The IMD-Pictet Sustainability in Family Business Award recognizes excellence in sustainability in the sphere of family-owned enterprises, helping to inspire positive impact in areas such as climate change, decarbonization and circularity, stewardship, positive impact, innovation, and diversity and inclusion. 

The independent jury panel, featuring past award winners and sustainability experts, was impressed by the forward-looking ambition, demonstrable achievements and cohesion of the VELUX Group’s 2030 sustainability strategy, which includes the bold target to reach carbon neutrality over the lifetime of the company by the time of its centenary in 2041. The company’s efforts to move to circularity targets also stood out.

At the heart of the VELUX Group’s 2030 sustainability strategy is a 10-year transformation that focuses on three areas – pioneering climate and nature action, innovating sustainable products, and securing a responsible business. The strategy includes a 20-year forest conservation and carbon capture partnership with the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) to help the VELUX Group become lifetime carbon neutral by capturing its historical carbon footprint (scope 1 and 2 emissions) since, and 100 years on from, its founding in 1941. The estimated carbon capture will total 4.5 million tonnes CO₂, plus a buffer of 25%, which could raise the amount captured to around 5.6 million tonnes.

The VELUX Group was founded by Danish entrepreneur Villum Kann Rasmussen. For decades, it has been setting an example for its peers through its “Model Company Objective” – a commitment made in 1965 to yield a positive impact on society and the environment, and to be a responsible partner to all of its stakeholders.

This commitment has evolved into an overarching corporate governance system that embraces and embeds sustainability in the VELUX Group’s organizational processes and systems.

“Sustainability has become critical for all companies today, but the VELUX Group and its owning family have been blazing a trail for others to follow for decades, with a responsible and caring approach to business,” said IMD President Jean-François Manzoni. “Our award jury of independent experts was deeply impressed by the scale of the VELUX Group’s ambition and actions, but also with the innovative, tangible and holistic way sustainability is embedded across its operations, values and strategy.”

From a pioneering roof window start-up, aimed at overcoming the challenges of a shortage of building materials in wartime Denmark, the second and third generation family-owned business now has sales and manufacturing operations in more than 40 countries and employs approximately 12,500 people worldwide.

The VELUX Group actively supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) “good health and wellbeing” (SDG 3), “sustainable cities and communities” (SDG 11), and “partnerships for the goals (SDG 17), with the goal of “making buildings healthier” through a corporate purpose focused on healthy, sustainable living solutions to create well-being for people and planet.

“It’s a great honour to receive this award. It recognizes the transformational work that we are doing to make our own business more sustainable and to reduce the impact of our operations on the planet, both in the future and the past. Being family and foundation owned, we are in a privileged position to do more than most companies. It’s highly important for us and our owners that we not only do what’s good for business but also what’s good for the planet and in the process I really hope that we inspire other companies to also do the same,” said David Briggs, CEO of the VELUX Group.

The VELUX Group invests in green impact to combat climate change and improve resource efficiency. It expects total costs and investments related to its 2030 sustainability strategy to amount to about 150 million euros.

Rémy Best, Partner at Pictet Group, said: “The VELUX Group is  at the forefront of corporate sustainability and responsible leadership. We are delighted that the 2021 award recognizes this long-term role model for other family businesses, and we hope its example will inspire further positive change and spark innovative ideas across the entire family business spectrum.”

The award trophy is made from recycled materials in the shape of a tree leaf and symbolizes the extension of the totem pole linking heaven and earth. It was created by Chopard, a family-run luxury watch and jewelry maker founded in 1860.

 

IMD and Pictet created the Sustainability in Family Business Award in 2019 to encourage and help leaders and organisations to be a force for good in the world. Family businesses are among the most proactive in this area as they are more inclined to think long term.