The power of many

Sustainability

The power of many

Sustainability is a long-term project dependent on the power of many. Team members at Hager Group tirelessly put their heads together to help create a more ethical and eco-friendly environment. Six of our colleagues, who speak for all and share our group’s vision of making people’s life on our planet safer, cleaner and more enjoyable, tell us just what it is that drives them.

Taking the discussion on ethics further

The moment I saw Hager Group was recruiting ethics ambassadors, I instantly clicked to apply. Business ethics is a topic that personally intrigues me and I was looking forward to the opportunity to be involved with it as a professional.

Hager Group is a company deeply committed to its values and this is something that I have always admired. These values have helped me grow professionally and guided me in my daily work as product manager for the Greek market for the last six years. One other reason that I chose to be an ethics ambassador is because for my final Master’s degree assignment in Project Engineering, I studied Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and how multinational companies manage occupational health and safety issues. Now, not only do I have the chance to deepen my knowledge on business ethics – which is an integral part of CSR – but also to discuss the topic in-depth and study real life cases.

The role of an ethics ambassador makes me feel that I am a part of a global community within our company. This community is a continuously growing network, with currently 17 ambassadors, that shares a common purpose. As ethics ambassadors, we conduct training on Hager Group ethics charter and help colleagues sharpen their perception of this very important topic. In the process of becoming an ethics ambassador I realised that all employees face ethical dilemmas in their daily work and there is never an easy answer, there is no absolute right or wrong way to face these dilemmas. These tricky situations can lead to decisions that may create conflicts, and here is where the ethics ambassador steps in. I am eager to start working on real life cases no matter how challenging they might be. Our network is ready and waiting for all of our colleagues around the world to discuss any ethics issue they might have, and this with our full discretion.

Michael Mavroulidis, based in Athens, is one of the 17 ethics ambassadors of Hager Group. The 34 year old electrical engineer studied electrical engineering in Crete in 2011, earned his Master’s degree in project engineering from the Hellenic Open University in 2020 and joined Hager Group Greece in the year 2015. As a product manager for the Greek market he is responsible for modular devices and the electro mobility product range.

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Our approach to Sustainability

As a family business, it is in our nature to think in generations and to act in a foresighted manner, both from an economic and ecological perspective. Today, climate change is one the biggest challenges that humanity is facing and we at Hager Group want to make people’s life on our planet safer, cleaner and more enjoyable.

Hager Group Green Plan, as we name our environmental sustainability ambition, will mean decarbonating all areas of the company. It will be a real transformation in the way we design our products and operate. For products, we will focus on design principles that minimise carbon footprint and other environmental impacts on the planet. At our different locations, we will put a strong focus on clean energy sources and energy efficiency.

Decarbonisation will affect all areas of the company, including our travel policy and waste management on sites. For the implementation of our Green Plan plan, we must combine efforts with our customers and partners as environmental impacts are across the entire process chain; from the extraction of raw materials to the use of our products and solutions by the end customer. We will thus set about developing solutions together with our customers and partners, joining forces to bring about improvements that have a positive impact on our sustainability performance.

Matthieu Alexandropoulos, 37, began his career in the aerospace industry, where in his public affairs positions, he witnessed the rising concerns around chemicals and the need of reducing CO₂ emissions. At Hager Group, he was initially assistant to the CEO and interim head of the Corporate Communications team before taking over the newly founded Sustainability department in 2020. Matthieu is father of two daughters.

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Towards a new material world

The use of plastic is one of the fields in which we can and need to work hard. We have to select and use it in the most sustainable way and reduce its environmental impact as much as possible.

This is especially true as due to technical requirements, plastic cannot be entirely substituted by alternative materials. Plastic is indeed essential in electrical devices to ensure safety of end users. For Hager Group products, plastic is essential as is safety.

Selecting and using sustainable plastic is a global approach. It takes into consideration the origin of the raw material as well as environmental impacts in general which range from global warming to different types of pollution. It also encompasses social aspects, ethics and economics. To be consistent in decision making, it is important to consider the entire life cycle of plastic from raw material extraction to end-of-life management.

In recent years at Hager Group, different initiatives have already been implemented in engineering and manufacturing. Plastic scraps from injection and extrusion moulding are recycled internally in our production plants and reused as much as possible. Eco design, which tries to use resources as thoughtfully as possible, is key to any development project. We take a global approach to reducing and eliminating substances of environmental concern in plastic. Plastic from post-consumer and post-industrial recycling is used in some of our products and solutions. We aim to increase its usage in the future.

If we really want to contribute to a circular economy by 2030, we need to allocate additional resources and invest in every level of the value chain, from strategic to operational levels. Doing so will ensure that we can provide full ranges of eco-designed products in eco-friendly & sustainable materials, as well as taking into account madatory regulations.

I am professionally and personally happy to be part of any forward-thinking plastic initiatives; my role is to guide the company in making the right decisions in terms of our plastics strategy and ensure the most sustainable choices. Material science is endlessly innovative and challenging; sustainable development is more than essential for the environment, and my job unites both those things. As a mother, it is important for me that the values I pass on to my children are in line with my work. In my current position, this is exactly the case.

Patricia Lamouche is a plastic engineer and a mother of two children. Before joining Hager Group, she began her career in Research and Innovation in the automotive industry, where she evaluated the use of plastic based on renewable resources. At Hager Group, she started as a plastic lab engineer and became a material expert for protection engineering. Patricia is currently in charge of the Material Expertise Centre, a team of material experts who support technical teams in material selection, strategies, validation and analysis. Besides her management job, she leads initiatives to integrate more sustainable plastic into Hager Group products & solutions.

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Trust is the basis of everything

I have often wondered what the success of a company like Hager Group is based on. Today I’m convinced that the key lies in trust. Without trust, no organisation – be it an association, a company, a country or even a family – can develop sustainably.

The prosperity of our company is based on the trust of our customers, partners, suppliers and employees. This trust cannot be ordered up; it is the continual process and result of our exemplary behaviour towards stakeholders and the respect all of us hold for a certain number of principles and rules of conduct, regardless of our level of responsibility or position.

Ethical behaviour which goes beyond mere compliance with regulations, is fundamental to Hager Group. Our core values of integrity, authenticity and courage are profoundly rooted in ethics.

When I joined Hager Group 34 years ago we were less than 2,000 people. Our principles and rules of conduct were implicit and it was by example that they were shared within the organisation. Today, as the company has more than 11,500 employees, the approach to ethics is structured. We have codified our principles in a charter, rolled out training and communication initiatives and set up a network of ethics ambassadors throughout the group. We also implemented an alert system which allows everyone to report any misconduct. All this is very gratifying for me to see. I personally have a deep sense of justice. Contributing to the development of a company for which ethics are essential gives meaning to my commitment.

Denis Munch, 62, has held various positions at Hager Group, notably in production, quality, HR and CSR. As Group Ethics Officer he is now involved in many issues related to business ethics.

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Measuring and reducing our impact

Today, scientists believe climate change to be “the biggest global health threat of the 21st century” (Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General, World Health Organization) It‘s a threat that impacts us all, especially more vulnerable groups, in a variety of direct and indirect ways. Heat, for example: as temperatures spike, so does the incidence of illness, emergency room visits and death. We are aware we must reduce our impact on global warming and have decided to use or carbon footprint as a driver.

This carbon footprint is used to measure the quantity of greenhouse gases (GHGs) that we emit with the combustion of fossil fuels. The term “carbon footprint” is used because carbon dioxide is the greenhouse gas that most contributes to global warming.

Respecting the environment and caring for biodiversity is one of the cornerstones for decisions made at Hager Group. Keeping a sharp eye on our carbon footprint means reducing energy consumption in our factories and buildings as well as in our products. We also have to bear in mind raw material depletion.

In 2019 we committed to measuring the carbon footprint of all Hager Group activities on a yearly basis. We do so by measuring both our direct and indirect emissions, generated by our energy consumption (electricity, heat, cold, compressed air), our travel activities and the use of our products. Needless to say, this is a very comprehensive task, but it is unavoidable if we are serious about identifying the main levers for reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition, we implement action plans such as using recycled plastic or optimising product consumption or monitoring our buildings. We are also in the business of enabling sustainable living; for example, customers can buy devices to store and use renewable energy which allow them to optimise their consumption.

Setting ambitious and pragmatic targets for the reduciton of our carbon footprint motivates us to boost innovation which in turn drives sustainable growth. We hope this will inspire our peers, our suppliers and our customers to follow suit.

I’m proud to be part of this story, of helping to master this very comprehensive task. Through my daily actions, both personally and professionally, I believe I can help to construct a different and better story for our future.

David Dupuis, a plastic engineer, joined Hager Group 12 years ago after working in the automotive industry and a stint in a small company. In his previous job, he developed 100% biodegradable materials such as plastic made from hemp and straw to improve mechanical performances. For Hager Group, this father of two initially worked as a mechanical, plastic engineer and “eco-relay” expert for the environmental impacts assessment of Hager products (PEP). In January 2020, David joined the group’s newly founded Sustainable Development Team.

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Defining who we are

When people speak about Corporate Social Responsibility, they tend to think about environmental questions, the protection of our planet and the fight against climate change. I think we still have to develop the understanding that social and societal aspects are just as important for the future of our society and every company has to live up to its responsibility in this aspect: fight against corruption and for human rights (such as the abolition of child labour), responsible purchasing, reduction of poverty and inequalities, diversity and inclusion…

To me business ethics is such an exciting topic because it touches upon profound questions such as who we are and how we want to be – as human beings, employees, as a company and even a society. Also, the answers are never easy and every ethical dilemma or question has its own challenges. For example, should we buy a counterfeit machine and save hundreds of thousands of euros that we could in turn invest in the training and development of our people? In other words: would it be okay to do an obviously wrong thing if you can achieve something good with that?

For a company the size of Hager Group, it is impossible for two people to tackle questions like this alone. That’s where the value of our network of ethics ambassadors lies. Our current 17 ambassadors bring a wealth of cultural imprints, personal and professional experiences, job competencies and personal values to the table. Together, our goal is to raise awareness about business ethics amongst our colleagues. We want to explain, train and discuss these topics with them and make them a priority in all decision-making. The ambassadors also help me to improve and develop our corporate ethics program, so it is a two-way communication. They enrich our corporate discussions with local points-of-view and they share our corporate content locally.

Being an ethics ambassador is a challenging role because we are entering unknown territory and a completely new field of competencies. It is also a position of particular trust because they support us in investigating ethical alerts in their region that come up via our integrity alert system “Let’s Talk” and therefore they could be privvy to highly confidential information. In the long run, we would like to be able to count on a network of 20 to 25 ambassadors in all our major countries and a new recruitment campaign will start end of 2021. Our main recruitment criteria are a strong personal interest in business ethics, an open mindset, excellent ethical track record, fluent English and, very important, the desire to meet, collaborate and grow with colleagues from all over the world.

We launched the network in 2020 as planned, but for obvious reasons it is rather difficult to create a new community, train people, and develop a team spirit during a global pandemic with extremely limited contact options. We currently meet about once per month, mostly for training purposes but in the future, these meetings will transform into work and brain-storming sessions and our ambassadors will also start to meet with our colleagues digitally or in person to fill our buseinss ethics initiative with tangible life.

Angela Durand, 40, based in Obernai, holds a German-Canadian double-diploma in international management and project management. After years of working around the globe, Angela joined Hager Group in 2016 as CSR & Ethics Manager. In this role she helped create a comprehensive ethics program for Hager Group including Hager Group Ethics Charter, various codes of conduct, ethics training programs, the alert system Let’s Talk and the ethics ambassador network.

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For consistent decision making, it is important to consider the entire life cycle of plastic.

Patricia Lamouche, Head of Material Expertise Centre

The answers are never easy and every ethical dilemma or question has its own challenges.

Angela Durand, Sustainability Manager Ethics

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Reducing the use of plastic materials.

Be they in production, Hager Forum or administration buildings, everyone can contribute to saving resources.

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Ethics

Our ethical principles determine how we behave towards our customers, our colleagues and society as a whole. Our Hager Group Ethics Charter is shared with all our employees, external customers, partners, suppliers and stakeholders to emphasise our commitment to ethical and sustainable business. Since 2007, we have been signatories of the United Nations Global Compact, as such we give preference to suppliers and partners who, like us, respect the principles of ethical and sustainable business.

Environment

Considering products in terms of their lifecycles revolutionises the way in which we view product development, resource usage and our environmental footprint. We provide a full life cycle analysis of all our products and then a Product Environmental Profile (PEP). At a production level, we are continuously looking for ways to reduce our consumption of resources. Currently, 16 of our production facility locations and four of our distribution centres are certified to the international environmental management standard ISO 14001, which defines globally recognised requirements for environmental management.

Energy

Contributing to the energy transition, our energy storage systems, integrated energy management systems and e-mobility solutions help our customers. It’s all about using renewable energy sources, producing energy autonomously and optimising energy consumption. Our environmentally friendly, forward-looking solutions are now developed by Hager Energy.

Title – ContentsDaniel Hager – EditorialTomorrow’s world and beyond – EssayThe hub and spoke principle – LogisticsMaking it our project – Project businessCombined energies – Energy ManagementThe power of many – SustainabilityGoing the extra mile in the future – Customer CentricityDigital twins conquer construction sites – DigitalisationBoard of Directors – Our Supervisory Board – Contacts for our customers – Facts & figures – Imprint – Hager Group Annual Report ArchiveHager Group Annual Report 2020/21Hager Group Annual Report 2019/20Hager Group Annual Report 2018/19Hager Group Annual Report 2017/18Hager Group Annual Report 2016Hager Group Annual Report 2015