Circular Economy & Materials

We are accelerating circular solutions to develop material-efficient, energy-efficient, high-quality products that reduce our customers’ environmental impact and meet the needs of a sustainable built environment.

Our approach

We live in and depend on an interconnected world, with complex environmental, social, economic, and cultural systems. Damaging one element may have an unexpected impact elsewhere. We understand the limits of our planet and that we must act more sustainably in order to meet increasing social and economic demands. As a leading manufacturer, dormakaba is committed to incorporating the latest product life cycle approaches and environmental technologies to continuously advance our product development and improve our own and our customers’ sustainability performance. This not only provides new opportunities for our design and manufacturing processes; it also addresses our customers’ expectations regarding environmentally friendly products.

We are aware that product sustainability is essential for our success. Therefore, the new Product Sustainability department was established under the Global Product Development function. The Center of Excellence Product Sustainability functions as a competence center for all product clusters globally. It provides the right resources, skills, and expertise and is responsible for shaping a state-of-the-art development environment for product sustainability. This includes developing Environmental Product Declarations, incorporating sustainability criteria into all product development-related processes, and elaborating guidelines.

Our Group-wide Environment Directive regulates minimum business standards in manufacturing practices, product circularity, and eco-design. In FY 22/23, this Directive was updated to reflect further product-related sustainability criteria, including minimum energy efficiency and recycled content benchmarks per product class. These have also been integrated into our global development process. 

The dormakaba sustainability commitment and life cycle approach are also integrated into our Product Design Manual. 

Our activities

Product design with the circular approach

Learn about our Door Efficiency Calculator and other product sustainability innovations related to carbon emissions in our Energy & Emissions chapter.

Energy & Emissions

With an average life span of 40 to 50 years, buildings should ideally be constructed in a way that allows the required materials and natural resources to be used efficiently. We are dedicated to producing high-quality and reliable products and solutions, while also integrating our customers’ desire for environmentally friendly options. As a result, product design remains a core focus of our sustainability strategy, with an emphasis on energy consumption and carbon emissions during the product’s use phase, waste management, and recyclability at its end of life.

Our circularity guidelines for new product development

About 80% of the environmental impact of a product is predetermined in the design phase. Therefore, it is key to integrate sustainability criteria during the design phase of product developments. During FY 22/23 we achieved our target to cover all new product developments and optimizations with our circularity approach. A circular economy provides solutions to some of the key global challenges by eliminating waste and pollution and circulating products and materials.

We achieved this aim by developing an EcoDesign Specification Template, which will mandatory for all new product developments starting from FY 23/24. The template will be used as a single source of truth for every product development-related process within the dormakaba Group. Therefore, its use is mandated and described in our global product development directive, the Adaptive Innovation Methodology (AIM) Directive. All local product development processes will need to adhere to the AIM Directive. The EcoDesign criteria include guidelines on energy use, materials selection, longevity/durability, repairability, adaptability, and disassembly. The template also defines standard values for the use of recycled content and how to design and select the product packaging. Further guidance and explanations for the implementation of the different EcoDesign criteria are provided in the updated Environment Directive.

Our Circularity Approach

Designing environmentally friendly packaging

For the packaging of our products, we mostly use plastic, wood, paper, and carton. It is our aim to substitute packaging materials with more sustainable alternatives. By 2027 we want to use zero fossil fuel-based plastic in our packaging (baseline 223 tons in FY 20/21) and 100% of the paper, wood, and carton used should stem from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified sources.

In FY 22/23 we included requirements for FSC-certified packaging in our Corporate Packaging Design Guideline, as well as requirements to avoid polystyrene, PVC, or fossil fuel-based plastic packaging.

We welcome regulations that foster the use of environmentally friendly packaging. For example, since 2022, all packaging imported to Italy has had to carry a material declaration. The declaration is made according to official material codes. We are already anticipating that other countries will follow Italyʼs example. Also in 2022, France introduced a regulation to ban aromatic mineral oil hydrocarbons (MOAH) and saturated petroleum hydrocarbons (MOSH) in packaging and printing inks in two steps starting in 2023. A review with our main packaging suppliers from Germany and Asia confirms that we will be compliant with the French law. Nonetheless, we will be adding this new requirement to our Corporate Packaging Design Guideline as well.

Another example of an environmentally friendly packaging initiative is the introduction of reusable packaging for internal deliveries to our service technicians throughout Germany. These make up a high percentage of daily shipments. Previously, each internal delivery was made with single-use carton boxes, creating a large amount of waste. With this initiative, we switched 80% of the deliveries to reusable packaging, thus minimizing the amount of waste. Our aim is to change all local deliveries to a sustainable packaging solution.

Providing transparent information about our products

Since early 2021, components imported or sold in the European Union containing with Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs) in a concentration higher than 0.1% have had to be reported in the whatʼs known as the SCIP Database created by the European Chemicals Agency. To be compliant with European regulations, we are continually uploading the required data on SVHCs to the SCIP database. Furthermore, we adhere to the requirements of the RoHS Directive 2011/65/EU, which restricts the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment.

In addition to adhering to the EU RoHS, REACH, and SCIP regulations, we adhere to California Proposition 65, TSCA (Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976), and PFAS regulations for products imported into and/or sold in the US. Proposition 65 requires businesses to provide warnings to Californians about significant exposures to specified chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm. The TSCA addresses the production, importation, use, and disposal of specific chemicals. PFAS (Per- and Polyfluorinated Substances) chemicals are increasingly regulated due to their link to harmful health effects in humans and animals. Several US states have enacted regulations restricting the use of PFAS in products sold in their state, and increased restrictions and reporting are on the horizon in the US through state and federal regulations such as the TSCA.

Product declarations and green building certifications

We quantify and disclose a product’s environmental impact across its entire life cycle in our Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), which are based on the international standards ISO 14025, 14040, and 14044. Our EPDs meet all mentioned standards to ensure that our environmental information is transparent, reliable, and credible.

dormakaba also offers various health-related product declarations, which transparently account for the materials found in our products. These take the form of Health Product Declarations (HPDs) or Building Product Declarations (BPDs), depending on local market requirements.

Take a look at our sustainability-related product declarations and certifications on our website.

Go to page

By 2027, we aim to double our sustainability-related product declarations/certifications, including Cradle to Cradle and for recycled content (baseline 170 in FY 20/21). We can currently provide our customers with 240 such declarations and certifications. By providing transparency regarding our sustainability performance, we secure our market position and offer added value to customers seeking green building certifications.

Our product declarations are based on Life Cycle Assessments (LCA), which provide a reliable calculation of the environmental performance of a product. This includes the systematic assessment of the environmental impacts arising during the extraction of raw materials, and all the way through the production, distribution, and use phases, which are quantified based on materials, energy consumption, transport routes, emissions, and the life span of the products.

There are two LCA approaches: cradle-to-gate and cradle-to-grave. The first approach considers all production stage modules: raw material supply, transport, and manufacturing. The latter covers all life cycle modules, which means that in addition to the cradle-to-gate stages, cradle-to-grave analyzes the building construction process, the product use stage, and end of life (i.e. the upstream value chain). We mainly use cradle-to-gate “with options” so that we can select the relevant upstream life cycle module(s).

Product information from environmental or health-related product declarations can contribute to our customers attaining the highest levels of green building certifications, such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). dormakaba publishes the product information on internationally recognized sustainability platforms such as the Sustainable Product Information Module (SuPIM) by the Institut Bauen und Umwelt (IBU). SuPIM provides all product-related sustainability data from the manufacturers for various building certification systems such as LEED, the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB), Bewertungssystem Nachhaltiges Bauen (BNB, evaluation system for sustainable construction), and the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM). These are compiled in a data sheet and supplemented with the corresponding verification documents. For quality assurance purposes when it comes to the underlying documents, IBU offers manufacturers a review of the entered data.

Such databases provide transparent environmental and health information for users and ensure easy access to specific product data. By providing this level of product information, we seek to lower market entry barriers in the green building industry, enabling our inclusion in related bidding processes.

Production with lower environmental impact

Activities and key results regarding carbon emissions (Scope 1 & 2) and energy consumption during production.

Energy & Emissions

At dormakaba, we recognize that environmental responsibility is integral to producing world-class products. Besides adhering to environmental laws and regulations, we focus on improving our management of environmentally relevant processes and on monitoring and reducing our energy consumption, carbon emissions, water consumption, and effluents, as well as monitoring our waste disposal and recycling rates.

Responsible use of materials

Historical information on material use.

ESG Performance Table

Among the raw materials we use for our products, there are metals such as steel, brass, aluminum, nickel silver, and zinc, as well as gypsum board, glass, and plastics. Since the primary extraction of metals from ore and the subsequent refining processes are resource-intensive, one key focus is to increase the use of metals with a high level of recycled content. Other important materials are wood, paper, and carton, which are made from renewable resources.

Material use (in %)

Raw material use (in %)

Several production sites focus on closed-loop systems in their material use. The manufacturing facilities recycle most internal scrap metal, either back into their own processes or by selling it to a local approved recycler. Scrap material is also sent back to the original producer, who then uses it to make our purchased materials, resulting in a closed-loop system. Examples of the responsible use of materials in FY 22/23 include:

Waste management

We respect the universal human right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation. Learn about our activities and key results regarding water and effluents management.

Human Rights

In addition to water consumption and effluents, waste management is of key importance during the electroplating, surface finishing, and painting processes. We work to minimize the volume and toxicity of waste from these operations through continuous improvement projects. Our filter systems ensure that potentially hazardous substances are not released externally. Toxic waste arising from painting and electroplating is disposed of as special waste. Certified disposal companies are commissioned to dispose of industrial waste and chemicals, and to recycle materials.

We monitor our waste by treatment method and waste type. At 73.6% by weight, the largest proportion of waste is scrap metal. In FY 22/23, approximately 90% of the waste stream was recycled, reused, recovered (including raw materials and energy recovery), or stored on-site.

Non-hazardous waste by type
(in metric tons)

Hazardous waste by type
(in metric tons)

Waste by treatment path*
(in metric tons)

*On-site storage includes waste that is temporarily stored at the premises before being directed to treatment/disposal

Waste intensity
(t/mCHF net sales)

The generation of different waste streams is an inevitable consequence of our operations, although by implementing the circular economy approach, we aim to send zero waste to landfill in our operations by 2027 (baseline 3,443 tons in FY 20/21).

To start working toward this aim, 33 manufacturing sites were tasked with developing road maps in FY 22/23. On a central level, external experts provided all locations with training, guidance, and best practices. Additionally, three sites with a combined 50% of our waste-to-landfill baseline received one-on-one support, including an on-site waste audit and specific waste optimization action plan.

The specific action plans include waste stream characterization, segregation to find waste value, diverting key materials from landfill waste, and identifing potential local partners and users of waste streams.

Additionally, local actions to reduce the amount of waste going tolandfill took place. Examples in FY 22/23 include:

Take-back programs

Most of our products have a long life span of up to 20 years, but their purpose should not end after deinstallation. Some of the components of our products can be reused, repaired, or reintroduced as raw materials back into the manufacturing cycle.

Collecting products and components from customers and partners requires collaboration between various dormakaba departments. Logistics, quality management, product development, and production are all important functions that should be involved. Take-back programs have multiple benefits, such as stronger customer relationships, development of an alternative supply of critical raw minerals, mitigated risks associated with hazardous materials handling, reduced environmental impact, and cost savings.

By 2027, we plan to offer extended producer responsibility take-back schemes for all products and packaging in the top ten sales countries.

The KEDGE project team together with our Group Sustainability Officer Stephanie Ossenbach during the jury presentation of the company challenges in June 2023. From left to right: Martin de Lataillade, Pia Frieman, Stephanie Ossenbach, Karim Bouyadamine, and Remi Leclere

Collaboration with KEDGE Business School on take-back programs

In FY 22/23, we accompanied Masterʼs students from the KEDGE Business School’s “Business Transformation Program for Sustainability” program in France through what they call company challenges, where the students were given the opportunity to address the concrete transformational sustainability challenges of various companies. This program brings benefits for the students as well as our businesses – students gain hands-on experience of stakeholder and project management, while we get to explore valuable areas of business development.

dormakaba’s challenge was for the students to develop a concept for take-back programs for nine countries, focusing on one top-selling product per country. A take-back program is an extended product responsibility scheme, meaning that whoever introduces a product into a countryʼs market remains responsible for that product after the end of its life.

Offering take-back schemes will allow our customers to gain green building credits for certifications such LEED, so we see the growth potential and business incntive. Simultaneously, we are strengthening our customer relationships and reducing our production costs because the material is recycled or reused – not to mention the significant positive environmental impact.

The students began by interviewing the nine designated project managers on dormakaba’s side, one per country, to understand the logistics, distribution channels, and product returns processes. A regulatory review and benchmarking of best practice by other companies followed. The KEDGE students also ran market research analyses to find potential recycling partners, collaborated with dormakaba Procurement to understand current recyclers and logistics companies in the supply chain, and developed a website mock-up for customer communication and process workflows. All in all, the concept developed by the students is actionable, and we will begin its implementation in FY 23/24.


During the next financial year, we will focus on the following activities: