“Sustainability is an important source of inspiration for us in product development”
He is responsible for the international business and sustainability policy of the Hansgrohe Group: Chairman of the Executive Board Siegfried Gänßlen. Here he talks about the ambitious goals of “his” Green Company.
What priorities does the Hansgrohe Group currently have in the sustainable development of the company?
Siegfried Gänßlen: The focus of our activities is to convert the issue of sustainability into the operational business. This particularly includes the consistent further development of our organisational structure. We have set up a steering committee with working groups concentrating on all relevant issues of sustainability, and have thus started to establish an integrated management system for the environment, occupational safety and quality management throughout the entire Group.
What are the most important findings of the current activities?
S.G.: At the top of our agenda is climate protection. We are committed to lowering our CO2 emissions by 20% by 2013. In addition, we are constantly bringing out new, innovative products, which are setting standards in terms of resource conservation and environmental protection. With regard to sustainable future developments, sustainability is an important source of inspiration for us.
What difference does that make in concrete terms?
S.G.: We have replaced phthalate-containing plasticizers in shower hoses, for example, with environmentally-friendly substances. Not an easy task for product development and production, but it is rewarding, because we hope that this will give us an advantage in the market. Another example is that we are preparing specifically for demographic change and tackling issues such as employability in a targeted way.
What appeals to you most about this development?
S.G.: What inspires me about our process towards becoming a Green Company are the many ideas we get from the employees. We get proposals for optimising an energy-saving aspect in the workplace just the same as we do for a new product.
What do the plans for the next few years look like?
S.G.: We want to further expand our subject leadership in sustainable water resource management using a wide range of initiatives. The fact that the Hansgrohe Group is involved in the resource and climate protection flagship project “Masdar City” in Abu Dhabi shows that we are right at the forefront in this area. However, for us this is also an obligation to prepare other innovations. Important focal points of our commitment will be occupational safety and employability. Moreover, we would like to convey the added value that the combination of quality and responsibility has to our customers even more effectively. Our attention will be focused on further improving transparency throughout our entire supply and value chain.