Purpose-driven water tech firm Grundfos wins 2021 IMD Global Family Business Award, sponsored by Pictet
Grundfos is the world’s largest manufacturer of water pumps and technology, employing more than 19,000 people in 59 countries around the globe. Established in 1945, the 3rd generation of the Due Jensen family is currently at the helm in the CEO position, and remains committed to the founder’s legacy to “pioneer solutions to the world’s water and climate challenges and improve the quality of life for people”.
In selecting the 2021 winner, the independent, expert award jury was impressed with the long and active involvement of the family in the Grundfos business and governance, its deep commitment to philanthropy and values-driven stewardship, and the way the company has successfully combined continuous profit-making with purpose in support of key UN Sustainable Development Goals. The jury is made up of members from leading family businesses, former GFBA winners, and family business academics.
“My grandfather and founder of Grundfos, Poul Due Jensen, whose name I am lucky to have been given, always said that the world is full of problems that can be solved in a better way. He created Grundfos to serve the best interest of society for many generations to come. In his honour, my family and I along with all our colleagues at Grundfos wish to make a positive difference in the world. Sustainability is in everything we do. We work tirelessly to improve water and energy efficiency for the greater good and believe in making a difference locally and globally,” said Poul Due Jensen, Group President & CEO, Grundfos.
Owned by a commercial foundation, the founding family and its employees, the jury felt Grundfos stood out as an exceptional role model not just for family businesses, but for the wider business community – from cutting-edge innovation and well-structured governance to a wider ambition to be a force for good.
For example, the firm develops world-leading water pump technology that is focused both on performance and energy efficiency, in support of UN SDG 13 (climate change). In keeping with UN SDG 6, which seeks to provide access to clean water and sanitation for all, Grundfos is also at the forefront of its industry in bringing potable water to areas challenged by water scarcity.
While pursuing these goals, the jury highlighted that Grundfos had embedded a resilient and strong financial foundation throughout its lifespan, remarkably reporting a profit in every year since its inception. The family is also committed to “giving back” to society in a cohesive and structured way, donating more than USD 30 million in 2020 through its foundation to water-related causes such as research, inclusion and sustainable development.
“The dedication of Grundfos and the Due Jensen family to impacting lives in a tangible way is exemplary and puts them in good company among previous award winners,” said Professor Peter Vogel, Award Director and Director of the IMD Global Family Business Center. “Grundfos combines financial performance, innovation and a commitment to sustainability that is underpinned by family values and a strong corporate culture. They are proof of what is possible when businesses combine purpose with profit.”
The award is sponsored by private bank and financial services company, the Pictet Group, and includes the presentation of a trophy designed by Swiss watch and jewelry manufacturer and retailer, Chopard, itself a storied family-run business. The Family Business Network, headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, provides the platform for the GFBA through its network of more than 17,000 individuals from family firms around the world. For the first time in its history, the GFBA was publicly celebrated at the occasion of the UNCTAD 7th World Investment Forum, in the context of the joint initiative between FBN and UNCTAD: Family Business for Sustainable Development (FBSD)
“Grundfos, as a leader in the water pump industry, has shown us that profits and contributing to a better life for stakeholders are not in conflict. The company has used its expertise in this critical field to build an enduring legacy to its founder that is an example for family businesses around the world,” said the Pictet Group.
ABOUT THE IMD GLOBAL FAMILY BUSINESS AWARD
The IMD Global Family Business Award was created in 1996 to acknowledge excellence among the world’s leading family firms. The award recognizes family businesses which are exemplars in the areas of family, business, ownership and society. Winners must be multigenerational companies with revenues over $500 million and which possess a global operational footprint. A jury of family business experts and practitioners select the annual winner through an exhaustive application and interview process.