Corporate social responsibility and Veritas
It is with great joy that Veritas publishes the first edition of this sustainability and social responsibility report for its group of companies. Social issues, in all its diverse forms, have always been important to Veritas, but a comprehensive summary of our diverse environmental, corporate governance, and social responsibility projects has never been compiled before. We have intensely focused on the participation of all staff throughout our group of companies in sustainability projects. We believe that we can achieve more victories and be more efficient and be more effective by working as one in order to reach our goals.
CEO's addressHrund Rudolfsdóttir, CEO of Veritas
Veritas comprises six subsidiaries, all operating in the pharmaceutical and health sectors. In aggregate, we are the largest supplier within the Icelandic health sector, and we proudly define ourselves as an intrinsic part of and a backstop of the health care system in Iceland. This role implies maximum responsibility in terms of professionalism and dependability of our operations, as well as our sincere obligation towards good corporate citizenship which inspires us to commit to our share of social responsibility.
It has been gratifying to follow this path. In my opinion, it is very important to have a full overview of the multiple community projects and roles which our group of companies has been undertaking. It is a special joy to witness the participation of all staff in one way or another. Their participation has both been as part of their respective responsibilities but also as a result of their sincere commitment and of individual initiatives by managers and employees, often leading to great improvement projects.
We are determined to do a better job regarding environment issues in the future. Therefore, we decided this year to focus on compiling our achievements thus far in this report. In 2020, Veritas was awarded a Golden Seal recognition in the wake of the Equal Pay Audit carried out by PWC, as well as The Association of Women Business Leaders' Equality Scale Award. We also became a member of Festa - Centre for Sustainability. We are very grateful for these acknowledgements which we consider as encouragements to keep up the good work.
Hrund Rudolfsdóttir, CEO og Veritas
Strategic goal and operations
Veritas Capital ehf. is privately owned and operates in six (6) locations in the Reykjavík Metropolitan Area, in addition to small-scale operations in two locations in the Copenhagen Metropolitan Area. Our group of companies' headquarters are located at Hörgatún 2 in Garðabær. The total turnover of our group of companies was ISK 26.6 billion, and the number of full-time equivalent units was 248 by end of year (2020).
Veritas’ strategic goal is to specialise in the operation of companies in the health sector. Veritas is the parent company of the subsidiaries Vistor hf., Distica hf., Artasan ehf., MEDOR ehf. and Stoð ehf. Veritas is the bedrock of our group of companies and services our subsidiaries to enable them to focus on their core businesses. This is how we support the Icelandic health care system in improving the quality of life of our fellow citizens. The group has many partners among international pharmaceutical companies. They are specialized in logistics, import and distribution of pharmaceuticals, nursing products, medical devices and other healthcare products in Iceland. They also offer over the counter medicine and other health products and they are leading companies in consultation, sales and services of various medical devices and products.
Our group of companies set itself the goal of growing and diversifying, and has been systematically working towards that end since 2015, both by means of organic growth and expansion of operations, within our defined framework: the health and pharmaceutical sectors.
Our set of goals comprises:
- Growth in earnings and return on capital
- Shares in the current marketplaces, as well as warranting new income sources
- Customer satisfaction
- Organisation and increased production with digital solutions
- Quality of our internal processes and business practices
- Corporate governance and staff satisfaction
Veritas sustainability goals
The overall emissions from our business depends on Veritas volume of business. Veritas management and staff have decided to adopt ambitious goals for their work during the next year(s). To allow comparing emissions from year to year, the adopted parameter is the emission of CO₂ per year of operation. Another parameter, carbon footprint offset, will also be examined based on turnover. This is an interesting parameter, as it shows even better the success of our group of companies in reducing carbon emissions. The following graph visually summarises our goals:
-3% to -6%
Reduce CO₂/employee emissions by 3-6% in 2021 vs. 2020
By reducing fuel consumption by 10% vs. 2020
To reduce airfreight product import by 15% vs. 2020
To reduce staff air travel by 50% vs. 2019
Reduce printing of documents by 12% vs. 2020
Increase our recycling ration to 65%
2021 – Veritas offsets 50% of the group’s carbon footprint
2025 - All Veritas operation's carbon footprint is offset
Veritas gives extra weight to transparency, integrity and ethical practices when doing business. We also uphold the values adopted by our group of companies as a whole: reliability, candour, and progress. Veritas adheres to the Corporate Governance Guidelines published, inter alia, by The Icelandic Chamber of Commerce. Those guidelines include recommendations to adopt standards which exceed legal requirements, aiming at strengthening our infrastructure and dependability.
Please click on the links below to review the Code of Conduct, Human Resources Policy, board by-laws, Corporate Governance Policy, and Data Safety Policy adopted by Veritas and subsidiaries.
Veritas organizational structure
External challenges and opportunities
The operations of our group of companies are contingent on a variety of circumstances. The most substantial influencing factors are as follows:
- Fluctuations in the exchange rate of the Icelandic króna (ISK) significantly impact our gross earnings, as the medicinal products we import and distribute are priced in foreign currencies. Several contracts entered into by and between our group of companies and government organisations are also anchored to currency exchange rates in one way or another. In addition, procurement by our group of companies almost completely involves products quoted in foreign currencies. The same applies to several service agreements entered by and between our subsidiaries and international suppliers. Therefore, any fluctuations in króna's exchange rates may have a diverse impact on our businesses and operations.
- To a great extent, our group of companies' operations qualify as part of the Icelandic health care system. For this reason, our operations are subjected to the applicable laws, regulations, and vigilance by regulatory authorities in various ways. Hence, our group of companies is dependent on political and administrative decision-making which are often unforeseeable, with limited opportunities to present any objections or counter arguments.
Code of Conduct
The core business of our group of companies is the import and marketing of medicinal products, which demands a robust and thorough modus operandi. Veritas Code of Conduct, which also applies to Veritas subsidiaries, was adopted in 2018, and includes specific standards for interactions with health care professionals. We also operate pursuant to an international code of conduct and relationships between pharmaceutical companies and health care professionals (The EFPIA Code). The objective of those standards is to ensure a professional modus operandi in the marketing of medicinal products, and that all decisions made by public officials are sound and indubitable. The EFPIA Code was adopted as required by Directive 2001/83/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, and its amendments.
Human Resources Policy
Veritas operates in compliance with the provisions contained in current collective agreements signed by and between The Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise (SA) and respective labour unions. The majority among Veritas group of companies' staff (about 70%) are members of The Store and Office Workers’ Union (VR), while other employees are members of professional labour unions such as The Icelandic Pharmaceutical Society (LFÍ), The Association of Chartered Engineers in Iceland (VFÍ), The Icelandic Nurses' Association (FÍH), The Union of Natural Scientists in Iceland (FÍN), and The Union of Icelandic Electrical Workers (Rafís), to mention but a few. Some employees have opted out of labour union membership.
Veritas Human Resources Policy's main objectives:
- To optimise employee satisfaction at all times aiming at boosting team unity and optimise our business output
- To pay competitive wages based on what employees are paid for comparable jobs in the Icelandic marketplace
· To uphold equality in words and deeds
· To promote a healthy work-life balance
· To ensure that the flow of information fulfils the staff's and company's needs
· To ensure that employees periodically receive candid and constructive feedback regarding their performance
· To thoroughly fulfil the needs and requirements set forth by our suppliers and the legal framework applicable to our business operations
· To ensure work development by providing continuous education to the staff
· To ensure that the staff endeavours to boost team unity and share its expertise and experience to the benefit of all
Click here to read the unabridged Veritas Human Resources Policy.
Corporate governance and Veritas board by-laws
Veritas management focuses on adopting the best practices in corporate governance and having transparency, integrity, and high ethical standards as principles. Our management also upholds the values adopted for our group of companies as a whole: reliability, candour, and progress. In order to boost corporate governance quality, Veritas management endeavours to adhere to the Corporate Governance Guidelines approved, among others, by The Icelandic Chamber of Commerce, either strictly following those guidelines or clarifying any deviations in this corporate governance statement.
Every year, Veritas management publishes a corporate governance statement as part of our annual report. Veritas Board of Directors undertakes efforts to make sure that the organisation and operations are in good shape at all times in order to permanently safeguard the interests of all shareholders. The board retains ultimate power and is consequently responsible for the governance of Veritas business interests and matters in between shareholders meetings. The board of directors, in coordination with Veritas CEO, takes the lead in the strategic planning and definition of business goals for the company. As the entity ultimately responsible for corporate governance, the board focuses on keeping a panoramic view of the Veritas operations, providing the executive board with reasonable support and supervision.
The corporate governance statement describes the board composition and practices during the respective fiscal year. Click here to review our corporate governance statement.
Veritas has a board of directors for each of its subsidiaries. When appointing members to the board of each subsidiary, we take pains to select a mix of both external directors with expertise and experience in the respective fields, and in-house managers.
Our boards of directors consist of 3 to 4 members, and we endevour to make sure that gender equality is served within each individual board, in compliance with the Corporate Governance Guidelines. Each board adopts their own by-laws and conducts periodical assessments of their own corporate governance practices. The members of the board disclose, at a minimum on a yearly basis, any potential conflicts of interest. The periodicity of board meetings varies for each subsidiary. Board meetings take place as often as needed, with a minimum of four (4) meetings per year. No corporate governance committees are appointed within our group of companies.
Each board of directors sets their own regularly updated business plans, observing a balance between financial and non-financial matters (such as equality, social responsibility, and environment).
The executive board is responsible for the decision making regarding economic, environmental, and social responsibility aspects. The executive board has entrusted Veritas Environment Committee to conduct our main environmental projects, Veritas’ Human Resources Manager to cover the social responsibility agenda, and Veritas’ CEO to account for corporate governance practices.
Below is a summary of all members of boards within our group of companies. Veritas Chair of the Board is also the company's largest shareholder.
Veritas is owned by three (3) shareholders: Stormtré, Trausttak, and Stjánkur:
- Stormtré ehf., 90%, owned by Hreggvidur Jónsson, Veritas Chair of the Board (also serving as a member on the boards of MEDOR and Vistor), and Jóhann Jónsson, member of the board of Distica.
- Trausttak ehf. – 6%.
- Stjánkur ehf. – 4%, owned by Hrund Rudolfsdóttir, Veritas CEO.
Stjórnir samstæðunnarBoards of directors
Data Safety Policy
Veritas and its subsidiaries provide services to approximately 300 international suppliers, many of which sometimes are fierce competitors between themselves, and hence have their own very stringent requirements regarding confidentiality and data protection. As a parent company to its subsidiaries, Veritas is responsible for the management of IT systems for our entire group of companies. For this reason, Veritas adopted and works pursuant to its own Data Safety Policy which is based on and certified according to ISO/IEC 270001 standards.
Veritas holds the certificate No. IS 607526 issued by BSI (The British Standards Institution) vouching for the fact that our company operates a data protection control system which meets the ISO/IEC 27001:2013 standards. Veritas and its subsidiaries adhere to a data safety policy based on ISO/IEC 27002 Code of Practice for Information Security Controls.
Social Responsibility Policy and major issues
In 2020, Veritas became a member of Festa - Centre for Sustainability. Key environmental indicators in this report are determined according to The Climate pulse, Festa - Centre for Sustainability's official carbon footprint calculator. Veritas and its subsidiaries assert themselves in regards to environment protection, security, equality, cultivation of the Icelandic language, supporting employees of foreign origin, and promoting of healthy habits and healthy nutrition. Our main human resource focus is on gender equality, industrial safety and health, diversity, and prevention of workplace bullying. A purposeful decision was made to involve a broad group of employees in that set of issues.
"From the very beginning I emphasised that we would work on this as a group of companies: Veritas as the parent company is formally responsible for the project, but anyone with a passion for those matters could, for example, volunteer to take part in our Environment Committee. Many of our most important processes cut across the group of companies and are therefore of interest, environmentally speaking.
A passion for environmental issues has sprouted within many a heart in our group of companies. Nevertheless, when this project was formally started up, it was a prerequisite that representatives from all our subsidiaries were to be involved.
"Our biggest sustainability achievement in 2020 was to achieve a comphrensive overview in these areas for our social and sustainability report, thereby laying the foundation for planned future improvements.
Over the years we have successfully completed various improvement projects of which we should be proud. We should use these as an encouragement towards even greater successes in the future.
We approached these projects systematically just like any other business projects, tackling them by means of established methodologies and best practices. In 2020, we really placed a particular focus on these issues, integrating them into our daily routines, using devices and instruments from our business toolbox.
Sustainability is now a part of our strategic business plan, that is a big step for us.
"As a privately-owned corporation we have voluntarily decided to engage in this project, setting it as a challenge to ourselves. This commitment towards transparency is a strong reminder of one of our core values: candour. We pledge to be candid in our actions, which is in line with the developments in corporations worldwide."
Hrund Rudolfsdóttir, CEO of Veritas
About the report
This is the first edition of Veritas Social Responsibility Report and covers the fiscal year 2020. This report will be published annually. Key performance indicators for 2019 are also exhibited to some extent as 2020 was an atypical year for several reasons. This report was compiled pursuant to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards: Core. Staff from all divisions of our group of companies took part in this report's compilation. All data included in this report originates from Veritas IT systems, and reflects the knowledge known to us at the time this report was compiled. The Environment Committee has compiled data on environmental issues and calculated our group of companies' carbon footprint. Part of the information was obtained from interviews taken with some members of the management team. We also decided to include the philosophy behind the report as well as the videos used when our Environment Policy was induced during the the so-called "Recycloctober" campaign.
Veritas is reported as a group of companies and all figures presented in this report refer to the combined performance of Veritas and its subsidiaries, i.e. individual indicators are extrapolated. In specific cases, we decided to also consider Veritas’ sister company Hávarðsstaðir, which owns and keeps a large portion of the real estate Veritas has at their disposal. Any such cases are expressly mentioned.
Contact persons for any information regarding this report and its contents are Hrund Rudolfsdóttir, Pétur Veigar Pétursson, Kjartan Steinsson and Dagmar Ýr Sigurjónsdóttir. Podium ehf. provided guidance and conducted a quality review of this report.
Personal data protection
Veritas adopted a policy and guidelines for the processing of personal data to ensure that our group of companies complies with The Icelandic Act No. 90/2018 (Act on the Protection and Processing of Personal Data). Veritas provides their staff and customers trustworthy and reliable services by:
- Striving to ensure that any and all personal data Veritas collects and stores are processed in accordance with current laws and regulations on the protection of personal data, i.e. The Icelandic Act No. 90/2018 (Act on the Protection and Processing of Personal Data)
- Optimising safety and accuracy of personal data stored at Veritas and subsidiaries
- Employees and candidates being informed about which of their personal data are retained, how they are stored, who have access to them and when they will be erased
- Making sure that our response to safety breaches complies with applicable laws and regulations