Today, hardly any other term resonates as positively as the word "sustainability". Objects referred to as "sustainable" are associated with a serious purpose: they are made to last, better for the environment and respect the future needs of our children and grandchildren.
When companies are sustainable, customers also reap the benefits. For example, they see their energy bills decrease and are able to enjoy flawlessly functioning products for years on end. In a broader sense, sustainability also implies fair and amicable relations with employees and business partners. This means that when customers decide to give their business to a company focused on sustainability, they are also making a personal contribution towards protecting the climate and environment, fostering integrity in business and, last but not least, safeguarding human rights, for example, in relation to supplier working conditions.
In light of all this, we are quite proud of the fact that Miele is regarded as a model sustainable company, both within our industry and beyond. It is something which is firmly rooted in our brand promise "Forever better", which the company founders inscribed on the very first Miele machines. The motto has a dual meaning: both that the company will strive to be forever better than the competition, and that it will become forever better as an organisation.
Quality, responsibility, continuity, partnership, self-sufficiency and the capability to handle future challenges – these are the values which result from the twofold promise and which we specifically define and bring to life in our sustainability strategy. After all, Miele doesn't just talk about sustainability, the company actually practices it all areas: from the Executive Board to each and every employee, and in the constructive dialogue with our stakeholders. In this Sustainability Report, we have provided you with a detailed analysis of what this actually means with regard to all aspects of our value chain: from the extraction of raw materials and the development, manufacturing and use phases of our products to the disposal and recycling of waste appliances and materials.
To name just a few examples, we were able to lower our specific energy consumption per tonne of product by 9.8 percent in financial year 2013/2014. As of February 2014, all European company locations have been certified to the ISO 50001 international energy management standard. By the close of financial year 2015/16, we aim to reduce the amount of residual waste produced at our sites in Germany and Austria from 877 tonnes per year to 745 tonnes per year (a decrease of 15 percent). Miele is also striving to further increase its use of secondary raw materials. In addition to obtaining certification for the internationally recognised SA8000 social standard and joining the UN Global Compact, Miele committed itself to the goals of the German Diversity Charter and has thus promised to promote diversity and equal opportunity in all areas of the company. In the upcoming financial year 2015/16, we will continue to refine our sustainability strategy, addressing everything from improving our energy and resource efficiency to enhancing employee development.
After being awarded the 2014 German Sustainability Prize, one of the most important honours of its kind in Europe, we now have even greater motivation to continue on our current path. In explaining why it selected Miele, the prize committee emphasised the long service life and high energy efficiency of Miele appliances, the company's approach to supplier relations, and Miele's high social standards in its role as an employer. Together, all of these factors sent "an exceptionally strong sustainability signal to the industry and to society."
The Miele Sustainability Report 2015 is intended to have a similar effect, and we hope that you find it a stimulating read.
The Miele & Cie. KG Executive Board