As a family-owned, values-based technology group, success for Freudenberg is financial success as well as fulfilling the company’s responsibility for society. The two goals have been inextricably linked since the company’s founding.

At Freudenberg, responsibility for society covers five areas: Sustainability, Health, Safety and Environmental Protection (HSE), Corporate Citizenship, Compliance and Human Rights & Labor. All 5 areas are firmly anchored in Freudenberg’s Values and Principles and closely linked to one another.

Facts and Figures

Key figure



Energy consumption2.3 million MWh2.3 million MWh
Energy efficiency     0,24 kWh/€ sales0,25 kWh/€ sales
Energy cost166 million €159 million €
Energy cost / sales1.8%1.8%
CO2 emissions                   92,2 tons/million € sales87,1 tons/million € sales
Waste                                 13,6 tons/million € sales12,9 tons/million € sales
Health and Safety  
Total number of accidents with at least one day of work lost149148
Occupational health & safety and environment protection22.5 million €17.6 million €
HSE management system  
Plants with ISO 1400186%83%
Plants with OHSAS/ISO 4500173%71%
Sales, equity ratio and number of employees  
Sales9,467.8 million €8,840.8 million €
Equity ratio51.3%48.0%
Number of employees48,85147,777


We strive for solutions that improve living conditions around the world and support sustainable developments for the environment and society. Product and process sustainability have always been part of responsibility practiced at Freudenberg. Sustainability has two dimensions for us.

  • Footprint: How can we design our processes and run our sites to save resources?
  • Handprint: Which products and solutions can we develop so that our customers can produce more efficiently and sustainably or have their end products use fewer resources?

Sustainability at Freudenberg

Sustainability at Freudenberg

Health, Safety and Environmental Protection

The primary objective of our HSE (Health, Safety and Environment) principles is the prevention of all accidents, preventive health care, and the continuous reduction in the negative impact of business activities on the environment.

Management systems

The roll-out of management systems for occupational health and safety (OHSAS 18001 and conversion to ISO 45001) and environmental protection (ISO 14001) continued in the 2020 year under review. Many sites are implementing DIN EN ISO 50001-compliant management systems to reduce energy consumption and thus limit the environmental impact of industrial activities. The Freudenberg Sealing Technologies, Freudenberg Performance Materials, Freudenberg Filtration Technologies, EagleBurgmann, Vibracoustic and Freudenberg Home and Cleaning Solutions Business Groups established the relevant management systems at their German production sites. Other production sites at EagleBurgmann in Austria, Freudenberg Home and Cleaning Solutions in Sweden and Freudenberg Performance Materials in France followed the same example.

Environmental Protection

Freudenberg believes environmental protection is an important responsibility and makes sure the company’s activity is as environmentally friendly as possible. The goal is to continuously reduce the negative impact along the entire value chain, by using resources more efficiently, reducing emissions, saving energy, water and other materials while improving transport processes. Freudenberg also includes ecological factors when redesigning and modernizing buildings.

Freudenberg uses many raw materials and processes in production. The materials and processes vary in their impact on occupational safety and the environment. Freudenberg has many ways to limit these risks. The goal is to continuously reduce the physical hazards on site and their impact on the environment.

Freudenberg actively searches for alternatives to hazardous materials or those with a pending REACh (European Regulation on Registration, Evaluation and Restriction of Chemicals) classification prior to the passage of any regulations. Assessments are carried out to prevent any negative impact on production from restrictions placed on a material. Many products are developed in phased processes to make sure a new product’s environmental impact is less than its predecessor.

Corporate citizenship

Corporate citizenship at Freudenberg extends beyond the value chain. Our goal is to be a good corporate citizen and good neighbor in all the countries, states and communities we call home. Thus, many companies, locations and employees are socially engaged and support a broad spectrum of projects - from small initiatives on site up to complex international programs.

  • Trainees at work

    Integration of refugees: A Freudenberg Group-wide initiative helps cope with one of the largest challenges we now face. A special focus on supporting refugee children and youths by providing language skills training and educational opportunities.

  • The international program e² – “education and environment” – aims to provide people with access to education and work and support environmental protection. The primary goal is to motivate and invite every employee to help improve society.

  • Indian welders at work

    India’s Nagapattinam region was hit hard by a major tsunami. Since 2009, Freudenberg has been offering dual traineeships at a non-profit training center. More than 400 young people have so far been given the opportunity to start successful careers in a variety of professions

  • Chinese school boy

    In the aftermath of a severe earthquake, the Chinese village of Haijin was destroyed. Freudenberg helped rebuild the school and it re-opened for some 300 schoolchildren. Contact remains close: Every year, Freudenberg employees visit the school and organize various activities.


As early as 1887, founder Carl Johann Freudenberg drafted his first business principles to help his sons take over the business. The document is the basis for Freudenberg’s 10 Business Principles for partners and employees. One principle stipulates success must come from performance. Freudenberg shall not be involved in illegal or unethical business practices.

Business Principles and Guiding Principles

Freudenberg’s Business Principles were used to create Guiding Principles, which apply to all interactions with employees, business partners, stakeholders and third parties. 

Business Principles
Guiding Principles

Compliance structure

The Business Groups at Freudenberg have general autonomy when making business decisions. The Business Groups are generally responsible for compliance with laws and regulations. At the holding level, and thus the duty of the Freudenberg Compliance Management Council, the focus is on the most important compliance issues relevant to the Group and those with international implications and which may especially pose a threat to Freudenberg’s reputation.

Code of Conduct

The Code of Conduct is derived from the Business Principles and Guiding Principles, with a close focus on Responsibility. The Code of Conduct is the same everywhere around the world and is designed to ensure that respect for the law and proper conduct remain a cornerstone of how Freudenberg conducts business.

Code of Conduct

Ethics Offices

The Ethics Offices are an important part of Freudenberg’s Compliance Management System. The offices are a contact for any employees who – for whatever reason – feel they cannot turn to their superiors, HR team or their union representatives. The opportunity to confidentially and proactively report compliance violations or impending violations in a confidential environment helps create a culture of trust and protects Freudenberg’s internal values and principles.

Risk management and Corporate Audit

Anti-corruption measures and evaluation of their effectiveness also remained a component of risk management and the work of the Corporate Audit team. The goal of the department is to uncover corrupt deals, evaluate the effectiveness of counter measures and improve as needed.

Internal audits examine compliance with the standards. Employees receive anti-corruption training in classroom sessions and e-learning programs. The Compliance Council, Corporate Audit and the Ethics Office work together to assess any incidents that may arise.

Human Rights & Labor

Guiding Principle People

As a family company, we are devoted to our employees’ well-being and personal development. We reject all forms of discrimination and harassment and show understanding and respect in our dealings with each other. We promote a multi-cultural environment where employees work together in worldwide teams to enrich our culture and capability. We believe in the value of enduring relationships with customers, suppliers and industrial partners.

Leadership Principles

The Freudenberg Group upholds a social commitment to all its employees. In this regard, it is impossible to define a uniform standard. The way this commitment is applied depends rather on the laws, practices, needs and opportunities in each respective country. Discrimination and exploitation of vulnerable people is explicitly prohibited anywhere in the Group.

Guiding Principle Responsibility

Our company and its family shareholders together are committed to protecting the environment and being responsible corporate citizens in all countries and communities in which we do business. We take all possible care to ensure the safety of the workplace and of our products. As a family company, we strive for the highest standards of personal behavior. Fairness and integrity guide our conduct amongst ourselves, towards our business partners and the general public.

Global Compact

The Freudenberg Group signed the United Nations Global Compact in January 2014. The Global Compact is a voluntary corporate responsibility initiative which currently has over 12,000 participants – including 8,000 businesses from more than 140 countries – who commit to aligning their operations to values and sustainability. The corporate commitment, signed by the CEO of the relevant company, is addressed to the United Nations Secretary General.

“Freudenberg has always aligned itself in accordance with values and sustainability. We signed the Global Compact, because it’s important to communicate our conduct towards our customers, neighbors, potential colleagues and institutions,” explained Dr. Mohsen Sohi, Speaker of the Freudenberg Group’s Board of Management.

The principles underlying the Global Compact are also anchored in the Freudenberg Group’s Guiding Principles. There are a total of ten principles in the four fields of Human Rights, Labor, Environment and Anti-Corruption.

Learn more about this topic in the current annual report starting on page 14.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

The Global Compact goes hand in hand with the Sustainable Development Goals. Launched by the United Nations in 2016, they have become a widely accepted framework to which ever more companies and individuals are committed and use to publicly position themselves. Freudenberg analyzed which of the 17 goals and their 169 sub-goals, the company had made a significant contribution to. After extensive quantitative and qualitative analyses the company identified and prioritized eight goals.