Environment The environment 11% less emission Green energy opportunities Indirect emissions Use of materials Carbon footprint offset The Recycloctober Campaign Rabbits and fish stew Recycling ratio compared to previous year(s) Assessment of supplier environmental impact Paperless communications Janitorial services Recirculating System Responsible disposal of medicines


We care about the environment

Veritas management and staff care for the environment, and have carried out several environment-oriented projects throughout the years. Veritas adopted an Environment Policy in 2018. In the wake of that policy, Veritas Environment Committee was appointed. Veritas and subsidiaries' Environment Policy's goal is that our group of companies release the as little pollution as possible into the environment, reducing our environmental impact, and our usage of natural resources. Our Environment Policy covers the following categories: CO₂ friendly transport, CO₂ friendly procurement, waste sorting, and improvement of procedures. Our Environment Policy is periodically reviewed, aiming at continously reinforcing our positive impact on environmental issues. Veritas Environment Committee is responsible for making sure that our Environment Policy is adhered to.

The environment

Waste bins were removed from our employees' workplaces in 2014 to raise awareness of what we were throwing away. Besides environmental projects, horticultural plants and fruit trees have been grown in our garden since 2012 for use in the Veritas canteen. Paper is sorted as quality paper and newspaper/magazine/envelopes. In 2017, we made a concentrated effort to reduce printing within our group of companies: the number printers was reduced and their location was centralised. Employees received public transport grants to encourage use of ecofriendly transport. Use of disposable paper tablecloths and paper cups and dishes was discontinued in our Friday breakfasts in 2019. The Veritas canteen and our subsidiaries' coffee stations sort waste into biological, plastic, paper/cardboard, and household waste, and CO₂ friendly cleaning products are used. Batteries and thermograms are sorted in dedicated containers for correct disposal by Íslenska gámafélagið.

859 tons

2020 group's overall emissions were 859 tons CO₂

963 tons

2020 group's overall emissions were 859 tons CO₂


YOY % change

-78 tons CO₂

COVID impact - fewer flights for employee travel

Dagmar Ýr Sigurjónsdóttir, marketing manager at Vistor (Novo Nordisk)

11% less emission

Our group of companies' overall emissions were 963 tons CO₂ in 2019, most of it associated with employees' petrol consumption (285 tons CO₂). Emissions were reduced by 11% in 2020 down to 859 tons, mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic and consequent reduced business travel by our employees. Fuel consumption, imports via airfreight, and domestic product distribution were responsible for the most emissions, equivalent to 709 tons in 2020. There is much room for improvement for our group of companies, both regarding car fleet replacement and reduction of airfreight imports.

Overall emissions associated with employees air trips was 22 tons CO₂ ins 2020, 19 tons CO₂ consisting of international air trips. In 2020, green house gas emissions associated with employees air trips were reduced by 78% vs. 2019. The decrease in air trips is explained by travelling restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Overall shipment emissions for purchased products were 314 tons CO₂ in 2019, of which 236 tons CO₂ are due to airfreight emissions. Overall emissions in 2020 associated with freight of purchase products was 336 tons CO₂, an increase of 7% vs. 2019. This increase is explained by the fact more imports were delivered via air flight due to COVID-19.

Emissions of CO₂ from imports is dependent on the distance from origin, and the size of the shipment. It is assumed that emissions from airfreight are 20 times higher than from sea freight. Figures in the graph above show overall emissions from product imports by Veritas. Notably, 63% of these emissions  are due to the vendors' imports.

The overall emissions depend on Veritas’ volume of business. To facilitate comparing emissions between years, the adopted parameter is the emission of CO₂ per employee.

"In the future, we can strive even further to procure CO₂ friendlier products and demand the same from our suppliers. "

"We also must increase our awareness of the kind of products we purchase. I recently examined airfreight shipment figures. Airfreight has a very high carbon footprint. Our business trips also has a very high impact, as we usually travel a lot to take part in trade fairs and business meetings. This is something where we can directly make a difference. We can focus on importing more products with sea freight instead of airfreight, as well as cutting down our business trips. Many meetings can take place via video conferencing. Airfreight is only used in cases when medicine is needed with urgency, or when something misfires within the supply chain. Sometimes, e.g. when we are purchasing a low volume from a new supplier, airfreight is more advantageous. In such cases, airfreight is selected,"

Brynjúlfur Guðmundsson, general manager at Artasan

Green energy opportunities

In 2019, our group of companies' car fleet consisted of 80 vehicles, and overall fuel consumption was 122 thousand litres. In 2020, our group of companies' car fleet consisted of 88 vehicles, and overall fuel consumption was 120 thousand litres. Distica increased the number of vehicles in their own fleet instead of purchasing freight services from third parties. Had that change not occurred at Distica, our direct emission associated to fuel consumption would be decreased by 12%.

One of Veritas’ main goals is to minimise fuel consumption, in an effort to try to reduce pollution throughout our operations. Overall electricity and hot water consumption within the Veritas group of companies was 14 tons CO₂, equivalent to 2% of our overall emissions. We use a 100% green energy for space heating of our premises. The overall emissions over time depends on our volume of business, limiting our opportunities to reduce emission in this regard. Year-on-year electricity consumption is practically stable. Overall hot water consumption within our group of companies increased by 2% year-on-year, mainly explained by a 10% increase for Distica.

Indirect emissions

Our indirect emissions, i.e. third-party products/services emissions, and own products/services emissions are partially accounted for in this report. Those include product import and distribution, waste processing, and air flights (both domestic and international).

Use of materials

In 2018, we invested in reusable boxes for transporting the products distributed by Distica. Disposable foam boxes are only used in exceptional cases. Padding, used to protect the products, is reused to its maximum extent. Most commonly used materials are cardboard and bubble wrap. That applies to non-medicinal products only. Usage of plastic bags has significantly decreased year-on-year. Conversely, purchase of bubble wrap and stretch wrap increased in 2020 vs. 2019, which is explained to some extent by the year-on-year increase in the volume of health products, which are delivered on pallets.

Carbon footprint offset

Veritas has entered into an agreement with Kolviður - The Iceland Carbon Fund - for carbon footprint offseting of our car fleet. Veritas’ group of companies’ carbon footprint in 2020, before offset, was 859 tons CO₂. The planting of 275 trees in cooperation with staff, offsett this by 281 tons CO₂. Therefore, the group's overall carbon footprint in 2020 was 578 tons CO₂.

Our calculations are based on average offset per year per tree - not taking into account an offset period up to 60 years as calculated by Kolviður. Hence, our calculations assume a certain offset per year which qualifies as assets for financial accounting purposes, not only once as calculated by Kolviður. We base our calculations on the mixed reforestation species adopted by Kolviður.

The "Recycloctober" Campaign

In 2018, Veritas started a campaign aiming at bringing recycling and waste sorting to the next level. The campaign was successful in improving our waste sorting. Since 2018, we run the yearly "Recycloctober" campaign, dedicating the whole month of October to boost education and reinforcing waste management, if necessary, but also to raise general awareness among our staff of waste sorting and the environment. In recent years, an external consultant has been visiting our premises, and providing us advise on waste sorting. After that, each subsidiary takes charge of its own sorting and recycling. During the "Recycloctober" campaign, we organise face-to-face educational sessions, and post frequent updates on Workplace about waste sorting and the environment. We employ a mix of seriousness and lightness to get the attention of our staff. Due to social distancing throughout the year, most of "Recycloctober" activities were conducted via Workplace in 2020.

The character "Rubishanna", created by Sonja B. Guðfinnsdóttir, was born during the "Recycloctober" campaign a few years ago.

Sonja Björg Guðfinnsdóttir, member of Veritas's environment committee

Rubishanna is born

"We had no particular plans for Rubishanna: her videos last year were something spontaneous, as I just cannot help it when I have silly ideas like that one. I love conveying messages in a positive and humorous way, both to disseminate education and give people food for thought. It is nice to have freedom to give life to one's own ideas, even though the pharmaceutical side of my job always has priority, of course. But if there is time for a little fun, then I enjoy giving it a try. There are no plans for Rubishanna's future, as she has not been formally hired by Veritas Environment Committee," Sonja B. Guðfinnsdóttir explains.

Sonja B. Guðfinnsdóttir, member of Veritas's environment committee

Rubishanna, rubbish minister of the Veritas group

Rabbits and fish stew

We strive a lot to reduce food waste, and staff education is a crucial part of getting everyone dancing to the same tune. Veritas cafeteria is in a key position regarding the implementation of our environmental goals. Our staff eats and meets in a bright and nice canteen with a view over Mt. Esja. Our master chef Jón Elvar Hafsteinsson is tireless in finding new and exciting ways to minimise food waste.

"I use our ingredients pretty well and create new, funny, and unexpected dishes. One of our most popular dish is made from excess ingredients which end up in the freezer. I am talking about our fish stew which is made of first-rate ingredients, usually potatoes and fish. I make fish stew once a month using those fine ingredients which are leftovers from when we serve fish once a week. When one of my sous-chefs started baking her incredibly delicious rye bread, fish stew became even more popular. In my opinion it is a healthy policy in and of itself but we need to follow established food safety guidelines. However, the key point is: you should never have to throw away nice ingredients which are fit to use," says Jón Elvar Hafsteinsson, master chef.

"We sort and keep salad waste to give it to rabbit farmers who use it as a fooder for their rabbits. If not used otherwise, rice leftovers are also used by chicken farmers. We strive to maximise our food as much as possible. As an example, a few years ago, we decided to offer our staff the opportunity to take excess food home in take-out containers on Fridays. The initiative was very appreciated." says Jón Elvar.

Recycling ratio compared to previous year(s)

Íslenska gámafélagið (ÍGF) provides Veritas with a full array of waste management services. In 2019, ÍGF started exporting household refuse to Europe for energy production. Therefore, no refuse ÍGF collects from Veritas is disposed in landfills.

In 2018  Veritas set for itself the goal of increasing garbage sorting, and promoting reuse and recycling. The benchmark was to keep a 50% or higher recycling ratio. Recycling has since then reached 60% in 2020, with a 5% increase in 2020 vs. 2019.

The volume of landfill garbage decreased by 8 tons, and landfill biological wast decreased by 1 ton.

Assessment of supplier environmental impact

Veritas has the ambition to provide only established, high-quality products from manufacturers which comply with the most stringent quality requirements. It is important to endeavour to have an impact on our suppliers but the size of our group of companies in the bigger context is also a factor which our influence depends on. On the other hand, Veritas’ suppliers are leaders, not followers, as far as sustainability is concerned, and their focus is increasingly on the improvement of sustainability and social responsibility. Resellers have also started to make demands and reject products with excessive or environmentally unfriendly packaging. In other words, sustainability is bcoming ever more important.

"To be able to state that our products are manufactured in an ecofriendly fashion, and that our manufacturers offset their carbon footprint, is crucial for our marketing activities. It is easier to market products like this. If it is a question of choosing between products A and B, the message will always sound better for A if it is the more sustainable product. We have not adopted any provisos in our supplier assessment check-list regarding social responsibility, but we show a deeper interest for biological, co-friendly products and the like. We also show a deeper interest for products which create value for us, and we usually comment in our sales approach that our products or their packaging are sustainable," says Brynjúlfur Gudmundsson, General Manager, Artasan.

"We took a very positive step in 2020 regarding our suppliers. When selecting our business partners, we look closely into how they fulfill their social responsibilities. This is actually the apex of our business actions last year. We are not satisfied only by financially advantageous proposals: we send also a questionnaire to our business partners whereby they have to provide answers on how they fulfill their social responsibilities. In my opinion, this is a hugely progressive step: the fact that our business partners are helping us in our pathway to become a corporation which demonstrates social responsibility, with a bigger impact on the community than before," says Thórdur Arnar Thórdarson, General Manager, Vistor.

Paperless communications

Veritas adopted a goal to increase its ratio of paperless business, provided all quality requirements are met. We aim at minimizing printing by reducing it year over year.

There was a 11% decrease in the number of printed pages in 2020 vs. 2019. This decrease is explained by a series of procedural changes within our group of companies, e.g. the inception of electronic signatures, increased paperless internal communications, and electronic data storage. We are taking steps to reduce usage of paper with our shipments to customers, and to increase electronic receipt of customer information. Other improvement projects are also ongoing which will result in less printing within our group of companies. The overall number of printed pages per office day is currently 3,300 pages. Considering our goal for 2021, we still have a ways to go in terms of improvement.

Janitorial services

Dagar, a Nordic Swan Ecolabelled cleaning service company with focus on the environment, takes charge of all janitorial services for Veritas group of companies. Since 2009, Dagar has reduced their use of cleaning products by 60.8% per cleaned square meter. Dagar fulfill their social responsibilities at three levels: operations, human resources management, and community issues within the Icelandic society. Dagar has been selected because Veritas and its subsidiaries assert themselves regarding environment protection, security, equality, cultivation of the Icelandic language, support to employees of foreign origin, and the promotion of healthy habits and healthy nutrition. Dagar is also a member of Festa Centre for Sustainability, and a Creditinfo Model Company. Dagar appointed an internal social responsibility working group.

Recirculating System

Veritas group of companies performs quite well in several areas of sustainability and social responsibility. Nonetheless, Veritas management and staff agree, there is still room for improvement. Environmental issues are the ones requiring most focus and change, therefore this subject will be central for our group of companies in the coming years, as stated in our short-term and long-term goals. Veritas management has also been pondering how the concept of the ‘recirculating system’ applies to our business.

"We can consider better analysing the materials in our devices from a recirculating system's perspective. Is it possible to reuse more? How do old devices end? We should increasingly take the environment more and more into account, as we use a variety of materials in our operations. Given the nature of our business, many of our devices are tailor-made for individuals to match their unique requirements. However, we can always contemplate how our materials can be either reused or recycled." says Ólafía Ása Jóhannesdóttir, General Manager, Stoð.

Responsible disposal of medicines

One of the ideas which emerged within our company is to start a campaign to raise awareness towards the responsible disposal of medicines. Procedures for the disposal of medicines are clear: all medicinal products must be disposed of according to strict requirements laid down by The Icelandic Medicines Agency. All medicines to be disposed of by our group of companies are shipped to Kalka Disposal Plant in Suðurnes. Kalka is the only company in Iceland accredited by The Environment Agency of Iceland to dispose of medicines. Distica employees personally transport any controlled drugs all the way to Kalka for disposal. We also collect medicines from individual chemists' and health care centres which are then disposed of following same procedures applicable to medicines from Veritas.

In 2019, 19,823 kg of medicines were disposed of vs. 7,787 kg in 2020. The 2020 volume is extraordinarily low: due to COVID-19, fewer medicines were shipped for disposal. Therefore, we estimate that figures for 2021 will be higher. Previous years have also been included in the graph below.