Duravit Builds the World’s First Climate-Neutral Ceramic Production Facility in Canada

Rendering of the future Duravit Canada Ceramic Production Facility. Courtesy of Duravit AG.

Manufacturer of design bathrooms becomes pioneer for sustainable sanitary industry

Duravit AG is taking a quantum leap towards a sustainable future: the world’s first climate-neutral ceramic production facility is being built at the Matane site in the Canadian province of QuĂ©bec. The new Canadian site will create 240 new jobs, with production scheduled to start in early 2025. Ceramic sanitary ware products such as WCs and washbasins will be manufactured here in the future exclusively using renewable energies. For the firing process, Duravit will use the world’s first electric roller kiln powered by electricity from hydropower. The use of this innovative technology will save around 11,000 tons of CO2 per year compared to a conventional ceramic factory. Duravit thus becomes a pioneer in the industry.

Groundbreaking ceremony in Matane (from left to right: Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Sport and Minister responsible for Economic Development Canada for the Québec Regions (DEC); Stephan Tahy, CEO Duravit AG; François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry; Thomas Stammel, COO Duravit AG (photo source: Duravit AG)

“This world-class facility sets a new global standard for sustainable manufacturing and underscores Duravit’s commitment to innovation at all scales,” says Bob Downie, President & CEO of Duravit USA, Inc. “Once operating, the new facility will have a significant impact on the North American Market supporting strategic sales and brand initiatives as well as optimizing distribution and service for customers across the US and Canada.”

Groundbreaking ceremony in Matane (from left to right) Christian Gilles, Kristina Michaud, Pascale St-Onge, François-Philippe Champagne, Hubert Bolduc, Pascal Bérubé, Eddy Métivier, Stephan Tahy, Thomas Stammel. Image courtesy of Duravit AG

Broad political support spurs implementation

The plant, which will enter into service in 2025, will be the first production site for Duravit AG in North America. The business aims to supply the North American market, while eliminating its greenhouse gas emissions. Thanks to hydroelectricity and the proximity of inputs, the Matane plant will become the first carbon-neutral sanitary ceramic products plant in the world. To implement this project, the Government of Canada is providing the business with a repayable contribution of $19 million (EUR 13 million) under CED’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) program.

“The Government of Canada’s investment in this project will not only bring a world-renowned business to Quebec, but also a business that has distinguished itself by its ability to innovate for over 200 years. By focusing on Quebec and its hydroelectricity as a source of clean, renewable energy, Duravit Canada is demonstrating that it is possible for growth and the fight against climate change to go hand in hand. By supporting Duravit Canada, our government is helping a business make the jump into the technologies of the future and make winning choices for our planet.” Said Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Sport and Minister responsible for Canada Economic Development for Quebec Region. 

Duravit CEO Stephan Tahy

For its part, the Government of Quebec is granting a loan of $11 million (EUR 7.5 million) through the ESSOR program, managed by Investissement QuĂ©bec as its representative.  François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry said, “Canada will be the first country in the world to produce carbon-neutral ceramics! Thanks to our homegrown talent, our renewable energy, and our proximity to the market, German business Duravit has chosen Matane for its very first plant in North America. This investment not only aligns with our economic vision for a greener future but will also enable the creation of good jobs in the region, while also strengthening Canada’s position and reputation as a green supplier of choice.”

Innovative response to climate change

In designing and preparing the new production site, Duravit worked closely with the Italian manufacturer of machinery and plants for ceramics SACMI as a strategic partner. Important substantial synergies have been achieved through the joint development work. Previously, the technology of an electric kiln was unusable for the sanitary ceramics sector. Thanks to close cooperation with the long-standing partner SACMI, a new type of kiln for these requirements has been developed.

Groundbreaking ceremony in Matane; Thomas Stammel, COO Duravit AG. Image courtesy of Duravit AG

Project proves feasibility of CO2-neutral production

The use of renewable energies such as hydropower will reduce CO2 emissions in production to zero: Duravit is thus the first ceramics manufacturer to rely on an electric firing process together with market leader SACMI, enabling it to produce in a completely climate-neutral manner. The manufacturer of design bathrooms shows that under the right conditions, it is already possible today to produce in a CO2-neutral way, even for energy-intensive industries.

In addition to climate-neutral production at the plant, logistics are also designed to be sustainable. All raw materials are sourced directly on site in Canada as well as from the USA, which means short transport distances. This additionally reduces emissions and ensures an environmentally friendly supply chain. The ceramic parts produced in Canada are mainly planned for the North American market and thus play a decisive role in the company’s growth strategy.