Sustainability: for INDUS, nothing new
Sustainable operations create competitive advantages, increase enterprise value and make for a stronger corporate culture. Over the last few years, INDUS has further professionalized its commitment to sustainability on the basis of this conviction.
For INDUS, sustainable conduct is a matter of treating economic, social and ecological goals as equal in importance. We seek to create lasting value while facilitating good work and treating the environment with care.
The topic of sustainability occupies the highest level of priority and is based on seven key topics. To identify those aspects of sustainability that are relevant to INDUS, we performed a materiality analysis in 2016 with the Board of Management’s participation. The results of this analysis were verified during the course of the previously mentioned stakeholder dialogue both from an external point of view (2017) as well as an internal point of view (2018). We were also able to confirm the seven key topics previously identified:
To further expand the Group, INDUS Holding AG and its portfolio companies are constantly looking for financially healthy SMEs that have potential for development. The Board of Management and the acquisition team therefore follow a structured acquisition process [Link zum Beteiligungsprozess]. At the same time, INDUS relies on the successful development of the portfolio companies themselves and supports them in their growth with capital and expertise.
With its development bank model, INDUS assists its portfolio companies in their management of innovation so that they may successfully take advantage of the opportunities presented by industrial change. To that end, INDUS makes additional capital readily available to its companies and advises them in regard to the direction and operationalization of their innovation strategies.
INDUS provides the portfolio companies with the funds to expand their international market presence so that they can successfully accompany their existing customers into the global markets and tap into new growth markets.
- INDUS’s role as a shareholder
In its capacity as a financial holding company, INDUS takes care of financial consolidation and supports the portfolio companies with capital and advice within the existing range of possibilities. INDUS regularly compares the success of the portfolio companies with expectations.
The rating agency oekom research AG, which operates in the sustainable investment sector, has regularly evaluated INDUS since 2015. The rating based on a twelve-step scale from A+ to D- initially reached C+. Companies with a C rating or higher are awarded the “prime” status. INDUS has not only received the prime status, it also came top of the international comparison group (financials/multi-sector holdings). INDUS Holding AG’s “Prime” C+ status was reconfirmed in 2018.
In accordance with INDUS Holding’s business model, responsibility for personnel matters is decentralized and rests exclusively with the portfolio companies. They set their own individual goals. These include:
- Maintaining or increasing their attractiveness as employers in their regions
- (Skilled worker) training beyond what is required to satisfy their own needs
- Ensuring employee satisfaction and boosting employee motivation
- Increasing employees’ sense of identification with the company
- Orientation to high employment standards (especially occupational safety, employee health)
- Resource efficiency
INDUS strives to make the portfolio companies sensitive to the ecological consequences of their operational decisions. The holding company makes funds available for investment in efficiency measures and is ready to assist the portfolio companies in an advisory capacity on the cross-sectional topic of energy efficiency. In addition, INDUS has been answering the CDP climate change questionnaire since 2010 and maintains transparency in its reporting on the Group’s climate management practices. For this, the Group was once again awarded the top “A List” rating in 2019. The calculations of Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions of the holding for the fiscal year 2018 have been verified by the accredited Technical Supervisory Association (TÜV NORD Certificate, available in German only).
The emissions determined for 2018 (except for emissions under the Scope 3 category “Investments”) have been compensated by the purchase and closure of emission-reducing certificates (emissions offsetting by project in Rwanda).
- Social Engagement
The individual companies within the Group take on social tasks in addition to their business tasks. INDUS expressly supports voluntary engagement. This is in keeping with INDUS’s conception of itself, and it enhances the reputation of the Group.
Materiality Matrix with concrete fields of action
The key topics identified and presented in the context of the materiality matrix are underlaid with fields of action from which concrete measures can be derived. This matrix reflects the significance that the various fields of action, considered on a consolidated basis, have for the internal and external stakeholders in INDUS Holding AG and the portfolio companies.
The fields of action were initially classified within the matrix through assessments by the sustainability team and the Board of Management and were then compared with the assessments of the internal and external stakeholders.
In 2018 a survey was conducted within the portfolio companies (represented by the managing directors). The survey showed that the action fields refining the acquisition profile, managing risks during acquisitions, boosting innovation ability, defining responsibilities in the value chain, securing financial stability, encouraging new members of staff, the efficient use of raw materials and energy should have higher priority than previously determined.
Additional information can be found in the INDUS Sustainability Report 2018.
Electricity over gasoline
Sustainable mobility is an important topic for INDUS. The holding company is therefore active in areas in which it is sensible and feasible to switch to electric and hybrid vehicles. This step toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions was even prescribed across the Group as part of the energy audit conducted in 2019. There are now three charging stations for electric company vehicles at the INDUS headquarters.
The portfolio companies are keeping up with the e-mobility trend, too. As a climate technology company, REMKO has a particular interest in this topic and procured four company vehicles with electric drives in 2018. Since then, employees have been able to enjoy an emission-free commute to work. REMKO led the change by installing free-to-use charging stations on the company grounds.
The SIMON Group has also fully embraced this action. They teamed up with REMKO to find a partner that leases e-bikes as subsidized company vehicles. This scheme was very popular and now the company’s employees are traveling much further distances to work by electric bike.