In the EcoVadis assessment, Hedengren was ranked in the top 7% of its reference group in terms of environmental sustainability and the top 9% in terms of supply-chain sustainability. “This recognition shows that sustainability is an integral part of our DNA,” says the group’s Managing Director Marek Hintze.
Hedengren’s Managing Director Marek Hintze thinks that the Silver rating the company received is testament to its long-term sustainability efforts. Hedengren got its highest score (Advanced, 70/100) for environmental sustainability. For the three other themes with which EcoVadis measures performance, i.e. labour and human rights, ethics and sustainable procurement, the result was almost at the same level (Good, 60/100).
EcoVadis is one of the largest business sustainability rating providers in the world, assessing global companies in over 200 purchasing categories and over 175 countries. So far, over 100,000 businesses have taken part in the assessment.
“The recognition shows what we have accomplished so far by conventional means, which, on the other hand, shows that sustainability is an integral part of our DNA. Our operations are based on products with a long life cycle, eco-friendly production processes and long-term partnerships,” describes Hintze.
According to Hintze, the EcoVadis partnership, launched in 2021, has made the company’s approach to sustainability more systematic.
“EcoVadis provides our sustainability work with a structure and gives us tools for developing both our own sustainability and that of our partners. On a larger scale, the sustainability work of businesses aims to mitigate climate change and ensure the fulfilment of human rights,” says Hintze.
Challenging supply chains
Of the areas assessed by EcoVadis, Hintze considers supply chain sustainability the most challenging. The supply chains of the international conglomerate operating in the field of security and building technology are long and complex.
“The greatest challenge is ensuring that all members of our value chain operate sustainability and according to our values.”
As the most critical members of the value chain, Hinze regards the companies that do not necessarily have the money and resources required for sustainability work.
“In that case, the question is, how can we help them? Sustainability work also involves supporting that of our partners whenever possible even if it means additional investment for us. The industry will not develop unless all involved in it develop,” says Hintze.
Major partners also pose challenges. Hedengren’s clients include giant multinational corporations both from Europe and outside it.
“Since the 1950s, we have been concluding contracts with companies around the world, and now we have over a hundred international partners. In the future, we may be faced with a situation in which a partner does not or cannot follow the sustainability principles. If that happens, are ready to give up the partnership? Fortunately, sustainability is also such an integral part of our partners’ operations that so far we have not been faced with the choice. I hope this will continue to be the case.”
Focus on personnel
According to Hintze, the situation with the ethics of Hedengren’s business operations and employee rights is better in practice than what the results indicate.
“The assessment requires detailed documentation. Our values and practices involve many things that are not documented systematically in accordance with EcoVadis’s sustainability principles, so, all we need to do to improve our ranking significantly is to improve our documentation.”
Hintze gives the matters related to employee well-being as an example of this.
“Our employees have access to good training opportunities and exceptionally comprehensive occupational health care. We also offer our employees free EV charging, company bikes and a variety of exercise opportunities – and this is also something we want to keep doing and developing further,” says Hintze.
After receiving the Silver rating, Hedengren intends to continue the sustainability work in a more organised manner.
“We intend to turn the Silver into Gold. We aim to do this with the aid of our improved quality and environmental system and 17-member team looking for new areas of development and deciding what projects to implement,” describes Hintze.
What Hintze considers most important in setting the objectives is that the sustainability work starts with the owners and is carried out at all levels of the organisation.
“The new generation of owners wants to focus even more on sustainability and is highly motivated for sustainability work. It is also important to get the personnel committed to the work, since developing sustainability is not a project but a journey of continuous learning and development,” says Hintze.