SUSTAINABILITY rEport 2022
WITH SUSTAINABILITY AS A PART OF THE CORE VALUES
Of the key words that form the basis of BE Group’s values, sustainable is probably the most important since it should permeate everything we do and all of the decisions we make – both in the short and long term. Sustainability is the foundation so that we will continue to be a successful company in the long term. This partly involves minimizing our impact on the environment and climate and partly acting responsibly and respectfully in relation to both employees and our external partners. Sustainability is also about being profitable, making wise investments and securing the business in the long term.
BE Group’s sustainability work
BE Group strives to minimize the environmental impact of its operations and works continuously to reduce emissions in its own operations and in transports from suppliers to customers. Safety and a good working environment are top priorities. BE Group believes that safety, gender equality and diversity make companies more profitable.
BE Group’s Board of Directors bears ultimate responsibility for sustainability efforts and monitors that operations meet the statutory and regulatory requirements imposed on the company. The scope of the sustainability work is set by the Group management team, which handles issues concerning strategy, goals, follow-up and communication. The managing director of the respective unit bears the operating responsibility and sets local goals and plans that are followed up by the Group management team.
The sustainability report pursuant to the Annual Accounts Act includes pages 10-17, disclosures in accordance with the EU Taxonomy Regulation on pages 18-20, the section on risks and risk management in the Board of director’s Report on pages 7-9 and the business model on page 5. This sustainability report applies to the Group and all wholly owned subsidiaries.
Focus on three core areas
Over the year, BE Group’s Group management has worked to develop three core areas that will be a compass for how the company should act in a sustainable manner to achieve the overarching strategy. Within each focus area, activities have been identified that will drive sustainability efforts forward. In 2023, a sustainability group will be appointed with representatives from the Swedish and Finnish companies and this group will coordinate the work and set targets to be fulfilled by the respective companies in the Group. The work is based on Agenda 2030 and the global goals for sustainable development and the UN Global Compact’s 10 principles.
The materials purchased by BE Group shall be used to the greatest possible extent. The handling of the material shall be optimized to reduce waste and the operations strive to be as resource efficient as possible.
BE Group shall work actively to minimize the environmental impact of its operations.
BE Group will work for a stimulating and healthy work environment and act for a good society.
The following global goals has been identified as especially relevant to the business:
In both the long term and in the daily work, the company affect and are affected as a company by various stakeholders, including these key stakeholders:
|Expectations on BE Group
|Example of dialogue
|BE Group shall add value to all customer segments in accordance with its business model and acts with responsiveness to customer needs and in a manner that promotes trust, strengthening relations with existing customers and attracting new ones.
|Dialogue is conducted for example through personal interaction, daily contacts, trade fairs, customer surveys and the website.
|BE Group shall act responsibly both internally and externally to attract, develop and retain competent employees. Our core values guide us in how we behave towards one another in our day-to-day work.
|Dialogue is conducted for example in everyday discussions, workplace meetings, employee surveys, union collaboration, internal training, incident follow-up, performance and guidance talks.
|BE Group is to generate value for its shareholders through responsible and profitable company based on the Group’s business model and strategies for profitability.
|Dialogue is conducted for example through the Annual General Meeting, annual reports, sustainability reports, interim reports, the website and investor meetings.
|BE Group shall add value by providing efficient distribution, warehousing, pre-processing services and knowledge about our markets. The Group strives to strengthen sustainability work among suppliers through dialogue and by setting requirements.
|Dialogue is conducted for example through personal interaction, daily contacts, quarterly meetings and cooperation projects.
|BE Group wants to contribute to positive social development by generating job opportunities in its own operations and among partners. BE Group shall be an open and easily accessible actor that communicates with the greatest possible transparency within the regulatory framework regarding market-sensitive information.
|Dialogue is conducted for example through study visits, collaborative projects, networks and sponsorship.
A material that can be recycled over and over again while maintaining quality and recyclability is a prerequisite for a circular economy. Steel is essentially a sustainable material with a very long life span. It is the world’s most recycled material and fossil-free steel production imposes demands on further recycling. For BE Group’s part, this means that the materials purchased will be optimized and used to the greatest possible extent and the remainder will be recycled. The operations will be as resource efficient as possible with focus on material utilization.
To be able to grow and develop, good business ethics must be ensured and in its sustainability efforts BE Group is supported by several policies and guidelines: such as the code of conduct, core values, environmental policy, Safety first policy, anti-corruption policy, the code of conduct for suppliers and the whistleblower policy. Subsidiaries shall comply with these ethical guidelines and policies and the managing director of each company is responsible for their application in the operations.
BE Group’s code of conduct provides guidelines for business ethics and anti-corruption, and this is complemented with an anti-corruption policy. The policy has been translated into the local languages within the Group and clarifies the Group’s framework and rules of conduct. During the year, the Group did not receive any notifications linked to this.
Updated whistleblower policy
During the year, the rules on the companies’ whistleblower functions were strengthened and BE Group has updated existing policies to meet the requirements in each country in which the company operates. A whistleblower committee has been established to receive and handle possible cases together with an external advisory party. No whistleblower cases were received during the year.
BE Group conducts operations in various countries with different tax laws and legislative authorities and strives to pay the correct tax in every country. Changes in laws and case law are continuously monitored so that taxes are handled in accordance with current laws and rules. If applicable, guidance is sought at the local tax authority or with external tax advisers, such as audit and accounting firms, to clarify relevant tax issues.
BE Group is an independent steel distributor offering products from several steel producers around the world. The company monitors developments regarding the requirements imposed in the area and sustainability is a parameter both in the classification and evaluation of suppliers.
BE Group is an independent steel distributor offering products from several steel producers around the world. The company monitors developments regarding the requirements imposed in the area and sustainability is a parameter both in the classification and evaluation of suppliers. In Sweden and Finland, the Group works continuously with available EPDs, both new ones and updating existing ones. EPD stands for Environmental Product Declaration and is a certified summary of the climate impact a product has throughout its life cycle. From primary raw materials, via production, transport and use, to recycling or “end of life” in other ways. BE Group actively seeks out suppliers with explicit sustainability efforts that can offer products with lower CO2 emissions.
BE Group’s ambition is to be able to help small and medium-sized companies, which most often buy steel in smaller quantities, to buy sustainable steel at competitive prices. During the year, the company’s letter of intent with H2 Green Steel regarding cooperation and distribution of fossil-free steel in the Nordic market was converted into a formal agreement. At the same time, discussions are being held with several European steel producers about future partnerships and the company is following the trend towards lower, and ultimately zero, emissions of fossil carbon dioxide. The company’s ambition is to eventually be able to offer a complete range of sustainable steel.
Risks and risk management in BE Group
BE Group’s profits and financial position are affected by a large number of factors. The Group operates in several countries and is therefore exposed to various risks as a consequence of differences in legislation, regulations and guidelines. Risk management within the Group is guided by established policies and procedures that are revised by the Board of Directors and/or Group Management on an ongoing basis. All risks are handeled as a part of BE Group’s sustainability work. The most important risks and factors of uncertainty for BE Group can be divided between:
- Market risks
- Operational risks
- Financial risks
Read more about the identified risks and risk management in the Board of Director’s report.
KEY FIGURES 2022
SEK 6,875 M (5,388)
UNDERLYING OPERATING RESULT
SEK 488 M (529)
SEK 418 M (621)
RESULT AFTER TAX
SEK 324 M (495)
RESULT PER SHARE
SEK 24.96 (38.10)
SOLD TON (THOUSANDS)
8.6 kg (8.1)
69 kWh (74)
BE Group’s corporate culture is based on what is defined as the Group’s core values. These values shall permeate the entire organization and create security and understanding, provide guidance in how we should relate to one another and to our surroundings, and form the basis for clear communication, both internally and externally. BE Group has focused on three key words for this work and they are dynamic, transparent and sustainable.
Dynamic means that the employees must be attentive and curious at the same time that they never hesitate to question “old truths” when necessary. Together with the company’s business partners, the employees are encouraged to continuously seek new methods and opportunities that can contribute to developing both the company’s and the customers’ offerings.
Through collaboration, the employees learn from each other, identify the areas that can be improved and together find solutions to any questions and problems that arise along the way. Transparency is about setting clear goals and having a shared view of expectations and performance. Openness, honesty and clarity win in the long term.
Sustainability is the foundation so that BE Group will continue to be a successful company in the long term. This partly involves minimizing the business’ impact on the environment and climate and partly involves acting responsibly and respectfully in relation to both employees and external partners. But sustainability is also about being profitable, making wise investments and securing the business in the long term.
Health and safety is a highly prioritized area at BE Group’s workplaces and there is a policy with a zero vision regarding workplace accidents called Safety First. The basic idea is that all accidents can be prevented and safety must come first at all times. The units are working locally to assess and address risks in the operations and to prevent accidents. Steering documents are in place and regular follow-ups, workplace meetings and training sessions are carried out. Each accident and incident are reported, evaluated, rectified and followed up.
In 2022, 11 accidents (16) resulting in more than one day’s absence were reported, and it is clear that risk awareness has increased among employees. An increasing number of risk observations are being reported and this leads to units being able to work increasingly proactively with improvement projects. Since the work of prioritizing safety began in 2019, the number of accidents with absences has decreased by nearly 75 percent, which is a clear signal that these efforts are working. In the employee survey, 89 percent (85) of employees said that they experienced that their manager always puts safety first. The overarching objective is that no one should be injured at BE Group’s workplaces and that everyone should have the conditions to be able to do the right thing in an easy way. One of the largest risk groups is new employees and focus was placed on further improving introductory training during the year. This gave results and in Finland, for example, they had the first summer without accidents with absences among the summer substitutes and two out of three units have been free from accidents with absences for more than 365 days.
The focus for the future is to continue collecting risk observations, to promote activities that prevent accidents, to train and remind employees, and to highlight and reduce hazardous behaviors at the workplaces.
BE Group’s ambition is to create a stimulating and healthy work environment for employees. All workplaces within BE Group shall be safe and pleasant and free from harassment and discrimination. It is important for BE Group to be seen as an attractive employer where employees thrive and can develop. The employees are our most valuable asset and a prerequisite for the company to perform well. The company is dependent on new staff with new ideas and experiences that balance the long-term expertise that already exists.
Every year, BE Group conducts a Group-wide employee survey to ensure that the strengths and improvement areas that exist in the work environment are illustrated. The employee survey is sent to all employees and 85% (84) of the employees chose to participate in 2022. The results are presented by department and every group work on preparing an action plan for the improvement areas established.
The employee survey measures five different indices: Engagement, Leadership, Team efficiency, Management and Psychosocial work environment. The results show continued positive development, although there are areas of improvement. The goal is that the employees shall have the possibility of influencing their work situation and, besides the employee survey, performance reviews are regulary held.
Average number of employees and diversity
The average number of employees in BE Group in 2022 was 654 (621), of whom 11 percent (11) were women. The percentage of women in the organization is still low and work is ongoing to map how to create conditions to attract more women employees and managers. However, there are considerable differences between the percentage of women on the white-collar side and in production. In 2022, the percentage of women among white-collar workers was about 27 percent and for production it was about 1 percent. Work is continuing to increase the diversity of workplaces and to create balanced teams with individuals with different genders, ethnic backgrounds and ages. Actively working with diversity and gender equality is part of the management team’s work linked to the global sustainable development goals in Agenda 2030.
BE Group’s ambition is to be seen as an attractive employer where employees thrive and can develop. The company is dependent on new staff with new ideas and experiences that balance the long-term expertise that already exists.
Employees shall have the opportunity to develop in their work and this includes training courses, both external and internal. The need for further training is discussed during employee development talks where individual requests can be raised. The units work locally with the training programs and in Finland, for example, there is a digital tool with ready-made short-term training courses where the employees themselves have the opportunity to develop in various work-related areas.
During the year, training in the environment and safety was carried out at the units. Group-wide leadership training for all management teams was carried out during the year with both physical and digital meetings.
BE Group works proactively to minimize the environmental impact of its operations. Environmental issues are an integrated part of the operations and the foundation of the environmental work is a Group-wide environmental policy. The units work locally with the environmental issues linked to the operations and focus is on continuously improving their facilities’ energy consumption, emissions and waste management. All operations are certified in accordance with the international environmental standard ISO 14001. BE Group is engaged in operations at one site in Sweden and one in Finland where environmental permits are required.
In recent years, the company has implemented a number of measures to reduce its operations’ energy dependency and to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The more decisive efforts include the centralization of operations in Sweden and the Baltics and the extensive investments made in modern and more energy efficient machines. The units have also worked to replace the lighting in the premises with LED lighting, which reduces energy consumption considerably. For example, Finland now has only LED lighting in production, which covers an area of about 40,000 m2.
In 2023, the company will appoint a sustainability team that will prepare new environmental targets for the Group to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and to strive to become climate-neutral in the future. As an independent steel distributor, with a position between the steel producers and customers, BE Group can be involved in influencing the choice of materials that are placed on the market. The company is already working with several steel producers throughout Europe and is able to offer climate-compensated steel to customers. The company actively seeks out suppliers with explicit sustainability efforts that can offer products with lower CO2 emissions. The ambition is that as much as possible will be purchased from ISO 14001 certified suppliers and, in 2022, 85 percent (85) of purchases were made from certified suppliers.
BE Group is making calculations of carbon dioxide emissions according to the recommendations in the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, GHG Scope 1-2. The calculations show that the Group had CO2 emissions of 8.6 kg per ton sold (8.1) in total in 2022 from its own business. The increase in 2022 is mainly attributable to the decreased tonnage.
BE Group’s total energy consumption amounted to 69 kWh/ton sold (74) during the year. Carbon dioxide emissions from in-house operations are reduced through greater use of fossil-free energy carriers, such as electricity, biogas and district heating, and by the streamlining of energy consumption. Currently, about 60 percent of the energy consumption comes from renewable sources. Energy consumption is affected by the delivery volumes and it is primarily production activities (material processing and service), which are energy intensive. Warehousing in itself is less energy intensive.
In recent years, the company has implemented a number of measures to reduce its operations’ energy dependency and to reduce carbon dioxide emissions
One of the company’s major challenges is the optimization of transports as nearly half of all transports are made by road. The units work locally with this since the conditions vary between the different countries. The companies actively work to find transport companies that have a explicit and deliberate sustainability and environmental focus. The transports in Sweden are increasingly made by trucks powered by diesel with an add-mixture of non-fossil HVO/BIO components and there are also trucks powered by biogas. In Finland, the focus is on optimizing transports via a consolidation center for transshipment and onward transport to end customers. The units in Sweden and Finland account for the majority of transports and, together with the transport companies, gather detailed data for current fuel consumption to gain greater knowledge of the emissions and how the company can influence them from an environmental perspective. During the year, 94 percent (91) of the shipments were handled by ISO 14001 certified suppliers.
Emissions from own operations
BE Group’s own operations cause only limited emissions. Emissions primarily originate from the production units in Norrköping and Turku where operations such as painting and blasting are carried out. The filtration of solvents (VOCs) from painting facilities and dust from blasting and cutting equipment is efficient and is continuously followed up. An important contribution that BE Group in Sweden has made over the year is large-scale testing with water-based paint in production. Today, solvent-based paint is used and a transition to water-based paint would entail both reduced emissions of volatile organic compounds and an improved working environment for employees.
Residual materials in BE Group’s operations are mainly metals, wood and cardboard. These are sorted and recycled to the greatest possible extent. Steel production is a heavy and energy-intensive industry, but at the same time, the life expectancy of steel structures is long and the recycling rate is high compared with many other materials. In 2022, the Group recycled a total of 98 percent (98) of the total number of residual products from the operations.
BE Group works with internal processes and reporting tools to be able to detect irregularities in the organization. The company shall apply sound business principles and an important part of this work is to combat corruption. The company strives to be a financially, socially and ethically responsible actor and complies with the laws and rules applicable in the respective market where the company operates
BE Group is working to have healthy employees and a safe work environment and to safeguard diversity, equality and the development of the company’s employees. All workplaces shall be free from harassment and discrimination. As guidance, BE Group has the code of conduct. It is established by the Board of Directors and includes all operations and employees within BE Group. These ethical guidelines provide guidance in the daily work to achieve the Group’s goals and point out everyone’s responsibilities towards business partners, owners, employees and society. The Code addresses issues of business ethics, anti-corruption, child labor, equality, work environment, career issues and competence development.
Target figures are available for the work on the safety of operations and additional indicators are to be developed as part of the work on Agenda 2030. The employee survey is an important tool in the follow-up of internal work, where the working groups after the survey work with their results and the outcome is followed up by the management teams.
Part of society
BE Group strives to be an active part of the society surrounding our units. This is achieved through various activities such as sponsorship of local sports clubs, organizing internships and summer jobs and working together on degree projects.
During the year, for example, the Lahti unit donated traffic workbooks to local schools with the purpose of teaching children important traffic rules at an early age. Together with another company, BE Group in Sweden financed a grant for the year’s best degree project in steel construction in 2022.
With units in several countries in Northern Europe and a geographically widespread supplier base, insights regarding human rights may be limited and there is a risk that the company may involuntarily contribute to human rights violations. These issues are addressed in BE Group’s code of conduct. The follow up takes place through the whistle-blower function where employees have the possibility to report serious inaccuracies within the organization. When working with the suppliers there is a code of conduct for suppliers and follow up is made through talks with the suppliers.
This year, a lot of focus has been on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and earlier in the year, BE Group chose to donate money to the UNHCR and UNICEF. The people in Ukraine are living in terrible conditions following the invasion about a year ago and the humanitarian needs are huge. Around Sweden, various networks have worked together to be able to help and many projects have recently been about the production of stoves, in order to be able to give the people of Ukraine heat and the opportunity to cook hot food during the winter. BE Group and the networks of customers in Sweden and Finland have been involved in several such projects. In these charitable works, BE Group has contributed materials to the stoves, particularly sheet metal and tubes, while the networks of industrial customers have contributed with production capacity and labor hours.