Sustainability

Lifco’s business idea is to acquire and develop market-leading niche companies that run sustainable businesses. Sustainability is an integral part of Lifco’s business model, whose overall goal is to increase shareholder value.

Lifco’s subsidiaries operate across a range of different industries and markets. The Group’s focus on sustainability is becoming increasingly appreciated and it is also in many places a requirement in order to be competitive. The UN’s global sustainable development goals set forth the challenges for businesses and decision makers. At the same time, decision-making at all levels is affected by mounting concerns about the climate and environmental impacts. Other global trends affecting the Group include an increased need among customers to attract qualified personnel.

For Lifco, this creates business opportunities as well as a need to drive our internal sustainability management activities and influence suppliers, resellers and other partners to adopt a sustainability perspective. Lifco is convinced that it is only with a sustainability perspective that it is possible to build sustainably profitable companies with motivated employees and satisfied customers.

Lifco’s biggest sustainability impact is exerted in the subsidiaries. Many of the subsidiaries play an important role in building a sustainable future, as they offer products that enable the customers to implement sustainability strategies. The customers often have explicit sustainability strategies in the areas of health and safety and energy. In health and safety, the objective is to the improve the work environment in order to attract employees. In energy, customers are increasingly demanding products and solutions that will enable them to cut back on their use of fossil fuels and products and thus reduce their carbon footprint.

Lifco has a Code of Conduct that provides a common framework both internally in the Group and in Lifco’s relations with suppliers, resellers and other partners. The Code of Conduct defines a minimum level for how Lifco’s employees and partners should work to build a sustainable society.

Lifco has also implemented the sustainability perspective in its acquisition process and only acquires companies that operate in a sustainable manner. In connection with acquisitions, Lifco carries out a sustainability due diligence in which the management of the acquisition candidate answers questions about human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. Lifco does not acquire companies which are considered to violate the UN Global Compact’s principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. Nor does Lifco acquire companies which manufacture or sell weapons, tobacco, fossil fuels or uranium.

Sustainability governance

Group management has adopted four sustainability policies which regulate how the company and its subsidiaries and employees should behave and act in order to further the goal of building a sustainable society. Lifco’s governance is based on the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and the OECD’s principles and standards on responsible business for multinational enterprises.

In December 2016, the Board of Directors decided that Lifco should join the UN’s sustainability initiative, Global Compact. As a member, Lifco undertakes to actively implement the Global Compact’s ten principles for sustainable development in the four areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. The company’s annual report constitutes Lifco’s Communication on Progress report under the UNGC framework.

The policies are revised when necessary and compliance with the policies is monitored in internal controls and by the company’s external auditors. Lack of compliance or the risk of non-compliance results in immediate action from management and more serious cases are reported to the Board.

All new employees in the Lifco Group must be informed about the Code of Conduct within one month of taking up their employment. The Code of Conduct also covers suppliers. On a quarterly basis, Group management monitors: whether there have been deviations from the Code of Conduct, that all new employees and employees of newly acquired companies have been informed about the Code and the whistleblower function, and that key suppliers have been informed about the Code and the whistleblower function. The focus in 2020 was on developing Lifco’s sustainability management activities at Group level by collecting new data on climate impact and sick leave.

The whistleblower function was implemented in 2019 and is managed by an independent external party. Whistleblowers remain anonymous and communications are encrypted. In 2020, two cases were reported and these have been investigated and concluded.

Our sustainability policies

Sustainability area Environment Climate impact Social, labour and human rights Anti-corruption
Policies Environmental policy Environmental policy Code of Conduct
Investment and purchasing policy
HR policy
Code of Conduct Investment and purchasing policy
Key themes • Lifco should always strive to reduce its negative environmental impact.

• Water and energy consumption associated with Lifco’s products should be reduced.

• The use of harmful substances should be reduced.

• Waste should be handled safely and effectively.

• Lifco should proactively look for environmentally friendly options when purchasing products and services.

• Lifco should deliver products and services of consistently high value, quality and reliability. Product safety is a paramount concern.

• Energy consumption associated with Lifco’s products should be reduced.

• Lifco should proactively look for environmentally friendly options when purchasing products and services.

• All suppliers and subcontractors are covered by the Code of Conduct.

• Lifco’s workplaces must be safe and sound.

• The risk of accidents and incidents should be minimised.

• No form of discrimination is accepted.

• Harassment is not accepted.

• Salaries and remuneration must meet or exceed the minimum standards for the industry.

• Freedom of association.

• Child labour is prohibited.

• Anonymous whistleblower function managed by an independent external party.

• Gifts, personal benefits and similar advantages may only be offered to outside parties if they are of small value and consistent with current practice.

• No employee may receive gifts or benefits that can be assumed to affect their business decisions.

• Lifco makes no contributions to political parties.

• Anonymous whistleblower function managed by an independent external party.

Environmental management system

A key element of the Group’s continuous improvement work is the use of management systems. In 2020, 48 of Lifco’s subsidiaries were certified under various management systems. See page 93 for a full list of certifications. Subsidiaries that handle chemicals perform regular risk assessments and train employees in chemicals management.

Contribute to reduced environmental and climate impacts

Lifco strives to contribute to reduced environmental and climate impacts. Many of Lifco’s products have a positive effect on both the environment and the climate by contributing to reduced CO2 emissions and reduced use of fossil fuels and products by customers. Internally, many of the subsidiaries are working continuously to identify areas where energy and water consumption can be reduced and more environmentally friendly alternatives can replace existing inputs.

Sustainability governance at Lifco

Lifco’s main sustainability impact, and thus also opportunities and risks, is in the operations of the subsidiaries.

 

UN Global Compact
The Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and the OECD’s principles and standards on responsible business for multinational enterprise
Group policies, monitoring
Persons responsible:
The Board of Directors and
Group management
Business-specific guidelines, implementation and monitoring of the Code of Conduct at supplier level
Persons responsible:
Managing Directors of the subsidiaries

 

Motivated employees and good social conditions

Employee motivation is essential to building a sustainable and profitable business. Lifco’s business model is based on decentralisation and independent local decisions. These factors have contributed to the Group’s success in developing companies, as it strengthens the motivation of the employees.

Lifco also believes in value-based leadership, and the Group’s values inspire everything we do. The values are: respect for others, openness and pragmatism.

To create motivation among employees, it is essential that the company is able to offer workplaces that are safe and attractive both physically and from a psychosocial perspective. Lifco therefore places a strong emphasis on creating workplaces that offer a good psychosocial and physical environment. The Group also invests in skills development in order to develop and retain employees.

Several of Lifco’s products make a significant contribution to improving the work environments of its customers and to creating healthier working conditions.

Lifco has subsidiaries that operate in markets where there is an increased risk of breaches of the Code of Conduct. To minimise the risk of deviations from the Code of Conduct among these suppliers and their subcontractors, each subsidiary carries out special audits and checks.

Respect for human rights
Lifco does not accept any form of discrimination or harassment. No one may be discriminated against or harassed on the grounds of ethnicity, religion, age, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, political beliefs, union membership, marital status or disability. All employees have the right to freedom of association and union members have the right to negotiate collectively. Forced labour and/or child labour is prohibited.

Lifco has subsidiaries whose suppliers operate in markets where there is an increased risk of human rights violations. Some subsidiaries therefore carry out special audits and reviews to minimise the risks.

Anti-corruption activities

Lifco has zero tolerance for bribery, both in its own organisation and among suppliers. All employees have been informed of this and work is underway in the Group to raise awareness among suppliers about Lifco’s policy. Lifco has established that the risk of bribery or attempted bribery is higher in some countries, where special efforts are being made to minimise the risks. Any violations or offers of bribery must be reported immediately to management, which will take action.

In 2019, an anonymous whistleblower function was implemented that also covers suppliers.

Contribute to the UN’s global goals

Lifco contributes in various ways to the global Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2015. Here, we present those goals where Lifco makes the biggest contribution.

Goal 3 Good health and well-being
Investments in health through preventive measures and modern, effective care for all benefit the general development of society and create conditions for ensuring people’s fundamental right to well-being. Lifco’s dental business contributes to modern and effective dental care and thereby also to human well-being in the form of good dental health.

Goal 7 Affordable and clean energy
The UN’s goal is to significantly increase the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030. The Lifco Group includes companies that have completely switched to or significantly increased the share of renewable energy. Examples of implemented measures include the installation of solar panels and the active choice of green energy.

Goal 8 Decent work and economic growth
Lifco requires that its subsidiaries ensure that they are safe and attractive workplaces in terms of both the psychosocial and physical work environment. The Group also includes companies whose business concept is to offer products that improve their customers’ work environment and reduce the risk of occupational injuries.

Goal 9 Industry, innovation and infrastructure
Lifco has implemented the sustainability perspective in its acquisition process and only acquires companies that operate in a sustainable manner. Sustainability is a parameter in the evaluation of takeover candidates and Lifco does not acquire companies that are considered to violate the principles of the UN Global Compact.

Goal 12 Responsible consumption and production
In the Lifco Group, efforts are underway to switch to more sustainable consumption and production of goods, for example by recycling more and reducing the consumption of fossil fuels. There are also companies which offer products that help to reduce their customers’ consumption of fossil fuels and improve their ability to recycle materials.

Goal 13 Climate action
In the Lifco Group, businesses are engaging in innovation work as well as training initiatives aimed at promoting more sustainable energy consumption as well as consumption and production. This innovation work covers products, processes and inputs. The training initiatives are aimed at the internal organisation as well as suppliers and customers.

Goal 16 Peace, justice and strong institutions

Lifco helps to promote peaceful and inclusive societies through zero tolerance for bribery as well as efforts to fight corruption both in its own organisation and among its suppliers. The Group’s Code of Conduct covers all employees and suppliers. Lifco requires that all employees be informed of the Code of Conduct and that they know their rights and obligations.

Climate change a focus area in 2020

n 2020, many Lifco Group companies took initiatives aimed
at combating climate change, reducing dependence on fossil materials and fuels, and contributing to sustainable consumption and production. The following are some of the initiatives.

Kinshofer switches to bio-based plastics

Kinshofer, a world-leading supplier of crane attachments, initiated a project in 2020 aimed at completely switching to bio-based plastic as packaging material. The company has been working with the German chemicals group BASF to find alternatives to crude oil-based plastics. In 2020, Kinshofer succeeded in replacing around 90 per cent of its fossil-based packaging
materials with bio-based alternatives.

“We are seeing climate change and global warming at the same time as our seas and lakes are filling up with plastic. That’s why it was a simple decision for us to switch to bio-based packaging materials, because the environment affects us all,” Thomas Friedrich, Kinshofer’s CEO, says.

Kinshofer encourages customers and suppliers to share their experiences of switching to bio-based plastics. Kinshofer has also formed a network with other companies to share experiences on measures to protect the environment.

Kinshofer was founded by Alfred Kinshofer in 1971 in Holzkirchen, Germany. The company was the first in the world to introduce 360-degree rotators and was acquired by Lifco in 2007.

TMC reduces ships’ diesel consumption

TMC is the world’s leading supplier of marine compressors. In 2020, the company launched a series of compressors that significantly reduce ships’ diesel consumption and CO2 emissions.

The TMC compressors deliver compressed air through special air bubble dispensers in the ship’s hull, which reduces the frictional resistance in the hull and at the water surface. The system creates air bubbles in different places along the hull. The compressor ensures an even layer of air bubbles under the ship, which significantly reduces diesel consumption.

“We have an obligation to our customers as well as the world at large to make our products even more energy-efficient and less harmful to the environment. The new application for our compressor technology is part of our ambition to work towards the UN’s global goals,” says Christian Ness, CEO of Nessco Holding.

TMC was founded in 1989 and is headquartered in Oslo. The company was acquired by Lifco in 2015.

Orsing does away with fossil-based plastic in saliva ejectors

In 2020, the dental company Orsing decided to stop using fossil-based plastic in its largest product, Hygoformic saliva ejectors. Orsing  launched its unique bio-based products in March 2019. The products – saliva ejectors and saliva adaptors – are made from sugar cane and are CO2-neutral.

“We want to do everything we can to switch to a more sustainable production of dental products,” CEO Henric Karsk says. ”Now that we have a product with the same properties and performance as the plastic-based equivalents, we of course want to help dentists make a greener choice. Therefore, we chose to remove the non-environmentally friendly product from our range.”

Orsing, which operates in Råå outside Helsingborg, was
acquired by Lifco in 2015.

MDH goes carbon-neutral 

In 2018, the German dental company MDH decided to take responsibility for its CO2-footprint. The company’s business depends on extensive logistics. MDH sends about 1,500 packages by express delivery every day, the company’s service technicians use cars to reach customers, and every night packages are sent by air between Germany and China. MDH also has a production plant in China.

MDH started by engaging an expert who calculated the company’s total CO2-emissions according to the GHG Protocol. MDH’s carbon dioxide emissions totalled 4,847 tonnes. Following the review, MDH decided to fully offset its carbon footprint through a specific certified project in China’s Sichuan Province.

In rural Sichuan Province, organic waste is collected in open manure pits and residents use coal and firewood for cooking, heating and other purposes. As both coal burning for energy production and open storage of biomass generate greenhouse gases, the Chinese government is subsidising the installation
of biogas systems for domestic use. However, for many low-income families the cost of acquiring a biogas system and maintaining it is too high. MDH is therefore using some of the proceeds from the sale of emission certificates to enable low-
income families to install biogas systems.

The project contributes to several of the UN’s global Sustainable Development Goals. The health of the households improves when the indoor air is improved, land and water are protected, the use of pesticides is reduced, and more people gain access to biogas. Another benefit is that the construction and maintenance of the facilities has created thousands of new jobs. The efforts are estimated to reduce annual CO2-emissions by around 800,000 tonnes.

Through the activities in Sichuan, MDH has been certified as a carbon-neutral company.

The next step for MDH is to reduce energy use in the company’s buildings and invest in electric cars with the goal of significantly reducing its CO2-emissions over the coming years.

 


 

Anonymous reporting on serious deviations from our Code of Conduct: https://report.whistleb.com/lifco

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Lifco offers a safe haven for small and medium-sized businesses. Lifco’s business concept is to acquire and develop market-leading niche businesses with the potential to deliver sustainable earnings growth and robust cash flows. Lifco is guided by a clear philosophy implying that the company has a long-term view on its holdings, a focus on profitability and a strongly decentralised organisation. The Group has three business areas: Dental, Demolition & Tools and Systems Solutions. At the end of 2020 the Lifco Group consisted of 175 operating companies in 31 countries. In 2020 Lifco reported an EBITA margin of 19.6 per cent on net sales of SEK 13.8 billion.

 

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