Companies that want to be successful in the long term need to act responsibly towards future generations. At KSB, we always abide by this principle in our business activities. As a manufacturing company, we attach particular importance to protecting people and the environment. We are also committed to social issues.
In our business activities, we are guided not just by economic but also by ecological and social criteria. In 2010, for instance, we signed the United Nations Global Compact committing ourselves to align our business practices with ten universal principles in the areas of human rights, labour, the environment and combating corruption.
More than 13,000 companies and organisations have now joined this UN initiative, including many of our customers and business partners. We expect our suppliers to commit to the ten principles of the Global Compact and comply with its rules, just as we do.
In our business relationships, we consider proper conduct on the part of our employees to be very important. We regularly hold trainings to support them in performing their duties in compliance with regulations and the law. In 2015, we complemented our guidelines and directives with a business partner risk analysis valid throughout the Group. It applies to any services provided by a third party for or on behalf of KSB, such as sales representatives, consultants, suppliers and subcontractors. The analysis allows identifying certain risks before business relationships are initiated.
KSB has traditionally linked economic success with working for the common good, which also encompasses providing financial assistance to socially motivated organisations. In order to bundle our activities and achieve high transparency, we overhauled our Donations Directive in the year under review. This directive sets out binding rules on the purposes and conditions of our financial and non-financial commitments.
We aim to contribute to positive social development through our philanthropic involvement. A key focus of our social activities is education.
To remain competitive, innovative companies need highly qualified specialist staff both now and in the future. That is why we are particularly keen to promote the scientific and technological education of young people. For example, KSB is involved in an educational initiative as a founding member of “Wissensfabrik – Unternehmen für Deutschland e.V.” [Knowledge Factory – Companies for Germany]. Since 2005, we have agreed 22 educational partnerships with kindergartens and schools. The aim is to enthuse children for science and technology at an early age. We provide learning materials for experiments and practical work, and train teachers in how to use them. Moreover, we support a story-telling project to foster early language development.
KSB also has intensive contact to universities. Young scientists visit our site to gain an insight into what it is like to work in a mechanical engineering company. Students can do their final-year theses at our company or work as interns or student trainees.
For the third time, KSB organised the regional section of the “Schüler experimentieren – Jugend forscht” [Pupils do experiments – young people do research] contest, the largest European event of this kind, at the Group headquarters in Frankenthal. In the region of Upper Franconia, we once again backed this competition as a cooperation partner.
In India, we have equipped a school with a science laboratory. We are also supporting a further education project for women from rural areas, so that they are better equipped to earn a living.
The arrival of around a million migrants in 2015 has created great challenges for Germany. These people can only be integrated if they learn the language of their host country quickly. Good German skills help even the youngest of migrants to settle into their new environment. This key topic was thus at the focus of our Christmas charity campaign. At our three largest production sites, we donated € 40,000 to various organisations and projects that aid refugee children. The donations support language courses and sports sponsorship, so that young people can quickly fit into German society.
We are particularly proud of our trainees’ contribution. At our site in Halle, KSB’s youngest generation put together welcome parcels to meet the basic needs of refugees on their arrival in the country.
In India, we are supporting ten projects close to our sites. We donated vehicles to a charity that offers medical care, education and rehabilitation to maltreated women and their children. These will facilitate transport to hospitals, for example. We equipped a centre for handicapped children with a classroom that meets their needs. In a rural village, we built toilet facilities to improve the hygiene conditions. Every year, we pay for the upkeep of children in several welfare institutions.
Our employees are involved in social welfare projects worldwide. For example, staff in Malaysia collected clothes, games, toys and books for needy inhabitants of a remote village. KSB employees in Singapore were joined by a number of disabled children to spend a public holiday together. In the UK, KSB donated the proceeds from the recycling of IT equipment and mobile telephones to a children’s charity.
Our staff in Australia are involved in a very special project. They regularly prepare free meals on a voluntary basis for the “brekkie van” to deliver to homeless and socially underprivileged people. Several local companies contribute to this charitable project.
As a socially responsible company, we attach importance to our staff’s health and safety. Hence, we take measures to prevent accidents and health problems. To minimise risks, we systematically focus on prevention. In 2015, we introduced an e-learning course in Germany about occupational health and safety in the office. More than 1,700 participants learned about the potential risks and what to do in an emergency. They were also informed about protective and preventive measures, for example, to prevent fires.
To guarantee the safety of our industrial employees, we regularly hold training courses. Our aim is to prevent accidents related to work processes. In manufacturing companies, potentially hazardous chemicals are used from time to time. In such cases, our goal is to avoid any accidents before they happen. In Brazil, we put together a team of experts to reduce the dangers of dealing with flammable products and materials in the manufacturing process.
KSB attaches great importance to effective health management, as only physically and mentally fit staff can do their best for our customers. In addition to measures for the prevention of occupational injuries and diseases, we organised information events again in 2015 as part of our company health management, for example on early detection of diabetes, as well as preventive check-ups in Germany. Employees over the age of 50 had the option of a thorough medical examination. For instance, the physician assessed their risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and advised them on how to reduce this risk. To detect skin cancer in good time, a specialist carried out 240 dermatological checks at three sites. We aim to repeat this skin screening programme in 2016 due to the high demand. Additionally, some 400 employees took advantage of the offer of flu immunisation. Around 150 KSB computer users are taking part in a computer-based health programme for office workplaces. Participants briefly interrupt their work several times a day to do various exercises for their backs and eyes.
In Austria, staff are regularly surveyed. The standardised questionnaires used make it possible to detect risks to physical and mental health. Measures are then adopted to prevent long-term illnesses such as burnout syndrome.
One of our US companies carried out an ergonomic analysis of all workplaces in 2015. The aim was to identify and prevent injuries due to poor posture.
All our production processes are designed to be as environmentally friendly as possible. Thus, we are continually cutting back on our use of raw materials and energy. In the year under review, we carried out energy audits at all larger European sites in order to identify energy savings potential even better than before. The findings of these analyses showed how our energy consumption could be reduced by means of appropriate modernisation measures and a change in user behaviour.
At our site in Pegnitz, we modernised the heating station in 2015 and, at the same time, installed a combined heat and power unit. As a result, we can save some of the energy previously used for heating and produce some of the electricity needed in our plant ourselves. We can thus reduce our electricity purchases by around 2.4 million kilowatt hours every year.
To lower the energy consumed by our sites worldwide we are relying on high-efficiency lighting. For example, in the year under review, we replaced conventional lights in Argentina, India, South Korea and the United States with more energy-efficient models. Additionally, we installed sensor-controlled lighting.
Our employees work together closely across the company and therefore frequently have to discuss matters in meetings. Wherever possible, we avoid business trips and use our international video conferencing network instead. We are continually developing this network so that we can communicate in an environmentally friendly manner. In 2015, we set up seven new video conferencing rooms, which means that we now have 67 facilities of this kind in 23 countries. In addition, 140 employees use an individual video system on their computers. Around 15,000 on-screen conferences were held at KSB in the reporting year.
Globally, we are counting on binding certification to create uniform environmental standards. In 2015, we obtained accreditation in accordance with the internationally recognised ISO 14001 standard at our sites in Germany, Spain and the United Arab Emirates.
Manufacturing companies create waste. In order to minimise the resulting impact on the environment, we try to keep our use of hazardous substances as low as possible. Moreover, we are working towards recycling all materials we use and producing little or even no waste at all. In Spain, we started a project in 2015 to reduce the use of solvents by 15 percent per year by 2018.
When modernising plants, we ensure that we use state-of-the-art environmental technologies. The same applies when we replace machinery and equipment: we opt for more energy-efficient substitutes.