German sanitaryware and bath fittings behemoth Duravit has emerged as a cheerleader for environmental sustainability in its respective field. The company has been driving its businesses by designing and rolling out the eco-friendly product: water-efficient range that is at the frontline of ‘green’ deals for customers.
SH spoke to Sandeep Soni, GM – engineering & admin, Duravit India to understand what sustainability meant to the company, and how its businesses was shaping up in response to this imperative.
By Mrinmoy Bhattacharjee
What does sustainability mean to you?
The sustainability of a product is not a matter of chance; instead, it is decided well in advance, at the product development stage. This is why, for decades, Duravit has been investing a considerable amount of time, money and energy in research and development – an investment that pays off later for the company, users and the environment.
At Duravit, the selection and purchase of materials and components are subject to strict ecological and economic requirements. We also insist that our procurement partners are as sensitive towards sustainability as we are. We are an ISO 500001 organisation, and every step in our supply chain is part of our environment-friendly standard operating procedure (SOP).
How important is the ‘sustainability’ plank for your business?
With water-saving products, intelligent technology and exemplary production processes, Duravit is the natural partner for eco-intelligent design. By introducing waterless urinal and toilet with 4.5 litres flush, we are conquering the market where environment-conscious users
How are you integrating marketing and branding with sustainability?
We are very sensitive about the environment and natural resources. For example, the production process of our global catalogues is PEFC-certified; from wood procured from sustainably-managed forests to environment-friendly printing processes. For our showroom branding, we never opt for solvent printing or material which is not bio-degradable.
How are you pursuing sustainability in your organisation and externally?
Earth’s natural resources are available in limited quantities. As the global population continues to rise, the need for sustainable concepts to conserve the ecosystem is also increasing. Duravit was and is aware of this responsibility.
Neither Duravit nor its designers – renowned for their work, each one of them – are interested in ‘design for design’s sake’. This is because good design is not just about looks, but equally about practicality and sustainability.
This applies to the materials used, their environment-friendly production and design. After all, who wants a design that comes with an expiry date? This is why Duravit develops and offers timelessly modern forms for all its products and ranges rather than following fashion trends. For example, with the Starck 1 range, designer Philippe Starck and Duravit have gone back to the beginnings of hygiene, body care and wellness.
The range also describes the evolution of the bathroom. The toilet, bathtub and washbasin have descended from their historical predecessors, namely the bucket, tub and washbowl, even though they have been completely reinterpreted.
And because something this good does not have to be optimised, the products in the range – ceramics, furniture, shower trays, bathtubs and accessories – have not been changed since their initial market launch in 1994.
What tangible benefits are you deriving from sustainability?
First is energy. With close monitoring and corrective actions, we can reduce energy consumption. From 2013 to till now, we achieved a 30% reduction in power, 37% in gas and 45% in water consumption.
We do not have employees; they are our family members. All of them are very well taken care of as in a family. Apart from basic laws, they are supported by many facilities and training for their personal and professional growth, their social and personal development. This approach allows us to enjoy long term associations with our employees.