We take responsibility
The concept of sustainability has been deeply embedded in family-owned company Kärcher since it was founded more than 80 years ago. This is why today, as in the past, we would like to accept responsibility for the environment, our products, the supply chain, the company, society and our staff. With the "Sustainability Excellence" sustainability programme, we have set ourselves the target of driving forward all the fields of action in our sustainability strategy by 2020.
Sustainable – right from the outset
Thinking and acting with sustainability in mind has a long tradition at Kärcher: for Alfred Kärcher himself, the well-being of his employees and environmental protection were matters that were close to his heart. In 1939, when the incipient company relocated to Winnenden, Alfred Kärcher produced his own wastewater treatment system on company premises. In 1940, he founded the Alfred Kärcher foundation for employees in need, which produced toys to give employees' children as Christmas presents from 1943 to 1948. This was followed by many other milestones.
Even more than 80 years after the founding of the company, the concept of sustainability is still deeply embedded in the business. We have set ourself a clear objective for our sustainability management: we want to become the benchmark in the cleaning market in terms of sustainability with the highest customer awareness and customer satisfaction. To actually be able to implement this vision by 2020, the Kärcher Group has set strategic sustainability targets. Building on the results of a stakeholder survey, in 2014 the "Sustainability Excellence" sustainability programme was approved for the following years. It comprises 14 overarching targets for the entire Group, which are split into 6 fields of action and are geared towards principles of the UN Global Compact, which we signed in 2011.
Action Areas of our Sustainability Strategy
Responsibility for the environmentReduction of carbon dioxide emissions and fresh water consumption
Responsibility for the productsIncreasing the energy efficiency of the product portfolio; Use of ecological materials und increasing the proportion of bioplastics and recycled plastics; Expansion of sustainable product innovations
Responsibility for the supply chainEnsuring compliance with environmental and social standards in the supply chain; Implementation of sustainability audits of dealers and suppliers
Responsibility for the companyImprovement of the global compliance management, e.g. introduction of a global product compliance cockpit and introduction of global software for environmental management; Development of global sustainability communications, e.g. ascertaining the worldwide sustainability impact
Corporate social responsibilityInternationalisation of social, environmental and cultural sponsoring, e. g. increasing international environmental and social sponsoring projects
Awards, Initiatives and Cooperations
German Sustainability Award Top 3 (2020)In November 2019, the jury of the German Sustainability Award 2020 voted us among the three most sustainable large companies in Germany for our many years of commitment to sustainability.
Corporate Culture Award (2018)In 2018, we won the Corporate Culture Award in the "Best Story" category for our corporate culture. The award is presented to companies who impress with their outstanding cultural work and the corporate culture they successfully bring to life.
Certificate "audit berufundfamilie" (2018)
Since 2013, Kärcher is certified by the "audit berufundfamilie" (audit profession and family). The certificate is given to companies who show an honest effort in developing family-friendly workplace measures.
German CSR Award (2014)
Kärcher received the coveted award in the category "Cultural commitment as an expression of corporate social responsibility" for the restorative cleaning work carried out on the listed Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in Berlin.
ARBEIT Plus seal of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) (2013)
Kärcher was granted the ARBEIT Plus seal (work plus seal) for the outstanding performance in the area of human resources.
Federal prize for eco-design for the T 12/1 eco!efficiency dry vacuum cleaner (2012)
As an innovative product in the area of environmentally-friendly design, our T 12/1 eco!efficiency dry vacuum cleaner was awarded the Federal ecodesign prize.
Environmental technology prize of the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg (2011)
For the K 4.00 EcoSilent, the world's quietest high-pressure cleaner, Kärcher received the environmental technology award of the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg in the category "Emissions reduction, processing and separation".
Partner of the "Blue Competence" sustainability initiative
The aim of the initiative launched by the German Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA) is to promote sustainability in the construction of machines and plants. We have also been a member of the VDMA "Corporate Responsibility" working group since 2018.
Signing of the Paris Pledge for Action
At the start of 2016, we signed the Paris Pledge for Action alongside several hundred other companies. By doing so, we are committing to global climate protection with the aim of limiting global warming to below 2 °C.
Cooperation partner of SOS Children's VillagesAs a cooperation partner, we have been supporting SOS Children's Villages facilities from China to Peru with cleaning technology, expertise and also financial aid since 2011.
Cooperation partner of NABUThe German Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) is committed to specific objectives relating to conservation in Germany and abroad, such as the protection of rivers, seas, forests or individual species.
Cooperation partner of "Europa Minigärtner"The "Europa Minigärtner" (Europe's Mini-Gardeners) initiative helps to increase the awareness of young people aged between 9 and 11 of the nature that can be found in gardens and topics and activities associated with gardening.
Cooperation partner of "Clowns mit Herz" Rems-Murr"Clowns mit Herz" (Clowns with a Heart) Rems-Murr visit people suffering from illness and people in need of care in children's homes, retirement homes and care homes in the Rems-Murr region, with the aim of promoting their recovery and mental well-being. As one of the founding members, we have been supporting the voluntary association since 2014.
Cooperation partner of the SamariterstiftungAs a charitable foundation, the Samariterstiftung (Samaritan Foundation) runs 60 homes and facilities for the elderly, people with disabilities and for social psychiatry care.
Cooperation partner of the Internationale Bachakademie StuttgartThe foundation organises series of concerts and workshops in Germany and abroad. With its ensembles, the Gächinger Kantorei and Bach-Collegium Stuttgart, it has become an internationally recognised byword for high-quality musical productions and for communicating music.