Grundfos: A Passion for Sustainability

0
100

Mahathi Parashuram

At Grundfos, innovation and sustainability have been our cornerstones. Ever since our inception, we have been able to touch the lives of millions of people across the world with our intelligent water solutions. Our solutions help customers move water across the world in the most sustainable manner; by providing drinking water from the smallest villages to the tallest skyscrapers, to enable treatment and recycling of wastewater and augment heating and cooling applications with its energy-efficient solutions.

Sustainability Roadmap

We operate with sustainability as a focal point of conducting business across the world. With this mindset, we revitalised our sustainability goals in 2019 and have set ambitious targets to achieve by 2025. These goals are aligned with the United Nation’s Sustainability Development Goals.

We approach sustainability in a very pragmatic manner by making it everybody’s responsibility. Our Sustainability Working Group and Grundfos’ Extended Leadership Team is responsible for driving sustainability throughout the organisation. The team ensures the integration of sustainability across markets, segments, technology, and activities, as well as aligning priorities and making recommendations to collaborate with business units to design sustainable products and solutions.

In 2019, we have globally invested DKK 26.3 million (Danish Krone) in sustainability projects including energy-efficiency and renewable energy projects, which is expected to yield reductions of more than 3.5 GWh in energy consumption per year.

We evaluate our sustainability measures through 10 indicators, which may be broadly grouped as – social responsibility, climate management and water management. This includes the organisation’s contribution to improving water availability in water-deprived communities across the world and reinvesting four per cent of its turnover to invent new products and solutions that will help in bringing about water and energy efficiency.

Our Goals

We have been relentlessly working to reduce water consumption and CO2 emissions by 50 per cent by 2025 through our products and solutions, in comparison to our emissions in 2008. We plan to save close to 50 billion m3of fresh water by 2030 and actively contribute to the provision of safe drinking water to 300 million people in need.

In 2016, we identified two SD Goals as our primary focus. Since then, we have been globally working towards contributing to ‘SDG 6’ to ‘ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all’ and ‘SDG 13’ on climate change to ‘take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts by regulating emissions and promoting developments in renewable energy’.

In this context, we have been relentlessly working to reduce water consumption and CO2 emissions by 50 per cent by 2025 through our products and solutions, in comparison to our emissions in 2008. We plan to save close to 50 billion m3of fresh water by 2030 and actively contribute to the provision of safe drinking water to 300 million people in need. Through our energy-efficient pumps, we were able to save 8.9 billion kWh of electricity in 2019. The company was also able to reduce its energy consumption by 9.4 per cent since 2018 and has screened all its suppliers based on their social and environmental impact. We believe that these steps would be instrumental in further strengthening our sustainability commitment and become climate positive by 2030.

Positively Impacting Climate Change

Our plant has been working towards the goal of treating and reusing all water consumed on site. With rainwater harvesting technology and other measures in place, it has moved the factory to realise their closed-loop ambitions, by making it a zero-discharge facility. The facility was recently certified by the US Green Building Council (USGBC) as platinum-rated LEED building, which is the highest rating secured by buildings which follow sustainable measures of using light, energy, water and other critical resources.

We have implemented a Circular Economy (CE), so that resources are continually reused to eliminate waste, realising environmental footprint reductions in all product development projects.

We are also expanding our ‘Take Back’ programme with the ambition to collect 20,000 kg of end-of-use circulators in 2020, with a total of 500,000 kg by 2025. The results are a significant step towards the 2025 goal to cut global water consumption in half.

Through our digital campaigns in ‘Ek Boondh Paani’ and ‘i Save Energy’ pages on Facebook, we have been trying to promote water and energy conservation among the general public. These pages have interactive discussions on Water and Energy respectively through collaborative campaigns and contests every month. We engage with thousands of people through these social media platforms. Ek Boondh Pani, for example, has more than 100,000 members on Facebook.

Building Sustainable Solutions

To ensure we achieve the highest levels of sustainability, our products and solutions are designed to have a sustainable product life cycle. They are built with the best materials and resources to ensure that it lasts for longer periods and are recyclable at the end of life. We have also introduced solutions which address the problems of water accessibility, reliability of water supply in on/off-grid situations, say farmlands and farming sectors. We are also consistently building energy-efficient products which enable minimal usage of energy.

Key Achievements

  • Provide access to water
    We have been able to provide access to 8,50,000 people access to clean water in 2019
    Bring down a 65 per cent reduction in water-borne diseases among children under five years of age in certain pockets of the world
    Reduce water consumption by 10.4 per cent compared with 2018, a 41 per cent reduction since 2008
  • Energy savings
    Over 8.9b kWh saved as of 2019 through the installation of Grundfos’ high-efficiency circulator pumps in the EU. (The equivalent annual electricity consumption of 5.4 million European citizens)
    Four per cent reduction in our energy consumption since 2018
    We reduced our energy consumption and CO2 emissions by 9.4 per cent and 12.2 per cent respectively in comparison with 2018, and 20 per cent and 40 per cent compared with 2008
  • Take back/scrapping
    12,000kg resource recovery from the Take Back programme, 136 per cent compared with 2018
  • Diversity
    Over 3.2 per cent of our employees are people with reduced capacity, thereby increasing our diversity quotient gradually
    Over 24 per cent of the leadership team is constituted by women and in APAC, over 29 per cent of the workforce is women
  • Collaborations
    We have entered into a strategic collaboration with Siemens to harness the power of digitalisation for solving the world’s water and climate challenges
    Our leadership team is part of significant forums and climate change platforms which are action committees that work relentlessly to bring about a difference in the way we consume water and energy 

The Foundation has been contributing to driving innovation, social responsibility and sustainable access to safe drinking water in rural communities, refugee camps and developing countries.

Sustainability as a Mindset is Ingrained in our DNA

Founded in 1975, the Poul Due Jensen Foundation (Grundfos Foundation) strongly influences our way of approaching business sustainably. The Foundation has been contributing to driving innovation, social responsibility and sustainable access to safe drinking water in rural communities, refugee camps and developing countries.

In 2019, the Foundation committed 117m DKK to the existing philanthropic projects and is also supporting research and other public-private collaboration. As the world fights the COVID-19 pandemic, the Foundation has additionally pledged £25 million to support research into COVID-19 this year.

The Foundation has also funded research extensively to understand water better and the various challenges faced by cities concerning water. It has also played a key role to provide best practices and technological recommendations on water governance, management and financing.

Alleviating Global Water Crisis

We have worked closely with countries in Africa such as Tanzania, Mozambique and Kenya to help address their critical water challenges. In Tanzania, the three borewells built by the Foundation provides drinking water to over 150,000 refugees in Nyargusu Refugee Camp.  The borewells are also managed to help 50,000 residents in rural communities living outside the camp. This has helped the residents save close to 30,000 DKK every year for future operations, maintenance and expansion related costs.[i]

The Foundation has also helped communities that were victims of natural calamities such as hurricanes, flooding and tsunami. In such situations, clean drinking water is elevated to a critical necessity and it is important to establish efficient solutions and provide access to citizens directly or indirectly impacted by the calamity.

In India, we partnered with Sunlit Future to install 100 solar pumps to 100 rural villages. This project which was started in 2014 has positively impacted close to 50,000 people.

Sustainable Community for a Sustainable Future 

 “The company’s obligations towards the surrounding society reach above and beyond what has been general legislation and taxes.”

– Poul Due Jensen,
Founder, Grundfos Foundation

As a company that has prioritised social and ethical responsibilities within itself and its partners, Corporate Social Responsibility is part of our business strategy. It is an integral part of our fundamental values and creates a differentiator between us and other companies in the market.

We are dedicated to empowering people and communities, improving their well-being and overall quality of life. We have taken several steps in this direction by identifying the needs of the community. We endeavour to improve their access to safe drinking water, build infrastructure for sanitation facilities and support environmental initiatives such as afforestation and soil conservation.

Improving Water and Energy Efficiency: Most of our country faced drought-like situations last year with more than 163 million people in India lacking access to clean water.[ii]Through our intelligent solutions, we aim to improve the overall water and energy efficiency. This is also reflected in our CSR goals as a primary objective.

In India, we have extensively worked with rural and urban communities to alleviate their imminent water challenges.

With the belief that clean drinking water is a basic human necessity, we partnered with the NGO, Hand in Hand India in 2019, to bring clean drinking water to Thiruvanai Koil village in Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu. Due to the lack of safe drinking water, the lives and livelihoods of these villagers were severely disrupted. They were forced to travel long distances to collect water or pay exorbitant amounts to buy water. Our drinking water system had a direct impact on over 250 households. On average, families in Thiruvanai Koil were able to save around 40 minutes in a day. This could be interpreted as saving close to half a year per family. They now have more time and energy to focus on their families, education and livelihood.

In the same year, we initiated another drinking water project and were able to provide drinking water to over 1,450 villagers in Maiyur Panchayat in Tamil Nadu. The villagers primarily consisted of labourers and were travelling close to two kilometres every day to collect water for their daily use. The solution provided to them included a bore well, solar operated pump and storage tank. It has significantly helped to reduce the dependency on external sources and build sustainability values among the community.

We believe that some of the risks associated with the current water crisis can be mitigated by restoring our local water bodies and building resilience. Considering that Chennai was at the epicentre of this crisis last year, we restored a 2.5-acre pond in Injambakkam, Chennai in April 2020.  The restored pond is now a source of clean water and will improve the water table in the neighbourhood. Around 1000 people who live in and around the pond will be positively impacted by this effort. The pond is also connected with solar lights to improve its overall energy efficiency and create a safer space for visitors and residents. As a company, we have established a three-year plan to work closely with the neighbouring community to improve the self-sustenance of the pond. We are also working closely with CII to restore other water bodies.

Educational, Livelihood and Awareness Initiatives: We closely work with schools and other institutions to improve their quality of education and create an opportunity for underprivileged and differently-abled children. With the help of our NGO partners, we have been striving to achieve parity in education and vocational training for these students. This includes improving the skill set of teachers and empowering them with modern educational tools and technology. 

In a partnership with one of our NGO partners, we were able to aid in the overall development of school-going children in slum communities. Through this programme, the students are provided skill-based training and access to qualified teachers. Our financial support was used to improve staff salaries and for other campaigns run by the trust for the benefit of the children. We also promote extracurricular activities such as leadership and personality training to aid in the holistic development of the children.

As the country is gearing up towards improving energy and water consumption, we believe young minds will be able to propel these initiatives if taught about it early. These children have visited our facility multiple times and we have been able to take them through the need to conserve water and energy by encouraging them to bring about small changes in the way they have managed these resources earlier. We believe that they have been able to take this learning back to their families and are acting as a catalyst in being the change agents in helping the community in their way. These children were also part of our public awareness campaigns. They performed street plays to build awareness on water and energy-related topics.

One of the key concern areas for parents with differently-abled children, especially autistic and mentally-challenged children, is their future. We, therefore, work with a few NGOs to provide vocational training for these special needs students – thereby preparing them for some key career opportunities. One such project is Thozhi – an initiative that teaches these students to make low-cost sanitary pads. These pads, in turn, are sold to students in government schools and underprivileged women. This in turn also helps in improving women’s health and hygiene.

Grundfos India also works on strengthening plumbing skills through our collaboration with a few NGOs. This CSR initiative is helping train hundreds of youth in plumbing each year and provides them with a stable career path and source of income when they graduate.

Covid-19: The pandemic has created unprecedented health and humanitarian crisis in the country. Priorities were realigned to be able to step up and support during the current situation that the world is battling. While the lockdown is imperative to prevent the spread of the virus, migrant workers and underprivileged communities have been struggling to access food.

With the help of various NGO partners, we were able to step up during these difficult times and provide food kits to more than 1000 people near our Chennai headquarters. We distributed five tonnes of rice and 250 kgs of pulses to more than 3000 people in the city. We have also donated funds directed towards procuring medical and protective equipment for government hospitals. This includes ventilators, surgical masks, CVN95+ masks, protective goggles and nitrile gloves. This will have an impact on close to 4000 healthcare workers.

Globally, our facility in Bjerringbro, Denmark, is producing up to 5,000 face shields in a day to support frontline workers. These visors are being delivered to all Grundfos areas of operations.  The Grundfos Foundation has also pledged £25m to support research into COVID-19.

Conclusion

With the changing dynamics, it is critical for organisations to constantly monitor, evaluate and strengthen efforts in the direction of sustainability and social commitment. We at Grundfos will continue to work on our sustainability commitments as well as engage with our local communities to ensure a better life for those who are less fortunate.

Mahathi Parashuram is Regional Head of Public Affairs, Communications & Engagement, Grundfos Asia Pacific Region.

[i]pdjf.dk/en/article/solar-powered-safe-water-for-200000-in-western-tanzania/

[ii]https://www.americanbazaaronline.com/2020/03/28/innovative-urban-drinking-water-program-launched-in-india-440665/