You took on a new role as president and CEO in 2019. The year also marks the 10th anniversary of Camfil’s sustainability report publication. What is your view of Camfil’s sustainability efforts?
From the day the company was founded, way before the term “sustainability” had become such a megatrend, our company was making products that help to clean the air people breathe using energy-efficient solutions. Camfil was, and still is, a family-owned business with a clear vision and moral compass – a place where colleagues have a strong sense of pride and personal accountability in their interactions with customers and suppliers. This is true on the sustainability front as well. Since the publication of our first sustainability report a decade ago, this report marks true progress in our pursuit of meaningful, measurable impact. I’ve been with Camfil for nearly a decade, too, and in my new role, I intend to build on our fantastic heritage and to set and achieve even more environmental targets going forward.
How do your products promote sustainability?
Our entire business revolves around helping customers protect people, production processes and the environment. We make products that filter dangerous particles from the air, collect dust and fumes, and prevent molecular contamination in a huge number of industries. And, it’s not just the people who work in industry who benefit. Camfil’s products help millions of people every day, adults and children alike, wherever they spend time indoors – in schools, museums, shopping centers, gyms, hotels, and many more places.
As a global leader in filtration, our products provide the highest filtration efficiency in combination with the lowest energy consumption for our customers, a delicate balance that’s not always easy to achieve. Besides our product offer, we also run educational campaigns to raise awareness about how indoor air quality affects human health. In fact, the company’s stated vision is to help make breathing clean air a human right, which perfectly aligns with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 3 on good health and well-being.
On the production side, since we have our own local manufacturing facilities around the world, we can reduce transport distances and lower our total carbon footprint. At the same time, we can better uphold our strict standards of product quality and ethical behavior throughout the supply chain. The majority of our production facilities are certified to the ISO14000 environmental standard, and the majority are ISO 9000 certified.
What were Camfil's major sustainability achievements in 2019?
We made great progress on all four major areas of the UN Global Compact – human rights, labor, anti-corruption and the environment – which you can read about in detail in this report. One achievement was our launch of Megalam EnerGuard, a groundbreaking cleanroom filter for the life sciences industry that protects the integrity of critical pharmaceutical products throughout the production process to make sure they are protected from contamination. It offers close to 0 percent failure rate with longer service life, energy cost savings, waste reduction, and other efficiencies at a lower cost than other traditional materials. Another was our educational initiative around PM1 – the tiniest and most dangerous particulate matter – called “People Matter 1st.” In terms of the social aspect of sustainability, we received the international GEEIS-SDG trophy in recognition of our leadership in gender equality and diversity at the workplace. As far as governance goes, we rolled out a strategic three-year plan and an Owner’s Directive, a declaration by Camfil’s owners and embraced by the entire organization, which firmly places sustainability at the center of the way we do business.
What about economic viability, which will sustain your business?
Camfil had a strong 2019 fiscal year, and we intend to continue making responsible investments in R&D, product innovations and, of course, our community outreach initiatives. In line with our future growth plans, we expanded a facility in the U.S. to meet demand in the premium product segment, we invested in people, facilities and other assets in two key business areas, and we signed an agreement that will allow us to build a new facility to better serve the Asian market. On the employee side, we invested in an improved learning management system that will help us train and retrain our people to meet tomorrow’s trends and challenges. Demand for our solutions remains as strong as ever, and we see a huge need for our products and services well into the future.
Are you seeing any sustainability trends that will impact Camfil's business?
People have a deeper awareness of health issues than ever before, both human health and that of the environment. Our customers, too, are demanding better solutions that last longer and make their own operations more environmentally friendly. Everyone is starting to realize the effects of spending roughly 90% of their time indoors and breathing in potentially toxic air pollutants, whether caused by humans or Mother Nature. Companies that buy from Camfil are realizing the human as well as the cost benefits of using our products: they are able to improve employee health and thus increase productivity, protect critical equipment and end products from dust, corrosion and contamination that can cause downtime or permanent failure, meet tougher environmental regulations at their facilities and workplaces, and overall safeguard the health of their companies and their people. I have every reason to believe that Camfil is well positioned to deliver the expertise and solutions needed to secure the future we all want, and I will continue to support the Global Compact’s principles that I have signed up for in the areas of human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption.