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Responsibility


We do not embrace social responsibility and care because society expects us to do so or because it increases our stock value. Care for other people is the very foundation of our company.

The story of our company starts with one man's passion to help his wife lead a better life, unhindered by her hearing loss. This passion for empowering people to play an active part in improving their lives is what drove us through the last century, what drives us now and what will drive us in the years to come.

Within our natural sphere of influence, we strive to actively improve people's quality of life and minimise the adverse effects of our activities. This is achieved by ensuring that business results are financially viable, socially balanced and environmentally sustainable.

We have specified our key corporate responsibilities and contributions in 14 principles covering four focus areas:

  • Corporate governance 
  • People and society 
  • Enviromental protection 
  • Business ethics 

To us, acting responsibly means doing more than just the minimum and in many instances doing more than what is required by law. Working with responsibility is a priority for Demant and we will continue to develop our initiatives in the future. We take pride in empowering and supporting individuals and communities not only directly through our products, but also through projects and initiatives with the aim of improving the quality of life of people with hearing loss.

In 2019, William Demant Foundation, the majority owner of Demant A/S, donated a total of DKK 153.2 million to projects within research, education, culture and care. Below we present some of them briefly. DKK 105.6 million was donated to projects aiming at alleviating hearing loss all over the world and to education and research projects within hearing healthcare. Finally, DKK 47.6 million was allocated to a range of different projects in areas such as cultural activities, exhibitions and humanitarian healthcare projects.

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With a grant of DKK 40 million from William Demant Foundation, the leading specialised hospital in Copenhagen, Rigshospitalet, will be able to offer patients with complicated audiological challenges specialised treatment and fund research within hearing loss and balance treatment.

An increasing number of young people are at risk of suffering from either tinnitus, de facto hearing loss or hearing sensitivity. In 2019, William Demant Foundation donated DKK 2 million to support the Danish Hearing Association in its efforts to prevent further hearing impairment among young people in Denmark.

William Demant Foundation has a long history of funding projects that promote research and the dissemination of knowledge in audiology and hearing impairment. In 2019, the Foundation financed 25 research projects, including two new PhD scholarships, which typically run 3-4 years. William Demant Foundation donated a total of DKK 11.5 million to leading universities around the world, namely Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Korea, the UK, Italy and France. Approximately DKK 33 million was donated to Danish universities.


Demant’s contribution to securing better hearing health extend beyond the donations made by the Foundation. The increased attention to our sustainability and responsibility work means that various teams across the Group have taken action to contribute even further to society and people’s health and inspire their surroundings to do the same.

For example, an initiative from our hearing aid retailers puts hearing on the healthcare agenda by offering free hearing aids and providing crucial information and education about hearing healthcare and the consequences of untreated hearing loss. Each time someone gets their hearing tested in one of the clinics participating in the campaign, the Campaign for Better Hearing gets a donation. With the donation money we provide free hearing aids to people who need them but cannot afford them, based on nominations from the clinics. In 2019, we have screened 465,633 people with a Campaign for Better Hearing campaign code, raised more than USD 1.75 million, and helped 509 people by providing 865 free hearing aids.

Another example of our contribution, which expands beyond our products, is Oticon Medical’s new online community for Oticon Medical users. It premiered for American Ponto users (bone-anchored hearing systems) in November 2019 and will expand to Neuro users (cochlear implants) in France, in 2020. The purpose of Oticon Medical Friends is to create a worldwide connection to offer users and caregivers of users, such as parents and relatives, an opportunity to share knowledge and experiences with each other.

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In 2010, Demant joined the United Nations Global Compact (UNGP). We report annually on our actions, initiatives and results based on the 10 UNGC principles within the four areas of human rights, labour rights, environmental and anti-corruption. We support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and contribute to their success through our core-business.

Demant’s direct impact contributes to SDG 3, 4, 8, 9, and 12. Our products and services improve the quality of life of users and patients and we contribute to increasing the availability of a healthy and skilled workforce. As a catalyst for jobs, we stimulate the economy while protecting human and labour rights as well as promoting responsible supply chain management. By providing scientific research, upgrading the technological capa¬≠bilities of relevant industrial sectors, and encouraging innovation, we boost R&D spending. Finally, we continue to pursue substituting more sustainable materials in our operations, production and products, with a current focus on reducing generation of waste through preven¬≠tion, reduction and recycling.

Whereas making a true difference with research and innovation and directly impacting world health is our core responsibility, we also pay special attention to SDG 5, 13 and 16. With people at our core, Demant aspire to create a more diverse and inclusive culture. We support the Paris Agreement by joining a Danish climate committee, and we address our own climate impact while seeking to reduce it. We also commit to ensuring ethical business practices and compliance.

 


Demant supports the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ILO's Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and the Modern Slavery Act. With respect to these declarations, we have five principles as guidance for management and employees.  


In 2016, we updated our reporting in order to adhere to the new British legislation on Modern Slavery. Our CSR report functions as Demant‘s statement on the UK Modern Slavery Act.

Modern slavery

We stand by building awareness of modern slavery and against exploitation of labor, slavery, servitude, forced and compulsory labor and human trafficking.

We consider the risk of human trafficking in our supply chain to be very mild. Our revenue model has a predominant base in OECD countries, where the government has a higher level of control over human rights, labour rights and modern slavery enforcement. In terms of production and assemblies of our products, the company operates predominantly in Europe, North and Latin America, where the risks are contained.

We tackle the risk of exploitation in the labour market by working with suppliers, entities, sales subsidiaries and distributions network that comply and abide with our code of conduct, regulations on human rights, labour rights and business ethics. We have further strengthened our Demant Group Third Party Compliance Code in 2019.

 

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Demant naturally complies with all current environmental rules and regulations in every country we operate in, and we are committed to minimising our negative impact on the environment, as well as to undertaking initiatives that advocate environmental responsibility and reduction of our environmental footprint. To reduce our footprint, we aspire continuously to optimise our operation, and as a result of our efforts in previous years, we do see the potential to improve.

Even though our industry is not notoriously a “black” industry, we take the current development very seriously and are committed to work on reducing our footprint. Demant’s value chain does contribute to emission of greenhouse gasses, and we have an obligation to raise awareness of where we ourselves can do better and in pursuit of a more climate friendly future for MedTech and healthcare companies, both in the local and international communities. To track our corporate CO2 emissions, we collect consumption data annually.

Within the material challenge of our operation, we have identified potential for reducing our footprint by reducing consumption of materials, such as plastic in production and excess materials in our packaging.

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Demant is subject to the Danish Recommendations on Corporate Governance laid down by the Danish Committee on Corporate Governance in respect to the way in which we adhere to the recommendations. The recommendations are also part of the disclosure requirements laid down by Nasdaq Copenhagen.

In order to balance our many stakeholders' interests, we have established a set of processes and relations by which we control and direct our company. Demant’s Board of Directors and Management consider corporate governance on an ongoing basis and regularly assess whether amendments to the Company’s Articles of Association or managerial processes are required.

When reporting on corporate governance, we follow the “comply or explain” principle, which means that failure to comply with a recommendation does not constitute a breach, as long as we explain why we have chosen not to follow a given recommendation and also explain what we do instead. The four cases where we have chosen to deviate from a recommendation are well-founded, and we explain what we do instead. To further increase transparency we have decided to provide supplementary and relevant information, even when we follow the recommendations.

A complete schematic presentation of the recommendations and our compliance, Corporate Governance 2019 – Statutory report on corporate governance, cf. section 107 b of the Danish Financial Statements Act, is available here.

 

 


Demant tries to promote female managers at all levels within the Group. Our policy “More female managers” encourage and blaze a trail for female employees to seek opportunities for executive and managerial positions. The policy points to areas within recruitment and qualifications, and ensures that female candidates and employees can obtain executive positions in Demant.  

 



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Continuous progress
In Demark, over the last six years, we have been able to grow the share of female managers by 8%. From 2018 to 2019, the number remained stable, and hence we will put in additional efforts to recapture the growth of this area, which we have seen in previous years. Since we started tracking these numbers in 2009, the male/female manager ratio in our Danish companies has improved from 89% male and 11% female in 2009 to 70% male and 30% female in 2019.

From a global perspective, we see a positive development in 2019 in Denmark, Australia, South Africa, Poland, and the UK. Notably in Poland, Canada, South Africa, Sweden, and the UK, there are currently more female than male managers. In France, New Zealand, and Germany, our companies have indeed engaged female managers during 2019, but not to a similar or larger extent than they have male managers. Within our current reporting scope of 13 countries with a total of 8,414 employees, the ratio is 59% male 41% female managers.

Target

We are obligated to set a time framed target for representation of the under-represented gender in the Board of Directors. Our target is to have at least two female members of the Board before the end of 2020. At the annual general meeting in March 2020, the Board of Directors will propose election of another female member and thus – if adopted – reach the target set.


Data privacy continues to be among our top compliance priorities. We are aware and highly respectful of the sensitive nature of the personal data that our customers, users, employees, and other stakeholders trust us to process, and we are committed to protecting such personal data through high levels of security measures and responsible policies.

In 2019, the Privacy Office continued its tireless efforts to increase awareness of data privacy in the organisation as well as to develop and refine internal processes and procedures. Further, additional resources were added to the Privacy Office during 2019. For 2020, we envision continuing our primary focus on training employees, whilst adhering to policies and monitoring the international development in privacy regulations. Naturally, following the IT incident in September 2019, the increased investment in and focus on IT security will also affect the work of the Privacy Office, as IT security is an integral part of data privacy.

 


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Although the use of raw material is limited in our manufacture compared to other industries, we still enforce a precautionary approach to environmental challenges. We have implemented the use of 'restricted list', which provides instruction and information on the utilisation and categorisation of substances and material. The aim is to ensure that the Group complies with relevant law regulations related to specific substances. In the restricted list, all relevant components and materials that are banned or restricted are listed.

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It is mandatory for our suppliers to comply with the restricted list, which is controlled through a declaration of conformity and/or audits. The list is based on the following regulations: 

  • Restriction of Hazardous Substances (ROHS)
  • Toys directive
  • Conflict minerals that are subject to the requirements of Dodd-Frank Section 1502
  • Registration, and the Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals directive (REACH)

Related to conflict minerals that are subject to the requirements of Dodd-Frank Section 1502 suppliers are requested to declare content. 

Substances are categorised as below:

  • Class I: Prohibited (not to be introduced in the production or be presented in any products put on the market by companies of Demant)
  • Class II: Restricted (for restricted use only)
  • Class III: Subjected to special deliberation (can be used, but under observation)
  • Class IV: Under observation (can be used after thorough risk assessment)
On top of the mandatory requirements according to laws, we have enforced extra specifications, e.g. ban on the use of al phthalates and natural rubber latex. Working with the restricted list ensures full transparency on the use of hazardous substances, compliance with relevant directives and the opportunity to set a higher bar than the external required or recommended standards. We are developing a risk-based approach where material compliance is not only secured by supplier declarations, but also via material analysis for high risk materials.
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William Demant Foundation, is a commercial foundation whose main purpose is to secure and expand the commercial activities of Demant A/S and William Demant Invest and to donate money to charitable causes.

For the past ten years, William Demant Foundation has donated more than 700 million Danish kroner to a string of different causes, focusing on projects promoting research into and dissemination of knowledge about audiology. But William Demant Foundation also contributes significantly to young people’s education, to social projects helping marginalised groups and to initiatives with a view to furthering art and culture.

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    Job & career

    A career at Demant opens up numerous possibilities of exciting, international positions in hearing healthcare. Join us in making a difference.

     

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    Strategy

    With a unique position in the hearing healthcare market, based on true innovation and an efficient global set-up, we are equipped to help millions of people.

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    Media

    To read more about our work with responsibility take a look at our publications here.