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SDG certification for Alfix
02.11.2022

SDG certification for Alfix

The most recent way station on Alfix’s sustainability journey is a multifaceted place, from where we have brought home a particularly impressive souvenir. On 27 October 2022, our “travelling companion” came to visit and presented us with a certificate which provides tangible proof that Alfix is now officially SDG-certified.

Alfix’s “travelling companion” in this context is Bureau Veritas Danmark, which laid down the framework for Alfix during the process towards the goal. The journey commenced in the autumn of 2021 with a workshop and subsequent SDG screening. This has now been followed up with a comprehensive audit, which resulted in certification in the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

“Alfix’s work with the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals has been reviewed, assessed and evaluated by external auditors from Bureau Veritas Danmark, and the company thoroughly deserves to be rewarded with the SDG Certificate for its ongoing and extraordinary input,” relates Tomas Riegels-Jørgensen, Business Developer Sustainability, Bureau Veritas Danmark. “From our very first dialogue with the Alfix management, we encountered a modern, visionary approach where managers and employees alike are committed to a higher purpose than simply earning money,” he continues.

Driven by responsibility and a desire to inspire
“Our aim is to stand proud as a responsible manufacturer of construction materials, and so it means a great deal to us to receive SDG certification. Alfix’s vision is lead the field and provide inspiration with sustainable systems in the Nordic construction sector. Given that we also strive to inspire others to adopt more sustainable practices, it is essential to work with external partners who can professionally document the work we do. In line with this approach, it made perfect sense for us to team up with Bureau Veritas Danmark, which is a recognised certification company,” says Anders Bertelsen Toft, CCO at Alfix.

For Alfix, the certification represents a seal of approval and recognition from external experts in sustainability. We have obtained the certificate on the back of years of closely targeted work with sustainability in the company, where every member of the team has made an active contribution. This work encompasses aspects such as a sustainable management system, strong and well-documented supply chains, more sustainable purchases and responsible operation of the factory.

From a strategic perspective, Alfix focuses in particular on SDG No. 8: Decent work and economic growth and No. 12: Responsible consumption and production. Work in these areas is supported by a number of secondarily chosen SDGs that underpin the primary aims.

A consistent theme from strategy to action
As the name suggests, the essence of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals is “sustainable development”, including emphasis on environmental, social and governance aspects (the ESG concept: Environmental, Social, Governance). Bureau Veritas Danmark writes, for example, that companies must give due consideration to how they can contribute to a better world (bureauveritas.dk). For Alfix, it is also a matter of making a difference in the world from our position in the Scandinavian construction sector.

In connection with the certification, Bureau Veritas Danmark was keen to highlight aspects such as the clear link between strategy, plans and practical action, a high degree of documentation and dedicated management. Specifically, it is a matter of the company actually doing what is says it does – and this is also a precondition for obtaining the much sought-after certificate that documents input in the context of Sustainable Development Goals.

Next destination
One milestone has been reached – but there is still a long way to go to the finish line. Because it keeps on shifting. In fact, an essential part of the process is that changes and improvements are made on an ongoing basis – and this is sure to continue over the coming years. For this reason, Alfix will receive additional visits from Bureau Veritas Danmark for new audits in 2023 and 2024.

Click here to see certifikate!

New Danish TGA approval for façade insulation with render
02.11.2022

New Danish TGA approval for façade insulation with render

ETA-Danmark issues approvals to certify that materials live up to construction-technical requirements. The organisation has established the “TGA Scheme” (Teknisk Godkendelse til Anvendelse – Technical Approval for Use) and there is now a TGA designed to assure the quality of façade insulation systems.

Quality assurance and documentation
The TGA approval is a quality assurance and documentation of façade insulation systems and is intended to help minimise construction damage and faults. This is important at a time when rising energy prices and stricter demands on sustainability have increased the focus on façade insulation systems. Both the documentation and the work actually executed must be of a proper standard in order to provide house owners with confidence in the solutions.

Strong Danish sector cooperation
The Sector Association for External Façade Insulation Systems in Denmark (ETICS-DK) has worked closely with ETA-Danmark prior to the issuing of a TGA approval for façade insulation systems. According to Allan Nielsen, Director of the Association, the ETA approval is a real benefit from financial, environmental and safety-related perspectives. For example, it is intended to ensure that the building materials used live up to the highest construction-technical requirements.

“At ETICS-DK we are appealing strongly to project planners and architects to make sure that, from the perspective of design, all descriptions and tender materials are correct from the start. This means, for example, building with TGA-approved ETICS systems, because proper documentation pays dividends in the areas of finance, the environment and safety alike,” emphasises Allan Nielsen. (Source: Bygtek.dk)

Aesthetics, indoor climate and rising energy prices
“Façades are being upgraded and renovated throughout Denmark in a host of different and exciting projects. A large number of home owners are choosing to have their façades post-insulated and rendered so as to bring their homes up to modern standards out of consideration for both energy and the environment,” says Claus B. Høgdal, Director of Sales and Marketing at Alfix.

One of the home owners who has chosen Alfix’s external insulation solution is Stefan Kloth. “We chose the system in order to improve the aesthetic expression of our house, and because we wanted a better indoor climate. Today, our home is free from cold bridges, the indoor climate has improved considerably and we have significantly reduced our total heating consumption as a result of the renovation. We’ve absolutely noticed an improvement in both the indoor climate and our energy consumption,” relates Stefan Kloth.

See TGA approval here!

Meet a member of the Alfix team who’s bowing out
02.11.2022

Meet a member of the Alfix team who’s bowing out

Meet Søren Heiwald – a culture-bearer at Alfix, who has been with the company for the past 32 years and is now bowing out to enjoy his retirement. Everyone who knows Søren knows there’s never any doubt when he’s in the house, because it means time for stories and a good laugh. There’s never a dull moment when he’s around.

Up until the end of October 2022, Søren was a sales consultant in Central South Jutland and on Fyn, and before joining Alfix he worked a number of jobs, including ten years as an independent master mason.

This time, we’ve swapped the three usual “Meet one of the Alfix team” questions for three questions that centre on having been at Alfix for years and years.

What made you stay in the job for so long?

“I’ve been able to organise my working days however I wanted – in compliance with the company guidelines, of course. So this has meant a largely unrestricted, enjoyable and uncomplicated working life. I’ve had fun at work every day – and that’s what kept me going.”

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in your 32 years?

“Alfix has grown in more than one sense of the word. In addition to increasing turnover, the workforce has more than doubled over the past 32 years, while the range of products has increased three- or four-fold over the same period. It’s wonderful to have been a part of such a great success.”

What’s Alfix like as a workplace?

“Even though the workforce has expanded considerably, I still feel that there is a particularly close collegial working relationship here. In addition to having a manager who treats me with respect, and who means a great deal to me, I have a lot of excellent colleagues. We work as a team and ‘play each other better’.

“The difference between Alfix and other companies is that at Alfix, we take care of and look out for one another. It goes deeper than just ‘workmates’. And this is still how it is today, even though there are more than 50 of us working here. No-one is more important than anyone else here.”

Thank you

In conclusion, both Alfix and Søren Heiwald would like to say a big “Thank you!” So thanks to everyone who came to the reception on 13 October, where we celebrated everything that Søren has been involved in building up. “It was a great day in every respect. I’ll never forget it,” says Søren.

Søren is now looking forward to filling his days with golf, swimming and taking care of his home, which dates from 1937 – so he certainly has plenty to keep him occupied! He will also be joining Alfix’s seniors club along with a number of his former colleagues.

From quality control to candlesticks
02.11.2022

From quality control to candlesticks

Residual products can be given a new lease of life in projects large and small. Here is one of the more creative innovations that lit up a reception we held recently. Other residual products are repurposed and used as road aggregate, for example.

A candlestick is more than just a candlestick. The candlestick shown here is also a residual product from a quality check of a self-levelling compound. More specifically, it is a leftover piece of Alfix PlaneMix 50, which is typically used for smoothing and levelling floors.

Every day, the Alfix laboratory performs a range of quality checks on products as a part of our comprehensive quality management programme. The checks naturally result in some product leftovers, which can be put to creative uses. Over the years, the lab has created a parliament of owls, a polar bear and a range of candlesticks in various shapes and sizes, all made of filler.

From creative leftovers to tons of waste
Coming back to the candlestick: it and around 40 clones were made for a reception in October where we bid farewell to Søren Heiwald, sales consultant and mason, who was with us at Alfix for more than 32 years. The candlesticks were highly decorative, but in the great scheme of leftover products, they barely move the needle. The amounts of residual product from the laboratory are tiny compared with those stemming from the production department.

The residual waste from Alfix’s production processes is sorted and recycled to a high level of reuse in partnership with the environmental company Marius Pedersen. We operate a comprehensive waste sorting system and reuse as much as we possibly can. You can find out more about Alfix’s working relationship with Marius Pedersen here!

Sustainability on the agenda in masonry training
26.08.2022

Sustainability on the agenda in masonry training

The need to be green is becoming a bigger and bigger part of masonry training courses. Against this backdrop, this subject was also on the agenda when specialist teachers and trainers gathered for a seminar this past summer. The event was also a chance for them to hear more about Alfix – but how is Alfix interesting in this context?

Development making masonry more appealing as a profession
With a tile adhesive being central to any tiler’s work, the availability (since the spring) of a reduced CO2 and Nordic Swan label (Alfix ProFix Plus) is most certainly of relevance to teachers and trainers in the field, as well as masonry apprentices; familiarity with the product and including it in the training thus make sense too. Pia Skjøtt-Larsen, a training consultant from ‘Byggeriets Uddannelser’, the Advisory Board for Education and Training for the Building and Construction Industry, is happy to see this development: “When suppliers create something sustainable, it piques our interest. We’re always happy when things go that way.”

In today’s masonry training, the topic of sustainability is covered as part of ‘construction and working environment’, but in future it is going to be a separate subject. “Focusing on making all aspects of professional masonry ‘green’ will help to make the training more appealing, attracting a greater variety of people to the profession. We are working towards more diversity and sustainability in the profession, and those two things go together,” Pia tells us.

Inspiration from Alfix’s side
Which specific initiatives make the biggest difference to the green transition? What materials and systems are most sustainable? How do we approach the documentation and new climate requirements? The answers to these types of questions can provide some inspiration - and in fact some answers were given by Mikael B. Noe, technical project manager at Alfix, during this summer’s seminar. Read on for a selection of them:

Which specific initiatives make the biggest difference?
“Product development, including selection of raw materials, is a considerable focus, because production of raw materials accounts for the vast majority of Alfix’s CO2 footprint. Typically this falls into three groups of raw materials: aggregate, cement and additives. If we take aggregate as our example, there are three areas that make a difference: 1) replacement of aggregate with light fillers to some degree, 2) the energy used to produce light fillers and 3) sourcing of additives locally,” Mikael B. Noe tells us.

When, for example, Alfix is selecting additives for a product, there will be a focus on getting a certain quality that will mean low CO2 emissions. As Mikael points out: “CO2 emissions are an important part of sustainability with regard to environment, but other conditions also have a major part to play, i.e. characteristics of the three pillars of ESG, i.e. environmental, social, and corporate governance, which have to be taken into consideration in sustainability. Ensuring high quality and thereby achieving sustainability and less damage/fewer complaints makes sense for the environmental agenda, but also makes sense financially for the party in question. At the end of the day, improving the working environment is always something we bear in mind when we are developing new Alfix products. This might mean simplifying processing, a greater spreading capacity per kg in the bag and therefore fewer kg in the bag to be hauled around... ...it might also mean reducing dust. Increased spreading capacity and dust reduction are two advantages of our new ProFix Plus tile adhesive.”

How do we approach the new climate requirements?
New climate requirements are going to come into force in building regs from January 2023. This means that climate calculations will have to be produced, in the form of LCA (life cycle analysis) calculations, for new building work. As the industry readies itself for this, one of the things we here at Alfix are focused on is improving our knowledge of how the new requirements will affect masons. What, therefore, does the mason need to be aware of and put into practice?

We have broken the new requirements for reduced CO2 emissions from new construction down and concluded that the most important role of the mason to begin with, from 2023 onwards, will be to pass on EPDs (environmental product declarations) for the products used in work, together with information about quantities. The EPDs form the basis for LCA calculations, and the EPDs that accompany the products provide the most precise calculation (although industry-specific data can also be used). As a supplier, Alfix has the important task not only of making sure that the products have an EPD, but also of making it readily available (e.g. from the Byggebasen database or the Alfix website).

Meet one of the Alfix team
26.08.2022

Meet one of the Alfix team

Here you have the chance to get to know more about production’s ‘wet’ department and Torben, who, together with Freddy and Mikkel, manages products such as sealing membranes, primers and façade paint. Their work is a balancing act, juggling buckets, lids and trays, and often involves juggling as a team: “If we are struggling with something in the 'wet’ department, we pull together and resolve the matter,” Torben declares.

Tell us a bit about you, your department and your own work
My name is Torben Hansen, I work in what we call the ‘wet’ department at Alfix, and have done so for four years now. It’s known as the ‘wet’ department because we produce the ‘wet’ goods - the 1K and 2K sealing membranes, the sealing primers, paint, FlexBinder etc.

I originally received general warehouse training back in the 80s, have built freezers and also worked a number of years in the food industry. I have also had a side job, working as a companion to people with special needs, for several years.

What are your tasks, specifically?
In day-to-day operations, my job is to mix 1K and 2K sealing membranes, i.e. weigh out specific quantities of various products and add them in the correct order, following a recipe issued by the laboratory, in our mixer.

Our working day is reasonably varied in terms of the tasks we have, which suits me just fine. If a rush order ever comes in and changes plans, as it occasionally does, we can soon rearrange things and adjust production to what is needed.

The kind of wet goods that are most challenging to produce are also the most exciting, façade paint being one such example; this requires our grey cells to work a bit harder. Production of this usually runs across a number of days, which is challenging but always exciting to experience.

What makes for a particularly good day at work?
All in all I’m happy in my work at Alfix; I have nice colleagues; there’s also a good canteen, we mustn’t forget, and a camaraderie which, in my opinion, helps to lift team spirits.

If we are struggling with something in the 'wet’ department, we pull together and resolve the matter.

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