We are currently experiencing a genuine boom and unprecedented relevance of the issue. Out of dire necessity, mind you. Accordingly, a change in society’s thinking is taking place, making people give increasing thought to future generations and looking to identify areas in which they can act, exert personal influence and make a contribution. To me, it’s this very act of self-reflection that defines sustainability: what can I do in order to ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy living at least as well and ideally better on an intact planet? And those are all questions that we have already been asking ourselves as a company for a long time. What can we do to stop any further damage and how can we motivate others to do the same? This isn’t always easy, but sustainability affects all of us.
Corporate sustainability refers to a corporation’s responsibility for the environmental and social impact of their actions and operations. I have now been working in this area at L&R for over five years. Although minor issues were handled initially, sustainability has since evolved at a breakneck speed. One of our most important milestones was to establish sustainability as a key focus at executive level and of course my appointment as L&R’s Corporate Sustainability Manager, a role that I am very proud of. The areas in which I am active are very diverse and cover all of L&R’s business units. My responsibilities range from providing advice and support to internal and external stakeholders to driving forward and developing sustainability strategies, up to the formulation of sustainability indicators. Moreover, I am also responsible for defining and agreeing sustainability targets.
When it comes to the sustainable corporate management, we rely on the support of every single one of our employees. This means there is a need for passing on knowledge, creating awareness and motivating employees to change their way of thinking and hence to engage in sustainable practices. Because people can only participate if they receive sufficient information. This enabled our colleagues to become one of the strongest supportive factors for sustainability within the company. An important step towards achieving this was the inclusion of sustainability in our 2020 Strategy and creating the role of a Corporate Sustainability Manager. However, it also meant having to make our external stakeholders, such as our suppliers, aware of the issue’s significance and drive forward changes in direction.
As a company operating in the medical device sector, people are our number one priority in everything we do. We also have made it our mission to develop products that support people’s and environmental well-being in equal measure. To us, sustainable corporate management is not just a challenge, but also an opportunity. We strongly believe that protecting resources, ensuring fair working conditions and protecting the environment is also going to make us more competitive.
Jasmine Schweitzer – the face behind sustainability at L&R. Originally from Vienna, she has worked in the area of sustainability for many years – and, since 2018, as L&R’s Corporate Sustainability Manager. In this interview, she explains what sustainability means to her, the importance of creating awareness and her plans for the future.
Awareness of problems has increased significantly in recent years and, in line with that, so has the demand for sustainable products. Responsible consumers demand environmentally friendly products. Today, a quality product not only needs to have been produced in accordance with social standards and using as few resources as possible, it must also be affordable. This is a challenge that we rise to.
There has been so much change in recent years that it is difficult to focus on just a few projects. However, I am particularly proud of the fact that our EcoVadis rating (EcoVadis is a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Rating platform for global supply chains) gradually progressed to bronze and, from there, to silver. This is a status, which we have not only been able to successfully maintain, but also to further improve. The impact of our sustainability credentials database, which contains records of our achievements, such as certificates, awards, test seals and ratings, and can be accessed by internal as well as external stakeholders, should not be underestimated. This is because it fosters awareness and documents our progress. In addition, our Code of Conduct, which we use to check our suppliers’ compliance with our ethical and social standards, should also be named.
We are in a very good position with regard to sustainability, but there is of course always room for improvement. EcoVadis’ GAP analysis gives us a clear indication of the areas and processes still in need of further improvement. And it is those that we are planning to tackle gradually over the coming years. We are also going to adapt our sustainability indicators to the official GRI standards, which are defined by the Global Reporting Initiative, something which we have taken upon ourselves.
This article is taken from our Sustainability Report. You can download the whole report here.