Sustainability Framework 2025: Progress
GF has the vision to become a sustainability and innovation leader providing superior customer value. The company believes sustainability is not a stand-alone topic, but an essential core value of its strategy and its business. Therefore, GF’s Strategy 2025 includes a set of ambitious sustainability targets.
Progress in 2021
In 2021, the first year of implementation, GF made good progress against most of its targets. The following tables provide an overview of where GF stands with regard to its targets and what has been achieved in 2021.
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Progress in 2021
70% of sales with social or environmental benefits
GF generated 60% of its sales from products, systems or solutions that deliver social or environmental benefits.
All three divisions continuously carry out measures and projects to increase the share of products, systems and solutions with social or environmental benefits. In 2021, each division implemented a sustainability assessment tool that they will apply to all future innovation processes. The tool ensures every innovation meets GF’s sustainability criteria.
Progress in 2021
Reduce absolute CO2e footprint by 21% (Scope 1 and 2 emissions)
GF reduced its scope 1 and 2 emissions by 17 % compared to the 2019 baseline.
In 2021, GF aligned this goal for scope 1 and 2 with the Paris Agreement’s aim to limit global warming to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels (Science-based target). The most significant improvements stem from GF’s switch to renewable electricity. In 2021, 24% of GF’s total energy used was renewable (2020: 17%). GF’s corporate sustainability team, working closely with its divisions and facilities, developed a detailed roadmap to achieve this target.
Reduce water intensity by 20% in high stress areas
GF’s water intensity in high-stress areas increased by 2% compared to the baseline.
This slight increase is mainly due to a major leakage at a GF Casting Solutions site, resulting in water consumption outpacing production volume. The site fixed the leakage in the last quarter of 2021 but could not compensate the increase in consumption. Nevertheless, sites in water-stressed areas implemented various new measures to reduce their water usage in 2021
Reduce by 20% intensity of waste sent to landfill or incineration
GF reduced the intensity of waste sent to landfill or incineration by 9% compared to the 2018-2020 average.
During the reporting year, GF recycled 71% of its waste. A major contributor to achieving this target in 2021 was a recycling project at one site of GF Piping Systems.
To further improve the way GF designs, repairs and re-manufactures its products, the company launched a circular economy project with a series of workshops that has led to the definition of new pilot programs.
Perform sustainability assessments for 80% of procurement spend
GF assessed 34% of its procurement spend in 2021, which is in line with achieving its five-year goal.
To conduct these sustainability assessments, GF has partnered with the rating agency EcoVadis. The company also accepts similar ratings and proprietary sustainability risk screenings. In 2021, GF's responsible procurement team conducted an initial pilot phase to familiarize itself with the assessment process. At the end of 2021, GF had conducted sustainability assessments on 34% of its procurement spend, equal to approximately 300 new and existing key suppliers.
Progress in 2021
Diversity and inclusion
25% of newly appointed managers are women
30% of newly appointed managers were women, meaning GF exceeded its target.
To raise awareness about the strengths of diversity and promote its broader adoption, GF launched two new training programs in 2021: the “women in leadership” program, which includes coaching sessions for women, and a training program on unconscious bias for people involved in recruiting processes. All three divisions achieved significant progress, with GF Machining Solutions’ sites in Switzerland making the largest contributions.
At least 80% recommend GF as an employer of choice
Employee engagement is measured by a survey conducted every two years.
As the next global employee survey covering all three divisions is planned for 2022, no statement can be made about employee engagement in 2021.
In 2021, GF began implementing its new corporate values based on performance and learning. The company is continually striving to foster an inclusive work environment where employees’ skills are valued, where their opinions can be voiced and acknowledged and where they have opportunities to develop both professionally and personally.
Health and safety
Reduce accident rate by 30%
GF’s accident rate increased to 10.2% in 2021. The increase is mainly due to short-time work and the temporary pandemic-related closures of some sites in the first half of 2020.
This resulted in a lower number of accidents in 2020. In addition, after returning to their workplaces, some employees were less sensitized to the risks related to their daily work.
In 2021, GF re-launched its cross-divisional Zero Risk campaign under the new motto “Be Aware – Be Safe”. Based on this new concept, the campaign raises awareness about unsafe situations, implements new safety procedures and exchanges global best practices.
The Sustainability Framework 2025 in a nutshell
The Sustainability Framework 2025 consists of three focus areas: Product Portfolio, Climate & Resources, and People & Well-being. A clear long-term ambition was set for each:
- GF’s product portfolio will focus on innovating products and solutions for a sustainable lifecycle.
- GF will work to decouple resource consumption from growth in its operations and supply chain, thereby minimizing its environmental footprint.
- GF will foster a diverse, engaging, and safe workplace and strive to be the best employer it can be.
To realize these ambitions, the framework is supported by eight concrete goals with corresponding quantitative targets.
What the three focus areas of the Sustainability Framework 2025 mean in detail
GF’s product portfolio
GF defined a goal to propel its ambition of providing customers with products and solutions with a social or environmental benefit
- Generate 70% of GF’s sales from products, systems or solutions that have social or environmental benefits.
GF’s ambition is to provide its customers with products, systems and solutions that are sustainable throughout the products’ lifecycle.
GF’s portfolio is therefore to be characterized by a larger proportion of products that offer social or environmental benefits for customers and/or end-consumers. GF is committed to increasing the share products and solutions to at least 70% by 2025.
The company’s three divisions serve distinct business markets. As a result, different criteria were defined for their respective product portfolios’ social and environmental benefits.
- GF Piping Systems: small carbon footprint, higher energy efficiency, reduced water losses, a long lifespan, lightweight handling, no substances of very high concern, and life cycle assessments (LCAs) with proven benefits.
- GF Casting Solutions: lightweight design, the right materials, and the process used to manufacture components for alternative drives.
- GF Machining Solutions: reduced energy consumption of machines, resource efficiency along a machine’s lifecycle, and skills transfer to the operator.
GF’s impact on the climate and resources
GF’s operations and value chain consume resources and impact the climate. Going forward, GF is committed to reducing these impacts by progressively decoupling consumption from growth.
In the years ahead, GF aims for its production sites to optimize their consumption of energy and water and to reduce waste. It also wants to use its influence to reduce the carbon footprint of its supply chain.
This ambition is articulated in four specific goals:
- GF aims to reduce its GHG emissions in absolute terms by 21% (scope 1 and 2 emissions) 8, 9 by 2025. GF’s scope 1 emissions mainly consist of natural gas, fuel oil, and, to a lesser extent, fuel used for internal transportation needs. GF’s scope 2 emissions consist of its electricity consumption.
- Although GF’s operations are generally not water-intensive, the project team identified 15 GF production sites that consume water located in water-scarce areas. GF’s target for these sites is to reduce their water intensity by 20% by 2025.10, 11
- GF’s waste is almost entirely non-hazardous. Nevertheless, the company wants to reduce the amount of waste incinerated and sent to landfill. It therefore aims to reduce the intensity of waste (hazardous and non-hazardous) sent to landfill or incineration by 20% by 2025.12
- GF is committed to extending its sustainability standards to its suppliers. Its goal is to conduct a comprehensive sustainability assessment of around 1’000 suppliers, which together account for around 80% of its procurement spend. To achieve this five-year goal, GF aims to assess at least 16% of its procurement spend annually.
GF’s people and their well-being
GF’s ambition is to cultivate a diverse, engaging and safe workplace for its people. To realize this ambition, GF set three goals for 2025 for diversity and inclusion, employee engagement, as well as a safe and healthy working environment:
- Diversity and inclusion: GF has set the target that, by 2025, 25% of newly appointed managers are women, while also addressing the broader aspects of diversity and inclusion worldwide.
- Employee engagement: at least 80% of employees would recommend GF as an employer of choice. The assessment will be based on a survey conducted every two years in all three divisions.
- Health and safety: GF aims to reduce the accident rate by at least 30% relative to the previous three-year average (i.e., 2018–2020). GF has consistently improved the safety conditions for its employees and contractors and wants to continue its Zero Risk campaign.
Contribution to GF’s customers, employees, and the community
GF’s ambitions for the three focus areas and the eight defined goals are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This helps ensure that the company meets the needs of its customers and employees, as well as those of the broader community in which it operates. GF’s sustainability goals contribute to 11 of the 17 SDGs and support the global agenda for 2030 as defined by the United Nations and supported by individual governments.
Background information: Developing the Sustainability Framework 2025
The Sustainability Framework 2025, which is fully integrated into GF’s Strategy 2025, was developed in three phases in 2020.
- Definition of focus areas and ambitions: In the first step, GF’s material topics were ranked according to their relevance to sustainable development. For this purpose, GF interviewed key internal and external stakeholders13 and conducted a qualitative impact analysis along its value chain. Then, a workshop with key representatives from all relevant internal departments identified three distinct focus areas and proposed an ambition for each. This overview was discussed with and approved by the Executive Committee.
- Definition of targets: GF’s three divisions assessed the three focus areas in detail to factor in the specifics of their individual businesses. The findings and proposals were then jointly discussed and finalized in a series of workshops to ensure GF set practical yet ambitious five-year targets.
- Approval: The three divisional presidents presented to the Executive Committee for approval how they intended to realize the proposed framework in the context of their respective operations and markets. Finally, the Board of Directors approved the Sustainability Framework 2025.
GF monitors the fulfillment of criteria in the Sustainability Framework 2025 on a monthly basis against a fixed set of KPIs. The effectiveness of the measures conducted in accordance with the Sustainability Framework 2025 was first evaluated on a group-wide level at the end of 2021.