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A global company
with a local approach

why do we care?

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:

being responsible

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 William Demant and we will continue to develop our initiatives in the future.

Being responsible

We take pride in empowering and supporting individuals and communities not only directly through our products, but also through our projects and initiatives with the aim of improving people's life. With and increased attention to CSR, various teams across the Group have taken action to better contribute to our people and society. In addition, the Oticon Foundation, the majority owner of William Demant, sponsors social and educational programmes, publications, conferences, cultural activities and campaigns for researchers, hearing care professionals and the general public.

In 2017, the Oticon Foundation in total donated DKK 98 million to projects in such areas as research, education, culture and care. A total of DKK 60 million was donated to projects aiming at alleviating hearing loss all over the world and to education and research projects within hearing healthcare and the rest to a variety of projects, e.g. culture activities, exhibitions and humanitarian healthcare projects. On example is the Oticon Foundation supported an organisation called the Maternity Foundation to run a project and enhance maternal and newborn health in Ethiopia. A few examples of our global philanthropic activities are our financial support to the Global Foundation for Children with Hearing Loss and the establishment of national newborn hearing screening in Mongolia.

Supporting education, institutions and research projects in the field of audiology is also an important part of the Oticon Foundation’s activities. In 2017, the Oticon Foundation has donated a total of DKK 20 million to leading universities around the world in for instance the Netherlands, the US, France, the UK, Switzerland, Germany and in the Nordic countries. Approximately DKK 10 million was donated to Danish universities.

For several years, the Oticon Foundation has funded the Ida Institute and has contributed with DKK 24 million to the work of the Institute in 2018-2019. The Ida Institute is an organisation that works to disseminate patient-centered hearing rehabilitation globally and that develops tools to empower and support people with hearing impairment in their process of recognition and treatment.

part of the united nations global compact


In 2010, William Demant joined the United Nations Global Compact. We believe this helps us scope our commitment to corporate responsibility and align strategies and goals within the corporate world.

In 2016, we updated our reporting structure and framework in order to adhere to new regulatory changes. We meet the new requirements by elaborating on the company business model and by reporting on our policies, processes, actions and results. You can see our reports here.

We report yearly on our actions and initiatives based on the 10 UNGC principles in such areas as human rights, labour rights, environment and anti-corruption. Furthermore, we have seen a natural development in William Demant to contribute towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which have been developed and agreed globally since 2015. In 2017, we reviewed our sustainability framework and we have especially recognised our CSR focus in SDG no. 3, 8 and 9.

human and labour rights

William 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 William Demant Holding’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.


Five human and labour rights principles

co2 emission report

On the basis of our sphere of influence, we are committed to minimising our impact and footprint on the environment and undertaking initiatives that advocate environmental responsibility. Moreover, we encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies in the Group.


We are committed to limiting our environmental footprint, and we encourage environmentally friendly initiatives across the Group. In order to track our total corporate CO2 emissions, we collect each year CO2 emission data, which are subsequently published in our CSR report.

In 2017, our Group’s CO2 emissions reached 37,671 tonnes, corresponding to 3.5 CO2 tonnes per employee. This is an increase compared to last year, as we have broadened our tracking and included the energy consumption of a representative cross section of the Group's retail entities. The energy consumption of our hearing care shops is higher than consumption at our corporate sites and locations, which we find natural. If we exclude these retail entities, we have seen a decrease from 2.32 CO2 tonnes per employee in 2016 to 1.92 CO2 tonnes in 2017.

We have actively adopted various approaches regarding facility in the offices to reduce energy consumption. At our headquarter, a cooling system that helps saving energy was installed in the summer of 2017. In our sound studios in Denmark, we have installed LED lights to reduce electricity consumption.

corporate governance

William Demant Holding 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. William Demant Holding'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 two 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 2017 – Statutory report on corporate governance, cf. section 107 b of the Danish Financial Statements Act, is available here.

more female managers

We continuously work on encouraging more female employees to seek opportunities for executive and managerial positions. In 2012, we defined a diversity policy and specific initiatives for increasing the ratio of female managers in the Group, which is called 'More female managers'. On an on-going basis, various initiatives will be developed to support the policy, from communication to recruitment and leadership. In 2017, we extended the reporting of female managers and diversity to include more countries and management levels. Furthermore, we have been working on reviewing and updating our diversity policy, which will be rolled out to a larger scale and cover more companies under our global organisation from 2018 onwards. Find the policy here


To increase the number of potential female managers, relevant departments in the William Demant Group must prioritise sending female employees to job fairs.


In job advertisements and in our employer branding material, we will further balance the tone of voice between ‘male’ and ‘female’ connotations and make sure we use female employees in employer branding visuals.


When cooperating with external recruiting agencies, we require qualified female candidates in the second round.


Our managers will have greater focus on guiding and nudging female talents towards pursuing opportunities for promotion.

Focus bears fruit

Since we started tracking these numbers in 2009, the male/female manager ratio in our Danish companies has improved from 89/11 in 2009 to 73/27 in 2017. In middle and first-line management, the ratio has increased from 84/16 in 2009 to 71/29 in 2017. From a global perspective, our companies in Australia, Switzerland, Poland and South Africa have a relatively high female manager ratio compared to the other countries in 2017. We will continuously work on our recruitment process to address gender equality and employ more talented females into the Group.

The best candidate for the job

However, it is important to keep in mind that all these initiatives do not change our basic recruiting goal, which is to always seek, hire and promote the best qualified employees – gender set aside.


In terms of gender equality in the Board of Directors, a female Board member was elected at the annual general meeting in 2014, which also means that the Board reached its first target within one year after the target was set. In 2016, the Board set a new target on female leadership: by the end of 2020, the Board of Directors aims to have at least two female members.

data privacy

In 2017, William Demant launched a Data Privacy project with the aim to create a common framework that establishes a foundation and the necessary guidelines for how to handle and utilize personal data - in order to protect private data and to enable the companies in the Group to work more freely with data.


The handling and protection of personal data is an ever-increasing subject for companies interacting with multiple stakeholders these days. With new rules and regulations within data privacy becoming effective in the EU in 2018, and increased scrutiny in the US and other countries, data privacy is more relevant than ever before. This is also the case in William Demant, where a Data Privacy project has been established in order to train and guide the local businesses and organisations to handle personal data.


Data privacy is among our top priorities regarding business ethics. We are aware and highly respectful of the sensitive nature of personal data that our customers, end-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. Read more in our CSR report.

product safety and quality

In William Demant, we have a strong focus on safety and usability in our products and services, both when designing and manufacturing products.

product safety and quality

Our internal standard operating procedures for qualification and testing are often stricter than international safety standards and are based on experience gained in the last century in terms of hearing aid quality, reliability and safety.

We are constantly committed to raising the safety and quality level of our products and have together with the hearing industry been one of the driving forces in developing a new international safety standard for hearing aids (60601-2-66: Hearing instruments and hearing instrument systems).

As part of this endeavour, we have obtained an FDA clearance for our latest product and have thus reached for the highest standards when it comes to safety and effectiveness. Further, we have designed our wireless products and technology to meet a high degree of safety and to enable them to coexist with pacemakers and defibrillators. We have ISO9001 and ENISO certifications.13485. Read the reports here.


the oticon foundation

The Oticon Foundation, or William Demants og Hustru Ida Emilies Fond, is a commercial foundation whose main purpose is to secure and expand the commercial activities of William Demant Holding and William Demant Invest and to donate money to charitable causes.

For the past ten years, the Oticon 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 the Oticon 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.