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Bang and Olufsen sustainability – What you need to know



Bang & Olufsen is a big name in the audio world, with its speakers, headphones and TVs – and for good reason. The company’s products usually test incredibly well when we get them in for review, and you’ll often see them featured in our best headphones, best true wireless and best speaker guides.

But, are its products sustainably made? As part of our core values that aim to highlight that global warming isn’t a myth, Trusted Reviews sends a series of questions to every company about the efforts it’s making to help reduce the impact of its products on the planet.

Below is a breakdown of the answers we received from Bang & Olufsen on the measures it’s currently taking.

Do you have an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) or equivalent public product sustainability policy?

Answer: Yes. Bang & Olufsen is committed to minimising the adverse impact on the environment from the company’s own operations and its supply chain, as well as being committed to continuously reducing the footprint of the company’s products over their entire lifecycle. Resource efficiency, serviceability and high quality as standard have been an integral part of the company’s daily operations for years, and Bang & Olufsen has been widely recognised from a functional, aesthetical and technological perspective for the design and long-lasting characteristics of its products. It is the company’s ambition to push the boundaries even further by creating more sustainable products while also improving the user experience.

In September 2021, our Beosound Level became the first ever Cradle to Cradle Certified speaker in the consumer electronics industry. In addition, Bang & Olufsen is also among the first companies to receive the certification under the new Cradle to Cradle Certified Version 4.0 standard – the most ambitious and actionable standard for designing and making products today that enable a sustainable tomorrow.

The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute’s Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard has long been regarded as the most trusted and advanced science-based standard for designing and manufacturing products that maximise health and wellbeing for people and the planet.

The fourth version of Cradle to Cradle Certified features new and enhanced requirements in all performance categories. This includes, but is not limited to, new frameworks for Product Circularity, more rigorous requirements in Clean Air & Climate Protection to promote urgent action to address climate change, as well as improved alignment of Material Health requirements with leading chemical regulations and other standards. The end goal of the Cradle to Cradle philosophy is to create a self-sustaining world where materials are seen as nutrients that circulate in closed loops and eventually help to design out waste.

Current environmental and circularity work on our products includes integration of the Cradle to Cradle standard into our product development process, exploration of the use of recycled materials, greater sourcing transparency, less impactful packaging, among others.

Currently, we do not currently have Environmental Product Declarations for our individual products.

B&O’s Stakeholder and Sustainability Policy is available on our corporate website here.

Are you a carbon neutral company? If not, do you have a roadmap to become one?

Answer: Today, we’re not a carbon neutral company, but we have a stated ambition to work towards climate neutrality. We’re working systematically to reduce the CO2 emissions of our operations by managing energy consumption and environmental impact in accordance with the principles of the ISO 14001 standard. So while we’re not yet a carbon neutral company, we have a roadmap to achieve this, and have two publicly stated targets for this financial year related to carbon reduction in our operations.

These are:

  • Reduce CO2 in buildings with at least 5%
  • Reduce CO2 emissions of own logistics system by 5-10% pr. kilo
  • You can read more about these in our Sustainability Report, which is available on our corporate website here.

Is every employee in your company on a living wage?

Answer: Yes. We don’t have accreditation to validate this; however, all salaries start ahead of the London minimum wage, regardless of location.

Does your supply chain pay employees a living wage under the same criteria?

Answer: At Bang & Olufsen, we’re committed to a framework of principles and policies that includes respect for universally recognised standards for protection of human rights, labour conditions, zero tolerance towards child or forced labour, and anti-corruption, as outlined in the 10 principles of UN Global Compact. As a result, we engage with our supply chain and partners to ensure certain minimum standards according to the UN Global Compact and other relevant standards and norms, as well as to drive continuous improvements to ensure that all our suppliers operate in compliance with the requirements. These requirements and ambitions are captured in our Supplier Code of Conduct, which is available on our website here.

Suppliers that are deemed to be at a high risk of deviation from the Code of Conduct requirements are audited through on-site evaluations by independent third parties at least once every two years. In the past two years, we’ve audited high-risk product related suppliers that account for 98.6% of our product-related spend. These audits include assessment of employee working conditions and practices. It’s our view that if there were a concern around legal minimums being paid to our suppliers’ employees, it would have been uncovered during these audits.

For more information on our approach to being a responsible partner, please read pages 22 and 23 of our CSR & Sustainability Report 2020/21, which is available here.

Does the company have a net zero target in place?

Answer: We have an ambition to work towards climate neutrality, but we haven’t set a date for achieving our Net Zero target. However, we understand and are deeply concerned about the climate emergency that we’re all facing. As a result, we’ll present at new ESG and Sustainability plan soon, which will include taking full responsibility for our value chain climate impact and striving to work towards a 1.5°C future, in line with scientific advice. In August, we’ll kick off a Scope 3 inventory of our entire value chain, so we can understand our total footprint and put in place a roadmap of emissions reduction activities.

Currently in our operations, we work to reduce the CO2 emissions by managing energy consumption and environmental impact in accordance with the principles of the ISO 14001 standard. We have two publicly stated annual targets related to carbon reduction in our operations. These are:

  • Reduce CO2 in buildings with at least 5%
  • Reduce CO2 emissions of own logistics system by 5-10% pr. kilo
  • You can read more about these in our Sustainability Report, which is available on our corporate website here.

What supply chain policies does the company have in place to avoid the sourcing of conflict minerals and guard against human rights violations?

Answer: Bang & Olufsen believes that the integration of ethical, social and environmental perspectives is prerequisite for running a sustainable business. We’re committed to conducting our business in a responsible and transparent manner, and we respect internationally recognised principles for protecting the environment, ethics, human and labour rights, and anti-corruption. Our business processes and policies are aligned with the 10 principles of the UN Global Compact; including environmental protection and respecting the fundamental rights of all human beings.

We engage with our supply chain and partners to ensure certain minimum standards according to the UN Global Compact and other relevant standards and norms, as well as to drive continuous improvements to ensure that all our suppliers operate in compliance with the requirements. These requirements and ambitions are captured in our Supplier Code of Conduct, which is available on our website here.

All suppliers are obliged to sign our Supplier Code of Conduct. Any suppliers assessed as being at a medium risk of deviation from the Code of Conduct requirements must undertake a supplier self-assessment audit, while those that are high risk suppliers are subject to on-site audits at their applicable manufacturing sites at least every second year. The audit is undertaken by an external third party, independent auditors according to rigorous ESG standards. Any non-compliances are remedied through an agreed upon corrective action plan, and expected to be closed within three months of the plan being agreed. If not, this is reported to our compliance committee for further review.

We have a zero-tolerance view of slavery and human trafficking, and we expect the same from all our suppliers. Our statement for Slavery and Human Trafficking in accordance with the Modern Slavery Act 2015 can be read here.

B&O’s Stakeholder and Sustainability Policy is available on our corporate website here.

Does the company disclose environmental data through the CDP platform?

Answer: We haven’t disclosed data to CDP previously; however, we’ll do this for the first time in the coming quarter, through the CDP Supply Chain Program.

Does the company have a 100% renewable energy sourcing commitment in place?

Answer: Bang & Olufsen is committed to minimising the adverse impact on the environment from the company’s own operations and its supply chain, as well as being committed to continuously reducing the footprint of the company’s products over their entire lifecycle. Resource efficiency, serviceability, and high quality as standard have been an integral part of the company’s daily operations for years, and Bang & Olufsen has been widely recognised from a functional, aesthetical, and technological perspective for the design and long-lasting characteristics of its products. It is the company’s ambition to push the boundaries even further by creating more sustainable products while also improving the user experience.

While we don’t have a publicly stated renewable energy sourcing commitment in place, we’re investigating this for the next fiscal year (from June 1, 2022) and there is work ongoing to support the green transition.

This includes the recent decision to fully halt the use of natural gas in our operations. Natural gas has been used solely to power the anodizing process at our manufacturing site. In September 2022, we’ll move from natural gas power to electric boiler powered anodization. On top of this, 17% of our fleet is already electric and we’re currently reviewing the fleet policy. While the review is still in process, we expect that it will require that the whole fleet becomes electric by end of fiscal year 2024/2025 at the latest.

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