Sustainability: responsibility for the future
Our major goal is to constantly develop WKT in a sustainable manner. In doing so, we not only want to pay attention to the economic efficiency of our actions, but also consider and promote the social and ecological dimensions of our value creation processes. It is our great responsibility not only to satisfy the needs of the present generation, but also to ensure that future generations have the same or even better opportunities to achieve their own goals. Therefore, we want to continuously optimize our use of resources and live up to our social responsibility towards our stakeholders.
Find out here about WKT's specific measures and learn more about the industry's general standards.
UN Global Compact
Since 2021, WKT has been a supporter and signatory of the UN Global Compact - the world's largest and most important initiative for sustainable and responsible corporate governance. Based on ten universally recognized principles and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it pursues the vision of an inclusive and sustainable global economy for the benefit of all people. More than 13,000 companies and organizations from over 160 countries are already signatories of the UN Global Compact.
Together with its members from business, academia, politics and civil society, WKT is committed to aligning its business activities and strategies with sustainable principles in the areas of human rights, labor standards, environmental protection and anti-corruption. Supported by our leaders, the UN Global Compact provides us with a practical framework for developing, implementing and disclosing sustainability policies and practices. In a strong community, sustainable business models and markets are promoted and the pursuit of the 17 SDGs is ensured.
We support the UN Global Compact out of deep conviction and continuously integrate the idea of the initiative into our corporate processes. Our ecologically and socially responsible corporate strategy contributes to a livable and fair tomorrow.
In our sustainability report, we document the company's internal objectives and derived measures for the realization of the UN Global Compact Principles and the SDGs. We publish a brief progress report (COP - Communication on Progress) on the UN website every twelve months, which is supplemented every three years by our detailed sustainability report, available here for download.
If you scroll down further, you can see some excerpts and focal points of our sustainability work.
For human rights, against corruption
We declare our full support for the protection and strengthening of human rights and ensure that all quality standards and industry commitments, as well as applicable national and international law are respected at WKT.
Furthermore, WKT condemns all forms of corruption, extortion and bribery. We are convinced that transparency, honest communication, partnership and fairness are the main pillars of long-term success. It goes without saying that any applicable data protection obligations are also respected and implemented at WKT.
Good and safe working conditions
WKT's most important asset is its employees. The family of shareholders is proud of the positive cooperation in the company, which is based on excellent teamwork and a strong identification with the company. You can always rely on the WKT team! In order to maintain this good atmosphere, great importance is attached to maintaining good and, above all, safe working conditions. The aim is to offer workplaces where employees feel comfortable and are motivated to be productive. Equality between men and women is a matter of course for us. Diversity is a top priority at WKT and leaves no room for discrimination.
Co-determination and legal protection
The proper representation of our employees is always guaranteed. Since the company was founded, the works council has done a special job in this regard. Through regular consultations and constructive cooperation between the employee representatives and the general management, the further development of all employees and applicable employee rights are constantly taken into account and promoted. As a medium-sized company, equal opportunities for all employees are important to us.
Education and health promotion
Continuous learning and health are basic needs of all people. In particular, the general training activities and regular further training opportunities (e.g. energy scout, IT, language or technology trainings) for all employees are in line with our claim to provide society with versatile development opportunities. WKT also offers sports, exercise and nutrition counselling and a financing model for bicycles.
These and other offers are summarised in the WKT employee programme "WIR".
High energy efficiency and climate-neutral energy sources
Both the use and handling of our energy resources are important issues for WKT. In 2014, we therefore introduced an energy management system in accordance with DIN EN ISO 50001, which ensures the continuous optimisation of our energy efficiency and the associated sustainable reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, we have already implemented a large number of improvement measures in our production and administrative processes.
For example, the heat energy released from the extruders in our production is "conserved" by a special water circuit and used to heat our low-temperature heating system in a resource-saving way. With its enormous efficiency, this provides heat for administration and production.
Furthermore, since the beginning of 2020, we have been obtaining 100% "green electricity", electrical energy from climate-neutral energy sources. In addition, we are continuously converting our vehicle fleet to electric mobility so that WKT's total greenhouse gas emissions are reduced to a minimum.
Our trained energy scouts regularly uncover further optimisation potential and ensure the implementation of the necessary measures. The long-term goal is to develop a climate-neutral production company.
Resource cycles as a key to ecological sustainability
Closing cycles is the key approach to achieve an ecologically sustainable value added. This is the only way of using resources again thus enhancing energy and resource efficiency. The graphic shows how WKT, its entire industry, other plastics processors and raw material manufacturers support the closing of resource cycles. Reusable packaging materials are used, plastics are processed and re-granulated before and after the use phase. In addition, plastic pipes have a service life of up to 100 years after production, which further increases the value of the closed resource cycles.
ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY PRODUCT BENEFITS
WKT's products are inherently sustainable:
- The production and processing of plastic pipes take place at relatively low temperatures. The production of the basic raw materials also takes place at low temperatures. This means that, compared with pipes made of other materials, a plastic pipe is much less energy-intensive in production and consequently produces fewer emissions.
- In addition, plastic pipes are relatively light and cause significantly fewer emissions during transport.
- Although the disposal of plastic pipes appears to be more energetically costly, plastics can be reprocessed for reuse. From a sustainability perspective the ability to recycle plastic pipes with relative ease is a huge advantage over other materials.
- Emissions of microplastics are hardly detectable when plastic pipes are used. The high abrasion resistance of plastic pipes is particularly decisive.
- Finally, a plastic pipe is very durable with a possible service life of more than 100 years.
- The product profile is rounded off by high quality standards, backed up by a large number of certificates, versatile applications and a fair price-performance ratio.
Recycling and environmentally friendly waste disposal
In the production of pipes, innovative processes already help us to keep reject rates extremely low. We grind up 100% of the plastic parts that nevertheless do not end up in the application. Without compromising on quality, the regranulate created from in-house materials can be directly reused for pipe production. This recycling process can be repeated many times. This avoids the extraction of raw materials from nature, the use of additional energy for raw material production and the generation of waste from unused resources. Against the background of the particularly long service life of plastic pipes, this is associated with a major, positive effect for resource efficiency and ecological sustainability.
Even after use, our pipe materials are fully recyclable and can be put to sensible reuse. In doing so, we rely on the closed-loop system presented above.
In addition to recycling our plastic products, we also deal intensively with the disposal and recycling of our other waste. We have developed an effective concept for waste sorting that applies to both the production and administration areas. In accordance with the strict guidelines of the commercial waste ordinance, which determines how waste is to be separated and recycled, we thus achieve a very high overall separation rate.
We want to constantly intensify and improve our efforts to separate and recycle waste. However, general waste avoidance, including the reduction of production waste and surpluses, is our top priority.
Development of sustainable raw materials and areas of application
Our long-term goal is to be a close partner and initial user in the development of sustainable materials. WKT regularly looks at new raw, auxiliary and operating materials that are obtained from renewable resources and will complement our standard product components in the long term. Moreover, in cooperation with our raw material manufacturers, suppliers and customers, we are always looking for innovative, sustainable areas of application for plastic pipes. We want to actively identify and shape market trends. For example, we also support the increasing transport and use of hydrogen with our application-oriented product solutions.
REDUCTION AND OPTIMIZATION OF PACKAGING MATERIALS
An important approach to waste prevention is the reduction and optimization of packaging materials. Accordingly, WKT has already developed several sustainable packaging systems in recent years, as part of which the use of packaging has been significantly reduced. Among others, we now rely on a transport system with reusable exchangeable containers and, where still necessary, protect our finished products with "bio-film" produced in a climate-neutral process from renewable raw materials.