“The products of our divisions contribute to improving the sustainability footprint of our customers.”
Sustainability for us – and for you
Our strategy cycle 2011–2015 has drawn to a close, and I am glad to report that we not only reached our financial targets but also made significant steps forward with our sustainability initiative. To take just a couple of examples, the number of occupational accidents has been cut almost in half since 2011, thanks not least to a large safety campaign especially at GF Automotive, and the proportion of climate-damaging air freight within our supply chain has shrunk considerably.
Sustainability contributes directly to the achievement of our financial objectives. For example, modern automation and dust extraction devices in our foundries help to improve cleanliness and at the same time reduce costs.
Moreover it allows us to align our customer claims, i.e. that we help them reduce the emissions of the cars they sell, with our own efforts to lower emissions within our factories.
We will therefore continue to invest in our premises to make them even more environmentally friendly and safe for our employees. But sustainability at GF goes beyond internal considerations. The products of all three divisions contribute to improving the sustainability footprint of our customers and directly or indirectly to conserving natural resources. This can, for example, be via modern piping systems that guarantee decades of leak-free water transport, lighter components for latest-generation cars, or modern machine tools that significantly improve the production of energy-efficient products, such as modern aircraft turbines.
These achievements are a source of pride in the GF name for our 14 400 employees around the world. With an array of training and development options, the internal GF Academy fosters enthusiasm among employees at all levels. We increased the number of training days for our employees by a further 10% in 2015. This is just one of the factors that help make GF an attractive employer for men and women, young talents and seasoned experts.
I look forward to hearing your feedback on GF and our Sustainability Report.
Yves Serra, President and CEO
1 000 gigajoules
1 000 tons
1 000 tons
* Real emissions, calculated based on ecoinvent 1.3.
Employees by region (in %)
100% = 14 424
Decrease of accidents at work
Between 2011 and 2015 corporate-wide accidents decreased by 44%. The initiation of the "Zero Risk" campaign by GF Automotive contributed substantially to this result and had a significant influence on the safety behavior of the employees.
As of 31 December 2015 all production sites were certified according to OHSAS 18001 (Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series).
All sustainability data are collected and processed through the GF Sustainability Information System (SIS).
comprises three divisions: GF Piping Systems, GF Automotive, and GF Machining Solutions. Founded in 1802, the Corporation is headquartered in Switzerland and is present in 32 countries with 121 companies, 45 of them production facilities. Its approximately 14 400 employees generated sales of CHF 3.64 billion in 2015. GF is the preferred partner of its customers for the safe transport of liquids and gases, lightweight casting components in vehicles, and high-precision manufacturing technologies.
Free cash flow before acquisitions/divestitures
GF Piping Systems
is a leading supplier of piping systems made of plastics and metal. The division focuses on system solutions and high-quality components for the safe transport of water and gas in industry, utilities, and building technology. Its product range includes fittings, valves, pipes, automation and jointing technologies and covers all applications throughout the water cycle.
GF Piping Systems supports its customers in over 100 countries through its own sales companies and representative offices. The division is present in Europe, Asia, and the Americas with more than 30 manufacturing sites and research and development centers, which also support energy-saving use of raw materials and resources.
Sales (million CHF)
(Sales 2015: CHF 1 417 million)
is a technologically pioneering development partner and manufacturer of lightweight cast components and systems made of ductile iron, aluminum, and magnesium for the global automotive industry as well as a variety of other industrial applications. The highly complex lightweight components contribute to making modern vehicles lighter and reduce their CO2 emissions.
GF Automotive manufactures at nine production plants in Germany, Austria, and China. In those countries as well as in Switzerland, Korea, and Japan it also operates sales offices. The lightweight research and development competency is in Schaffhausen (Switzerland) and Suzhou (China).
Sales (million CHF)
(Sales 2015: CHF 1 321 million)
GF Machining Solutions
provides milling and electrical discharge machines (EDM), additive manufacturing solutions, laser texturing, automation, tooling, and spindles. These complete solutions make the division one of the world’s leading provider to the tool- and mold-making industry and to manufacturers of precision components. The most important customer segments are the aerospace industry, ICT, and the automotive sector.
GF Machining Solutions operates its own sales companies in more than 50 countries to provide customer services locally. Production facilities as well as research and development centers are located in Switzerland, Sweden, and China.
Sales (million CHF)
(Sales 2015: CHF 902 million)
Sustainable Investment: GF receives prime status
GF has moved up one level in the oekom research AG ranking to C+ and is now classified as a prime investment. Oekom research is one of the leading rating agencies worldwide in the field of sustainable investment.
Climate protection: GF among top ten industrial corporations
In the annual climate protection ranking by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), GF has been named the sector leader among industrial corporations. With this, GF ranks among the ten best industrial corporations in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
GF and Caritas: together for clean drinking water
The supply of clean, potable water is one of the major global challenges of our time and a deciding factor in the fight against global poverty. GF and Caritas are extending their partnership in this area by another four years. Specifically, the Clean Water Foundation of GF will provide Caritas with a further CHF 1 million for the implementation of sustainable drinking water projects.
Second GF Water Technology Summit
In mid-September 2015 the second GF Water Technology Summit took place in Switzerland. More than 40 water specialists from around the world accepted the invitation from GF Piping Systems, in order to exchange experiences and develop strategies for the future together. At the center of the two-day conference stood the topic “Waste water and reconveyance”. Representatives from leading water conveyance companies and innovative start-ups presented the newest strategies and technologies for the reprocessing of waste water.
ABB sustainability award for suppliers
That products, production and processes at GF are equally geared towards sustainability is shown by the reception of the ABB award. GF Automotive was honored with the first Global ABB Supplier Sustainability Award. The award was given to the foundry in Leipzig (Germany), whose operation is orientated towards the conservation of resources, low emissions, and its employees, setting new standards in the ABB supply chain.
Awarded for lightweight design again
For the third consecutive time GF Automotive in Altenmarkt has received the prestigious IMA Award from the International Magnesium Association. The foundry convinced the jury in the category “casting-component design” with the magnesium seat frame for the Mercedes SLK. The product, which is cast in one piece, is about 30% lighter than preceding models and hence weighs about the same as a comparable carbon construction.
Award for future oriented casting solutions
The first prize in the category "Best Substitution of another Production Process" was won by GF Automotive with a console for a truck cabin suspension at the Newcast Award 2015. The expert jury rewarded the iron sand-casted component, which is 13% lighter compared to its iron-forged predecessor. At the award ceremony, Dr. Martin Stehle, Sales Director at GF Automotive in Singen, proudly explained: "We really appreciate this award. As a result of the collaboration of the whole team we were able to show that products like this are the future of castings."
Top Corporation, top products: awards for GF in China
At the CIMT 2015, Asia’s largest trade fair for machine tools, GF Machining Solutions Beijing (China) received two awards: the company was named one of the top 30 machine-manufacturing companies in China, and the high-speed milling machine Mikron HEM 700U was named as one of the top 20 most innovative products.
Sustainable Business Management
GF reached profitability levels in the 2015 business year not seen since 2006. The 2011–2015 strategy targets published in early 2011 were all met. Key factors were the company’s expansion of its global presence and the reduction of its dependence on the economic cycles.
Owing to the Swiss franc’s sharp appreciation in January 2015, sales decreased by 4% to CHF 3 640 million. Nevertheless, the operating result (EBIT) rose to CHF 296 million, up 8% compared to the previous year. Adjusted for one-off effects, the EBIT stood at CHF 294 million, resulting in an EBIT margin (ROS) of 8.1%. The strategy objective of 8% was therefore exceeded. The return on invested capital (ROIC) increased to 18.9%, well inside the strategy objective range of 16% to 20%. Total net profit amounted to CHF 198 million and free cash flow rose to CHF 190 million, which equates to an increase of 73%.
Sustainable growth 2011–2015
GF has continuously improved its profitability over the last five years. While the Corporation reduced its dependence on Europe to less than 60% of its turnover, the share of GF Piping Systems has increased to 40% of the total turnover. In addition, GF Automotive focused on its most promising technologies and GF Machining Solutions moved towards less cyclical sectors.
Strategy 2020 and objectives
The 2020 strategy calls for profitable growth within all three divisions by leveraging the successful path of the last five years and by adding significant novelties to its offering as well as acting on its global footprint. By 2020, the Corporation aims to achieve a turnover in the range of CHF 4.5 to CHF 5.0 billion (at constant exchange rates) for an average growth of 3% to 5% per year, whilst the targets for profitability levels are 18% to 22% for the ROIC and 8% to 9% for the EBIT margin. The target for earnings per share is well above CHF 50, compared to an average of CHF 40 in the past five years.
In order to achieve these goals, GF will firstly continue to optimize productivity in Europe. At the same time, the Corporation will keep expanding its activities in the growth markets of Asia and America, reinforced through selected acquisitions and joint ventures. The aim is to generate more than 50% of its global turnover in those two regions and thus better balance its geographical sales mix.
Secondly, all three divisions will shift their portfolios towards higher margin businesses. GF Piping Systems plans to increase the share of higher-end products like sensors, valves, and automation technology as well as develop the promising service business. GF Automotive will make further investments in its value chain, as customers are increasingly calling for ready-to-mount components. The division also intends to enlarge the scope of its non-automotive businesses. GF Machining Solutions will continue strengthening its presence in less cyclical sectors such as medtech, aerospace, and ICT.
Thirdly, GF will continue to boost its competencies in sales through investments in training for the sales organization and also speed up the pace of innovation.
Global market presence
Asian countries, and in particular China, remain the strongest growth markets for GF. The share of total turnover from this region continued to rise in 2015, amounting to 23% (2014: 21%). Germany was by far the largest market in the year under review, with a share of 28% of total turnover (2014: 29%). The share of turnover for all companies in Europe was 57% (2014: 59%). The number of employees in Asia continued to grow due to the rising global presence of GF: At 25%, this market region has the highest number of employees, followed by Germany at 23% and Switzerland at 18%.
Sales 2015 by region (in %)
100% = CHF 3.64 billion
Gross value added 2015 by region (in %)
100% = CHF 1.35 billion
Targeted investments are essential for a company such as GF to guarantee competitiveness and long-term growth. Investments in property, plant, and equipment in 2015 totaled CHF 167 million, of which CHF 80 million (48%) went to GF Automotive and CHF 46 million (28%) to GF Piping Systems. The total amount of investment planned for 2016 will be at the same level. During the years 2014–2016, GF invested in total EUR 59 million in a cutting-edge production line at the Singen location in Germany. This facility will provide a big boost to the efficiency and competitiveness of the largest foundry of GF Automotive.
The economic environment remains demanding and volatile. Nevertheless, the momentum observed during the second half of 2015 is positive in markets in which GF operates. The backlog of both GF Automotive and GF Machining Solutions stands at high levels. The secular trends underpinning all three divisions of GF remain positive and their well-balanced geographical presence should foster profitable growth as well as a better stability of earnings. The outlook in our markets in China remains quite stable despite the current uncertainties. The positive momentum continued in the first half of 2016. The markets remain volatile and uneven. Assuming that the macroeconomic uncertainties do not have a significant impact on client demand, GF expects a result in 2016 in line with the goals of Strategy 2020.
Five-year overview Corporation
|Order intake||3 662||3 836||3 795||3 691||3 734|
|Sales||3 640||3 795||3 766||3 720||3 638|
|Free cash flow before acquisitions/divestitures||190||110||174||99||103|
|Return on sales (EBIT margin) %||8.1||7.2||6.7||6.0||6.5|
Return on sales (EBIT margin) before one-off effects %
|Return on invested capital (ROIC) %||18.9||17.9||16.7||15.7||13.3|
|Equity||1 130||1 104||978||979||1 223|
Challenges and Strategy
Sustainability is one of the main pillars of the GF business model. With its products, GF helps to safeguard water supply, reduce emissions, and improve energy efficiency.
The challenge of water management
Where there is water, there is life, which is why water is key in all aspects of sustainable development. Providing access to clean drinking water is a task that poses a significant challenge to humankind. In 2015, 663 million people, i.e. one in nine, still lack improved drinking water sources.
GF Piping Systems is working on resource-saving solutions for the supply, treatment, and distribution of water and is helping to ensure the efficient use of the valuable resource. At the same time, an appropriate range of products are being used to make energy savings. Energy consumption can be reduced by means of an appropriate design, suitable material composition, correct dimensioning and by ensuring that the individual system components can be controlled as per client needs. In turn, this also means lower costs for clients.
It’s not just ensuring a problem-free water supply that is proving a huge challenge worldwide, drinking water must also be clean! Hygiene requirements are becoming more stringent every day. As a result, GF Piping Systems employs modern, environmentally friendly disinfection technology in large public buildings, such as hospitals, schools, and sports facilities, to ensure a faultless water supply. The focus in the future will also be placed on ensuring gentle water treatment and secure distribution without any leakages or contamination. On the basis of extensive LCAs (Life Cycle Assessments), it has been proven, for example, that plastic piping systems have a significantly lower impact on the environment when used for water treatment and distribution than traditional materials. The simple fact that users have access to important information and tools for using these systems ensures that resource-saving technologies can be used in a worthwhile manner. As part of a new strategy cycle, a new business unit has been created, named “Services”, which is dedicated to products, systems and how to use them, and provides the relevant tools to do so. We create clear added value for our clients by providing them with support and sustainable solutions.
The challenge of climate change
Never in the past have so many cars been sold as in the present day. In China alone, there are currently over 140 million cars and commercial vehicles with 300 million more vehicles forecast to be sold by 2050. Due to the anticipated impact on the environment that this growth will have, a high level of expectations are being placed on manufacturers. As a result, CO2 emission limits will be significantly reduced in Europe, the US, and China by 2030. This means that manufacturers who want to continue to successfully sell vehicles will have to further reduce fuel consumption. In order to achieve this aim, weight-saving measures, i.e. using lightweight components, will play an increasingly important role in car manufacturing.
GF Automotive is thus employing its entire development expertise in attempting to create the lightweight car of the future. It is developing new and optimally suited materials and almost every component is being checked to see if its weight can be reduced. By focusing on bionic design, GF Automotive is looking to nature as an example and is finding the most lightweight and at the same time robust designs. GF Automotive is developing state-of-the-art production methods and in doing so is constantly ensuring that its solutions have the highest level of functional integration. The most successful projects have resulted in casting solutions that are lighter and more cost-effective and thus provide clients with twice the value. A single cast iron part, for example, can replace ten steel sheet metal parts. This not only streamlines the production process but also reduces vehicle weight considerably, as casting is 40% lighter in comparison to other production methods.
By using lighter components in vehicles, we are setting in motion a chain reaction of reduction, as every component that is reduced in weight results in the reduction of the weight of the whole vehicle. A lightweight vehicle uses less fuel, which means lower CO2 emissions. This has significant impacts, for example, if the parts in a VW Golf weigh 2.82 kg less per vehicle, this has a dramatic positive influence on lowering the CO2 emissions of the automobiles.
GF Automotive will also push on with producing lightweight vehicles in the future, in keeping with the maxim of “Passion for your Lighter Future”. The division is thus focusing on ready-to-install solutions and becoming involved in the development of new vehicles at an earlier stage. In addition to this, alternative drives and the use of electric-powered vehicles will have a considerable impact on the sector in the coming years. For this reason, collaborations have already been established with clients to work together on developing components for electric vehicles.
The challenge of energy consumption
The sustainable and efficient use of energy presents a wide range of challenges. Energy savings and the targeted use of energy are two of the main factors for ensuring a sustainable energy supply in the future. The main strategic approaches in this sense are the monitoring of energy consumption, the use of energy-saving machines, products and solutions as well as the use of renewable energy.
GF Machining Solutions is working on developing solutions that allow clients to continuously reduce energy consumption in machines used to manufacture parts. Standard energy management solutions that allow systems to be completely shut down during idle periods and auxiliary equipment to be switched on and used when necessary are just some of the developments made to ensure a drop in energy consumption.
Compliance and Governance
As an international industrial group, GF is at home in a range of sectors and countries. Wherever we operate, we comply with the applicable laws and regulations. We firmly believe that sustainable and long-term success is based on legally and ethically impeccable conduct.
In 2010, the Executive Committee defined the core values of GF that are shared throughout the Corporation. These examples demonstrate how GF employees worldwide are living the five values and spell out what they mean to them.
We put customers first
“It’s always a challenge to find a solution that meets all of the customer’s needs. But this is exactly what makes it so exciting for me.”
Sabine Tunzini, Head of Material and Process Development GF Automotive, Schaffhausen (Switzerland)
We do what we say
“Our customers can only be satisfied if we keep our promises and meet our deadlines. Especially in the production field it’s important that one can rely on each other.”
Ron Smith, Process Technician GF Piping Systems, Dallas (USA)
We act fast
“In this day and age we have to find solutions rapidly. That’s what gives us a distinct competitive edge.”
Jessica Shen, Export Specialist, GF Piping Systems, Shanghai (China)
We respect people
“Carefully listening to others is a way of showing people that you respect them. That is the basic prerequisite for successful cooperation.”
Rino Infantino, Technical Service Specialist GF Machining Solutions, Charlotte (USA)
We reward performance
“Giving employees individual support, advancement and recognition is more important than money alone. During my studies I learned at GF how extremely valuable this is.”
Marius Chylka, HR Development Employee GF Automotive, Werdohl (Germany)
An important component of the Corporate strategy are the five values of GF. They shape day-to-day interactions of the employees and are key in dealing with clients and partners. At the same time, GF has set own standards for itself regarding to good governance based on the highest standards for ethical conduct and integrity. These standards are defined in the Code of Conduct, which is an important basis of our corporate culture. The Code of Conduct is published in 16 languages and is binding for employees in all GF divisions and at all locations.
Compliance with the applicable laws and guidelines worldwide as well as with business ethics standards is monitored by Internal Auditing and the Corporate Compliance Officer (CCO). The CCO reports to the General Counsel or – where necessary – directly to the CEO. The CCO is also a member of the Risk Council, which ensures that the subject of risk management is accorded appropriate importance within the company.
Training is carried out under the direction of the CCO at the Corporate companies by means of e-learning or in person. The Executive Committee determines the respective focus topics together with the CCO. A range of internal compliance training sessions were held in 2015, including:
– an e-learning program on anticorruption for about 600 employees.
– an e-learning program on competition law and cartel law for about 560 employees.
– on-site training at newly acquired companies in the Middle East, Turkey, and China, and for specific employees with compliance roles.
A total of 6 502 employees have received compliance training since it was introduced in 2011. The training is intended to be repeated every three years.
To further reinforce the compliance function in the company and give due consideration to the strong presence in China in particular, the following measures were also implemented in 2015:
– Consistent implementation of the “GF Compliance Agreement for Intermediaries” as a guideline for GF’s business partners who act on behalf of or in the interests of GF Companies as well as the continuation of specific compliance measures for intermediaries in China;
– Development of a web-based system to avoid conducting business with sanctioned organizations and individuals;
– Introduction of a “Compliance Agents” function to identify and assess risks, carry out internal controls, and identify and implement new measures.
A whistle-blowing program enables all employees to report any breaches of legislation or guidelines anonymously to their superiors, Internal Auditing, or the CCO. Proven breaches are subject to rigorous sanctions.
The Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of GF attach great importance to good corporate governance. In the interests of shareholders, customers, business partners, and employees, the company, which is organized in accordance with Swiss law, fulfills all obligations under the guidelines of the Swiss Stock Exchange with regard to information on corporate governance. The implementation and ongoing improvement of the corporate governance principles ensure the necessary level of transparency to enable investors to judge the quality of the company at all times.
The Board of Directors and Executive Committee are the highest management bodies. The Board of Directors is responsible for monitoring the management of the company and for determining its strategic direction and financial and accounting policies. The three standing Board Committees (Audit Committee, Nomination Committee, Compensation Committee) prepare the business of the Board of Directors as a whole. Where required, temporary committees can also be formed. The Executive Committee addresses all issues of relevance to the company, takes decisions within its remit, and submits proposals to the Board of Directors. The Chief Executive Officer and the Heads of Corporate Development and Corporate Finance & Controlling make up the Corporate Center and also support the Board of Directors in meeting its responsibilities.
The Executive Committee bears ultimate responsibility for sustainability – this is a strong, clear statement by the company. The Sustainability Council, which comprises representatives from Human Resources, Sustainability, Investor Relations, and Communications, plans the further development of sustainability management. Together with the Executive Committee, the Council sets the sustainability targets for the three divisions as well as the 121 Group companies. Progress is monitored every six months by the Executive Committee.
Review Sustainability Targets 2011-2015
At GF, sustainability targets are defined in alignment with the corporate strategy for a period of five years. This table provides an overview of the key goals and their degree of achievement in 2015 as well as in the strategy cycle 2011 to 2015.
Important key figures improved
GF’s economic performance was encouragingly positive in recent years: despite the strong appreciation of the Swiss franc in 2015, the company was able to achieve its strategic targets in full. At the same time, the company managed to significantly improve important KPIs such as increasing energy efficiency or reducing the accident rate. By contrast, the five-year goals for reducing CO2 emissions and waste volumes in production couldn’t fully be achieved yet.
The basis for achieving the goals is the consistent adherence to high company standards. This is reflected in both the cross-divisional and the transnational establishment of management systems. This ensures continuous monitoring of processes, performance, and results. At GF, all production facilities are certified in accordance with OHSAS 18001 (Occupational Health and Safety) while the majority are certified according to ISO 9001 (Quality Management), and ISO 14001 (Environmental Management). Energy-intensive production sites must also be certified in accordance with ISO 50001 (Energy Management). Currently, these are eight locations.
- Target: ~8% EBIT margin
Results 2015: From 7.2% to 8.1% in 2015. The abolishment of the peg of CHF 1.20 Swiss francs per euro had a negative impact on sales and EBIT. All three divisions achieved their goals as defined in the strategy in the year under review.
Results 2011-2015: The EBIT margin increased in the strategy period from 6.5% in 2011 to 8.1% in 2015. The 8% EBIT margin target defined in the 2011–2015 Strategy was achieved in the year under review.
- Target: 16-20% return on invested capital
Results2015: At 18.9%, the return on invested capital (ROIC) is one percentage point above the previous year’s level (17.9%). All three divisions contributed significantly to value generation and achieved returns twice as high as the cost of capital (WACC).
Results 2011-2015: Measured against 2010, dependency on sales in Europe has been reduced gradually from 69% to 57%. At the same time, Asia’s share in sales increased by 5 percentage points to 23% and that of America by 3 percentage points to 14% through investments in growth markets.
- Target: Growth: investments in growth markets
Results 2015: GF has successfully increased its presence in Asia and America. GF Automotive has started a joint venture with machining specialist Linamar; GF Machining Solutions has entered into the 3D printing business through its strategic partnership with EOS.
Results 2011-2015: Measured against 2010, dependency on sales in Europe has been reduced gradually from 69% to 57%. At the same time, Asia’s share in sales increased by 5 percentage points to 23% and that of America by 3 percentage points to 14% through investments in growth markets.
- Target: 10% reduction in waste volumes in production
Results 2015: Waste volumes and hazardous waste were at a level comparable to the previous year.
Results 2011-2015: Total waste volumes both in 2015 and in the base year 2010 were 321 000 tons. The target was therefore not achieved.
- Target: 20% reduction in CO2 emissions from production
Results 2015: CO2 emissions were significantly reduced. The substitution of oil with natural gas and electricity contributed to the reduction in CO2 emissions.
Results 2011-2015: Over the past five years, CO2 emissions have been cut from 738 000 tons to 592 000 tons. However, the target of a 20% reduction was not achieved.
- Target: 10% increase in energy efficiency in production
Results 2015: Energy efficiency in production could be further increased in 2015. Energy-efficient machines as well as demand-based control systems contributed to the rise in efficiency. Results 2011-2015: The target of improving energy efficiency by 10% based on production volumes was exceeded considerably over the past five years, reaching 47%, through targeted investments into energy-efficient systems.
- Target: 10% reduction in the accident rate
Results 2015: The accident rate was further reduced in 2015. The global establishment of safety standards as well as the implementation of targeted awareness campaigns and training contributed to this.
Results 2011-2015: The accident rate was continuously reduced over the reporting period, but particularly in 2013 and 2014. This was due to the comprehensive introduction of the OHSAS standard as well as targeted safety campaigns.
- Target: 10% reduction in the absence rate
Results 2015: The absence rate in 2015 remained at around the same level as the previous years.
Results 2011-2015: Starting from 2010 as a basis, the absence rate has been reduced by means of targeted measures, from 140 000 days in 2010 to 124 100 in 2015. The goal was therefore clearly achieved.
- Target: Introduce 100% management system for occupational health and safety
Results 2015: As per 31 December 2015 all production facilities have been certified. Newly founded or acquired production facilities must obtain OHSAS 18001 certification after three years at the latest.
Results 2011-2015: By the end of 2015 the certification of all productions plants according to OHSAS 18001 was achieved.
Status as at 31 Dezember 2015. The base for the calculation of target achievement is the average of the years 2007–2009.
Sustainability Targets 2020
The new sustainability targets form an integral part of the Strategy 2020. Set by the Executive Committee every five years, they act as guidelines for the implementation of central environmental and social measures in the companies.
Focus on the essential
As an international group with operations in more than 30 countries, GF strives to embed the issue of sustainability in all its companies. The in-depth examination of the topics that are essential to GF forms the foundation of a common sustainability understanding: whether it is resource-friendly and environmentally sound products, efficient production processes, or a safe and employee-friendly working environment – GF employees around the world are committed to achieving the common targets in their work and specialist areas. The following figure shows what GF is aiming to achieve by 2020 in the areas of procurement and logistics, people and safety, and environment and energy as well as products and innovations:
Procurement and Logistics
Target: GF Suppliers demonstrably comply with GF’s Supplier Code for eco-friendly and socially responsible supply.
– All key suppliers have to sign the GF Supplier Code.
– Integrate sustainability aspects systematically in supplier audits. At least ten audits focused on sustainability are carried out every year per Division.
Target: GF optimizes its logistics with regard to energy consumption, emissions, and packaging.
– Systematically measure and analyze key transport and environmental figures together with the most important transport Service providers in Europe
– Define and implement improvement measures together with transport Service providers
– Reduce GF product deliveries by air freight by 20% worldwide
People and Safety
- Accidents at Work
Target: GF strives to reduce its severe accidents to zero and to reduce the accident rate by at least 20% in every division by end of 2020.
– Zero severe accidents
– Reduce accident rate by 20%
– All companies comply with GF safety standards or above.
- Safety Audits
Target: GF regularly conducts cross site safety audits in order to constantly improve the safety culture.
– Cross site safety audits are performed per production plant and warehouse once a year at least.
- Employer Responsibility
Target: GF strives to be a most attractive employer to attract talents, to retain our performing employees, and to develop our workforce. Furthermore, GF aims to stay a respectful and socially responsible employer.
– Be recognized in our industry as an attractive employer
– Fill 70% of vacant leadership positions with internal candidates
– Take actions to increase and promote diversity relative to gender, age and native origin
Target: GF strives to lower the absence rate by implementing supportive measures.
– Reduce absence rate by 10% across the organization
Environment and Energy
Target: GF production companies actively apply energy efficiency measures and define local targets in order to realize the corporate goal of increasing the energy efficiency by 10% in every division by end of 2020.
– Increase energy efficiency by 10%
Target: GF strives to reduce its CO2 emission from production by at least 10% in every division by end of 2020.
– Reduce CO2 emissions by 10%
- Materials and Waste
Target: GF strives to reduce its non-recycled waste from production by at least 10% by weight in every division by end of 2020.
– Reduce non-recycled waste by 10%
Target: GF strives to reduce its fresh water consumption in water-scarce and stressed areas by at least 10% by volume in every division by end of 2020.
– Reduce fresh water consumption in water-scarce and stressed areas by 10%
Products and Innovations
- Product Responsibility
Target: GF products support the customer in saving energy and reducing CO2 emissions during the use of products.
– GF provides CO2-efficient and safe products to the customer.
Target: GF products are optimized with regard to their environmental friendliness, resource efficiency, and durability.
– Systematic introduction of Ecodesign measures in product development in order to promote energy- and resource-efficient products
– Each division monitors its environmentally friendly products which allow reduced energy consumption and/or CO2 emissions.
– GF Piping Systems optimizes its products regarding their environmental friendliness, resource-efficiency and durability.
– GF Automotive focuses on Bionic Design and lightweight construction.
– GF Machining Solutions joins the Blue Competence Initiative and reduces the average energy consumption by 15% for milling machines and by 20% for EDM machines.
The base for the calculation of target achievement is the average of the years 2011–2014.
Acting sustainably together
GF maintains a continuous dialogue with its internal and external stakeholders, enabling key issues to be recognized early and addressed actively. This exchange is promoted by means of a wide range of activities and measures. During the first half of 2017, GF will conduct an external stakeholder dialogue in order to further systematize sustainability issues that are material to the company.
GF has set itself the goal of being an attractive employer. Targeted on-the-job support and training are just as important in achieving this goal as a continuous flow of transparent information. With this in mind, a new Corporation-wide intranet site was launched in November 2015. In addition, the employee magazine Globe, which is aimed at the 14 400 employees, is published quarterly in seven languages. Globe was again recognized as the best employee magazine in Switzerland in 2015. The communications and information tools are supplemented by a range of internal training (on seven habits, compliance, etc.), workshops, and events. Employees are surveyed regularly as regards their satisfaction, including division- and location-based surveys. GF came first in the Industry category and tenth among the 500 largest Swiss employers in the 2015 Best Recruiter study.
Employee representatives in both Switzerland and Europe meet regularly and exchange views with the Executive Committee and the Head of Human Resources. Following the Swiss franc shock, the constructive partnership enabled an increase in working hours to be implemented quickly at all Swiss locations – and then reversed again at the end of 2015.
Neighbors, local communities, and the public
True to its fundamental values, GF supports and promotes cultural and social programs at its various locations, as well as activities that contribute to the common good. In 2015, around CHF 2 million was spent at the Corporation level on social involvement activities. In addition to this, some 30 GF corporate subsidiaries support local activities, making substantial contributions. Numerous open days were also held again in 2015 to maintain contact with the public and neighbors. For major construction work, such as building the new PL2 production line in Singen, Germany, local communities and neighbors are actively informed and involved.
Lasting customer loyalty is created by GF taking part in trade fairs worldwide, through in-house events (such as GF Piping Systems’ Water Technology Summit or GF Machining Solutions’ Solutions Days) as well as through training programs and on-site training sessions developed specially for customers. These events also ensure continuous development of products and their correct application. Some 40 Centers of Competence (CoCs) worldwide offer customers the opportunity to examine and test new technologies and improved products on-site. In addition, targeted workshops on sustainability are held with customers from key market segments (such as the automotive industry) in order to work together on the products of tomorrow. These specific working groups are complemented by periodic client surveys, which gather important customer opinions in all GF divisions.
Incorporating environmental, social, and compliance standards in its procurement processes is essential for GF. It has therefore engaged in active dialog with suppliers for years. They all have to comply with the Supplier Code, which is based on the most important international standards and conventions. In close cooperation with key logistics partners, GF has also set itself the target of reducing key data with regard to energy consumption, CO2 emissions, and packaging material.
Associations and NGOs
As an international company with Swiss roots, GF cultivates an ongoing exchange with international and national associations and organizations. From Swiss trade associations (Swissmem) to European initiatives (such as the VDMA’s Blue Competence Initiative) to global networks such as the UN Global Compact – GF is involved in many ways. In 2015, for example, GF renewed its partnership with Caritas Switzerland for a further four years. Through its Clean Water foundation, GF is again donating CHF 1 million to Caritas for clean water projects.
Universities and research
GF maintains close contact with universities and research institutes. Cooperation takes place at project level repeatedly, benefiting the economy and science equally. Institutions such as the Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, Empa in Dübendorf, RWTH Aachen, and the Fraunhofer Institute in Stuttgart are all in GFs innovation network.
GF is in regular contact with financial analysts. The CEO and CFO also present the company in road shows. Some 60 representatives from major financial institutions attend the conference for financial analysts at the stock exchange in Zurich held in the spring. The highlight for shareholders is the annual general meeting in Schaffhausen. In the year under review, 1 027 shareholders attended to vote on the resolutions of the Board of Directors. The annual and mid-year reports present key information and figures for shareholders, investors, and interested members of the public.
GF publishes media releases on relevant topics regularly and maintains a continuous exchange of information with journalists. All corporate communications, publications, and news are published on the website www.georgfischer.com and archived. Interested media professionals also have the opportunity to interview and hold in-depth discussions with management. Traditional media conferences are supplemented by intense activity on the social media channels Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Xing.
About the report
As a pioneer in the area of sustainability, GF has been systematically recording and analyzing its key environmental figures since 1997. The worldwide reporting system was expanded in 2005 to include key social figures and the Sustainability Information System (SIS) was enlarged. In 2015, the SIS was integrated into the financial reporting of the company. Data on energy consumption and CO2 emissions are also checked and analyzed under the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). The Sustainability Report has been published every two years since 2005, with an abridged interim report published in the intervening years. Unless otherwise stated, this report covers the reporting period from 1 January to 31 December 2015.
Data collection limits
Data from all GF Group companies is recorded in the Sustainability Information System. This also includes majority holdings and joint ventures in which GF has a stake of more than 50%. Although acquisitions, divestitures, and closures affect the results, this only had a limited impact on the Group-wide results in 2014 and 2015, meaning that the results are readily comparable with those of the previous year.
All sales and production companies worldwide with more than ten employees calculate their social performance indicators using the Sustainability Information System. In the year under review there were 121 companies, of which 97 are either sales or production companies. About 90% of them report their indicators. This covers 99% of the workforce, while the environmental indicators cover some 85% of the workforce and 95% of the environmental impact of the Corporation as a whole. There have been only slight changes in the Group reporting since the 2013 Sustainability Report.
In terms of environmentally relevant key figures, GF records energy and water on the input side, and emissions into the air, wastewater, and waste on the output side. All flows within the data collection limits are taken into account. The impact of business travel by airplane and company cars is also calculated. Purchased materials and the construction of buildings and facilities are not included. Waste and wastewater treatment, transport for deliveries and for product distribution as well as the use of products by clients are not covered.
GF attaches great importance to an external audit of the Sustainability Report. In view of this, SGS TÜV Saar GmbH validated and verified the environmental and social key figures. The report follows the fourth generation of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards.