Svenn Poulsen, Group Vice President Wellspect HealthCare and Chairman of the Board of Directors for Dentsply IH AB.
When I think of sustainability there are three words that stand out – balance, respect and footprint.
Balance is important - as an individual, an employee and as a company. Our activities should not be at the expense of someone’s health, safety or the planet. I am convinced that if you can balance the environmental impact while retaining social and economic sustainability, you have good foundations to succeed as a company.
Our responsibility as a company is a principle larger than the company itself. It is about respect for us that are living now, for those that have lived before us and for future generations. We must always remember that we are not alone in this. We as a company take that responsibility, not just because we must, but because we want to.
We aspire to be a workplace associated with people who are considerate, positive and kind to each other. Our ambition when we develop new products is to make a real difference for the user, while reducing our environmental footprint and production costs. This is, and will continue to be, our greatest challenge within sustainability.
Dentsply IH AB, which includes Dentsply Sirona Implants and Wellspect Healthcare, works for a sustainable society in which a holistic approach where environmental, social and economic aspects are interdependent and crucial to the result. We use our resources effectively and responsibly and work to make a difference for current and future generations.
As a leading healthcare and dental implant company, we are:
Proactive, in our view of the environment. We take our responsibility seriously and encourage the development and implementation of processes and technologies with as little impact as possible on the environment. We reduce the environmental impact by using the principles reduce, reuse and recycle. We use life-cycle assessments to reduce the environmental impact of our products.
Caring, when it comes to protecting the health and well-being of our employees. We want our employees to feel safe and happy at work, and to have the opportunity to develop both professionally and as individuals. Our work environment should be characterized by openness and all individuals should be treated equally and with respect. No employee should suffer from illness or injury because of the work. We are constantly improving our work environment, both organizationally, socially and physically.
We comply with all applicable governmental requirements and other commitments that we have made. We run our business from a sustainability perspective and have guidelines in place for the environment, health and safety in all parts of the organization and value chain.
Committed, to continuous improvement for a sustainable future. Continuous improvement is a must for us to be able to take our corporate responsibility and strengthen our competitiveness. Through open dialogues with our stakeholders, we can understand what expectations we face as a company and how we can develop and improve. We carry out materiality analyzes in order to find out which sustainability aspects should be prioritized. Our processes ensure that we respect human rights and counteract corruption, the same goes for our partners. Our responsibility as a company is about respect for the people who live now, for those who lived before us and for future generations.
We are actively working with sustainability in many areas. To help structure and clarify our work, four focus areas were established. Read more:
Contributes to Global Goal 3 “Good health and well-being”, in particular objectives:
Contributes to Global Goal 10 “Reduced inequality”, in particular objectives:
Our goal is to make a real difference, every single day. With the help of our products, our users can have a freer, more independent life. Our products contribute to good health and well-being in themselves, while also having high standards for quality and patient safety.
The people who need our services are often affected by neurogenic conditions, such as Spinal Cord Injury, Parkinsons disease, Multipel Scelerosis or Spina Bifida. In addition, we also offer solutions and help for people with functional disorders, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, prostate issues or women who have sustained injury following childbirth. Many of those who are affected feel that their symptoms limit their everyday lives and the stigma surrounding the topic makes it hard to ask for help.
Wellspect’s goal is for more people around the world to get access to our solutions. We are continuously expanding into new markets and use several global communication channels to spread awareness and inform people about our products and services. We initiated ACCT, Advancing Continence Care Together, a global forum which gathers science, industry and healthcare professionals with the aim to share, interact and discuss how to best advance bladder and bowel continence care for the benefit of users around the world.
As part of our goal to contribute to good health and well-being, we regularly partake in a variety of activities in order to spread our message. We run three blogs in which we share scientific information and user stories , we carry out education through our sales organization and we partake in interviews and newspaper articles with the goal of informing the public about bladder and bowel issues, the solutions, and thereby breaking the stigma to speak about them.
Another aspect of our work towards better health and well-being is our sponsorships and partnerships. Across our many markets we sponsor different sport events such as wheelchair rugby and wheelchair basketball. We also support by watching their games, sharing experiences and demonstrating our products. Furthermore, we welcome members from the teams to participate in our development projects when user feedback is needed.
We support the Spinalis Foundation, who work with the rehabilitation of people who have suffered a spinal cord injury. They are based in Sweden, but also run multiple health care facilities in several African countries. Just a few years ago the mortality rate for patients with spinal cord injuries at one of these facilities was at 100 % within the year following the injury. Now it is almost zero.
Contributes to Global Goal 8 “Decent work and economic growth”, in particular objectives:
Contributes to Global Goal 9 “Industry, innovation and infrastructure, in particular objectives:
Motivation, inspiration & innovation
We are convinced that an atmosphere that motivates and inspires, and where we can challenge each other and explore new ideas, is crucial for developing new innovations. As a company, we take responsibility and we invest in safety, training and well-being for our employees. We care about each other and face our challenges with joy and mutual respect.
Safety in the workplace is our highest priority and a key focus point daily. We regularly evaluate data from risk analysis, EHS Rounds (environment, health and safety) and accident and incident reporting, to name a few, to ensure that our workplace is as safe as it possibly can be for our employees. In addition to this, all new managers undergo training in sustainability and work environment, security rounds are carried out on a regular basis and risk assessments are performed in the events of changes to our activities (operations, premises, equipment or working methods).
Wellbeing & respect
We believe an attractive and sustainable workplace is a prerequisite for financial growth. Physical safety is a priority to us, as well as the social work environment and thus one’s individual well-being. As a company, we have a range of activities in place to promote this, such as step count competitions, subsidized massages and healthcare allowances.
Efficiency & compliance
Our production has high resource efficiency, which is a prerequisite for production based in Sweden. We also demand that our suppliers follow our code of conduct (Code of Ethics and Business Conduct), that contains demands on human rights, social conditions, work environment, sustainability and anti-corruption, in addition to applicable legislation.
Contributes to Global Goal 9 “Sustainable industries”, in particular objectives:
Contributes to Sustainable Development Goal 12 “Responsible consumption and production, in particular objectives:
Contributing to Global Goal 8 “Decent work and economic growth, in particular objectives:
Contributes to Global Goal 12 “Sustainable consumption and production”, in particular objectives:
We want our customers to be able to trust that our products are manufactured in a sustainable way, both in our own production processes, as well as at our suppliers’.
Minimize, reduce & recycle
We strive to run a resource efficient operation by minimizing consumption of natural resources, reducing energy use and recycling any remaining materials. Wherever possible, we try to avoid creating waste. In 2019, we updated the life cycle analyzes for our products in order to prioritize the right activities and reduce the environmental impact. Through targeted efforts, with the help of digital technologies, we have been able to decrease the amount of waste in our production significantly.
Waste management & emissions recovery
We have strict policies for chemical- and waste management in place at the production site Mölndal, Sweden, and these were recently implemented in our factory in Kazan, Turkey. In the production of catheters, we need to use solvents, which to a certain extent releases VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). The emissions from these are captured and purified as much as possible. We have two treatment plants – one for VOCs from chlorinated solvents, which uses a carbon filter with a 99% purification rate, and one from non-chlorinated solvents. The VOCs from non-chlorinated solvents are purified by a thermal incinerator, and the purification rate for this is greater than 98%.
Responsibility throughout the supply chain
We require our suppliers to act in accordance to our core values and fulfill our code of conduct and we are always working on further improving our evaluation and follow-up process. During 2019, we revised our process for evaluation of suppliers and allocated more time for sustainability. We believe in working together with our suppliers and having an open dialogue is important. Only then can we make a real difference and be credible and transparent both up and down our value chain.
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