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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 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, William Demant Foundation, the majority owner of Demant A/S, sponsors social and educational programmes, publications, conferences, cultural activities and campaigns for researchers, hearing care professionals and the general public.

 

being-responsible

In 2018, William Demant Foundation in total donated DKK 111.5 million to projects in such areas as research, education, culture and care. DKK 62.2 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 of the DKK 111.5 million to a variety of projects, e.g. culture activities, exhibitions and humanitarian healthcare projects, described, but not limited to the ones illustrated in our CSR report.

One example of non-hearing related philanthropic activities is William Demant foundation's continuous support of the Maternity Foundation in Ethiopia aimed at enhancing maternal and newborn health. The project contributes to improving quality, availability, acceptability and accessibility of MNC services at both facility and community levels in West Wollenga zones.

More examples include our monetary contribution to the Mary Foundation to support its noble work focused at eliminating bullying, domestic violence and loneliness and improving people’s well-being.

Inclusion and equal opportunities for all are principles Demant strongly believes in and has supported Dansk Idrætsforbund, the Danish Deaf Sports Federation, with DKK 4 million, which will be distributed over the next four years to ensure that hearing impaired athletes have the best possible conditions for preparation, qualification and participation at European Championships, World Championships and the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

Being responsible also means spreading awareness of hearing health. Audika in France, a member of the Demant Group, has joined the National Campaign for Better Hearing, a part of an international program helping to raise awareness about the importance of early hearing screening. In addition, it has also partnered up with the largest music festival in France – Les Vieilles Charrues, attended by nearly 300,000 predominantly young visitors to help educate them about the importance of hearing health and protection, giving out advice, free audiological screening and earplugs.

Moreover, William Demant Foundation has a long history of funding projects that promote research and the dissemination of knowledge in audiology. In 2018, the Foundation financed 19 research projects, including three new PhD projects. As the PhD projects typically last three years, the Foundation also funded seven continued PhD projects from the previous years. In 2018, William Demant Foundation donated a total of DKK 12.3 million to leading universities around the world in for instance the US, Canada, the UK and Spain. Approximately DKK 17.2 million was donated to Danish universities.

For several years, William Demant Foundation has funded the Ida Institute and has contributed with DKK 12.5 million to the work of the Institute in 2018, while allocating the same sum for 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.


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In 2010, Demant joined the United Nations Global Compact. We report annually on our actions and initiatives based on the 10 UNGC principles in the four areas of human rights, labour rights, environmental and anti-corruption actions. We believe this helps us scope our commitment to corporate responsibility and align strategies and goals within the corporate world.


In addition, our Sustainability framework and CSR activities also contribute to (the achievement of) the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which have been developed and agreed upon globally in 2015. We especially recognise our CSR focus on SDG no. 3, 4, 8, 9 by improving people’s health, their quality of life, generating sustainable business growth, encouraging innovation in technology and beyond and supporting education, research and inclusion. While we have our primary SDGs focus, we also directly or indirectly contribute to our secondary SDG goals no. 5, 7, 12 and 17 by supporting diversity and inclusion, focusing on responsible environmental practices and collaborating with internal and external partners to make a difference and bring about sustainable changes.


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.

 



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 Supplier Code of Conduct in 2018.

 

Five human and labour rights principles

  • We treat our employees with respect and dignity, encourage diversity and ensure fair treatment.
  • We do not use and prohibit the use of forced or child labour.
  • We provide a safe and healthy working environment where employees can perform to their full potential and where initiative is encouraged.
  • We recognise our employees' rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining.
  • We strive to maintain good relations with neighbours and the surrounding society through involvement and open communication.

man-fishing-boat-co2-emision

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 2018, our Group’s CO2 emissions reached 40,568 tonnes, including Sennheiser Communications and our retail entities. While the number presents an increase compared to 37,671 tonnes in 2017, it should be seen in the light of the ongoing expansion of our business activities and the gradual inclusion of new retail entities into the Group.

In 2017, we have included the energy consumption results from our retail entities in France, USA, Canada, Poland and Australia, while adding the UK, Switzerland and Portugal in 2018, hence delivering on our last year’s commitment to continue expanding our reporting scope. Our energy consciousness is thus better reflected in CO2 emissions per employee, which has decreased from 3,5 tonnes in 2017 to 3,24 CO2 tonnes per employee. We have therefore decreased our CO2 emission per employee by 7,4% in just one year. Contained CO2 emissions despite our growth and increased scope of reporting are a result of higher utilisation of green power, such as solar energy in our Brisbane office leading to 15% decrease in electricity consumption, merging of offices or deployment of power efficient IT solutions.

We continue our previous environmental initiatives and continuously introduce new ones, such as installing charging stations for electrical cars, building new office space in line with the latest environmental standards, as well as optimising IT solutions and refurbishing our old laptops, while abiding the GDPR legislation.


corporate-governance-bordmeeting

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 five 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 2018 – Statutory report on corporate governance, cf. section 107 b of the Danish Financial Statements Act, is available here.

 

 


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 company, 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.

 


  • 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.

In 2018, our recruitment team has organized two workshops to explore the themes of diversity, inclusion and external bias in recruitment processes. 

Recognising the importance of the topic for Demant, we have additionally dedicated 12 months of thorough internal and external research on the topic of diversity and inclusion and best practices within the area. Throughout the year, the top Management has paid keen attention, been a sparring partner in the discussion and convened two Global HR Board meetings to elaborate on the outcomes of the research, discuss what diversity and inclusion should embody in the world of Demant and what new initiatives to roll out in 2019, in order to continue improvement.

Continuous progress

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 72/28 in 2018. In the middle and first-line management, the ratio has increased from 84/16 in 2009 to 71/29 in 2018. From a global perspective, our companies in South Africa, Poland and the UK have a relatively high female manager ratio compared to the other countries in 2018 Some of the global offices with larger numbers of employees have naturally greater challenge to optimize the gender balance, nevertheless keep improving on yearly basis. In our Danish companies, the percentage of female managers has been relatively stable for the past four years. 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.

Target

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 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, 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. In 2018, with the implementation of GDPR, we have raised awareness of data privacy in the Group even higher and taken measures to ensure compliance with the applicable legal frameworks. Data privacy is not a project but is the backbone of an increasingly digital organisation and will thus continue to be of utmost importance to us. A permanent function as Data Privacy Manager for Demant has thus been created to reflect this. For 2019 we envision that the main focus will be on the continued training of employees and adherence to policies.

 


product-safety-quality

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.


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)

 

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.

william-demant-portrait

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

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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.