ESG is high on the agenda in all FSN Capital Portfolio Companies. Our annual ESG award is part of setting the tone from the top.
The criteria for selecting the winner remain unchanged:
1) Awareness and ESG efforts in daily operations
2) Value creation in society at large
3) Clarity in ESG policies
4) Focus on continuous improvement and progress
5) Tone from the top (i.e., management and board engagement)
6) Portfolio Company’s holistic approach to sustainability
7) Adherence to FSN Capital’s values
Winners of FSN Capital’s Annual ESG Award
Winner 2021 – ViaCon
ViaCon is a pioneer in the construction and civil engineering industry. Its products and services support resiliency and climate change adaptation, which are critical as public and private entities prepare for increasing frequency of extreme weather events. ViaCon’s stormwater tanks, plastic pipes, and geotechnical solutions, for example, mitigate the disruptions of heavy rainfall and droughts, and will only gain in importance in the future. Furthermore, steel structures offered by ViaCon have a lower environmental footprint than traditional solutions made of concrete, thus facilitating the transition to a low carbon economy.
When ViaCon was established in 2019, responsibility for ESG was early on assigned to the Chief Human Resource Officer, Mattias Hakeröd, who is a part of the executive team. Since then, ViaCon has made significant progress in ingraining and institutionalising ESG across the entire organisation. ViaCon created an internal ESG team with representatives from each business segment to share progress on ESG efforts and expand on synergies. Combining the operational and strategic insights from these representatives have proven highly effective and fruitful.
ViaCon limits its environmental impact through production efficiencies and by recycling and reusing its steel and plastic. Achievements to date include increasing the recycled content in plastic pipes from 27% in 2020 to 36% in 2021. ViaCon is also supporting customers in making environmentally friendly choices and is creating a Life Cycle Assessment tool for its products and solutions.
Further, ViaCon’s production involves manual labour, and the health and safety of its employees is a key priority. Initiatives include easier to report “near misses” to accelerate preventative measures, and bonus criteria linked to Health & Safety. ViaCon rolled out the software tool Winningtemp in 2021 to track employee satisfaction, with the goal of becoming the industry’s best employer. Within ViaCon’s intranet, employees can access both ESG policies and ethics training, and 95% of employees completed the ethics training in 2021.
ViaCon has ambitious plans for the future. To further integrate ESG into its operations and keep the pressure up for continuous improvement and performance against its ESG targets, ViaCon structured a sustainability link to its financing agreement in 2021. The sustainability link was finalised in January 2022, and the KPIs are based on ViaCon’s ESG strategy.
Winner 2020 – Mørenot
Mørenot was acquired by FSN Capital Fund V in 2018. The company has a clear vision to ensure that the oceans can feed generations to come, which sets ESG at the core of their operations. Over time, Mørenot has managed to internalize ESG by identifying how ESG factors can support the overall commercial strategy. In this way ESG has become a value-adding activity owned by several people in the company, and not a reporting exercise to FSN Capital.
As Mørenot has operations in high risk jurisdictions from a compliance perspective, it is vital to mitigate the risk of unethical behavior. When it comes to strengthening business ethics and governance, Mørenot has continued their implementation of ESG policies by rolling out e-Learning and making anonymous whistleblowing available to all employees through an electronic whistleblower channel. The e-Learning included a short video of Mørenot’s CEO setting the tone from the top and emphasizing the importance of safeguarding the company’s reputation by complying with the company’s ethical standards. However, training and policies are not enough when operating in high risk jurisdictions. Mørenot’s key management has therefore also closely followed up local business units. This sends a strong signal from the top and enables identification of irregularities at an early stage.
Employee satisfaction is also high on Mørenot’s agenda. In 2020 they implemented Winningtemp, an AI and cloud-based software for measuring and monitoring employee engagement. With this tool, employees answer a few questions every second week on their mobile phone or laptop. Mørenot’s middle management are responsible for following up comments and insights from the tool and including these in the monthly management meeting. Mørenot wants to extend the use of Winningtemp to all their sites in more than 10 countries on three continents.
«Implementing a strong ESG platform is a twophase-process.» explains CEO Arne Birkeland, «First you need to make sure your operations meet ethical standards, and then you can use ESG as a value-adding measure.» Birkland believes the company has just started their journey in the second phase. The fishing and aquaculture industry is dependent on responsible consumption of the ocean’s resources, and Mørenot’s customers are increasingly seeking sustainable solutions. Environmental and climate impacts of the company’s operations have therefore been in focus over the past year. In line with Mørenot’s vision, the company has identified how sustainability aspects can support each business unit and the overarching commercial strategic objectives. Each target has been broken down in actions assigned to specific people to ensure they are followed up. Results have already started to materialize. Mørenot has changed their fishnet drying process. The industry standard diesel generators were substituted with a solution using 25% less energy while at the same time drying the nets twice as fast as conventional methods. The company is also continuing to explore net repair, re-use and recycling of nets, as well as fishing solutions that reduces the risk of bycatch.
Going forward, the strategic ESG priorities will be further operationalised. In 2021 the company is launching two cross-organisational groups, one focusing on sustainability and the other on digitalisation. By bringing together minds across the organisation, there is a potential to identify synergies and take ESG integration to the next level. Arne Birkeland also sees these groups as an important initiative to give all employees ownership of the ESG agenda; «In the future Mørenot will consist of 800 sustainability directors!»
Winner 2019 – Saferoad
Saferoad was acquired by FSN Capital Fund V in 2018. The company has a clear vision to contribute to realizing EU’s Vision Zero of no fatalities on Europe’s roads by 2022. The management team has shown great leadership in increasing awareness of and commitment to good corporate governance in daily operations across the group.
FSN Capital highly appreciates Saferoad’s eagerness to continuously improve and tie their ESG work with the overall strategy of the company. Equally valued is the willingness to share learnings and provide comments and recommendations directly with FSN Capital’s ESG team.
Saferoad started by defining clear roles and responsibilities for ESG, led by the Chairperson, the board, and the CEO, who together set the tone from the top. In addition, Saferoad has established a Group ESG SCOM*, consisting of the CEO, CFO, COO, and representatives from the HR, and Legal departments. The team meets monthly to secure continuous top management attention and cross functional contribution to ESG initiatives from key stakeholders in the organization. In 2019 Saferoad completed a full risk assessment and analysis of the group, which also included ESG topics.
This work has resulted in progress across several dimensions:
Saferoad’s efforts in 2019 to integrate and strengthen business ethics and governance really sets the company apart. The adoption of new ESG policies, guidelines, routines and processes was complemented with in-person training of all management teams on trade sanctions, anti-corruption and ethical dilemmas. The company also launched an e-learning module for all employees. The module covers the Code of Conduct, the whistleblower policy, trade sanctions, anti-corruption and anti-competition. Further, Saferoad has implemented a databased 3rd party screening system for trade sanctions compliance. Saferoad’s short version Code of Conduct is displayed in all offices and production facilities.
The company has shown commitment as a responsible employer, both with regards to handling whistleblower reports, as well as implementing a common employee net promoter score (eNPS) across the group. The common eNPS will make it easier to assess and address employee satisfaction going forward. A safer working environment has also been promoted through the launch of a robot arm for automatic road painting, which will reduce the risk for workers on the road.
Saferoad has strengthened efforts to reduce environmental and climate impacts. Among other things, it has focused on ISO 14001 certifying (Environmental Management System) production sites and reduced raw material uses in several new products. The company has also been self-driven when implementing the greenhouse gas reporting system, collecting both 2018 data to pilot the reporting tool and 2019 data for the final report.
«In Saferoad, we believe the key to successful ESG implementation lies in generating full commitment to initiatives, from the board of directors to each employee. We see that simple and focused initiatives, like the Code of Conduct being visible in each location, have a greater impact than scattered and theoretical initiatives. Having a strong ESG focus also rhymes well with our company’s core values, Care, Integrity, and Drive, which we use when implementing ESG initiatives.»
Group Chief Human Resource Officer at Saferoad
Winner 2018 – Kjell & Company
A vast majority of the products offered at Kjell & Company (Kjell & Co) are used to prolong life and extend the use of capital goods. As such, Kjell & Co aspires to a more sustainable society by reducing consumption of capital goods and by reducing electronic waste.
Kjell & Co’s work with ESG is an integrated part of daily operations, and they continuously investigate possibilities for reducing the environmental footprint. During 2018, Kjell & Co, alongside their suppliers, launched their packaging initiative with the intention to make sure that raw materials used in the package manufacturing process come from responsibly managed forests, and thus providing environmental, social and economic benefits. A pilot was successfully launched in 2018, where a USB cable was made from 70% recycled plastic that was gathered from waste generated from plastic injection during mass production. The package was made from 100% recycled paper and printed with soy ink.
Within plastic bags Kjell & Co charges SEK 2 per bag, of which 1 SEK per bag is donated to the Swedish Child Cancer Foundation. They also track plastic bags on a monthly basis as part of their overall ESG strategy. The goal for 2019 is to reduce plastic bag usage by 40%.
Employee and consumer welfare are at the heart of everything Kjell & Co does. Kjell & Co’s employees are regarded by the firm as their most valuable asset. Kjell & Co makes significant investments in training and education, and continuously focus on improving NPS in each individual department across the firm and complete bi-annual employee surveys. As an example, the NPS for the warehouse workers increased from -15% in H1 2016 to +6 in H2 2018 as a result of their efforts.
With a customer NPS of 66%, which is exceeding relevant peers by 27%, Kjell & Co has succeeded in building a customer club of 1.8 million members since 2017. The customer club allows Kjell & Co to provide customers with relevant offers and information regarding purchased products. By having access to customers via email and SMS, Kjell & Co discontinued their bi-annual release of a product catalogue, with an annual environmental impact estimated of 276 tonn of paper annually
Winner 2017 – Green Landscaping
FSN Capital is pleased to announce Green Landscaping as the winner of the FSN Capital ESG award for 2017.
In Green, FSN Capital has seen the full effect of implementing FSN Execution Framework with a corresponding systematic and holistic focus on ESG. Through this, Green has seen significant improvements in customer satisfaction and profitability. Green Landscaping’s work with sustainability and ESG matters is closely integrated with the daily operations.
Green Landscaping aspires to contribute to a more sustainable society by adhering to strict principles that cover multiple aspects of ESG. These principles highlight the importance of acting responsibly towards internal and external stakeholders, the environment as well as society at large. An important part of this work is the multiple social projects directed at empowering, educating and promoting the hiring of youths, immigrants and people with disabilities. These projects enable Green Landscaping to combine its vision for a sustainable society with social responsibility and its pursuit of high customer satisfaction.
Focused efforts have also enabled Green Landscaping to reduce its environmental footprint in recent years with the ambitious long-term goal of becoming carbon neutral. The values of Green Landscaping and FSN Capital are fully aligned through the commonly agreed-upon code of conduct approved by the board of directors and shared with all employees.
Winner 2016 – Netcompany
Netcompany was awarded the first FSN Capital ESG award in 2016.
Netcompany’s ESG efforts focus on people, community and the environment, and are present in daily operations. All employees are urged to continuously assess the environmental impact of their professional activities and, as far as possible, choose environmentally friendly solutions. Society at large benefits from Netcompany’s focus on creating efficiencies and reducing waste.
The ESG effort from Netcompany’s employees, top management and board of directors is oriented towards efforts with a substantial long-term impact instead of ad hoc initiatives without a clear road to impact. Netcompany continuously reassesses and improves its ESG commitment as it increases the number of employees and enters new markets and as the ESG orientation of the employees develops alongside current events. Netcompany’s ESG policies are clearly defined and re-iterated each year, as is reaffirmation of the UN’s Global Compact. The values of Netcompany and FSNC are aligned and ensured through the commonly agreed-upon code of conduct approved by the board of directors and shared with all employees.
Mørenot acquisition to reduce CO2 emissions
Mørenot is a leading supplier of equipment and services to the world’s fishery- and aquaculture industries.
After completing the ESG onboarding program, Mørenot embarked on its first add-on acquisition of NetRobot. In 2019 NetRobot X2 was launched, a new solution to service nets, while in use. The robot will be used on both water and land-based aquafarms.
The NetRobot has several benefits, both for fish, people, and the environment. The robot improves fish health by keeping the net constantly clean, yet it does not disturb the fish while cleaning. Moreover, the solution eliminates the noise employees are exposed to when using regular washing methods. The robot can also replace today’s high-energy diesel-fueled washers, thereby benefitting the environment.
The energy use of the NetRobot X2 is much lower than traditional cleaning methods. The robot could potentially remove 50,000 tons of the annual CO2emissions from the Norwegian fish-farming industry, assuming all net pens (about 4,500 in total) apply the technology.
Kari Traa takes the
In 2019 Kari Traa, the fastest growing female sports brand in Europe and the dominant brand in the Active Brands group, took a proactive stance against plastics. By signing the Plastic Pledge, initiated by Green Point Norway, Kari Traa committed to avoid unnecessary use of plastic, increase the use of recycled plastics, and always design with these two points in mind.
Kari Traa’s new baselayer packaging, sports-bra hangers and sock-holders were developed based on this commitment. The Pledge has had several positive effects. Kari Traa has reduced plastic waste by 97 %, the equivalent of 127 tons. The new baselayer boxes are made from FSC certified cardboard without plastic lamination that makes recycling easier.
The size of the box has also been reduced, thus increasing shipping efficiency by 37 %, while reducing both packaging materials and carbon emissions.
“I find that many of my colleagues are concerned about environmental issues and want to act on this in a job context as well. When I was given the opportunity to manage the packaging project, I knew that the main goal – to reduce plastic – had to be implemented at the basis of the design process. Design is not about “nice things”. Design is problem-solving. It’s really fun to see that we’ve succeeded with solid multidisciplinary planning and simple design approaches.”
Head of Development at Kari Traa