When it comes to sustainability, burgbad is underpinning its trailblazing role in the industry by consistently pursuing its holistic strategy and adopting transparent reporting practices. The recently published sustainability report for 2018-2020 was the first to be prepared in accordance with the standards of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). Among other things, it demonstrates that we have far exceeded the emission reduction targets we set ourselves.
As a manufacturer of top-quality and low-emission bathroom furniture, we can and want to contribute to the success of the European Green Deal. That includes aspects like the resource efficiency, CO2 footprint and longevity of products, as well as the recyclability of their components – the ultimate goal is a circular economy. Our sustainability report shows that we have achieved or even surpassed the major goals we set ourselves in terms of innovation management, percentages of recycled input materials, the amount of materials used and waste avoidance.
As a result, we far exceeded our self-imposed goal of a 10% reduction in energy consumption per unit produced by 2020 as compared to 2014, ultimately achieving a saving of 22.5% (based on our eco-controlling system). We were also able to reduce CO2 emissions per unit produced by 68.6% as compared to 2014, and have thus far exceeded our goal of a 55% reduction. Besides lowering our total energy consumption, we also continuously increased the percentage of renewable energies in our energy mix. The amount of waste generated (kg/t of production) was also reduced as compared to 2014, not just by the planned 10% but by 23%.
One benchmark for the development of sustainable products during the reporting period was the certification of the bestselling Eqio range with the Blue Angel label issued by the German government. Over the next few years, innovation will focus on the development of sustainable furniture based on ecodesign principles. The relevant requirements go far beyond the European Ecodesign Directive and minimise environmental impacts along the entire value chain. Our aim in doing so is to make an initial concrete contribution to the EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan, which was adopted as part of the Green Deal, and we expect the project to deliver empirical insights for burgbad’s continued strategic positioning as a sustainable furniture maker.
It goes without saying that we are committed to the United Nation’s “well below two degrees” target. We introduced systematic sustainability management back in 2014 and, in 2016, became the first climate-neutral bathroom furniture manufacturer as per the criteria of the German Quality Assurance Association for Furniture (DGM). Since then, unavoidable emissions have been offset. Since 2018, our offset concept has complied with the guidelines of the Development and Climate Alliance launched by German Development Minister Dr Gerd Müller (CSU). The offsets are channelled into projects that contribute to climate protection in emerging and developing countries and thus generate a social co-benefit.
Besides climate protection in production and at our sites, sustainable action also includes aspects like taking responsibility in the supply chain and for the health of our employees. We aim to enhance employee satisfaction not just with family-friendly provisions but with various training programmes on health and sustainability topics or corruption prevention. Sustainability activities have proven to be a particularly strong connecting link between the company and the workforce.
As a result, we have succeeded in ensuring a high degree of continuity in our workforce: more than a quarter of our employees have been with burgbad for more than 25 years. However, we too are concerned about the declining numbers of young staff; in the increasingly dynamic, digital world of work, youngsters are vital to ensuring a mixed age structure that preserves existing knowledge while simultaneously adding new skills. “When it comes to promoting young talent, we have to continue making every possible effort in order to achieve our goals,” explains Dr Susanne Steinhauer, burgbad’s head of sustainability management.
In 2020, we became Germany’s first bathroom furniture manufacturer to certify all its product lines with the new “Furniture made in Germany” label of origin. Our suppliers mainly come from Germany and France, as well as other European countries. Before the end of the year, we aim to explore whether there is any further potential for expanding regional supply structures.
After preparing our first sustainability reports based on declarations of conformity with the German Sustainability Code (DNK), our latest report is based on an international approach in accordance with the more comprehensive standards of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). The goal is to ensure maximum transparency – also with regard to our French subsidiary and Turkish parent company. We are thus already preparing the ground for the EU reporting standard that is expected to take effect from 2024.
In light of the widespread climate debate, the sustainability report shows that we are heading in the right direction to position ourselves as a sustainable bathroom furniture producer. “Sustainability and the circular economy are issues that we have to tackle – not just as a company, but as an industry,” says Stefan Sallandt, CEO of burgbad AG. “If we want to make a meaningful contribution to climate protection and species diversity, credibility and the transparency provided by international standards are crucial.”
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