Page 5 - zumtobel Nachhaltigkeitsbericht 2012 EN

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An interview
Shareholders versus stakeholders: which stakeholders do
you as CEO feel committed to?
One needs to be committed to all stakeholders
and understand the needs of the individual groups.
For the shareholder that would certainly be added
value. Obviously, one very important group are our
employees. It is in difficult times in particular that we
need to explain where we stand and why we are
acting in a certain way. This year, we certainly had
some cuts – and it is extremely important to explain
that and to implement adequate measures jointly in
a cooperative spirit. Naturally, in our business model
the customers are on the top rung. But also our sup-
pliers and technology partners are becoming increas-
ingly important. Today, we can no longer have all the
know-how in-house. Our value of “Partnership”
applies to all stakeholders, and the point is to build
long-term, stable partnerships with all of them.
You are currently publishing the fourth Sustainability
Report. What do you gain from this kind of transparency,
and where do you see difficulties with respect to the
The Report always provides a good summary
of our activities; at the same time, it is a huge chal-
lenge to make the topic catchy. In our keenly project-
driven business with some very different products,
the classic input/output ratios, e. g. consumption val-
ues in production, do not always work, so we must
rack our brains to describe our progress not only in
terms of quality, but to also make it catchy in terms
of quantity.
Keyword “technology change”: the supply chain and also
the competition are increasingly shifting towards Asia.
What kind of challenges do you see in environmental and
social terms?
In our short-term project business, we are not
causing any substantial impact through global trans-
port. The luminaire is a bulky product. Accordingly,
air transport is not really an option, and transport by
sea takes too long. In the luminaire business, we will
continue to produce locally for the major part. LEDs
can travel easily and thus can be manufactured any-
where, but as soon as we go for ballasts, we are again
talking about heavy products with logistics costs play-
ing an increasingly important role. With a view to
humane working conditions, I don’t see as many risks
in electronics as in other industries. Electronics com-
panies in Asia are also competing for highly qualified
staff and need to create optimal working conditions
to keep them. The companies that we consider to be
high-grade within the scope of our supplier accredi-
tations always offer reasonable working conditions
actually quite similar to those prevailing in Europe.
Moreover, we check on social and environmental
aspects within the scope of audits.
This year, you have developed an overall corporate citizen-
ship concept for the first time. What is the message?
We have created a framework to define where
we as the Zumtobel Group can make an effective
contribution. Our commitment must make sense
with respect to the organisation and to our stake-
holders. On this basis, we can now take reasonable
Harald Sommerer, Zumtobel Group CEO, “Is true to say that our commitment to sustainability is extremely wide ranging.”