Letter from the CEO

Mads Nipper

Growing our business with the SDGs

We believe an open economic system is the only way to a low-carbon, environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive future. At the same time, we acknowledge that ‘business as usual’ is no longer enough. 

Many good things happened in 2018. There was a clear decline in ozone-depleting chemicals; Ethiopia took steps away from dictatorship and India’s supreme court overturned more than 150 years of anti-LGBT legislation. These are all proof that change is possible.

However there is more to do. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is calling for an immediate halt to the ‘slide towards protectionism’. There is a surge in nationalism. Income inequality is at its highest level in the past half century, and the stream of refugees continues while some countries close their borders. These are challenges that can only be solved if we act together.

Sustainability is our business

When I joined the Business and Sustainable Development Commission about three years ago, it was to bring together leaders to seize on the business opportunities in sustainable development. The Commission finalised its work this year as planned, but it remains relevant. The Commission estimated that sustainable solutions could bring financial rewards of between US$12 trillion and US$30 trillion. It is not only about doing the right thing; the SDGs offer companies a tremendous growth strategy. Can we survive as a company just by ‘being responsible’ in the way we do business and without ‘taking responsibility’ by looking into new business models and technologies that open doors to a more sustainable, more inclusive business?

At the same time, the boundary between politics and business becomes less clear; we have to have opinions on relevant issues and act accordingly.

I had the privilege to be in Kenya in October 2018 and witnessed how safe water changes lives for the better

The hidden opportunities

UNICEF estimates women and children spend 200 million hours daily collecting water. It is a colossal waste of time! Yes, the future is already here… it is just unevenly distributed. We believe that development can happen without compromising one side of the planet to benefit the other. In 2018, we worked with the SDGs through strategic ‘doing good and doing business’ initiatives to find the hidden opportunities. 

A task force in Ghana is looking into new ways of doing business with greater positive impact on goals #6 (water) and #8 (jobs and growth). We initiated work to strengthen access to solar pumping solutions, focusing on goal #13 (climate).

We are continuing our efforts on energy efficiency through our products and solutions. As in previous years, we have calculated the annual electricity savings represented by the high-efficiency circulator pumps that we have sold in the European Union (EU) since 2005. In 2018, these Grundfos solutions saved an estimated 7.9 billion kWh. In addition, our eco-design toolbox is now part of key product development processes to support sustainable decisions at each stage of a product’s life cycle. We are piloting takeback systems and exploring the reusability of product components as well as design-for-disassembly.

While there is always room for improvement, we take pride in seeking an even deeper understanding of what role we play now and can play in pursuit of a sustainable future.

The future depends on what you do now

We will soon launch our 2025 strategy, which will continue to stress our commitment to meet the challenges of tomorrow. What will always remain consistent are the Grundfos values. We have supported the UN Global Compact since 2002 and continue to do so. Our business partners and the communities know they can trust us to observe the highest standards. We are determined to maintain that trust and toconduct business in an ever-more sustainable way.


Mads Nipper

Sustainability Report 2018