November 12, Niels Due Jensen was honoured with the German business prize, the LutherRose. The prize is awarded to business leaders that in a remarkable way have shown courage, integrity and a will to run their business in a socially responsible way.
Although, most of the time, he credits his father, it is not possible to neglect
the son’s importance for the development of Grundfos through his 23 years as CEO
and his subsequent work as chairman of Grundfos majority shareholder, the Poul
Due Jensen Foundation.Niels Due Jensen’s lifelong efforts to continue his
father, Poul Due Jensen’s, legacy was celebrated on November 12 by the
International Luther Foundation. Niels Due Jensen received the award for his
relentless fight to safeguard Grundfos’ tradition for acting responsibly towards
both employees and the surrounding society.
The good master craftsman
Niels Due Jensen remains deeply founded in his Christian faith, but he will never engage in complicated theological discussions. Whether he is with his closest family, among colleagues and employees or at the highest political level is not important. The core of his belief is to care for his fellow man. Not just in words, but in actions. Going back to Luther’s time, these are the virtues of a good master craftsman in Wittemberg during the 1500s.”
Niels Due Jensen likes to think of himself as a responsible master craftsman who takes good care of his people in good as in bad times. If there is illness or other problems at home, he has always given them the time needed to recover and done everything in his power to make sure that they could come back when they were ready,” explains Kim Nøhr Skibsted, Grundfos’ Group Vice President for Communications, Public Affairs & Engagement.
Grundfos’ experience is that a staffing policy, which contributes actively to social cohesion, creates both respect in the local community and incomparable loyalty among the employees. And Grundfos takes great pride in the fact that many employees still choose to stay with the company their entire working life.
Stand up for what you believe in
The good master craftsman must also be ready to reach out to his peers and fellow citizens and remind them of their obligations. Kim Nøhr Skibsted explains that Niels Due Jensen never shied back from sharing his views with the public:”
Niels Due Jensen has always been very concerned with solving the problems he saw, but he has never just sat down and waited for others to fix them. He has acted as a leader who was willing to defend his views - also when the public opinion has gone in a different direction,” he says.
Lately, Niels Due Jensen has voiced his concern about industry’s will to uphold meaningful jobs for those fellow citizens that are not capable of handling jobs demanding higher education and constantly changing skills, and that companies must do their piece in this regard.
”It is as if we have partly lost the room in our companies and in society for those employees who either have a disability that makes it difficult for them to find space in industrial production, or who simply cannot cope with all these changes in modern industry. What will become of them?” he asked during his keynote at the 2015 Grundfos Prize.
Simple philosophy obliges
If asked about Grundfos’ socially conscious profile, the man of the day will provide a simple answer based on Luther’s message of doing your best with the skills you have in the time you are given on Earth.”It has been my clear goal in life to ensure that Grundfos’ values and business ethics are not lost in the global fight for market shares. Being selected to receive the LutherRose is therefore a great honour, and I really appreciate this recognition,” he explains.
Social responsibility as a calling
Niels Due Jensen frequently repeats his father’s famous words about how a company’s duties go beyond laws and tax payments. When society faces new challenges, business and industry must step up and do their part, letting society’s vulnerable groups contribute instead of being an inconvenience.
”Poul Due Jensen created Danmark’s first privately owned sheltered workshop in 1968. Through the years, Niels has kept insisting on making room for employees with special needs. This is also the reason why Grundfos brings in refugees for short-term apprenticeships to help them find their way into the Danish labour market,” explains Henrik Stubkjær, bishop of Viborg Stift and a good friend of the Due Jensen family.
According to the bishop, Niels Due Jensen has widened and deepened the socially conscious workplace created by Poul Due Jensen to a globally conscious corporation delivering innovative products with the potential to lift the world’s poorest out of poverty and fight both climate change and its consequenses.
”He is deeply founded in a Christian approach to society and the people surrounding him: God created the world and all life in it. It is our duty to protect the Creation and strive to allow all humans to live a life in dignity. This is the core of Niels Due Jensen’s life’s work, and this is why he is a natural and worthy LutherRose awardee,” says Henrik Stubkjær.