04 August 2017
WindowMaster 18 months after entering the UN Global Compact
WindowMaster was born to help others creating sustainable indoor climates by offering a green alternative to mechanical ventilation. Put in other words; Corporate social responsibility is in our DNA. However, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is not merely the sum of the measures we take to help others becoming environmentally friendly. CSR also requires self-regulation, meaning that for a company to be environmentally, economically and socially responsible it must practice what it preaches.
To adhere to our own CSR standards, WindowMaster therefore joined UN Global Compact 18 months ago. UN Global Compact is the world's largest corporate sustainability initiative. Member companies align strategies and operations with ten universal principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and take actions that advance societal goals.
Although WindowMaster had already incorporated a wide range of standards and procedures that are aligned with most of the ten principles before becoming a member of UN Global Compact, we wanted to emphasize the work that can still be done. After mapping potential areas with room for improvement, it was concluded that WindowMaster can drive the greatest change by focusing on two primary initiatives with high potential impact. The two initiatives respectively address the transparency of our global supply chain and our total carbon footprint as a company.
Now, more than a year after entering the UN Global Compact we want to remain transparent and communicate what we have done to address the two initiatives.
This initiative is the first step on our quest to ensure that our supply chain complies with the ten principles of UN Global Compact. We will progress step by step and focus on a manageable number of tasks to ensure sustainable solutions both today in the future. The first project examines the packaging of the products we ship to our customers.
The first project relating to the initiative of improving transparency in our supple chain examines the packaging of the products we ship to our customers. For many of our products, we currently use plastic packaging (850 kilograms of plastic packaging per year at the time we joined UN Global Compact).
At WindowMaster, we set out to search for alternatives to plastic or no plastic at all. After considering various alternatives from ‘greener plastic alternatives’ to ‘fossil free plastic’, which all presented different environmental issues, it was decided that concentrating all efforts on cardboard was the best solution, as we believe that the recycled components of cardboard are more sustainable in the recycling process and come from recycled material or sustainably managed forests to begin with.
Today, steps are taken to ensure that products shipped from WindowMaster will no longer be wrapped in plastic first, but only packed in cardboard boxes. The necessary actions required in production are currently being evaluated, and packaging suppliers are being notified and tested for quality and certifications. Furthermore, the eco-status of our suppliers is also being evaluated, and preference will fall upon a combination of best all-around and green profile. The first step in changing the packaging for some of our product families is planned to happen in September 2017.
The overall goal is to reduce our annual consumption of current plastic packaging by 30% by Q4 2018.
The purpose of the second project under the first initiative is to establish a framework for communicating the requirements of the ten UN Global Compact principles to our suppliers, assessing the current situation and implementing a process to ensure continuous improvement towards increased compliance.
We are currently working on improving an already existing process to assess our suppliers, which restricts the use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment and aims to improve the protection of human health and the environment through improved and earlier identification of the intrinsic properties of chemical substances.
With this process, we can identify issues in our supply chain and develop and implement measures to eliminate the risk. In a document formalizing these requirements, we want our suppliers to adhere to a Code of Conduct and hereby comply with the UN Global Compact.
We will harmonize our existing Code of Conduct with the ten principles of the UN Global Compact. We will then evaluate the status of our suppliers by means of specific questions in an audit form. Finally, we will encourage suppliers who are not already a member of UN Global Compact to sign up.
Our overall target is to have an on-site conversation about our requirements and an audit of our top 15 suppliers by the end of 2018.
At WindowMaster, we develop, manufacture, and sell cleantech solutions for the building and construction industry. Hence, we help our clients with green solutions that reduce the total energy consumption in their buildings. Our second initiative addresses how we can effectively take our own medicine and reduce our own carbon footprint.
WindowMaster has sales offices in Denmark, the UK, the US, Norway, Germany, and Switzerland. We also have a factory located in Germany. Due to the structure of our business model, the energy consumed at our premises represents the lion’s share of our total carbon footprint.
WindowMaster’s accumulated kW consumption reached a total of 458,000 in 2015. To reduce our energy consumption, we formed a working group comprising representatives from all of our premises. This group has been developing an idea catalogue of ways to reduce our energy consumption. Furthermore, we invited energy consultants to assess the current state of our buildings and to recommend what we should focus on going forward. Tangible examples of what has been implemented based on the ideas include using only LED lights, installation of light automation and sensors, and reduced heating by 1°C in certain offices (controlled with our own cleantech systems).
Our overall target is to reduce our total energy consumption at our premises by 20% in 2018 compared to 2015.
Today, 69% of the energy consumed at our premises comes from fossil fuels, and 31% from renewable energy sources. We strive to bring this number down significantly.
Like the energy reduction project, the decision-making process for this project was decentralized in order to cater to local needs and conditions. For instance, wind is cheaper in Denmark, whereas hydropower is the smartest option in Norway.
The overall target is to reduce the fossil fuel consumption at our factory and sales offices to no more than 25% by 2018.
In our business, we have sales reps visiting customers and service technicians visiting building sites. Consequently, our examination of WindowMaster’s total carbon footprint shows that a significant portion is produced by vehicle emissions.
To bring down vehicle CO2 emissions, we have decided every year during the budget period to increase the number of hybrid or electrical vehicles we use to achieve our targets. To reduce the need for physical meetings, and thereby reduce road and air mileage, we have installed AV facilities at all our premises.
The overall target is to bring down the total CO2 emissions from vehicles with 20% by 2018.
Green on the outside – green on the inside
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