Demcon publishes first Creating Shared Value annual overview
Investing in measurable impact
Demcon for the first time publishes a Creating Shared Value annual overview with specific initiatives and statistics. This way the company accounts for its efforts in support of having social impact, and sustainability in projects and in its own business operations. This is part of its DNA focused on solving complex issues of a technological and social nature. But to measure is to know. Last year a lot of energy was therefore invested in making its social impact and sustainability performance measurable and in creating quantitative insight.
Creating Shared Value (CSV) concerns creating shared value relating to social issues, such as climate change, nutrition, health and safety. This way Demcon aims to make a direct contribution to various Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. In the area of CSV, Demcon has three focus areas, each with two underlying themes. These are ‘Care for the planet’ (CO2-neutral, Sustainable Design), ‘Fit for the job’ (Vitality, Diversity & inclusion) and ‘Innovate for societal challenges’ (Technological solutions with impact, Start-ups & investments).
Investing in CSV
CEO Dennis Schipper: ‘The last focus area is why we ultimately do what we do: developing sustainable innovations that address major social issues. All of us are working hard on this, day in and day out, and we invest in starting and evolving technological companies that are pursuing the same goal for this purpose. Last year, together with partners, we invested over two million euros in such companies, whereby CSV was a major factor in our decisions. Our aim is to base 100% of our investments on Creating Shared Value. We are also guided by CSV in selecting the new markets we intend to explore. For example, we have become active in the Energy segment for which we are developing hydrogen production systems and innovative battery technologies.’
Sustainability in design
Demcon is now taking the next step by integrating sustainability into the primary process. Sustainable design will become part of our mode of operation. This means, for example, that during the design of products and systems, aspects such as repair, reuse and reducing energy consumption will be incorporated into the design. Sustainable Design training courses have been developed and to date the methodology has already been used in three projects. The goal is for 90% of our engineers to complete the Sustainable Design basic training course this year.
Reduced CO2 emissions, increased cycling
Schipper: ‘As we develop sustainable solutions for our clients – and ultimately for the planet – we must of course do that in sustainable ways ourselves as well. Practice what you preach!’ For example, in 2022 Demcon mapped out its own CO2 emissions, so that the objective of lowering emissions by 5% per year – in line with the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and the Dutch government’s policy – can be monitored. A milestone last year was the construction of the new head office in Enschede. This new building meets the highest sustainability standards (BREEAM Outstanding). Furthermore, Demcon aims to take the mobility policy seriously and to increase its focus on cycling. In 2022, 47% of employees cycled to work and the aim is to increase this to more than 50%. Naturally, this also supports the Vitality theme.
Fit for the job
Schipper: ‘We can only achieve all this with vital and healthy employees. This is why we are aiming to create a safe and pleasant workplace, where all employees have room for taking initiative, where they feel appreciated and where they can be themselves. We are already doing everything needed to accomplish this, but in 2023 we will implement additional new initiatives, because we are ambitious.’ For example, Demcon intends to encourage joint employee participation in sports events (eight times last year) and to improve the balance within teams at work. The company also aims to further increase the ratio of women in technical positions (currently 18%) and men in departments with a majority of women (management & support departments). For example, there will be training for managers concerning these themes and there will be a mentor program for diversity & inclusion (social buddy program).
Schipper: ‘This way Demcon continues to grow, including in terms of accounting for our sustainable operations. I am pleased that with our first CSV annual overview we are now able to concretely demonstrate this.’
Click here to view the CSV annual overview 2022.