to employees as wages and salaries. Taxes and duties paid to the public accounted for 3%.
The employee newspaper GLOBE, which appears regularly in six languages, keeps all employees up-to-date about relevant issues concerning sustainability.
The special sustainability newsletter ZOOM, which was distributed to Managing Directors and specialists, was abandoned and integrated into the newspaper GLOBE. Information about current events, sustainability trends in society, and activities within GF are now part of the newspaper GLOBE.
Best-practice exchange //
Each year, senior management addresses issues of strategic and operational significance both at the annual two-day Corporate Convention and at the Senior Corporate Management Meeting, which are chaired by the President and Chief Executive Officer. In the past year, the meetings were attended by about 150 Managing Directors. In addition to discussing strategy and financial management, the managers addressed human resources management. The two-day sustainability conference is an important platform for promoting an exchange of views within and across the divisions. For the first time, this conference was held in Suzhou (China) addressing current sustainability topics affecting the Corporation and the divisions in the areas of occupational health and safety, social aspects, ecology, and energy. At the Corporation level, discussion centered on the sustainability goals for 2015, and their implementation status was dealt with at length. In addition, time was reserved for the exchange of specialist information in the divisions and for talks by external guest speakers. The conference was conducted bilingually, in Mandarin and English. HR managers, occupational health and safety experts, energy experts and environmental managers from all Chinese Corporate Companies attended the conference, representing the approximately 3 000 employees these Chinese Corporate Companies count.
The challenges of the future include climate change, the finite nature of fossil fuels, and a steep increase in the demand for energy. In 2012, GF generated about 708 000 tons of CO2 emissions, of which fossil fuels accounted for 255 000 tons and electricity for 445 000 tons. Business travel by car or plane produced around 8 000 tons. The results for 2013 will be published in the Sustainability Report 2013.
Energy effiency //
Fossil energy will be among the most important and ever-diminishing resources in the coming decades. Consumption is steadily increasing particularly in the emerging markets. According to the International Energy Agency, energy consumption will grow by 45% in the next 20 years. GF has set itself the goal of increasing energy efficiency in production in each division by 10%. All the divisions of GF are developing innovative solutions such as flow-efficient piping components, light-weight components for vehicles, and energy-efficient tool- aking machines. In addition, all the divisions contribute, through their products and solutions, to increasing energy efficiency in operations and to lowering energy consumption. For instance, flow-optimized piping components can reduce the pump input power needed in a plant. Further power consumption reduction is achieved through an intelligent machine software optimizing power consumption during operating and stand-by modes.
Resource-efficient innovation //
Like fossil energy, other important resources are also becoming scarcer and more expensive. The prices for crude oil, a crucial means of production, has been rising over the last years. As a result, the development departments have introduced processes for resource-efficient innovation (eco design, life cycle assessment). These processes help ensure that product-related sustainability and resource efficiency issues are taken into account as early as the development stage of new products. Developers have to take the product’s entire life cycle, and not just the development phase, into consideration. The impact of new products on the environment is analyzed by assessing the raw materials and suppliers selected, production, the customer’s use of the products along with their reuse once their life cycle has expired.
The Clean Water Foundation received a donation of CHF 3.5 million
when it was founded at the 2002 Annual Shareholders’ Meeting. To
date, GF has donated CHF 8 million to the Foundation. This has made it
possible to implement more than 110 projects in over 50 countries on
four continents. To mark the 10th anniversary of its Clean Water
Foundation, GF and Caritas Switzerland have agreed to a partnership
for the supply of drinking water. The Clean Water Foundation of GF
provides the sum of CHF 1 million in cash, which enables Caritas to
provide at least 35 000 people worldwide with sustainably improved
access to clean drinking water until 2015. Within this partnership, GF
and Caritas Switzer-land started a regular exchange of information
between experts. Thus the division GF Piping Systems makes its
know-how and expertise in water treatment and water distribution
available to Caritas. The primary aim is to bring about tangible
improvements to drinking water access through the use of innovative methods.
In October 2013, representatives of the Clean Water Foundation, together with members of Caritas Switzerland, visited various villages in Tajikistan where GF sponsored, through the Clean Water Foundation, water projects in 2010 and 2012 in the district Muminabad, which borders to Afghanistan. In the villages visited they could take part in the inauguration ceremonies of the water installations. Further, they visited water reforestation projects and water management projects. All water supplies, which are simple and functional, were constructed in cooperation with Caritas Switzerland and the local construction association “Obi Zulol”.
Furthermore, the Board of Trustees supported all in all eight new projects with donations of more than CHF 400 000 in Bangladesh, Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Congo, Indonesia, Kenia, Vietnam, and in the Philippines for victims of the Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.
Contributing to the common good //
GF supports employees who work for the good of their communities. In accordance with its fundamental values and corporate principles, GF undertakes to promote cultural, social, and environmental involvement and contribute to the common good. The holding company and Corporate Companies are involved in many local projects at their respective locations. In 2013, the Corporation spent about CHF 2 million on such projects. In addition, some 30 Corporate Companies supported local activities, with considerable contributions in some cases.
Sustainability dialog //
Sustainability and resource efficiency play a crucial role for GF’s customers too, for instance in the automotive industry. Customers carefully examine evidence of sustainable production as well as technological competence, quality, and price when selecting suppliers. Again, GF was invited to the “Daimler Sustainability Dialogue” in November 2013.Over 100 stakeholders from business, politics, and social organizations discussed various issues of sustainability.
GF regularly receives awards for its unwavering commitment to sustainable practices. For the second time, GF was the sector leader Index Group SMIM in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) in 2013.