This article will provide you with an insight into our local sourcing project in China, an overview of the certificates and audits important in matters of sustainability, and how our model L&R factory, our Mexican production facility in Acuña, is helping to protect resources.
Sustainable practices and entrepreneurial responsibility not only have a long tradition in our corporation, but are especially important to L&R as an international corporate group. We balance our responsibility for commercial success with our responsibility for the environment, our employees and society through our seven brand values and the three pillars of sustainability. Although there is no legal requirement for L&R to provide a sustainability report, we – the L&R Group – would still like to show our international customers and business partners what makes us sustainable.
We also use our sustainability report intensively in our digital and classical communications with our customers, business partners and employees, as well as the media. However, our sustainability report also plays an important role with respect to the stakeholder groups that we would like to intensify our dialog with in the future; with respect to new employees and managers, when tendering for new contracts, with respect to potential customers and in new markets.
Local Sourcing in China
L&R’s production site in Xishui is a concrete example of how strategic and operative procurement causes quality assurance systems to be based on and systematically refined with respect to criteria relevant to sustainability.
Our site in Xishui employs around 1,000 people, mostly from within the region, and produces OR drapes and clothing. The quality assurance measures for these products are performed in Xishui by the site’s own quality assurance team. In order to ensure strict compliance with our quality standards, L&R provided in-depth training to each of the site’s quality inspectors, who are now responsible for assuring the quality of the products manufactured at the site and the raw materials and finished products purchased locally, some of which are quality-inspected on the suppliers’ premises. This means that there are no unnecessary transport costs. L&R has been reducing transport costs across the board since 2016 by pursuing a systematic local sourcing strategy for raw material purchasing.
Rolf Hieronimus, Head of Strategic Procurement: “Our purchasers and lead buyers work globally, because they are responsible for enabling us to guarantee consistently high quality and global competitiveness as part of a sustainable corporate philosophy. There are only a very few suppliers for L&R’s extremely high requirements who have an excellent reputation and accept the L&R Code of Conduct. Here too we work together with a tested, certified supplier base and can make use of synergies.” Thomas Menitz, COO: “We consider social, environmental and economic procurement criteria for our product portfolio. In future, we would also like to pledge ourselves to create even more transparency, which we consider an investment in the future. We are bound by our quality standards and encourage our suppliers to view them in the same way.”
Reduction of CO2 emissions through local sourcing in China
Certifications and audits
Internationally active companies tend to be rigorous when it comes to demonstrating their dedication to matters such as environmental and employee protection, and do so by means of neutral certification programmes.
As Wolfgang Süßle, CEO of the L&R group, explained: “Anyone who wants to operate internationally these days has to be able to demonstrate that they fully meet international standards and requirements.”
While L&R naturally undergoes all the legally required certifications and registrations customary in this sector, for example through the FDA and the TÜV, in addition the company focusses on the ISO DIN standard and the ratings platforms EcoVadis and Sedex.
DIN ISO 14001
The environmental management standard comprises globally accepted requirements for a company’s environmental management system. L&R’s production facilities in Xishui (China), Slavkov, Stara Paka and Nova Paka (Czech Republic), as well as in Vienna, Schönau, Graz, Dornbirn (Austria), Italy and France are all certified to the international environmental management standard DIN ISO 14001.
DIN ISO 50001
The L&R sites in Germany and Austria have been awarded certification according to the standard DIN ISO 50001 Energy Management System, which is applicable throughout Europe.
EcoVadis Silver Certificate
EcoVadis is a leading provider of assessments in the field of CSR/sustainability. The methodology used by EcoVadis conforms to the international GRI/G4 and ISO 26000 guidelines. The EcoVadis Silver Rating received by L&R in 2016 was the second time in a row the company had been distinguished for its CSR performance.
Regular monitoring by the Sedex platform
Sedex is the second CSR evaluation platform by means of which L&R submits its sustainability guidelines and projects to evaluation. The Sedex criteria relate to economic, environmental and social sustainability.
The model factory
We manufacture medical devices for regional and international markets at fifteen production sites across the world. We ensure that our processes and production methods conserve resources, that our materials are environmentally friendly and that our logistics are environmentally friendly and energy-saving in production in particular.
Our Mexican production site in Acuña
Re-use of edge off-cuts from raw material for the manufacture of supports. Necessary small parts are cut from remnants or edge off-cuts. By doing so, L&R protects both resources and reduces technological waste.
DIN ISO 14001 certification for L&R’s production sites in China, the Czech Republic and Austria.
L&R production sites in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic have DIN ISO 50001 certified energy management systems.
Optimising freight costs in Austria
Optimisation of the freight routes in Austria by ending the fixed journey structure. Results: Reduction of CO2 emissions, delivering to our customers within 24 to 48 hours.
Increased efficiency of carding
With the acquisition of a high-performance carding machine for the manufacture of packing material, thereby replacing two production lines, the following savings were achieved: Energy conservation through geometry savings in the production machines, more efficient drives, optimised control and reduction of extracted air.
CO2 savings in kg per year: 183,766 (electricity), 37,138 (gas).
Energy use and climate protection
We employ various measures to save energy, which include the use of HD humidification in Schönau, HV charging stations at our Eurolager, the variable-speed compressor in Stara Paka and the use of LED lights in Europe and China. As a result, we have succeeded in cutting our energy consumption by 4%.