Sustainability Report 2020

News & Stories

Our stakeholders

As we have grown and developed into a global corporation, our stakeholders have also become more numerous and more diverse. We discuss various topics and issues with all stakeholders at varying frequency. Our stakeholders can be divided into different groups:

Our employees

Every single one of our 11,494 employees is both an ambassador and a driver of sustainability. Our employees are what set this company apart from the rest. Dialog with them is a constantly growing interdisciplinary topic. Every day, we focus on knowing what they are thinking, what drives them and what we can do to become a better and more sustainable employer. We talk to them about a whole range of issues through many different channels of communication. Sometimes we speak only about topics that affect some of them, and other times about challenges that affect everyone. In some cases this takes place on site, in others we inform all of our employees worldwide at once, for example in our global employee magazine. The diversity of our staff also reflects the diversity and variety of our measures and initiatives for systematic dialog with our employees.

Our owners

We are a proud family-run company. As a global player, we are certainly no longer a traditional family-run company in terms of our size, but we remain one at heart. Our family values and having a family as owners have remained despite our growth and internationalization. Since June 2010, the interests of our owners have been represented by the four-member board of family owners. Its members are regularly kept up to date with company development and, in particular, work on sustainability. Mr. Peter Greiner is chairman of the board of family owners (as of April 2021). In the Greiner family, we can proudly say that we have owners who particularly care about sustainability and who are great supporters of our sustainability strategy.

Our customers

We firmly believe that the challenges we are facing can be solved only by collaboration in our value chain. Naturally, our customers play a key role in this. Working with and for them, we develop innovative products that must meet the highest vision of sustainability. What this means in specific individual cases and what solutions there are is something that we generally discuss bilaterally, because all customer requirements are different and all products have different applications and different functions. This means that we employ entirely different approaches, frequencies and patterns in dialog with our customers. Discussions are always intense and multifaceted. Sometimes we talk about working together to refine a product design that promises more sustainable products, other times about new approaches to materials development. The challenges that we face together are manifold, but the solutions are equally so.

Liam Wu (Greiner Bio-One), Operating Specialist & Team Assistant (photo)

“Dialog with stakeholders makes the company stronger. This is because we have a better understanding of what matters, what our stakeholders expect and where we need to improve.”

Liam Wu (Greiner Bio-One) Operating Specialist & Team Assistant

Our local communities

As an employer and good neighbor, we are a firm fixture of the local communities where we have a presence worldwide. We accept responsibility as a part of the community. Most of our employees also belong to the surrounding community. We know that we are not simply an employer. We bear some of the responsibility for the success of the community. Cultural differences play a particularly significant role here. Accordingly, we leave it to our colleagues on sites to decide the specifics of the relationship. Each local community is unique and every relationship with a community is different. We trust our colleagues’ intuition and aim to contribute in a way that is specific to the respective location and help provide solutions.

Our suppliers and business partners

Our goal of becoming an entirely circular company will hinge primarily on stepping up collaboration with our suppliers. We will have to develop solutions and strengthen our research with them. Increasing our efforts when it comes to secondary materials will be particularly important here. Whether it relates to recycling plastics or foams or reducing emissions, we have strengthened dialog in the last few years, always with a focus on reducing the environmental impact of our business operations. The path to success here involves sharing our requirements with our suppliers, agreeing targets and working together to develop materials in a wide range of projects. Without a doubt, the greatest challenge will be in recycled plastic. Here, we will achieve our goal only by working together.

Associations and platforms

Talking to companies facing similar problems and challenges is another key factors. This is why we, as a company, engage with industry or sector associations and/or platforms in almost all countries. Our aim here is usually to find solutions to existing problems in collaboration with others. Platforms where our entire value chain is present and participates have proved particularly valuable here. Prominent examples of platforms of think tanks include the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the UK Plastics Pact and the Verpackung mit Zukunft platform that we, as founding member, played a leading role in establishing. In the past, this commitment has frequently resulted in pilot projects that can make a difference and pave the way to a more sustainable future.

Non-governmental organizations and the scientific community

Some of our products are quite rightly the focus of criticism. This criticism is voiced mainly by civil society stakeholders such as non-governmental organizations and tends to take the form of public campaigns. We have always considered the people expressing this criticism as an inspiration and a partner for dialog. We take justified criticism on board and work together with solutions-oriented members of civil society to search for ways to make the future better. There is certainly still scope to further increase dialog with civil society. This is a focus area for the years ahead. We already engage in close dialog with scientific institutions such as universities and other research facilities that help shape the future through their fundamental research. We have thus established a whole serious of collaborative agreements with the scientific community, known as memberships and initiatives.

Politics and regulatory bodies

Political decision-makers have focused their actions on climate protection and the transition to a circular economy. The regulatory environment for plastics and foams has changed in all regions of the world over recent years. Actions taken by the European Union are only the most prominent example of this. It is not only at European level that legislation is changing, as we are also seeing numerous new initiatives at national level that will alter our business model in the long term. In light of this, we have stepped up our dialog with political decision-makers. This is done partly through associations, but we also attempt to speak to them directly, sharing our experience and expertise to nudge legislative conditions in the right direction. In many cases, we are actively approached to provide our input. The topics vary. We have been particularly actively involved in light of the changing legislation on single-use plastics.

Circular economy
The circular economy is a model for production and consumption where existing materials and products are shared, reused, repaired, reprocessed and recycled for as long as possible. This prolongs the life cycle of products.
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Ellen MacArthur Foundation
The foundation established by British record-holding round-the-world sailor Dame Ellen MacArthur in 2009 works together with companies, political decision-makers and scientists to advocate the development and promotion of the concept of a circular economy (
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Value chain
The value chain describes the steps along the production chain in order. These activities create value, consume resources and are interconnected in various processes.
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