Corporate social responsibility

  • Membership in the UN Global Compact
  • Resource-saving production processes
  • Products with greater energy efficiency

As an employer, consumer, supplier and neighbour, KSB also has a responsibility to society. This includes using sustainable business practices that take environmental and employee-related issues into consideration as well as a long-term social commitment. We arrange our own activities and make donations to promote measures that are important to society as well as to alleviate hardship. Our sustainability principles are an integral part of our corporate policy and benchmarks that guide our actions. They apply at all locations and for all companies within the KSB Group.

In April 2010, KSB signed the UN Global Compact*, an initiative of the United Nations. This initiative aims to give globalisation a more social and also more ecological form. Upon joining, we committed ourselves to implementing the initiative’s ten principles in the areas of human rights, labour standards, environmental protection and anti-corruption within our company. We aspire to improve continuously and take practical measures to substantiate this. Likewise, we also demand that our business partners uphold these principles. We take the same approach in applying the core conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO**).

Environmentally-friendly work and production

At KSB, environmental protection begins at the point when we design our production processes and look at their impact on material and energy consumption. At all of our plants we strive to produce our pumps, valves and related systems in a manner that is as energy-efficient as it is environmentally friendly. With this in mind we regularly review our environmental protection measures and improve continuously. One aspect of conserving our natural resources is to correctly separate waste materials and recycle raw materials. We got several such projects off the ground in 2010.

We try to guarantee that water is used sparingly by using it multiple times wherever possible. In Lille, France, we launched a model project to harvest rainwater. A conduit system transports runoff water from the plant’s roof into three containers that can each hold a volume of 10,000 litres. These supply the test station and sanitary facilities, which saves a considerable amount of drinking water. We will implement this concept at additional sites in the years to come.

To cut our energy consumption we are using more and more energy-saving light bulbs in our workshops, warehouses and offices. We also replace old, less efficient machines and devices with modern equipment that has better efficiency levels. As part of this, one focus in 2010 was on modernisation measures in India, which included the installation of energy-saving lighting systems.

At the Lingang site in China, we started up KSB’s very first geothermal heat pump system during the year under review. This system uses the Earth’s natural capacity to store heat in order to heat and cool buildings. Compared with standard systems, use of the geothermal heat pump cuts energy costs by around 30 %.

During the past few years, we have made an ongoing effort to gradually certify our sites around the world in accordance with the ISO 14001* environmental standard; in 2010 seven additional production and service sites were added in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the USA. We are also increasingly demanding that our suppliers provide evidence of their certification under this internationally recognised standard as well.

Saving energy, reducing CO2 emissions

Today many customers demand products with low energy consumption, from the perspective of not only economic considerations but environmental aspects as well. We meet customers’ expectations by providing pumps with high efficiency levels as well as automation systems that help identify and make use of potential for saving energy. In research and development, we are working on additional solutions which simultaneously reduce the use of energy resources and cut operating costs.

One of the countries where our energy-efficient pumps are experiencing growing demand is India. There, in response to the scarcity of energy, a large-scale government programme has been initiated with the objective of replacing units which consume large amounts of energy with more efficient machines. At the same time, these measures also aim to slow down growth in carbon dioxide emissions. Of the pump types produced in our plants in India, 51 already meet the requirements of the two strictest of the country’s five efficiency classes.

Reducing greenhouse gases is a global objective pursued by many companies around the world. As a result, suppliers like KSB should be able to provide information regarding the amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) released during production of their products. We have been providing this information, known as the “carbon footprint”*, for a series of pumps made in France since 2007. CO2 information about our butterfly valves has also been available since 2010. We expect that customers will require this kind of information more and more frequently in the future and will continue our efforts to determine the figures for additional products as well. To play a part in helping to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, we have joined an environmental protection initiative in Austria and also help cities and communities to make their contribution.

Further increase in safety at the workplace

Within the scope of our integrated management approach, we look at the connections between environmental protection, occupational safety and employee health. One example of this is our avoidance of hazardous materials. Moreover, we consider occupational health and safety to be a key aspect of identifying risks at an early stage and preventing accidents and other damage to employees’ health. Our objective is to make the workplaces of all employees as safe as possible.

In 2010 we focused on this at our companies in the Americas. In Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and the United States, some 30 measures were implemented at 10 locations with the goal of reducing the number of accidents in workshops and warehouses. Measures taken included marking danger zones, mandating the use of protective equipment and improving lighting at work stations. In addition, we took several steps to increase the safety of Brazilian sites, such as installing new fire-fighting systems.

Maintaining good health through preventive measures and sport

In addition to workplace safety measures, we use preventive measures to promote the good health of our employees. During the year under review, our company’s medical services in Germany alone performed around 2,000 medical check-ups and administered 450 flu shots. We also consider our company-internal athletic offering to be a contribution toward maintaining the good health of our employees. In Italy, where our company was named one of the 100 best employers in 2009, we set up a 100 m² fitness studio for staff at one of our sites. Trainees in Germany benefit from special fitness programmes where they also learn how to correctly lift and carry heavy objects to prevent musculoskeletal damage.

People doing computer work frequently only put weight on one side of their spinal columns, which can lead to back pain. To address this problem, we have launched a programme in Germany which specially targets those employees who work in the office. Over the Internet, participants receive video instructions for exercises aimed at relaxation and strengthening up to three times a day. These can be done right at their desks. So far around 400 employees are taking part in this programme.

Needs-based offerings for families

As a family-friendly company, we offer our employees ways in which they can better harmonise their professional lives with their personal obligations. The precise needs that exist in this area are determined through internal surveys. Depending on the family’s particular circumstances, we can help find childcare or nursing services for relatives. In Germany we collaborate both with partners at our locations as well as with agencies that operate nationwide. In addition we offer operational measures to assist employees who find themselves in difficult circumstances.

Commitment to education and help for disaster victims

Our social initiatives are especially geared toward ensuring that children and young people – who we see as our employees of the future – receive an adequate education. Consequently we are a founding member of and actively involved in the Wissensfabrik – Unternehmen für Deutschland [Knowledge Factory – Companies for Germany] initiative, where we help foster children’s linguistic and natural science skills. In 2010, for instance, we provided several elementary schools with materials that playfully spark children’s interest in topics related to technology and natural science. Moreover, in the “Storyteller Workshop” project we offered additional training for teachers who shape children’s linguistic experiences at the pre-school age.

In Asia, too, we make an ongoing commitment toward promoting better education. Via the KSB CARE* relief fund we support several school projects in China, Indonesia and Vietnam which enable better learning for children. At the same time, KSB CARE also helps renovate old sanitary facilities in schools in India and build new ones.

In the event of natural disasters as well, we donate money and make contributions in kind. Together, KSB and its employees contributed € 100,000 in donations for the victims of flooding in Pakistan. Our Pakistani company coordinated how these funds were used to ensure that food, medicine and drinking water reached the people affected as quickly as possible. We not only helped set up water filtration systems but we also assisted with the reconstruction of infirmaries and schools. Furthermore, KSB employees in Pakistan took part in relief campaigns and gave shelter to the homeless.

Company donations are also made for the benefit of children, youths and the socially disadvantaged at our German sites. This was the aim of our 2010 campaign, “Donations instead of presents”, in which we granted financial assistance to institutions and projects in Frankenthal, Pegnitz and Halle before Christmas.