The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


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Case study: How Grundfos promotes sustainable water use

Grundfos is one of the world’s leading providers of pump solutions, supplying complete pumping systems and solutions for buildings, industry and every aspect of water use, with annual production standing at more than 17 million units. With water scarcity affecting more than 40% of the world’s population, Grundfos seeks to contribute to meeting the global water challenge through technology and by utilising new business models to introduce sustainable solutions.

This case study is based on the 2017 Sustainability Report by Grundfos published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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Operating in 56 countries around the globe, Grundfos has the technology and solutions to make a significant contribution to sustainable water use  Tweet This!, measuring progress qualitatively by reaching ever-more people with sustainable solutions and by the quality and innovation value of the partnerships in which Grundfos engages. In order to promote sustainable water use Grundfos took action to:

  • implement the Water2Life programme
  • deliver Lifelink solutions
  • join partnerships

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2017 Sustainability Report Grundfos identified a range of material issues, such as energy efficiency, product life-cycle, anti-corruption, employee satisfaction, human rights, occupational health & safety. Among these, promoting sustainable water use stands out as a key material issue for Grundfos.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards              

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Grundfos engages with:

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement


·      Consumer survey

·      Websites

·      Product websites

·      E-learning (Grundfos for installers)

·      Online tool for wholesalers (MyGrundfos)

·      Social media

·      Direct contact through sales

·      Customer meetings

·      Industry trade group meetings

·      Awards (Customer Satisfaction Survey)

Employees ·      EMS (Employee Motivation Survey)

·      Intranet

·      Town hall meetings

·      Training & learning warehouse,

·      Whistleblower system

·      Safety week

·      Water2Life






·      Direct purchase

·      Supplier awards

·      Supplier Code of Conduct awareness

·      Meetings

·      Audits

·      Trainings

·      Conferences

Global and local partners



·      For Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) partners, Grundfos has key account managers who hold regular meetings with them every year
Local communities




·      Direct local engagement

·      Employee volunteers

·      Collaborative partnerships

·      Sponsorships






·      Governmental affairs liaisons

·      Direct engagement

·      Meetings

·      Advocacy

·      Dialogue

Development banks and advocacy organisations


·      Direct engagement

·      Meetings

·      Advocacy

·      Dialogue

Government & policy makers


·      Governmental affairs liaisons

·      Direct engagement

·      Meetings

·      Advocacy

·      Dialogue

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics Grundfos engaged a wide range of stakeholders through a materiality survey, asking stakeholders to rank different topics, adding interviews as verification.

What actions were taken by Grundfos to promote sustainable water use?

In its 2017 Sustainability Report Grundfos reports that it took the following actions for promoting sustainable water use:

  • Implementing the Water2Life programme
  • Water2Life is a programme initiated by Grundfos’ employees that seeks to provide clean water to some of the world’s most vulnerable communities. Grundfos’ involvement in projects is framed by a sustainable solution as decided by the company, and is communicated to employees across the world. The approach is evaluated on a yearly basis, by looking at results in terms of engagement and fundraising. The programme works in partnership with a local NGO that suggests where the greatest impact can be had within a region or country. Grundfos determines which project to focus on and proceeds to fundraise the first half of the project, while the local NGO fundraises the second half and manages the daily responsibilities. In 2017, Grundfos wrapped up its Water2Life project in Vietnam. More than 100 km of pipeline connected the homes of 28,000 people to local waterworks, and the project provided sanitation and hygiene education for more than 3,600 school students. Through Water2Life donations, local waterworks in Vietnam provide clean and affordable water to local communities, which creates both a sustainable business model and jobs for local people. In September 2017, Grundfos partnered with Water Mission and launched a new three-year project in Honduras, bringing clean water to schools and hospitals.
  • Delivering Lifelink solutions
  • Grundfos Lifelink represents Grundfos’ commitment to providing customised sustainable water solutions serving low-income communities in the developing world. By supporting revenue collection, transparency and smarter water management, Lifelink solutions enable water service providers to deliver a sustainable long-term community supply. Grundfos delivers Lifelink solutions to treat surface water in communities that do not have access to potable water or water of sufficient quality for domestic purposes, and combines solar-powered pumps, water treatment (AQpure) and intelligent water ATMs (AQtaps) with online water management and professional service to provide water kiosks connected to groundwater or surface water supplies. Lifelink solutions also build on partnerships across sectors. In 2017, the Grundfos Lifelink team continued building partnerships to bring sustainable access to safe water for low-income communities. Together with World Vision Kenya and funded by the Stone Family Foundation, Grundfos finalised the implementation of 46 automated solar powered water kiosks for 11 water projects in Kenya. Grundfos also engaged with Kenyan mobile operator Safaricom, which made available a special data package at an affordable price so that local communities could access the mobile payment platform for tapping water 24/7 at the AQtaps, and delivered Lifelink solutions to treat surface water in communities that had no access to clean and drinkable water. In West Bengal, India, Grundfos’ ultra-filtration (UF) membrane-based Grundfos AQpure solution is up and running, to treat water for a large village that is surrounded by saline and contaminated surface water. 
  • Joining partnerships
  • For Grundfos, the main value of partnerships is in making a greater difference in the world, particularly when working in unchartered areas. Through SDG #17 on partnerships, Grundfos can achieve its aim to take water of the required quality to where it is needed. Some of Grundfos’ significant partnerships in 2017 are:
    • ADRA International: Grundfos collaborated with the humanitarian organisation ADRA International, to provide access to clean water for 1.5 million people in Asia, Africa, Central and South America, and the South Pacific over a period of five years. Grundfos’ innovative technology will improve access to water and hygiene resources in under-served peri-urban communities.
    • Ghana Ministry of Water: Grundfos and the Ghanaian Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources signed a Memorandum of Understanding on improving clean water supply for the people of Ghana. Grundfos solutions deployed in both urban and rural areas of the West African country include solar-driven pumps, which are particularly suited for areas with unreliable or non-existent power supplies. Furthermore, the focus is on capacity building and training.
    • Danish Refugee Council: Grundfos partnered with the Danish Refugee Council’s Business-Humanitarian Partnership Lab, bringing the first water solutions to the Bidi Bidi refugee camp.
    • 2030 Water Resources Group: In 2016, Grundfos joined the prestigious 2030 Water Resources Group, named for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs that guide its goals. The group brings together public, private and civil society at country level to have an open discussion about water management and to develop concrete proposals that can help drive action on the management of water resources.
    • World Vision: During 2016 and 2017, Grundfos’ partnership with World Vision benefited more than 700,000 people. In 2016, Grundfos recorded over 322,000 people from nine countries who had access to clean water and in 2017 reached a further 384,500 people from eight countries, including Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Zambia.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standard addressed in this case is: Disclosure 203-1 Infrastructure investments and services supported


Disclosure 203-1 Infrastructure investments and services supported corresponds to:


80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

Research by well-recognised institutions is clearly proving that responsible companies can look to the future with optimism.

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1) This case study is based on published information by Grundfos, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:


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