The initiatives enacted and the results achieved in 2018 (period going from January 1st to December 31st) by the Group in the field of sustainability.

ECONOMIC RESPONSIBILITY

Panariagroup’s history is rooted in an area that is internationally renowned for porcelain stoneware production. The Modena and Reggio Emilia areas, and specifically the Sassuolo area, are home to numerous companies whose core business is the production of ceramic surfaces. It is the perfect context in which to grow an entrepreneurial project that aspires to the highest quality and manufacturing excellence.

Over the years, parallel to the economic development of the area, the technical ability of ceramic workers, who have begun to settle here, has also increased exponentially. However, with the advent of the economic crisis, many companies have struggled and some have opted to outsource production abroad. Panariagroup also found itself in this situation, but chose, with awareness and responsibility, to keep its roots firmly in its land of origin, maintaining the existing level of employment.

Panariagroup proudly represents “Made in Italy” and the key to its success are products developed in Italy. The Group considers it fundamental also to support the prosperity of the areas in which it operates, maintaining employment levels, promoting relations with local communities and creating shared value. Even when operating outside Italy, Panariagroup has also maintained, over the years, a strong local identity, supporting the economic and social development of the area in which it operates (such as the Aveiro area in Portugal and Lawrenceburg in Kentucky).

Connected to the local community but also focused on national and international dynamics, the Group – partly due to its presence on the Stock Market – is always aware of its responsibility towards its current and potential shareholders and to financial institutions.

The Group is constantly committed to achieving development objectives aimed at guaranteeing an increase in the company’s value, through appropriate reinvestment of profits and, depending on its financial results, an equally appropriate dividend policy to directly remunerate shareholders. In order to maintain a constant exchange of information with the national and international financial community regarding the Group’s management, an Investor Relations body has been established to manage the relationship with these important stakeholders.

In order to maintain a constant exchange of information with the national and international financial community regarding the Group’s management, an Investor Relations body has been established to manage the relationship with these important stakeholders.

 

PRODUCT RESPONSIBILITY

Technological innovation is key to Panariagroup for achieving new goals in the production of porcelain stoneware tiles and with regard the environment. The Group’s product range combines the ancient art of ceramic with the most advanced standards for floor and wall coverings, offering specific solutions for any kind of application, from large commercial surfaces to residential use.

At its plants, Panariagroup produces ceramic porcelain stoneware or monoporosa (single-fired) tiles. In particular, the porcelain stoneware (“grès porcellanato”) denomination refers to an extremely, compact, dry-pressed ceramic product characterised by excellent technical specifications (high mechanical strength and resistance to wear, chemicals and stains) and very low porosity. Due to these characteristics, the product, during the firing stage (at a temperature of over 1,200° C), reaches complete vitrification, acquiring extremely low water absorption properties and consequently frost resistance, making it suitable for outdoor installation.

Panariagroup is also a leading company in the production of laminated porcelain stoneware, a revolutionary product manufactured with an extremely innovative system, the result of very advanced and high-performance technology. Panariagroup’s laminated stoneware allows the creation of tiles characterised by reduced thickness (as little as 3mm), produced in whole 100×300 cm and 120×260 slabs without the use of moulds. A completely automated cutting line enables the creation of various commercial formats.

Extraordinary attention to quality during every step of the production cycle is another defining characteristic of Panariagroup’s products: from the choice of raw materials to the next-generation industrial facilities, certifications and after-sales service. This all goes hand in hand with our sustainability choices, which represent a continuous stimulus for innovation and process improvement.

focus on: Panariagroup’s ceramic surfaces selected for the first pavilion of the Holy See at the Venice Biennale International Architecture Exhibition

 

Focus on: the EPD declaration. An additional tool for meeting the challenges and opportunities of sustainability

ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY

Always at the vanguard in skilfully combining beauty, quality and sustainability, Panariagroup works every day to reduce the environmental impact of its plants to a minimum, demonstrating its commitment to ecosystem conservation and to researching the best housing comforts. This is a vital, essential commitment, especially for those who create products that millions of people all around the world encounter in their daily life, at home or in public places. The Group considers the aspects related to environmental impact and to safety and hygiene at the workplace to be of fundamental importance. Consequently, the policy adopted to manage the Group’s activities is based on strong and precise principles:

  • safeguarding the integrity of the environment that surrounds the manufacturing facilities as well as the environment within, thus protecting the environment as a whole;
  • ensuring constant respect of the existing legal regulations regarding Safety and the Environment through ongoing and rigorous inspections;
  • managing, preserving and, where possible, reducing the use of natural resources, through research and development activities focused on the use of recycled material and on energy efficiency policies;
  • constantly improving its environmental approach to keep the production of pollutants and the consumption of resources to a minimum;
  • providing constant information and maintaining an ongoing collaboration with the population and with public organizations regarding the environmental Policies adopted, including the release of the EMAS Environmental Statement and the 2016 Sustainability Report.

Such principles are of paramount importance because they drive Panariagroup both at a management and strategic level and in terms of operational management of individual plants, with the ultimate aim of constant improvement of environmental performance at all management levels.

 

 

Focus on: the most significant initiatives of 2018

THE RAW MATERIALS

Panariagroup has always shown great respect for the environment, purchasing, where possible and in line with the preliminary material for its business, renewable raw materials.

In the Italian Business Unit, with regard to ceramic packaging, 100% of the wood used and about 900 tons of paper come from renewable sources, while the purchased plastic contains 35% of recycled material. Both the glaze class and the class relating to raw materials for the mixture – which nonetheless contain natural materials such as clays, feldspars and sands – were considered as non-renewable materials.

With regard to the foreign sites, the American Business Unit uses approximately 3,400 tons of packaging from renewable sources, a quantity that represents 96% of total packaging. Finally, it should be noted that Gres Panaria Portugal does not currently use materials from a renewable source.

ENERGY AND EMISSIONS

Panariagroup plants mainly use electricity, natural gas and diesel fuel. In 2018, the Group consumed a total of 3,132,254 GJ of energy, an increase on the previous year, of which 1,921 GJ was from renewable sources and 3,130,333 GJ from non-renewable sources. In general, there was an increase in the use of electricity and automotive fuel. By contrast, the Group has slightly reduced its consumption of natural gas and LPG.

The Group’s environmental performance remained the same as in the previous year, with slight decreases in the consumption of natural gas and LPG, highlighting the Group’s strong focus on monitoring and minimising environmental impact, particularly in relation to energy consumption and emissions.

 

WASTE MANAGEMENT

The waste produced in Panariagroup’s plants is assigned, for recovery or – in a minimal percentage – for landfill disposal, to external agencies authorised according to the current laws.

Management of the waste, during its temporary storage inside the plants, takes place in special storage areas in compliance with internal procedures and current regulations.

In 2018, the Panariagroup Group recorded 69,031 tons of waste produced, of which 192 tons were hazardous waste (0.28% of the total).

 

SOCIAL RESPONSABILITY

One of Panariagroup’s core values is to always attach central importance to people and quality of life, operating with the utmost respect for those who work with the Group. Its staff, their well-being, their growth and their professional development are key to Panariagroup’s success. In managing its employees, Panariagroup endorses a corporate culture that attracts the best talents, improves employees’ skills and their ability to work in groups, and recognises and rewards their performance, with the ultimate goal of contributing to their professional and personal satisfaction. In order to guarantee the application of these principles, the Group almost exclusively employs permanent staff. This type of contract guarantees employees more stability and greater opportunities for professional growth. At the same time, the Group takes into consideration requests from employees for part-time work, where possible offering job opportunities that fit their personal and professional needs.

Operating in a complex economic environment, up to this point Panariagroup has decided to maintain stable employment levels and solid relations with the local communities in which it operates, avoiding outsourcing of production processes. Indeed, stability in relations with employees is a fundamental element in responsibly maintaining the Group’s economic growth. As of 31 December 2018, the Group employed 1,741 employees, with a net gain of 12 new hires compared to the previous year.

 

Focus on: sustainability in the internal communication project for the italian business unit

 

Focus on: Florida Tile's charity activities

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Focus on: Panariagroup’s ceramic surfaces selected for the first pavilion of the Holy See at the Venice Biennale International Architecture Exhibition

Panariagroup was chosen to create one of the structures of the first Holy See Pavilion built for the Venice Biennale XVI International Architecture Exhibition, held from 26 May to 25 November 2018. Panariagroup contributed to the construction of the chapel designed by architect Francesco Cellini, providing the project with the cutting-edge technology and aesthetic quality of large thin laminated porcelain stoneware slabs, an example of Italian industrial excellence.

The collaboration with the Holy See for this sixteenth edition of the event certainly represented a unique opportunity to highlight the properties of these materials, which have contributed to giving the project a solemn and very light tone, perfectly in line with the spirituality of the chapel site, thus continuing the daily dialogue with architecture in an outstanding context.

The Pavilion, entitled “Vatican Chapels” and curated by Professor Francesco Dal Co and Micol Forti, took inspiration from the model of the Woodland Chapel, built in 1920 by famous architect Gunnar Asplund in the Stockholm Cemetery. It is divided into eleven chapels designed by eleven internationally renowned architects, gathered in the garden of the Cini Foundation on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore. The architects were given free rein to explore the architectural concept of the chapel, defined by the Swedish architect, who presented his own personal reading and vision of this building, as a place of orientation, meeting and meditation.

The work of Cellini and Panariagroup placed the design of the material and its interaction with the surrounding environment at the centre of the construction, through rational architecture that left plenty of room for reflection on the place and its meaning.

The structure was characterized by a rectangular parallelepiped volume and a central transept that intersects the ceiling perpendicularly, housing the chapel’s two main symbols: the altar and the lectern. The project also features a strong chromatic contrast created by the use of ultra-thin laminated stoneware slabs with a texture inspired by iron, as well as glossy white slabs chosen to produce an effect that reflects the natural environment within it.

The clean and essential design was enhanced by the subtle ceramic surfaces that preserved the architecture’s lightness and rationality. Panariagroup boasts the distinction of being the first ceramic company to introduce this extraordinarily innovative material on the market, in which it has consolidated its leadership over time. Thanks to their reduced thickness and resistance, these revolutionary surfaces guarantee more flexibility, making versatility and ease key strengths for responding to every architectural and interior design requirement, including accepting the challenge of the Holy See project.

The ceramic slabs chosen by Cellini for the project are produced by the Group’s main Italian Brands – Cotto d’Este, Lea Ceramiche and Panaria Ceramica – and they have been used to cover the interior and exterior of architecture in a combination that blends the allure of an original architectural project with evidence of the technical and aesthetic performance of the materials.

The project was carried out with the contribution and support of the Panariagroup team for large projects, with assistance both in the planning phase and in the construction phase. Vatican Chapels has been very successful in terms of visits (over 140,000 during the event) and has been well-received in the press and international Media.

Focus on: the EPD declaration. An additional tool for meeting the challenges and opportunities of sustainability

Panariagroup has reached the major milestone of the EDP for production processes at its 3 Italian plants – Fiorano Modenese, Finale Emilia, Toano –, confirming its vocation for environmental sustainability, one of the Group’s distinctive characteristics.

The EPD is an independently certified and verified document that transparently and objectively communicates information about the life-cycle environmental impact of products, in accordance with the ISO 14025 international standard.

This is an important milestone for the Group, which allows it to further enlarge its abundant portfolio of certifications in order to make its Brands increasingly competitive in the global market and to attest to the excellence of its products and services.

The EPD is the latest step in a long journey that over time has seen the Group’s investments grow in order to increasingly strengthen its products’ market position.

Thanks to the expertise of the internal research team and to the Group’s total control of product processing and the production process, Panariagroup can further raise the profile of its surfaces, particularly the Green surface, among architects and designers looking for the best solutions that meet the most rigorous environmental standards for obtaining credits for international rating systems.

The EPD is an important part of the clear path towards sustainability undertaken by Panariagroup, the only company in the ceramic sector to draw up the Sustainability Report according to the most upto- date international standards (GRI) and to submit it for certification by a specialized auditing firm.

Focus on: the most significant initiatives of 2018

Panariagroup’s commitment to protection of the environment and to conservation of natural resources is particularly demonstrated by its management of production systems, which aims to prevent and minimise environmental impact. In order to improve its environmental performance, Panariagroup has implemented several initiatives and projects that have achieved significant results. The following are some of the main activities carried out in the Group’s plants relating to the packaging process for the Italian Business Unit and to production and energy efficiency for the Portuguese Business Unit.

PACKAGING
ITALY BU

In 2017, a strong focus was placed on reducing the environmental impact in the packaging system through a careful approach to purchasing recycled material and efficient use of resources in the packaging process, thanks to the introduction of automatic boxing machines in the sorting lines within the production process. In particular, this year the following was purchased:

Panariagroup is committed to the recovery of waste materials which are recycled and reused. Moreover, in recent years the company has acquired new automatic boxing machines which enable optimisation of the use of cardboard during the packaging process, thanks to the use of thinner paper and cardboard and to the reduction of waste, since the machine creates the shape of the packaging by wrapping the product, adjusting the size of the packaging accordingly. This technology allows a reduction of up to 50% of used cardboard compared to the traditional systems used previously.

PRODUCTION AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFICIENCY
PORTUGAL BU

The new furnace installed at the Aveiro plant in Portugal has made it possible to achieve significant improvements in terms of production and environmental efficiency, as well as product innovation, especially with regard to large formats. In fact, it was possible to create the ideal conditions for the production of the 80x80 cm format and to satisfy customer orders relating to other large formats. The production capacity of this new furnace can exceed 70% of the production capacity of a conventional furnace for formats such as 35x100 cm. In energy terms, efficiency gains in terms of consumption of electricity and methane gas in the new furnace are around 35% compared to a traditional furnace with the same production volumes.

As with previous furnaces in the plant, also the heat released by the new furnace is recovered to feed other production plants, helping to increase the site’s energy efficiency levels.

Focus on: sustainability in the internal communication project for the italian business unit

Panariagroup’s commitment to a responsible and sustainable approach to work is a subject of great importance for the company.

The Group has therefore decided to launch an important communication program for employees in relation to its sustainability initiatives. An internal communication plan dedicated to sustainability has been launched in the Italian Business Unit, including a newsletter cycle: updates and information with the aim of keeping a channel always open and full of news.

It will be disseminated both online (via e-mail) and in paper form to ensure widespread coverage of all potential users.

Signage stands have also been created, located in all Italian offices and plants, to communicate the fundamental principles of the company’s commitment to sustainability issues.

Dedicated communication campaigns have also been launched for certain specific initiatives. For example, the flue vaccination campaign was promoted, as well as the Green Office project, designed to raise awareness about behaviour with a lower environmental impact. A list of several suggestions was drawn up, which was then communicated through everyday materials (flyers, notebooks and desk calendars).

Finally, during the Christmas festivities, all employees were given a personalised glass bottle to encourage consumption of water from the dispensers or taps, avoiding waste resulting from the use of plastic bottles or cups.

All the communications have also been made available to employees on http://hr.panariagroup.it/HRPORTAL, where everyone can access their personal profile.

Finally, a series of meetings was organized with workers’ associations to illustrate the company’s strategies and activities in the field of sustainability, ensuring a more direct and in-depth discussion of these issues.

Focus on: Florida Tile's charity activities

Over the years, Florida Tile has developed a great sensitivity to charity and community support activities.

Employees can periodically participate in various initiatives by putting their efforts towards various causes. In this regard, projects have been developed to assist animals, military veterans, children, the sick and others. Every quarter a project is selected and proposed to the employees.

One example was Paws 4 the Cause, an association dedicated to helping and assisting animals in distress and potentially finding them a new home. Employees were able to donate to this cause and specifically to help and support the association by providing food, cleaning accessories and more.

Paws 4 the Cause organized a special moment at the Florida Tile headquarters, bringing some of the dogs looking for adoption to meet employees during breaks. It was an enjoyable and engaging moment for all the employees who were able to familiarize themselves with the initiative and make their own contribution.

Additionally, Friday at Florida Tile is “Jeans Friday”: those who decide to make a donation to a charity have the option to wear jeans. For Florida Tile, the charity front is combined with other important employee involvement projects, such as training and mentoring programs, a periodic reward program for the most deserving employees and a structured listening and feedback system.