Sheets of polar ice

Joint responsibility

One Spirit

Photo of Freudenberg volunteers who helped to rebuilt the elementary school in Haijin, a village in Sichuan province, which had been completely destroyed by the devastating earthquake in May 2008.
Satellite picture of a coastal region
Sheets of polar ice

Joint responsbility

One Spirit

Responsibility

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

2016

2017

     
Energy    
     
Energy consumption 1.8 million MWh 2.3 million MWh
Energy cost 134 million € 154 million €
Energy cost / sales 1.7% 1.6%
     
Health and Safety    
     
Total accidents 143 140
LDI-FR 1.8 1.4
     
HSE-investments    
     
Health and Safety 19.0 million € 26.5 million €
Environmental protection 1.8 million €
     
HSE management system    
     
Plants with EMAS/ISO 14001 90% 85%
Plants with OHSAS 18001 90% 65%
     
Sales, equity ratio and number of employees    
     
Sales 7,900 million € 9,345 million €
Equity ratio 45% 47.4%
Number of employees 46,266 47,653

Sustainability

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: Levitas. To reduce road traffic CO2 emissions, both engines and transmissions must work more efficiently. Freudenberg Sealing Technologies has developed a sealing ring for automatic transmissions that uses microstructures to produce an oil film that allows the seal to float, thereby reducing friction.

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 introduction of management systems relating to occupational health and safety (OHSAS 18001) and environmental protection (ISO 14001 or EMAS) continued in 2017. Numerous sites launched DIN EN ISO 50001-compliant management systems to reduce energy consumption and limit the company’s environmental impact. Freudenberg Sealing Technologies, Freudenberg Performance Materials and Freudenberg Home and Cleaning Solutions have introduced the management systems at their German production sites. All relevant European sites carried out energy audits in compliance with DIN EN 16247-1 to identify potential savings.


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 in the Nadu Province south of Chennai, was hit hard by a tsunami in 2014. Since 2009, Freudenberg has provided the opportunity for a dual traineeship in a charitable training center. With qualification as electricians, welders, plumbers, engine mechanics or machinists, more than 400 young people have been given a successful start to their professional lives. Learn more

Chinese school boy

In the aftermath of a severe earthquake, the Chinese village of Haijin in Sichuan Province was destroyed. Freudenberg helped rebuild the school and in 2009 it re-opened for some 300 schoolchildren. Contact remains close: Every year, Freudenberg employees visit the school and organize various activities.

Compliance

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.


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.


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.

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.

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.

Thinking beyond the value chain

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.


Stories

Dichtring

Levitas

Small step, big effect

More

Sustainability at Freudenberg

Efficiency through foot- and handprint

Learn more
Offshore-Park

Wind farms

High flying

More

Health

Improving the flow

More