The VELUX Management Group: Patrick W. McKenzie, Ingemar Tärnskär, Michael K. Rasmussen, Jørgen Tang-Jensen, David Briggs and Peter Bang.

Message from our Management

Our Corporate Responsibility achievements in 2015

For more than 50 years, the Model Company Objective has been the foundation of how we ensure we run our business responsibly. The purpose of our annual CR report is to document how we act as a company and how we strive to be a Model Company. 

Being a Model Company is a quest that started more than 50 years ago − and one that will never end. 

This report provides an insight into our activities and a status on how we performed in 2015. 

An important aspect of aiming to be a Model Company is working with products that are useful to society. The key drivers in our product innovation activities are healthy and sustainable buildings with more daylight, more fresh air and nearly-zero energy consumption. VELUX products are carefully designed to minimise heat loss through the window and to make the most of solar heat gain. Life cycle assessments document that the main environmental impact of a VELUX roof window is in the use phase. The energy savings over the lifetime of a roof window exceed the energy consumed in the production process, meaning that VELUX roof windows provide net CO2 savings over their complete life cycle. 

One thing is the design and the effect of the product, another is the raw materials, which we also want to have as little environmental impact as possible. Therefore 96% of the wood we use comes from sustainable and certified forests − it is either PEFC or FSC certified – with the remainder coming from controlled sources. In 2015, we revised our wood certification strategy, defining key areas for further development and visions for the future. Our 2020 target is for 99% of our wood to be certified. Bearing in mind that only 30% of all global wood sale comes from certified forests, we believe this is a remarkable result and target.

As for the footprint of our own operations, we work hard to bring down both CO2 emissions and waste from our production. In 2015, we reduced our CO2 emission by 29% but our goal is to reduce it by 50% before 2020. To reach this goal, we have several focus areas e.g. recycle all wood waste for heating at our factories, energy management programmes to monitor, analyse and reduce our energy use, and review of energy consumption by all factories when making investments in production equipment and maintenance.

Apart from lowering our energy consumption, the environmental management systems at our production sites also help us to recycle as much waste as possible. Several of our factories are working with ‘circular economy’, intended to convert waste into value. In many of our waste streams, the waste is 100% recycled into energy or other products. 

We continue to engage with key stakeholders to influence the international agenda on buildings, so that the focus of debate is not simply on energy but also on prioritising the indoor climate – we call it sustainable living in buildings. We were therefore also very pleased to see that, at COP21 in Paris, buildings were made a permanent agenda item for future COPs. 

The VELUX Management Group

Do it well and do it properly

In 1965, in the midst of the fast-paced growth of his company, Villum Kann Rasmussen asked himself whether there was more to running a successful business than just earning money. His answer was the Model Company Objective, by which sound business results go hand in hand with an ethical approach.

Today, the Model Company Objective remains the raison d’être of the VELUX Group. It offers a long-term perspective on the company’s development, and it guides decisions and actions at all levels in the organisation and in all parts of the world.

The Model Company Objective is part of my contract. It states that I must lead the company in an exemplary manner. This has been very useful to me, especially when facing difficult decisions, where I have been able to ask myself – what would a model company do in a situation like this?” Jørgen Tang-Jensen, VELUX Group CEO, President.

In 2015, Lars Kann-Rasmussen, former CEO of the VELUX Group and Chairman of the VELUX FOUNDATIONS, gave an interview on the Model Company Objective and its implications in the current business environment. Among other things, he stressed how VELUX products are useful to society and how they improve sustainability in many ways:

We are fortunate that the products we work with are, by definition, useful to society. And when, on top of that, throughout their service life they make use of nature’s own resources – daylight and fresh air – we could hardly be more fortunate. Obviously, we need materials to produce a window – but our environmental footprint is extremely modest compared to that of so many other companies”.

We create products useful to society

Bringing daylight and fresh air into buildings through windows offers a number of benefits for human beings and thereby for society.

Daylight, fresh air and outlook are fundamentally linked to human well-being. We all know that quite instinctively. And our instincts are backed by a wealth of scientific data that prove how daylight – and fresh air for that matter − increases children’s learning abilities, productivity at work and recovery of patients in hospitals,” says Michael K. Rasmussen, Senior Vice President, Brand & Communication.

Our new generation of roof windows is an example of how the VELUX vision of bringing daylight and fresh air through the roof is put into practice.

In our product development, we took our starting point in getting more daylight and comfort, while curbing the use of energy. In addition to daylight and comfort for people, the new generation of roof windows can save more CO2 than is emitted over their complete lifecycle. That is a good example of how our fundamental objective to create products useful to society is still valid,” says Michael K. Rasmussen.

We treat our customers in an exemplary manner

We treat our customers better than most other companies” is a key statement of the Model Company Objective. But what does that really mean?

We can see it in the smallest details when it comes to our interaction with customers and the quality products we deliver. But most of all, we can see it in the large market share we have maintained over time. That wouldn’t have been possible if we did not treat our customers in an exemplary manner,” says David Briggs, Senior Vice President Market.

The positive relationship with the customers is deeply rooted in the nature of the VELUX products.

Basically, daylight and fresh air through the window do not have a downside, so our customers will experience daily satisfaction from our products.

We treat our suppliers well

The VELUX Group has a clear commitment to treat suppliers well in order to create stable and long-term relationships that benefit both partners equally.

I would say that we are probably one of the few companies to state its commitment to suppliers as clearly as we do in our Model Company Objective. Our purchasing team always takes time to evaluate how we comply with our company values and objectives in our collaboration with vendors,” says Ingemar Tärnskär, COO, Executive Vice President. 

In what ways do suppliers experience the ambition to create fruitful and long-lasting partnerships?

We strive to be diligent in our communication with suppliers, and we negotiate based on fair opportunities for new and current vendors. We encourage win-win agreements, which we see as the way to ensure stable and mutually beneficial relationships,” says Ingemar Tärnskär.

We offer a safe and motivating place to work

At the VELUX Group, we believe that people performance drives business performance. As stated in the Model Company Objective, it is our ambition to treat employees better than most other companies. In a large and international organisation this might be difficult to measure and may also be subject to many different interpretations. Patrick W. McKenzie, Senior Vice President People and Strategy, sees it this way:

I really like this element of our Model Company Objective, but I also think it is often misunderstood. To me, it means that we are respectful and treat people fairly. We have no ambition to pay people better than other companies, but we pay fairly and we pay well. However, the full package on offer from the VELUX Group contains so much more − e.g. working with products useful to society, our high ethical standards and a good work/life balance. When looking at this whole package, I really do think that we perform better than most other companies,” says Patrick W. McKenzie. He underlines that care for people is also a key element of the company core values.

Where VELUX is different is the way that our values are truly lived throughout the organisation. This leads to very dedicated employees who stay with us for many years,” says Patrick W. McKenzie.

We make a profit to finance growth and maintain financial independence

Financial independence allows a long-term focus on the company’s development. This means that decisions on future opportunities can be made inside the company without consulting the bank. 

We believe in long-term profitable growth. The VELUX Group is owned by family and foundation. Our shareholders see the company as a long-term investment. We would never risk losing long-term opportunities by optimising the profitability of a single year,” says Peter Bang, CFO, Executive Vice President.

The interpretation of the Model Company Objective is carved in stone and forms the backbone of business decisions. 

Our endeavour to be a model company ensures that we do not compromise society, customers, vendors, employees or other stakeholders in order to make a short-term profit. I see that as an extremely strong obligation that guides the management team in the decisions we make,” says Peter Bang.

Our approach to
Corporate Responsibility

We take a business-driven approach to Corporate Responsibility based on the Model Company Objective. In essence, this means that we work to create value for society – and, more specifically, for our customers, suppliers and employees as well as the company itself in order to be able to finance future growth and maintain financial independence.

Corporate Responsibility is governed by the VELUX Management Group; our Corporate Responsibility Steering Committee meets quarterly.

Our Corporate Responsibility model
The VELUX Corporate Responsibility model explains how we understand and work with Corporate Responsibility.

We structure our Corporate Responsibility activities in five dimensions:

  1. Our commitment to Sustainable Living in Buildings is at the heart of our work with Corporate Responsibility. This commitment ensures the relevance of VELUX products today and tomorrow and supports our mission to develop a new paradigm for future buildings
  2. We develop products and services that are sustainable throughout their life cycle
  3. We act responsibly and seek influence to promote healthy and sustainable buildings
  4. We lead our business with focus on people and care for the environment
  5. We collaborate with customers and suppliers to improve our performance and to act responsibly throughout the value chain.

Perception of the VELUX Group as a responsible company

In 2015, the VELUX Brand Survey confirmed that our customers generally perceive our company as a socially and environmentally responsible company.

In 2015, the VELUX Brand Survey confirmed that our customers generally perceive our company as a socially and environmentally responsible company. 

We continue our efforts to be perceived as a responsible brand through a number of activities, including demonstration buildings, the Healthy Homes Barometer, the Healthy Buildings Day, Daylight Symposium and the Daylight/Architecture magazine.

Responsibility awards 2015

  • Denmark: in the European Business Awards, the VELUX Group has been selected as one of The National Champions in the category “Environmental & Corporate Sustainability”. The VELUX Group will go on to compete in the next phase of the competition, resulting in successful organisations being short-listed as one of ten Ruban d’Honneur recipients in this category. The European Business Awards is Europe’s largest and most significant cross-sector business recognition programme.
  • Denmark: in December, a Danish building magazine awarded the Green Solution House hotel and conference centre with the accolade of Danish Commercial Building 2015 for its sustainable solutions and environment-friendly building components. The VELUX Group is one of the strategic partners of the building.
  • France: in September, VELUX France received the Happy Trainees 2015-16 label for its participation in the largest European study of professional internships. VELUX France came in third place in the rankings of 1,000 companies.
  • Hungary: Lars Kann-Rasmussen, former Chairman of the foundation VILLUM FONDEN, was honoured with the award of Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of Hungary in recognition of the long-standing commitment of the VELUX Group in Hungary.
  • The Netherlands: VELUX Nederland B.V. was selected as one of the most inspiring organisations in the country for its vision to bring daylight into people’s lives every day. Our Dutch sales company was ranked as number 14 in the “Inspiring 40” consumer survey and the only company in the building industry to be included.
  • Poland: in November, the Regional Labour Inspectorate of the Opole region awarded the polyurethane windows factory NB Polska Sp. z.o.o. in NamysÅ‚ów first prize in the contest “Employer – an organiser of safe work” in appreciation of the factory’s initiatives to improve the safety culture among the employees.
  • The USA: VELUX Greenwood Inc. received the “Award of Excellence” for its outstanding safety performance. The award is based on Columbus Insurance’s annual assessment of their members’ performance in relation to safety.

Stakeholder engagement

Stakeholder engagement is a core element in fulfilling our objective to be perceived as a Model Company.

We engage with stakeholders to:

  • discover stakeholder concerns and needs through research and analysis of global, societal trends
  • engage in dialogue in a number of forums, meetings and platforms
  • influence development by providing knowledge, tools and methods related to healthy and sustainable buildings.

Our primary stakeholders are shown in the wheel below:

End users help us define a healthy home

From research and building experiments, we have learned how important the indoor climate is for people’s health and well-being. However, despite a growing interest in healthy homes among researchers, politicians and NGOs, there is still a lack of knowledge about healthy homes in the general public.

To meet this information gap, we have set out to further raise awareness of healthy homes and explore the link between healthy homes and healthy people. In order to do so, we carry out annual surveys and focus-group interviews on topics such as ventilation habits, behaviour in the home and health factors. Together with the Humboldt University in Germany, we have conducted a pan-European study on health and homes, and we are working closely to explore the underlying trends in people’s understanding and behaviour.

The ultimate goal is to help people realise that many small things matter when it comes to creating a good indoor climate, such as airing the home regularly or using sun shading to control thermal comfort.

About the
VELUX Group

Daylight and fresh air – that’s our business
For more than 70 years, the VELUX Group has created better living environments with daylight and fresh air through the roof for people around the world. Our products ensure a healthy indoor climate for work and learning, for play and pleasure. Our products benefit the environment by being highly energy efficient and by generating more energy than goes into producing them.

The VELUX Group is one of the strongest brands in the building industry and offers a large number of products and services, including:

  • Roof windows and skylights
  • Modular skylights for commercial buildings
  • Flat-roof windows and sun tunnels
  • Blinds and roller shutters
  • Flashings and installation products
  • Products operated by remote control.

With manufacturing companies in nine countries and sales companies in more than 40, our products are widely available. We employ almost 10,000 people and our company is headquartered in Denmark.

The VELUX Group is owned by VKR Holding A/S.

Our values

The business environment is changing fast. To stay on top and develop a stronger performance culture, we revitalised and reactivated our values in 2015. The five core values are unchanged, but their definitions were adjusted to make them more understandable in the present context and to create better coherence with the objectives we want to achieve.

 

 

 

 

Our strategy

The overall goals of the VELUX Group Strategy:

  1. Ensure the relevance of our core business (daylight and fresh air through the roof)
  2. Retain our high market share globally
  3. Deliver high profitability.

These goals will be achieved by:

  • delivering outstanding perceived value with affordable core products and services
  • focusing on high-volume standard product platforms for the mass market
  • leveraging our scale advantage to produce at significantly lower cost than competitors
  • fulfilling local customer needs with lean global structures and processes
  • so that customers are satisfied and our local relationships are strong
  • to remain the strongest brand in our industry.

Organisation and ownership

The VELUX Group is owned by VKR Holding A/S, a limited company wholly owned by foundations and family.

The VELUX Group is owned by VKR Holding A/S, a limited company wholly owned by foundations and family. The VELUX Group’s financial results are incorporated in VKR Holding’s consolidated accounts.

Each year, a share of VKR Holding A/S’ profit is paid back to society by the two foundations VELUX FONDEN and VILLUM FONDEN, which support scientific, environmental, social and cultural purposes around the world. The foundations operate independently from VKR Holding A/S and its companies.

Our history

A passion for daylight, fresh air and better living environments is what started our company almost 75 years ago.

A passion for daylight, fresh air and better living environments is what started our company 75 years ago. That passion still drives the development of our Group.

In 1941, entrepreneur and inventor Villum Kann Rasmussen came up with an idea that would transform dark attics into liveable space full of daylight and fresh air.

His first roof window was patented in 1942. He also came up with a distinctive name that brought out the key benefits of his solution: “VE” which is short for ventilation and “LUX” which is the Latin word for light − VELUX.

Within a few decades, Villum Kann Rasmussen and his team opened up the roofs of homes and workplaces all over Europe and America, making the VELUX brand synonymous with daylight, fresh air and functional, high-quality design.

Explore the VELUX history.

Board members

Our board consists of eight members.

VELUX A/S Board Members:

Søren Bjerre-Nielsen
Chairman of the Board, VELUX A/S
Chairman of the Board, VKR Holding A/S
Chairman of the Board and Chairman of the Committee of Directors, Danmarks Nationalbank
Chairman of the Board, Højgaard Holding A/S
Chairman of the Board, MT Højgaard A/S

Kim Fausing
Deputy Chairman, VELUX A/S
Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Danfoss A/S
Board member, Hilti AG, Liechtenstein

Kent-Åke Ahlgren
Board member, VELUX A/S
Owner, Ahlgren Consulting GmbH

Morten Falkenberg
Board member, VELUX A/S
President & CEO, Nobia A/B

Lykke Friis
Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education, University of Copenhagen
Chairman of the Danish Foreign Policy Society
Member of the boards of:
European Council of Foreign Relations,
Rockwool Foundation,
European Institute of Innovation and Technology,
International Crisis Group,
Vestas Wind Systems A/S,
The Danish-German Chamber of Commerce

Arne Christensen
Employee-elected board member, VELUX A/S
Quality worker, Skærbæk Bygningsindustri A/S

Øjvind Frank
Employee-elected board member, VELUX A/S
IT-responsible and CAD Coordinator, A/S Østbirk Bygningsindustri

Jan Thomsen
Employee-elected board member, VELUX A/S
Warehouse worker, Gåsdal Bygningsindustri A/S

Risk Management and Audit Committee

The VELUX Management Group continuously identifies and monitors significant risks related to the business.

The VELUX Management Group continuously identifies and monitors significant risks related to the business.

The Audit Committee has two members elected by the Board. One member is designated as a chairperson. Under the Danish Act on Auditors, all members qualify as financial experts and one of the members also qualifies as independent.

The members are:
Søren Bjerre-Nielsen – Chairman of the Audit Committee since 2013
Jan Lundsgaard Jensen – member of the Audit Committee since 2012, CEO of VKR Holding A/S

The Audit Committee assists the Board with supervision of:

  • the external auditor
  • the internal audit function
  • the financial reporting
  • the internal control system
  • the procedure for handling complaints regarding accounting, internal accounting controls, auditing, financial reporting issues, and matters of business ethics.

Risk management
The VELUX Management Group continuously identifies and monitors significant risks related to the business. The Audit Committee handles specific risks in relation to the process of preparing the financial statements and fraud.