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. In all areas, the Group is seeing an increased interest in and demands for sustainable business. 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 and retain 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, working conditions, environment and anti-corruption. Lifco does not acquire companies which are considered to violate the UN Global Compact’s principles on human rights, labour standards, 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 standards, 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. In 2019, the focus was on ensuring that important regular suppliers had been informed about the Code of Conduct and the whistleblower function.

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 2019, 48 of Lifco’s subsidiaries were certified under various management systems. See page 92 for a full list of certifications. Subsidiaries that handle chemicals perform regular risk assessments and train employees in chemicals management.

The subsidiary companies Indexator Rotator Systems AB, Lövånger Elektronik AB, Modul-System HH AB, Rapid Granulator AB, Texor AB and Zetterströms Rostfria AB are engaged in environmentally hazardous activities pursuant to the Swedish Environmental Code, which means that they are regulated by the environment committee at the relevant local authority.

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 enterprises
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.

Delegation increases motivation
Founded in 1903, DAB Dental AB is a market-leading Swedish distributor of medical devices to the dental industry. DAB Dental’s 70-strong workforce operates from offices in Stockholm, Malmö, Linköping, Falun and Gothenburg. Staff turnover is very low and the employees’ motivation is high. The reason for this is that the company has a flat organisation with a clear delegation of responsibilities, which enables quick decisions. “By delegating responsibilities and defining clear goals we inspire a high level of motivation among our employees, who are solution-oriented and come up with suggestions for improvements,” CEO Jonas Redin says. DAB’s goal is to increase its earnings every year.

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.

Anti-corruption training
Brokk is a world-leading supplier of demolition robots that is headquartered in Skellefteå. The Brokk Group has over 300 employees and subsidiaries in 13 countries. Already at the time of its founding in 1976, the company’s business idea was to replace dangerous manual work with remote-controlled and safe robots. Today, Brokk has sold over 8,000 demolition robots that are used in hazardous work environments such as tunnels, mines, steel and nuclear power industries.

Brokk’s robots are used globally, which means that the company also sells to countries which from a corruption perspective are defined as high-risk. In order to minimise the risk of corruption, Brokk introduced an anti-corruption programme in 2018 that covers dealers, distributors, agents, subsidiaries and the company’s own purchasing organisation. As part of the programme, all key personnel at dealers, distributors and agents are trained in anticorruption issues during a half-day session. The training is provided on-site at the participants’ workplaces and not via a web application. As the training is provided in the form of personal meetings with Brokk’s representatives, an active dialogue is created and Brokk is also able to answer questions and respond to concerns and ideas. The programme includes a review of the company’s agreements, which contain clear anti-corruption clauses.

Contribute to the UN’s global goals

The UN Global Sustainable Development Goals were adopted in September 2015 by the General Assembly of the United Nations. 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 and 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. The companies in Lifco’s Dental business area are leading suppliers of consumables, equipment and technical service to dentists across Europe, and Dental also has operations in the US. Lifco sells dental technology to dentists in the Nordic countries and Germany, and develops and sells medical record systems in Denmark, Sweden and Germany. Dental also includes manufacturing companies that produce denture attachments, disinfectants, saliva ejectors, bite registration and dental impression materials, bonding agents and other consumables that are sold to dentists through distributors around the world.

Goal 8 Decent work and economic growth
Decent working conditions promote sustainable economic growth and are a positive force for the
planet as a whole.

Silvent was acquired by Lifco in 2017 and is headquartered in Borås. The company has approximately 85 employees. Silvent has unique expertise in compressed air dynamics and is a leading manufacturer of air nozzles and air guns for industrial applications. The company’s products are currently used in over 90 countries. Silvent’s products for blowing with compressed air reduce noise levels by 50 per cent, which reduces the risk of hearing damage. Silvent’s compressed air products also use 35 per cent less energy, which means that work environments in which their products are used are both quieter and more climate-smart. With Silvent’s unique products, Lifco helps to create safer work environments as well as reducing energy use.

In October 2019, Lifco acquired ErgoPack of Germany. The company was founded by the inventor Andreas Kimmerle, who is passionate about ergonomics. Back injuries are a common work injury and often occur as a result of repeated bending of the back or because the worker is required to bend his back when working. Andreas Kimmerle himself has experience of strapping pallets and became irritated at having to bend his back repeatedly to reach round with the straps. In 1999, he patented his invention – a strapping machine that does not require the operator to bend his back or walk around the pallet. Three years later, he was awarded a gold medal at the International Inventors Exhibition in Geneva and founded ErgoPack. Today, ErgoPack has around 85 employees and the strapping machines have been sold in 55 countries. ErgoPack’s unique strapping machines improve the work environment for many operators by removing many aspects of the work processes that can lead to back problems.

The dental company Dansk Nordenta was founded in 1963 and was acquired by Lifco in 1998. Initially a mail order company that sold consumables and technical equipment to dentists in Denmark, Dansk Nordenta now sells most of its consumables over the Internet. The company has around 100 employees and offers over 15,000 products from a large range of suppliers. Disposable gloves for medical use are an important consumable product at dental clinics and therefore a significant product for Dansk Nordenta. Every year, 150 billion pairs of disposable gloves are manufactured in the world and about 90 per cent are used for medical purposes. Two thirds of all disposable gloves are manufactured in Malaysia. In early 2019, Dansk Nordenta conducted a review of its two glove suppliers in Malaysia following a report about irregularities among glove manufacturers. Dansk Nordenta conducted its own on-site investigation and also engaged two independent auditors. The auditors’ examination covered the working environment, working conditions and child labour as well as other issues. The audits showed that Dansk Nordenta’s suppliers lived up to and in some cases exceeded the requirements. The issues that were identified have been addressed.

Goal 12 Responsible consumption and production
Achieving sustainable development requires that we reduce our ecological footprint by changing the way we produce and consume goods and resources.

In 2015, Lifco acquired the dental company Orsing. The company is based in Råå outside Helsingborg and has eleven employees. Orsing manufactures saliva ejectors, saliva adaptors and rinsing cups, among other products. In 2018, CEO Henric Karsk took the initiative to develop bio-based products. “If we are to remain competitive in the future, we cannot be a plastic industry,” Henric Karsk says. The goal was to produce CO2-neutral products, and in March 2019, after one year of development, Orsing was able to launch its unique bio-based products. The products – saliva ejectors, saliva adaptors and dental cups – are made from sugar cane. They are CO2-neutral because the sugarcane plantations absorb the CO2 that is emitted during production. If all customers chose the bio-based products, 2,200 tonnes of CO2 would be saved in the value chain, which is equivalent to 100 million plastic bags or driving 2,200 cars annually.

Brokk, the world-leading supplier of remote-controlled, electrically powered demolition robots, enables other companies to run a sustainable business. Some of Brokk’s most important sales arguments are that the company’s robots replace hand-held tools that cause vibration injuries or that they replace large, noisy diesel-powered machines. Brokk thus creates better working environments and helps customers to reduce their use of fossil fuels. Read more about Brokk on page 14 under the heading “Anti-corruption training.”

 


 

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

The channel is not available for reporting of personal data on Russian citizens.

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 2019 the Lifco Group consisted of 164 operating companies in 30 countries. In 2019 Lifco reported an EBITA margin of 18.2 per cent on net sales of SEK 13.9 billion.

 

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