Page 4 - zumtobel Nachhaltigkeitsbericht 2012 EN

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From your point of view, just how sustainably oriented is
the Zumtobel Group today?
We are in a position to make a valuable contribu-
tion, especially with a view to energy efficiency. The
technical solution approaches and the products that
we are developing for all our three brands are based
on energy efficiency in a very essential way. More
generally speaking, in all our decisions, we always take
care to act as sustainably as possible. A sustainable
investment must meet all criteria regarding the envi-
ronment, efficient use of resources and quality, on
the one hand, but beyond that we must also think
about how flexibly we should respond to future
changes, for instance with respect to using a new
machine for as long as possible, even if product life
cycles are getting increasingly shorter. We consider
the topic of sustainability to be firmly planted in our
corporate values and HR activities. So, one may cer-
tainly say that we as the Zumtobel Group are dealing
with sustainability in a universal manner.
On the topic of LED: this digital light source definitely
makes a huge contribution towards energy efficiency;
on the other hand, development cycles similar to those
in consumer electronics are foreseeable. Is that really
: There is one major difference. In consumer elec-
tronics, we are dealing with lifestyle products within
a price range that encourages consumers to replace a
product, even if there is no necessity to do that. Due
to the fact that professional luminaires are installed
devices whose benefit is largely based on low energy
costs, it does not pay for investors to exchange the
product after a short period of time. As a business
enterprise, we obviously need to adjust to shorter
innovation cycles, ensuring that our products meet
the latest state of the art but don’t make customers
think more short-term.
Two years ago, you initiated a global growth strategy. How-
ever, European markets in particular are in a state of continu-
ing stagnation – how have you managed to stay on track?
We have toned down our growth targets, but we
are still striving to gain market shares. In areas where our
costs had increased excessively, we have reduced them
again. We have taken a look at our products, at the areas
of development and marketing to see what we can do
better and more efficiently, and we have taken the cor-
responding measures. This year, too, we have achieved
partial successes, e. g. while Zumtobel did not manage
to grow, we have nevertheless improved the result. At
Tridonic, we have recorded some decreases due to the
changeover to LED, but we have compensated them
with new products as best we could. But above all, we
have been able to successfully adjust our cost base. At
Thorn, we had marked drops especially in wholesale
business. Now we need to compensate that through
increasing growth in Asia and insourcing of currently
outsourced products.
In the Zumtobel Group, sustainability and corporate strategy are closely interwoven. At the end
of the business year, sustainability officer Astrid Kühn-Ulrich talked with CEO Harald Sommerer
about current challenges as well as the limits and opportunities of reporting: