Every opinion counts – employees sharpen sustainability goals

If an issue affects everyone, everyone should also be able to weigh in. At the "Sustainability Breakfast 2020+", employees in Brazil, China and Germany contributed significantly to the definition of strategy up to 2025.

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Workshops in Brazil, China and Germany

Sustainability is one of the key issues of our time. For many of our employees, the issue plays a role not only as part of their work, but is also a private focus – be it in conversations with friends and family or questioning their own behaviour patterns. Kärcher wanted to give these interested employees a voice in the development of the new sustainability targets and the opportunity to let their ideas and values directly feed into the definition of the future fields of action of the company.

During the conception phase of the new sustainability targets, workshops took place in 2019 at three key Kärcher production sites – Vinhedo in Brazil, Changshu in China and Winnenden in Germany. A total of 130 employees took part in the "Sustainability Breakfast 2020+" event series. Germany kicked things off with 75 participants.

Employees from all specialist fields could apply for the workshops in the three countries. Altogether, over 400 ideas were collected. One of the most important issues in all branches was the use of sustainable material for products and production.

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Focus on climate-friendly production, sustainable products and social issues

From a holistic point of view, this included for the employees not only the composition of the material integrated into the machines itself, but also its durability in the finished product and generally economical use of raw materials in machines and packaging. These stipulations can be found in the sustainability strategy defined for 2025, including in the goals of optimising our packaging and increasing the amount of recycled plastic in our products.

The desire for a sustainable supply chain is taken into account in the "Social Hero" initiative. The goal of orienting future social commitments worldwide towards the issue of value preservation is also part of the initiative – no matter whether in large-scale cooperation with international organisations like the Global Nature Fund or sponsoring of individual associations. Above all, the employees emphasised in the workshops the desire to advocate educational and local initiatives.

 

2025 sustainability targets

In addition to the results of the employee workshops, the results of a representative customer survey in the USA, Germany, France, Brazil and Japan fed into the definition of the new sustainability strategy. Just as key a guide for the new strategy were the sustainable development goals of the United Nations (SDGs). The Kärcher sustainability goals are amalgamated into three initiatives: "Zero Emissions", "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" and "Social Hero".

CSR Breakfast Vinhedo Brazil

Vinhedo, Brazil

CSR Breakfast Changshu China

Changshu, China

CSR Breakfast Winnenden Germany

Winnenden, Germany