Our approach

In 1894, Gustav Pfleiderer founded a timber trading company and a rafting business in Heilbronn which used wood-based products. He laid the foundations of our company, which to this day has sustainable woodbased products at its core.

This document is titled ‘Naturally sustainable’, and for good reason – no new trees are deliberately felled to make Pfleiderer’s wood-based panels. The wood mix at Pfleiderer consists of only ~15% wood from forests, typically by-products such as thinning and residual wood. The remainder comprises sawmill residues such as chips, sawdust or edgings (so-called pre-consumer recycled material, approx. 45%), and material that comes back from the end consumer and is fed back into the product cycle through extensive reprocessing (so-called postconsumer recycled material, approx. 40%).

Our place in the circular economy

Fundamentally, we recognised many years ago that cascade utilisation and recycling management are the only economic models that can guarantee sustainable production of high-quality wood products. Also, the wood-based panels industry is committed to making a significant contribution to the fight against climate change in terms of carbon removals through sequestration, storage and substitution. That’s why we have already implemented intelligent wood cycles at our raw chipboard sites. Sawing residues from sawmills and recycled wood are collected and prepared for further processing. And in the production process, new wood-based panels are created by sorting, gluing, compacting and pressing. These high-quality products are ideally suited for a wide range of applications in interior design and furniture production. Our offer is highly significant in modern construction, where product safety and sustainability attributes are dominant priorities.

Sustainability has been part of the DNA within the Pfleiderer business model for decades. We see this as an obligation and motivation to keep improving on behalf of our stakeholders in the focus areas of climate, materials and people.“

Dr. Frank Hermann

CEO / Chairman of the Management Board


Our process

This year, we have thought long and hard about the ways in which we can build on the sustainable foundations of our business. Ultimately, we want to ensure we play a more active role in the transition to a lower-carbon economy, and do our part to help solve global challenges. Our stakeholders demand a response from us, and we are determined to meet their growing expectations. Accordingly, the Management Board has been working together to identify relevant priorities and targets, across Environmental, Social and Governance dimensions. We have frequently challenged ourselves on all aspects of sustainability, and are committed to do better across the board, and to align ourselves with best-practice.

Our priorities

The result of our deliberations and debate was our ‘Naturally sustainable’ strategy, comprising three priority areas: materials, climate and people. For each priority area, stretching, ambitious targets have been developed. For consistency, these incorporate the two KPIs from our previously-published Sustainability-Linked Financing Framework. On ‘materials’, we are committed to increase the percentage of recycled wood we use, source 100% of our wood from FSC or PEFC approved suppliers, and manufacture at least 10% of our chipboard products by volume using bio-based resins. On ‘climate’, we have set ambitious short and medium-term greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, the achievement of which will successfully transition Pfleiderer towards being a net zero carbon business. We measure, audit, manage and reduce the emissions, our operations effectively maintain carbon sinks, we work with suppliers and others to reduce our Scope 3 emissions, and recognised offsets are used only after all other reduction initiatives have been employed. On ‘people’ we will achieve a lost-time accident rate of 0.5 by 2025, ensure equal opportunity for all, and develop, improve and retain skilled employees, ensuring we have an excellent pipeline of future talent.

Delivering Change

We operate at scale. The EU wood panel industry has a turnover of around €22 billion every year, creates over 100,000 jobs directly and counts more than 5,000 enterprises in Europe. Physical impacts from severe climatic patterns as well as high level political coverage of climate change, which is increasing in its intensity from 2021, place sustainability thinking at the heart of every business model. As a result our commitment to be more sustainable remains resolutely in place. In the future, we will report on progress annually, and will at all times ensure that our stakeholders can find the information they need on our progress at Pfleiderer.com. We have a lot of hard work ahead, but we are excited, too, by the notion that we can do better across every part of our business. ESG measures are integrated in the executive compensation program of the Management Board of Pfleiderer to ensure a close alignment between these issues and the long-term corporate strategy. The renumeration of the members of the Management Board of Pfleiderer consists of a fixed and a variable component. The variable component is based on certain targets set annually by the company's Advisory Board, including targets that depend on the achievement of ESG KPIs.

We are proud to be a naturally sustainable business

Our ESG targets

Read more about sustainability at Pfleiderer

These topics may also be of interest to you: