At GEA, sustainability and value creation are inextricably intertwined. They serve as our guideline for entrepreneurial decisions and the further advancement of the group. GEA’s understanding of sustainability implies that we assume responsibility for the way we handle our business and its economic, ecological and social implications while ensuring transparency of reporting in this field. Against this backdrop, we critically review our own activities in relation to relevant sustainability issues such as the protection of resources, human rights and the fight against corruption.
GEA’s solutions are characterized by megatrends such as continued population growth, rising urbanization and progressing climate: In the future, more and more people will require an adequate supply of food, energy or pharmaceutical products – always on the premise that resources are being conserved. As an internationally active technology group, which is one of the world's largest suppliers of process technology in food production, GEA deals with these macroeconomic trends. GEA is convinced that only industrial process technology can meet the safety, quality and shelf life requirements of critical consumers.
Its corporate claim GEA encapsulates the central promise of "engineering for a better world". In this way, GEA sets itself the goal of designing value-added processes in a responsible manner and contributing to the sustainable management and protection of natural resources with increasingly efficient products and process solutions for customers. This claim is reflected in the mission statement "Sustainable value creation".
As a listed company, GEA has a particular obligation to its investors. Our focus is on sustainable growth, operational efficiency and liquidity management.
Future-proof structures are essential for the sustainable success of a global company allowing the latter to harness its full potential for growth. Within the framework of the OneGEA group structure, GEA leverages operational synergies across technologies and applications while promoting functional performance on the basis of standardized processes. On a regular basis, our reports will provide information on our progress as well as the adjustments made in this context.
Innovation, research and development are matters of key importance for our corporate management and our stakeholders. They form the bedrock of sustainable value creation at GEA. This is why, going forward, we will publish selected key performance indicators in relation to innovation management. Furthermore, we are actively exploring possibilities of presenting an overall account of the way our products and solutions impact sustainable development.
GEA has pledged to respect inalienable human rights, equal opportunities and non-discrimination, freedom of association for workers, the prohibition of child labor and forced labor, as well as fair wages and working conditions. In 2007, this commitment was enshrined in our principles of social responsibility (“Codes of Conduct“) that have been applicable to all employees worldwide ever since.
Only when fundamental compliance standards, occupational health and safety rules as well as environmental protection are complied with along the entire supply and value chain can we instill the necessary trust in a business relationship. For this reason, GEA operates a zero-tolerance policy towards unethical behavior in commercial practice, in particular with respect to bribery, corruption or forced labor, and expects its suppliers to follow suit. A comprehensive compliance management system with a focus on prevention guides all our actions.
GEA seeks to further enhance the management and, first and foremost, the monitoring of social responsibility and compliance. Supply chain audits are to be ramped up. In parallel, we will expand our reporting in this area. On top of that, we are actively participating in relevant CSR-/ESG ratings.
From the fiscal year 2017 onwards, GEA’s sustainability reporting will be audited by the respective independent auditor.
GEA is striving to be an attractive employer, which is why we rely on an open dialogue between the management and our workforce. For this purpose, GEA engages in an annual performance appraisal and development dialogue with its employees. Moreover, we regularly conduct employee engagement surveys whose findings are taken into account in the further development of the company. We firmly believe that solid initial and advanced training as well as lifelong learning form part and parcel of a fulfilling working life. GEA explicitly supports a better work-life balance facilitating greater compatibility between work and the family.
GEA undertakes to meet all requirements under the Remuneration Transparency Act (“Entgelttransparenzgesetz”) in a timely manner.
Employer-employee relations at GEA are based on parity codetermination within the company. GEA has committed itself to respect human rights as well as the universally recognized core labor standards set by the International Labor Organization (ILO). Furthermore, GEA is in full compliance with the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Companies. In this context, our whistleblower system ensures worldwide adherence to the principles of social responsibility and existing compliance rules.
Our reporting seeks to provide more transparency on topics relevant to our employees.
GEA’s corporate culture is characterized by responsible behavior: We face up to the impact of our business activities on the value chain. For this reason, we foster close ties with our stakeholders, seeking to continuously enhance this relationship. Against this backdrop, we conduct regular and systematic satisfaction surveys amongst our key stakeholders, namely our customers. The findings and results of these surveys are incorporated into our improvement processes.
Moreover, health and safety at work are GEA’s number one priority as healthy employees are essential for productivity and quality. Our objective is for all parties involved to assume responsibility and jointly create a working environment that makes sure that our employees are and remain healthy while precluding work-related illness and workplace injury whenever possible. We also expect our contract partners and subcontractors to guarantee such working conditions.
By adopting the “Quality, Health, Safety and Environment (QHSE) Policy“, the Executive Board of GEA Group Aktiengesellschaft has committed itself to clearly defined quality, occupational health & safety as well as environmental guidelines: GEA undertakes to conduct all business activities in accordance with the values and ethical principles set forth in both our Global Business Conduct Policy and the Codes of Conduct.
GEA will continue its efforts to further step up health and safety at work while more strongly encouraging accident-avoiding behavior: We will be proactive in further developing our action in the fields of health and safety at work and the environment.
In the fiscal year 2017, we started to define measurable QHSE targets that will also be publicly released. We have implemented adequate energy and environmental management systems that befit the type and amount of energy required and used while meeting the requirements of sustainable corporate management. Apart from that, GEA’s procurement policy takes heed of energy-related and sustainable selection criteria.
Our ambition is to regularly participate in the annual Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) survey to provide investors and customers with a comparable assessment of our carbon footprint on the basis of the uniform global CDP methodology.
GEA’s social engagement – for instance by means of sponsoring activities – mainly focuses on projects associated with our technology portfolio in the immediate vicinity of the respective GEA sites involved and on the field of innovation.
The principle of diversity is a strategic success factor and innovation driver for GEA. To remain competitive in a challenging international market environment, GEA relies on a constructive, open culture of communication that extends beyond corporate divisions and hierarchical levels across borders, cultures and gender lines. This way, our innovation management system encourages our workforce to actively engage in the transfer of knowledge. These efforts are supported by flat hierarchies as well as advanced information and communication systems and reflected in our succession planning and international development programs. Thus, we effectively enhance our capability of safely identifying high potentials and talents covering a variety of different functions, origins and genders.
Like other MINT enterprises (MINT = mathematics, informatics, natural sciences and technology), GEA is faced with the challenge of increasing the proportion of female senior executives. We seek to attract more women to join GEA. For this purpose, GEA has, inter alia, launched a development program for female talents and will continue to reinforce these endeavors in the future.