The bigger picture

10 min

Mapping material topics to the UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, the 193 countries of the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Agenda 2030, with 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets at its heart. These are ambitious targets for people, planet and prosperity which require partnerships between government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), businesses and institutions of higher learning to be able to achieve. If we are to achieve them, everyone should know them.

Because less than half of the global population has even heard of them (OECD, 2017 ), dormakaba aims to increase stakeholder awareness of the SDGs, especially within our workforce, which we have done through our Enterprise Social Network. As a first step to contribute to the SDGs, we have mapped our defined material topics to the targets of the SDGs. While it is essential to achieve all 17 Global Goals, we can make a substantial contribution to eight of the SDGs by addressing our material topics. We also see the SDGs as a guide to new business opportunities.

Goal 3 – Good health and well-being

Goal 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination (Target 3.9).

Material Topic: Customer Health & Safety

How we are contributing

People spend more up to 90% of their time inside buildings and many indoor environments have pollution levels two to five times higher than outdoor levels. It is therefore our responsibility that our products do not contain hazardous materials that may harm people’s health. We provide our customers with transparent product declarations on the materials used, including those under the Health Product Declaration and Declare standards, as well as those in accordance with related regulations such as REACH and RoHs. Several products have qualified as testing for low emissions of volatile organic compounds or as “Red List Free”. This means they are free from the worst-in-class materials prevalent in the building industry, which pollute the environment, bioaccumulate to toxic levels in the food chain, and/or are harmful to construction and factory workers. Today, 13% of our products are covered by a Health Product Declaration or similar standard, such as the Declare label.

We continuously work to reduce the use of hazardous materials in our production processes, and our filter systems ensure that potentially hazardous substances are not released externally. Activities include the substitution of solvent-based paints for water-based paints, using web-based systems that allows facilities to easily analyze the current hazardous materials in order to prioritize for material substitution.

Goal 4 – Quality Education

Goal 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

By 2030, ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university (Target 4.3). 

By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development (Target 4.7).

By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship (Target 4.4). 

Material Topic: Training & Education

How we are contributing

We provide our employees with regular vocational training on topics such as lean management, health and safety, and product offerings. We have also introduced LinkedIn Learning with a portfolio of more than 10,000 courses covering everything from general business skills to IT skills to personal development. Additionally, we partner with local schools and universities by offering apprenticeships and internships as well as work-study programs. To raise awareness about sustainable development, we regularly communicate our sustainability initiatives to employees through our intranet. We have made good progress in developing the skills of our workforce. For example, 76% of employees now have access to, and can participate in, our Learning Management System. Of these, 60% (7,341 employees) have completed at least one online module in the areas of information security, anti-trust, or our Code of Conduct, for example.

Goal 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation

Goal 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally (Target 6.3). 

By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity (Target 6.4).

Material Topic: Water

How we are contributing

Our electroplating processes inherently require strong controls on wastewater treatment, because we are working with metallic ions that need to be captured, consolidated and disposed of properly before discharging the cleaned process water back into the environment. Our biggest challenge is how to most effectively separate the hazardous material and concentrate it into a metals-rich sludge, so as to minimize total generated mass. At our production facility in Indianapolis (USA), for example, we achieved this through various process improvements that included changing our nickel scrubbing equipment from a metals-based recovery system to a water-based recovery system; redesigning the plumbing in our clarifying tank to reduce turbulent disturbance; and improvements in our filter press and water extraction process so that less water was trapped in our sludge cake.

Further, we have mapped our production facilities for the degree of water stress and scarcity in their communities, with a plan to focus our water reduction activities in those in areas of high-water stress. Other facilities have implemented water-use reduction projects, which include installing closed loop cooling systems on certain equipment, where previously the cooling water was immediately discharged. Additionally, replacing older equipment with new efficient systems has helped to realize water use reductions.

Goal 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy

Goal 7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

By 2030, increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix (Target 7.2). 

By 2030, double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency (Target 7.3). 

Material Topic: Energy

How we are contributing

We currently source renewable energy for 37% of the locations in the scope of this report (see map in the Outro) and we are focused on increasing our use of renewable energy as a central component of our strategy to reduce our carbon emissions. This approach aligns with our commitment to the Science Based Targets initiative and the Paris Agreement. In the financial year 2018/19, energy saving initiatives were being implemented at nearly 40% of the sites in the reporting coverage. This work included retrofitting facilities to LED lighting systems; upgrading equipment such as air compressors, as well as milling and key biting machines; the optimization of heating and cooling systems (installation of rapid doors, heat recovery, renewal of circulation pumps, radiators and valves); and the procurement as well as on-site production of renewable electricity.

Goal 8 – Decent work and economic growth

Goal 8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Protect labor rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular women migrants, and those in precarious employment (Target 8.8). 

Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor (Target 8.7). 

By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value (Target 8.5). 

Material Topics: Employment; Human Rights Assessment; Occupational Health & Safety; Freedom of Association & Collective Bargaining

How we are contributing

We are committed to providing our nearly 16,000 employees with fair working conditions. This entails fulfilling our duty of care for our employees in terms of healthy working environments, fair compensation and full respect for the ILO core labor standards.

We therefore address not only the safe operation of machines, ergonomic workplaces or the handling of hazardous substances, but also mental health issues including stress, depression and emotional wellbeing and refrain from offering excessively low wages (i.e. wage dumping). We are, however, also committed to further expanding our sphere of influence to our suppliers. This is why these principles are also enshrined in our Supplier Code of Conduct and are part of our supplier risk assessments.

Goal 9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

Goal 9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities, and specifically, reduce the CO2 emission per unit of value added (Target 9.4).

Material Topics: Emissions; Materials

How we are contributing

Further to our contributions to resource-use efficiencies in the production phase, which are outlined under Goal 7, we also aim to increase the resource-efficiency of our products. An important first step was including a sustainable life-cycle approach to product development in our Product Design Manual. We also invest in the development of life-cycle assessments of our products and currently have 25 Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). To supplement the existing EPDs, we have begun to create a carbon inventory for over 400 products that consume energy in their use-phase. We currently offer several products that bring our customers energy efficiency gains, including the SafeRoute escape route system, the ST FLEX Green sliding door and the FFT FLEX Green folding door.

Goal 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production

Goal 12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

By 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment (Target 12.4). 

By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse (Target 12.5). 

By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature (Target 12.8). 

Material Topic: Effluents & Waste

How we are contributing

The generation of different waste streams is an inevitable consequence of our operations. We monitor our waste by treatment method and by waste type. Approximately 76% of the waste stream was recycled, reused or recovered (including raw materials and energy recovery) in the financial year 2018/19. To reduce packaging waste, our Madison Heights facility in the USA implemented new packaging which is biodegradable, backyard compostable and water soluble. Our contributions to the environmentally sound management of chemicals and hazardous materials are detailed under Goals 3 and 6.

Goal 13 – Climate Action

Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries (Target 13.1). 

Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning (Target 13.3). 

Material Topic: Emissions

How we are contributing

In addition to the initiatives mentioned under Goal 9 and our commitment to the Science Based Targets initiative, we have conducted a climate change vulnerability mapping exercise, based on climate change modelling up to the year 2060. The mapping revealed that 29 dormakaba locations are vulnerable to the physical impacts of climate extremes and future changes in climate over the next three decades, where climate extremes are defined as extreme weather or climate events. Six of these sites were also considered to be of higher relevance due to the number of employees, sales volume or infrastructure values. For these sites, we aim to develop appropriate awareness-raising materials in the near term, together with local management.

Strategy and ApproachFocus Area Transparency

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