ITAB is working actively to reduce the Group’s energy consumption and increase the proportion of renewable energy in its total energy usage. This is important both from an environmental and a cost perspective, and for ITAB as a manufacturing company.
ITAB’s large production facilities are equipped with modern systems in order to reduce energy and gas consumption, as well as to increase resource efficiency. The majority of the businesses in the Group now use renewable energy to some extent. The work of reducing energy consumption is conducted by the individual companies within the Group. Work is in progress aimed at co-ordinating activities in the field of energy in the long term, in order to gather in data and information at Group level in a more systematic manner.
ITAB also conducts a close dialogue with customers in respect of the environment. Part of the focus is on the exchange of knowledge, and discussions are conducted regarding ambitions and expectations. Several projects were conducted during 2016 that will lead to reduced energy consumption in the long term. In conjunction with the building of an extension in Lithuania, for example, the lighting has been replaced with LED lighting. This installation is part of a major project aimed at replacing all lightning with LED lighting.
Transport is an important issue for ITAB, which has operations in many different countries. The Group’s companies are working actively to reduce emissions and ensure effective transport. The choice of transportation alternatives for products that are to be shipped long distances, such as from China, is considered from both a cost and an environmental perspective. Nowadays the Group mainly transports goods by sea, which is a more environmentally friendly transport method than flying, for example. By having a local presence, ITAB contributes to reduced transport distances for many of the Group’s customers.
The organisational structure, with several major production facilities centrally located in Europe, gives ITAB the potential to produce locally and thereby contribute to reduced emissions. The strategic location of the Group’s production facilities has grown increasingly important during major contract negotiations.
For ITAB as a manufacturing company, it is also important to safeguard environmental considerations throughout the value chain. ITAB conducts regular dialogues with suppliers about various sustainability aspects. Over the year, ITAB has developed a supplier policy that will apply to the entire Group.
This policy describes fundamental requirements that all the companies have to impose on their suppliers, and includes demands regarding the suppliers’ environmental work. The policy will start to be implemented in the course of 2017. During 2016, it has been reported that 121 new suppliers have been examined in respect of environmental criteria.
Goal 12 relates to sustainable consumption and production. As a supplier to the retail sector, ITAB can contribute to improved resource efficiency and better conditions in relation to environmental responsibility and working conditions in the value chains.
For ITAB’s part, this is mainly taking place within the focus area Efficiency in the value chain, which relates for example to efficiency in respect of energy and material issues along with overall social and environmental responsibility in the value chain.
Chief Business officer, ITAB Lighting and China
How important is the sustainability issue for customers? And in what way?
“The issues that come up most often relate to the environment. The products must be produced in an environmentally friendly manner and must reduce the CO2 content. All actions are measured frequently, and the customers then impose demands on suppliers and subcontractors to ensure that they keep up with developments. “Environmentally friendly materials are important to us, and we naturally comply with the regulations, although we also listen closely to our customers’ requests. Our customers then ensure that we are doing the right things by conducting audits on our premises. Transport is an important issue too. It is easy to convert this to CO2, and this can be done in a standardised manner. “If we make energy savings in projects, we usually perform energy calculations for the customer as well. This is beneficial in several respects, both in terms of financial value but also through reduced CO2 emissions. This is something our customers often want to know.” CAN
You tell us about the supplier situation in China?
“The suppliers are often situated in our local area, and we conduct our own inspections of suppliers who assemble the products. We look at factors such as quality, the working environment and human resource issues. “Our customers in turn perform audits in our production units and place demands in respect of our direct subcontractors.”
How often do you carry out your own inspections?
“We have 50-60 people working on quality and carrying out internal and external inspections. The suppliers we buy a lot from, we meet several times a year. The suppliers we buy less from, we meet less often.”
How transparent are you in relation to your suppliers?
“We have been arranging customer visits for several years to demonstrate that we have good quality suppliers with good working conditions. Up until two years ago, we arranged these visits twice a year. We are now visited by customers from Europe at least once a year.