Responsibility for the Supply Chain and Products
Our planet’s resources are finite. At Kärcher, we make every effort to preserve them and we make sure that our suppliers do the same. We regularly check our suppliers’ quality, environmental and safety standards. The target: to recycle as much as possible with our innovative cleaning solutions, to avoid potentially hazardous substances as far as possible, to eliminate child labor and unfair wages, and thus to convince even the critical consumers.
Cleaning on Demand: Efficient, economical, sustainable
In future, Kärcher Cleaning on Demand will be added to our Fleet and Manage fleet and facility management systems within the framework of Connected Cleaning. The advantage is that the platform enables building service providers to work more efficiently and provide more transparent evidence of the services they rendered. Needs-based cleaning is intended to systematically avoid spending unnecessary time and money on cleaning and to demonstrate where a need for cleaning exists – including when staff change and for new properties. The advantage is apparent, especially for large properties where the visitor frequency cannot be estimated, for example at airports, office buildings or department stores. Pilot projects showed that both the work time and the time that cleaning devices are switched on for is reduced by about ten per cent.
This also offers various potential savings when it comes to sustainability: one critical aspect is resources such as water, electricity and cleaning agents. But the requirement for all consumables such as suction lips, brushes and pads for the machinery and the machines themselves is also significantly reduced depending on the situation. One example is that, assuming that the work time is reduced by just one per cent, Cleaning on Demand makes it possible to save 194,000 kWh of electricity, 4,576,000 litres of water and 46,000 litres of cleaning agent with an average office space. This is how needs-based cleaning combines economic aspects and sustainability in a ground-breaking way.
Our Engagement for Supply Chain and Products
Environmentally friendly products
At Kärcher, more than 950 employees work in research and development, continuously making processes and products even more efficient so that our customers can clean while saving as much energy as possible and conserving resources. This resulted in our eco!efficiency product range for professional users. And our products for private users also impress with their energy efficiency thanks to their economical electricity and water consumption, among other factors.
Certified factories around the world
Thanks to our integrated management system for quality, environmental protection and energy efficiency, we can ensure that we are continuously improving our processes and therefore also our performance. Our factories in the USA, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, Italy and China are certified in accordance with the ISO 14001 environmental management standard and the ISO 9001 quality management standard, factories in Germany, Romania and Italy are additionally certified in accordance with the ISO 50001 energy management standard.
Plastic – quality and recycling
We are partially replacing steel in our cleaning devices with high-quality polypropylene plastic. We use a particularly high-quality recycled polyamide based on Technyl® 4earth® technology for producing spray lances in pressure washers. Plastic components which we produce in-house and those which we purchase from external suppliers are regularly inspected to establish whether they contain any harmful substances. In addition, a process we developed can be used to take reject parts out of plastic production and transfer them for reuse in our own production process.
Good packaging has to perform well. Packaging materials also have to meet important requirements in terms of sustainability. The goals we set ourself therefore include ensuring that, by 2020, the new materials for our paper-based sales packaging come exclusively from sustainable forestry. On average, our packaging already has a recycled paper content of over 80 per cent at present. 95 per cent of our packaging is paper-based. All packaging is fully recyclable.
High standards for suppliers
Anyone wanting to be a supplier for Kärcher has to fulfil strict criteria. We regularly perform internal audits and company visits, particularly for our suppliers of production material. We also oblige our suppliers to adhere to our compliance rules by signing our code of conduct. A standardised system platform is used for supplier management. This makes processes more transparent, reduces costs and makes the relationship with the supplier more sustainable.
Environmentally friendly buildings
We apply high environmental standards when constructing new buildings at our sites: a woodchip heating system burns the company's waste wood from pallets in a CO2-neutral manner on Kärcher's new site in Winnenden. Electricity for the air-conditioning system is generated by a photovoltaic system on the roof of the new office building. This is having a major impact: by using renewable energies and extensive insulating measures, the buildings are 20 per cent below the limit values defined in the German Energy Saving Ordinance.