Sustainability Report 2020

News & Stories

Our contribution to sustainable development

Companies’ social responsibility is expressed in many ways. Whether a company supports its local community as a “good citizen” by making donations, is dedicated to its relationships with employees or controls its working conditions throughout its supply chain, depends heavily on the sector and on the size of the company, as well as on its values.

We at Greiner have been aware of our responsibility for over 150 years. This means that we contribute to sustainable development through our transparent and ethical actions, meeting the requirements of a forward-looking, sustainable company. Our commitment to ethically and morally sound business practices and social and environmental sustainability is more than just lip service.

To meet our own goals, we committed to the UN Global Compact in 2020. The UN Global Compact is the world’s largest and most important initiative for responsible corporate governance. The vision of the UN Global Compact is an inclusive, sustainable global economy based on universal principles.

The Principles of the United Nations Global Compact are derived from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Labor Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. The global movement spanning business, politics and civil society aims to make globalization more social and environmental.

The UN Global Compact revolves around its ten universal principles and support for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Our specific commitments under the UN Global Compact:

Human rights

  • Principle 1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights within their sphere of influence.
  • Principle 2: Business should make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.


  • Principle 3: Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining.
  • Principle 4: The elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labor
  • Principle 5: The abolition of child labor
  • Principle 6: The elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation


  • Principle 7: Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges.
  • Principle 8: Undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility.
  • Principle 9: Encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.


  • Principle 10: Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.
Yolanda Yu (Greiner Bio-One), Operating Manager (photo)
Yolanda Yu (Greiner Bio-One) Operating Manager

Focus on the big picture

The UN Global Compact and its principles are central to our commitment. As a global company, we also committed to helping achieve the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. At the core of this 2030 Agenda are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They define the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development and are to be achieved by all UN member states by 2030.

SDGs (icon)

All state and non-state actors must make a contribution to sustainable development. Without this commitment from private companies, it will be impossible to achieve these goals at international, national, or even regional and local level. The private sector has a great responsibility here to come together and help solve the urgent challenges facing the world.

At Greiner, we are aware of this responsibility and prepared to do our part to find solutions. After reviewing the Greiner value chain and taking account of our materiality analysis, we put four sustainability targets at the focus of our commitment, four areas where we can make the greatest impact to achieving the SDGs. The following pages outline these four sustainability goals and our specific contribution.

  • Sustainable Development Goal 8
  • Sustainable Development Goal 12
  • Sustainable Development Goal 13
  • Sustainable Development Goal 14


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

What it means:

Prosperity and economic growth in recent decades have been achieved at the expense of natural resources. In environmental terms, we are living and consuming far beyond our means, with only a few exceptions. We would need multiple planet Earths to keep up with our resource consumption. It is essential that we transition to a more sustainable economy and live within the limits of our planet. SDG 8 thus calls for improved global resource efficiency in consumption and production and endeavors to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation.

Our contribution:

As a company, we have set a target of sustainable growth. Our business growth should not and must not be at the expense of the environment. Growth can be sustainable only when it does not permanently damage the environment. As an employer, we have also made it our goal to create decent jobs that offer opportunities. A functioning circular economy for plastics and foams can put an end to the overexploitation of nature.

SDG 12

Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

What it means:

A constantly growing world population is consuming more resources than its ecosystems can provide. Social and economic development that is compatible with sustainable ecosystems requires a fundamental change in how our society produces and consumes goods. SDG 12 calls for sustainable patterns of consumption and production, environmentally friendly chemicals and waste management and a reduction in the amount of waste through recycling.

Our contribution:

The global economy is caught in a linear economy, the defining feature of which is that it is not, at its core, sustainable. Sustainable consumption and production aims to use products and raw materials. In practical terms, that means avoiding waste by reusing it and repairing existing products. Where this is not possible, they are broken down to their input materials, i.e. raw materials, and these are reused. Avoiding waste and reusing it always take priority over recycling. Plastic and foams, in particular, are still produced and used on a linear basis. Feeding our products back into the cycle will therefore be the central aspect of supporting SDG 12.

SDG 13

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

What it means:

Climate change is a major challenge for sustainable development. Global warming causes changes to our global climate system. In less developed regions of the world, these put the livelihoods of large swathes of the population at risk, whereas in developed areas it is primarily geographically exposed regions and individual sectors of the economy such as agriculture that are subject to the risks of climate change. SDG 13 calls for climate action at all levels and more resilience to climate-related natural disasters.

Our contribution:

Production of the materials we use, the production process itself and logistics for our products result in emissions that cause climate change. Given this, we must accelerate the transition to a net zero emissions company. As well as purchasing more renewable energy, this chiefly involves rethinking our use of materials. This is because keeping materials in circulation and/or producing them sustainably protects the climate. We will also have to make changes to our logistics and production to massively reduce emissions so that we can stop fanning the flames of global warming.

SDG 14

Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

What it means:

Pollution, acidification and overuse of the oceans pose an acute threat to them, their animal and plant resources and species diversity in general. As well as industrial fishing and the industrial use of ocean resources, climate change is putting this delicate ecosystem under increasing strain. On top of this, a growing global population will be even more reliant on marine resources in the future. SDG 14 aims to significantly reduce all types of marine pollution by 2025, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution, and to reduce ocean acidification to a minimum.

Our contribution:

More than three billion people – mostly in emerging and transition countries – do not have access to functioning waste management systems. Especially in the world’s major cities, this creates massive problems. With population growth, rapid urbanization and economic development, dealing with waste has become one of our planet’s most pressing problems. The lack of disposal systems also affects Greiner products. Accordingly, we have launched initiatives to promote a functioning circular economy. In a functioning circular economy, no waste is produced in the first place and so it cannot become a problem. Whether it be for plastic packaging or foams, a circular economy protects oceans and seas and is the key to environmentally sustainable marine areas.

Materiality analysis
This analysis identifies important sustainability issues for companies and their stakeholders. The results of partial analyses (external, internal, stakeholders) are combined in a materiality matrix.
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Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
This collection of sustainability goals by the United Nations are intended to promote global sustainable development at economic, social and environmental level. They were designed based on the development process for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). They came into effect on January 1, 2016 and are in force until 2030. The 17 goals serve to guide sustainable innovation and apply to all countries around the world.
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UN Global Compact
The UN Global Compact is the world’s largest and most important initiative for corporate responsibility and sustainability. Members from business, politics and civil society make a voluntary commitment to upholding ten sustainability principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption.
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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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