The Swiss based Georg Fischer (GF) was founded in 1802 and comprises three divisions: GF Piping Systems, GF Casting Solutions, and GF Machining Solutions. The company has been focusing on sustainability for over 15 years. While typically associated with environmental issues only, the holistic view of sustainability as viewed by the Wall Street Journal includes metrics in such areas as business model and innovation, external social and product issues, employee and workplace issues, and the environment. The new Wall Street Journal ranking recognizes GF’s history and achievements in these areas. In addition to being ranked in the top 10 Most Sustainably Managed Companies overall, GF also ranked number 7 under the Human Capital Leaders category, one of the four categories used in calculating a company’s overall ranking.
From an environmental view, for example GF Piping Systems plastic piping products provide long service life, low corrosion, and recyclability. The manufacturing process, transport, and installation of plastic pipes require less energy than other types of piping products made from metal and stainless steel. GF Piping Systems are used in many water applications that enable customers to further sustainability. That means, among others, leak-free and safe delivery of water, gas, and chemicals to the utility sector, energy-efficient process water solutions for industrial applications, as well as hygienic water for private homes and commercial buildings. Additional examples o f how GF installed products improve sustainability include: data centers realize a 30% reduction in energy consumption, a project in San Paulo, Brazil saves 75 billion liters of water annually, and a three story office building reduces CO2 emissions by 12.5 tons.
“We’re extremely proud to achieve this sustainability ranking from the Wall Street Journal,”
says James Jackson, Head of GF’s Business Unit in the Americas. “The topic of sustainability requires serious action. Individuals can only do so much - it’s corporations that are responsible for sustainability, and we’re working hard to make that happen.”
GF Sustainability Projects/Milestones
In 2015, GF launched the ‘Walk for Water’ charity event to raise awareness and funds to provide clean water to those in need. At that time, it was reported that roughly 1.8 billion people worldwide were without access to safe water. Some 200 participants symbolically carried buckets of water on a designated 3 ½ mile route – a daily routine for many around the globe who live without clean drinking water at home. That year the charity walk raised $40,000 in support of the Water Mission aid organization. In 2019 GF expanded ‘Walk for Water’ to four countries. More than 1,000 participants from the US, Germany, Indonesia, and Switzerland joined the walk raising $500,000 towards clean water projects.
GF is currently undertaking a partnership with Land Life Company to offset its U.S. carbon footprint by planting 14,000 trees in California, Texas and Oregon. Through this project, GF will offset the carbon footprint that its production plants within the United States generate. The reforestation project will both reduce CO2 and generate oxygen.
GF has worked with customers in implementing advanced water treatment facilities for groundwater replenishment. This helps to eliminate reliance on imported water from mountain lakes and rivers. Treated wastewater that would otherwise be wasted to the ocean, is purified to an extremely high standard and then delivered to nearby spreading fields where it percolates into the local aquifer. The water migrates over weeks to local ground water wells used to extract water as the feed source for the area’s water treatment plants. This indirect potable reuse from wastewater resources, is a locally sustainable alternative to imported water.
GF was additionally listed in number 7 in the Wall Street Journal top 100 companies for employee and workplace issues management. Human capital encompasses the management of employees and contractors to deliver long-term value, according to SASB. This includes three categories: labor practices, employee engagement, diversity, and inclusion.
Wall Street Journal Ranking Methodology
The Wall Street Journal’s ranking was produced by the company’s environment, social and governance research analysts, who assessed more than 5,500 publicly traded businesses based on sustainability metrics in such areas as business model and innovation, external social and product issues, employee and workplace issues, and the environment. The ranking’s methodology takes a broad view of sustainability, one which assesses a company’s leadership and governance practices for their ability to create value for shareholders over the long term.
The Journal research team’s assessments followed the framework of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, or SASB, which determines financial materiality of data points for each industry based on categories that are considered reasonably likely to affect the operating performance of a company. Those material categories were given greater weight in calculating the aggregate score that determined a company’s rank.
Each company was scored by combining up to 165 company-reported data items with an analysis of media coverage by more than 8,800 sources. Scores reflect the amount of publicly available information about each company’s policies, initiatives and performance metrics—all of which can be important indicators of a company’s long-term financial performance and the effects it could have on the planet and people.