Pursuing the ambitious targets of its Sustainability Program 2023, the Wienerberger Group intends to continue on its value-creating growth path in the years to come. To this end, all corporate activities are aligned with the Group’s sustainability targets and subjected to strict ESG (environmental, social, governance) criteria. In support of the European Green Deal, Wienerberger is determined to become climate-neutral by 2050 by decarbonizing its production processes, offering an innovative product portfolio, and adopting new technologies. As a first step, CO2 emissions will be reduced by 15% by 2023. To promote and sustainably advance these developments, Wienerberger invests €60 million per year in research and development, innovative processes, and new products.
“In the face of the climate crisis, we know that pursuing ambitious sustainability targets is the only way to build a future for our planet. The new Sustainability Program 2023 constitutes the essential basis for our ESG strategy. Benefiting from the experience gained with the 2020 program, we are thus reacting to changing ecological, economic and societal demands. With innovative products and systems and on the strength of our group-wide commitment, we intend to elaborate forward-looking solutions for decarbonization, promote a circular economy, and foster biodiversity. In doing so, we are supporting the European Green Deal for 2050 and preparing the ground for a better future.” – said Heimo Scheuch, CEO.
Sustainability Program 2023
In the process of elaborating its new sustainability program, Wienerberger analyzed its own value chains and identified five specific core topics: climate & energy, the circular economy, biodiversity & environment, employees, and business ethics & social impacts. All stakeholder groups of Wienerberger AG, including employees, customers, partners, investors, and decision makers in research and politics, were involved in the development of the Sustainability Program 2023.
Climate change & decarbonization: 15% reduction of emissions by 2023
Wienerberger has set itself the ambitious target of a 15% reduction of its emissions by 2023, as compared to 2020, and the achievement of climate neutrality not later than 2050. This applies to the entire value chain, from product development to sourcing, production, and the use, re-use or recycling of Wienerberger products. In sourcing, the percentage of secondary raw materials is being increased and transport operations are being optimized through group-wide supply management. Moreover, Wienerberger is making a continuous effort to minimize CO2 emissions in production through technological innovations. The company actively advances the decarbonization of its product portfolio through innovations and the design of new products. The latter include climate-neutral bricks and solar panels integrated into roof surfaces, as well as solutions for smart pumping stations, rainwater management systems, or the improvement of the micro-climate through green roofs and facades.
Circular economy: All new products to be fully recyclable or re-usable by 2023
The circular economy is another central pillar of the Wienerberger Sustainability Program 2023: In the future, all new Wienerberger products are to be fully re-usable or recyclable. Moreover, Wienerberger is continuously increasing the amount of secondary raw materials and recycled substances in its production. In the plastic pipes sector, the current targets were achieved two years earlier than originally planned: In 2020, the amount of secondary raw materials used was increased to 83 kilograms per ton of products.
Biodiversity & environment: Biodiversity program for all sites
Wienerberger is making every effort to protect the environment and is therefore elaborating biodiversity programs for all its production sites and clay pits. This also includes measures to recultivate and renature depleted clay extraction sites or making them available for appropriate subsequent use.
“The protection and preservation of our environment is firmly embedded in Wienerberger’s perception of its corporate mission: We respect nature reserves, use resources sparingly, and foster biodiversity at our production sites. Over the past 40 years, the world has seen an unprecedented loss of biodiversity – a development we must counteract. Our current best-practice examples include the beehives for 80,000 bees on the roof of Wienerberger’s Vienna headquarters, cooperation between Wienerberger Germany and the WWF, and our renaturing projects at depleted clay pits.’ – Heimo Scheuch explained.
Employees: 15% women in senior management positions by 2023
Wienerberger’s employees are the company’s most important success factor. The central objectives of human resources management are to develop their potential, promote diversity, and ensure the highest possible level of occupational safety. In new appointments, preference is given to women when male and female candidates are equally qualified. In recent years, the number of women in executive positions has increased significantly, with 5% more women in senior management. Thanks to safety systems in production and continuous investments in occupational safety, the frequency of accidents decreased by another 3% in 2020, as compared to the previous year.
Business ethics & social impacts
Wienerberger acceded to the UN Global Compact and is firmly committed to observing the ten principles regarding human rights, occupational safety, environmental protection, and the fight against corruption. The company observes clear ethical principles and a strict compliance policy, which is subject to continuous internal review. Wienerberger also expects its suppliers to adopt a responsible approach in dealing with people and the environment. The company’s supplier management regime is being further developed with a view to digitalization and ESG criteria. To ensure compliance with minimum standards, supplier audits and monthly supplier scans are performed within the framework of the group-wide Supplier Code of Conduct.
The Wienerberger Sustainability Program 2023 provides an extensive description of the company’s sustainability strategy, the progress achieved, and the potential for further improvements. It can be downloaded in pdf format and ordered here