Boule stands for responsible business in all areas in which the company has a significant impact. Sustainability is directly linked to Boule’s vision and business operations. With the priorities and goals defined to create value for our customers, we also create value for our employees, owners and society at large. Boule’s product solutions and services help our customers contribute to communities becoming more sustainable. Boule’s activities directly contribute to objectives three and nine of the UN Framework for the 2030 Agenda.
Good health and well-being
Boule delivers solutions for blood diagnostics that are used in medical examinations and the diagnosis of diseases. From a societal perspective, blood cell counting is a very cost-effective analysis and provides timely information about patients’ health and diseases for immediate action.
Sustainable industry, innovation and infrastructure
Boule’s instruments and reagents are offered in near-patient diagnostics worldwide. Our robust and high-quality blood analysis instruments help healthcare providers give patients safe and accurate diagnostics, whether they live in cities or rural areas.
Mapping Boule's impact on sustainability
Boule sources products in Europe, Asia, and the USA. We manufacture in three factories in the USA and Sweden, and market instruments and consumables globally via our network of distributors.
Boule’s value chain provides us with analysis data for sustainability and risk analysis.
We have evaluated Boule’s impact on society and the environment by identifying different stakeholder groups and potential sustainability risks in the value chain. In the ongoing business dialogue with our stakeholders, we discuss and manage business ethics, social and environmental risks and opportunities.
Governance of sustainability work
As a medical products company, Boule is governed to a high degree by laws and regulations concerning standards, safety and product quality. Blood diagnostic equipment is subject to detailed regulations worldwide. Boule’s vision, mission, values and code of conduct guide employees in the social and environmental responsibility for which the company strives. We manage Boule with our quality management system, and all manufacturing and selling companies within the Group are certified in accordance with ISO 13485.
In addition to the regulations that Boule follows, the company is governed by a number of policies. The most important are:
⊲ Code of conduct
⊲ Environmental policy
⊲ Quality policy
⊲ Diversity and gender equality policy
Boule also shares the values set out in the 10 principles of the UN Global Compact Initiative on the protection of human rights, decent working conditions, good environment and sound business ethics. These values have largely governed the content and formulation of Boule’s policies. Governance and goal monitoring for sustainability work takes place in the same way as other corporate goals, where the Board is ultimately responsible.
Boule’s main stakeholders are patients, users, distributors, employees, suppliers and owners. We continuously have a dialogue with all these parties, which gives us important information that is used in both business, product and sustainability development.
There is concern and a risk that poor analytical results may cause significant harm to the patient. With the analysis from one of the 130+ million tests performed based on a Boule instrument, the patient can always feel confident that the clinical outcome is correct.
Boule reaches customers in over 100 countries through a distributor network of 200 locally based distributors that market, sell and service Boule’s products.
In addition to the product safety requirement, distributors in the supply chain are interested in choice of materials and modes of transport. They also stress the
importance of representing a company that has a clear code and that checks compliance with ethical guidelines.
Boule’s suppliers operate primarily in Europe, Asia and the U.S. and are important partners in providing high-quality solutions. The suppliers require Boule to act with high business ethics, protect human rights and systematically work to minimize environmental risks.
Users and doctors
Boule’s solutions are important and essential for the diagnosis, planning and monitoring of patients in health centers, laboratories and hospitals. Users place demands in terms of product safety and accurate clinical results.
Boule should be an attractive employer that allows its staff to grow and attracts new employees. Employees consider the work environment to be a priority area and Boule has an aim of zero work-related accidents and illnesses. All employees should be given fair remuneration and equal opportunities regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, nationality,
religion, sexual orientation, disability, experience or family situation. Regular employee surveys ensure that any discrimination is brought to light and addressed.
The owners expect us to create a long-term stable return. Our financial targets shall ensure that we have satisfied owners. By ensuring that we have satisfied users, distributors and employees, we ensure that we also create shareholder value.
Four focus areas
Based on expectations and requirements from the company’s stakeholders, Boule has established a materiality analysis that has identified opportunities and challenges. Sustainability aspects have been divided into four focus areas that form the basis of our sustainability work: value creation, environment, work environment, and ethics and governance.
Boule’s ability to produce reliable and high-quality blood diagnostic instruments is of great importance to customers’ operations and crucial to patients, which is why product quality and safety permeate Boule’s sustainability work.
Incorrect or inadequate diagnoses can cause significant harm to patients, lead to financial losses for the hospital or healthcare provider and, by extension, threaten Boule’s
business operations. For this very reason, product safety is one of the utmost priorities for Boule. As a serious market player, Boule takes responsibility throughout the entire process to create a sustainable supply chain.
It is very important to obtain reliable results and a high level of operating safety, and to maintain high quality in the user chain. Boule’s quality concept is based on quality and knowledge permeating the entire value chain, all the way to the end customer. Internal quality assurance processes are designed to assure high quality throughout the usable life of every instrument, from production and installation of the products to servicing and training in their use. The concept is called The Total Quality Concept and the ultimate goal is to offer high-quality instruments and consumables that provide patients with close, accessible, more efficient and safer care.
Closed systems for safer blood analysis
An important characteristic regarding the quality and safety of Boule products is that consumables are tied to proprietary Boule instruments. Boule’s closed systems enable blood analyses to be done more quickly, simply and safely. As the sealed test tubes do not need to be opened by laboratory personnel, the blood is never exposed to external contaminants. This is an important safety aspect for both patients and staff.
Sustainability work is ongoing throughout the product supply chain, and Boule’s suppliers play a crucial role in providing high-quality systems. The components for Boule’s production are manufactured by leading suppliers worldwide, and Boule has a direct impact on the choice of, e.g., materials, raw materials and packaging. Choosing suppliers is therefore done with great care, following a supplier evaluation. Boule only picks those suppliers
that offer the best and most cost effective products and that guarantee the highest possible quality. All Boule’s suppliers of production materials have quality management systems in place. Suppliers with documented environmental management systems and environmental targets are prioritized. Approved suppliers are regularly monitored. This is done to ensure that the supplier has lived up to their commitments and can continue to be considered an approved supplier. No supplier contracts have been terminated during the year due to failings in quality management systems.
Boule imposes exacting demands on its distributors when it comes to product knowledge. To ensure a high level of
knowledge, Boule organizes regular product training courses for all distributors. This training mixes theory with practice and covers areas such as basic hematology and the technical maintenance and servicing of instruments. In 2020, most of the courses took place via webinars due to COVID-19. Boule commissions an annual survey of distributors, where any shortcomings in hematology systems, support and service are identified and can then be rectified. The results of the 2020 survey showed, among other things, high ratings for quality, reliability and ease of use.
* Due to restrictions / COVID-19
Boule works systematically to prevent, minimize and eliminate environmental risks linked to the transport of products, which is Boule’s biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Boule also works proactively with other environmental aspects, such as choice of recyclable products in packaging.
An efficient and CO2-minimizing goods flow is one of the most important factors in reducing the company’s adverse environment impact. Transport to warehouses usually takes place via road and transport out of warehouses takes place via road, sea and air. When procuring transportation services, Boule specifies environmental requirements for the shipping companies that are awarded contracts. In 2020, all transport companies had their own environment policy and/or recognized systems for systematic environment work. Planning and optimization of incoming deliveries (scheduled transports) to increase the filling
rate per transport means that CO2 emissions are reduced and cost savings are achieved. Boule also reduces the number of incoming shipments by using a bag-in-box solution for packaging
that is more space efficient compared to hard plastic packaging.
Chemicals and components
In order to ensure that no Boule product contains harmful, regulated or unnecessary chemicals, Boule complies with the rules and regulations that apply for the manufacture of
electronics and the use of chemicals. Only components that are approved within the parameters of the EU regulations on the use of chemicals (REACH) and hazardous substances (RoHS), as well as electronic equipment (WEEE), are used in product development and production.
Environmental impact of real estate
Offices and instrument production in Sweden are located in buildings with geoenergy installed, replacing district heating and cooling machines. The heaters are powered by eco-labelled electricity that is 100% produced from renewable energy sources with zero CO2
Employees are our most important resource, and Boule attaches great importance to safe forms of employment, a good working environment and offering a workplace where employees can develop their potential.
Value driven culture
Boule’s values and corporate culture guide employees in their work, in their interaction with each other and in meetings with customers and other stakeholders. The employees have been
highly involved in formulating Boule’s values and form the basis for a positive working atmosphere; they are a cornerstone of Boule’s goal fulfillment and operations.
Boule’s success is based on our ability to develop and retain existing employees and attract new ones. Important metrics are satisfied employees, as well as staff turnover. At the end of
2020, Boule had a total of 212 (212) employees in Sweden, USA, Mexico and Russia. Staff turnover in 2020 was 19.0 percent (11.0) and was affected by the dismissal of fixed-term employees in production in Sweden as a result of COVID-19. The company’s annual employee survey was answered by 73 percent of employees and gave a summarized assessment of Boule as an employer, as well as valuable insight into the work environment and guidance regarding suggested improvements.
Health and safety
Boule has high ambitions in terms of health and safety. Promoting safety awareness, positive attitudes and continuous improvement requires the commitment and active participation of all employees, management and partners. Boule pursues active health and safety measures to prevent physical injuries at work. Each year, both planned and unannounced health and safety inspections are performed to evaluate the work environment. All incidents are reported to the health and safety committee for consideration and monitoring. The biggest physical health and safety risks at work are in production and warehouses.
Diversity and equal opportunities
Boule is an international group with employees in many parts of the world. For Boule to be a successful business, the knowledge, experience and commitment of its employees are vital. Boule therefore strives to be a workplace that makes the best use of employees’ skills. Every employee is to be treated with respect and have the same opportunities, irrespective of gender, ethnicity, nationality, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, disability, age, experience or family situation. Boule has employees from no less than about 20 nationalities and
different cultures. Boule seeks to have the most equal gender balance possible in different types of positions.
Ethics and governance
Boule has high demands for how we should act to be a good social stakeholder with a high level of business ethics.
Code of conduct
The Boule code of conduct contains the company’s binding guidelines and provides specific directions when new relationships are entered into with employees, suppliers, distributors, customers and other partners. The code of conduct contains the company’s requirements and positions on anti-corruption, human rights, labor law and environmental considerations, in accordance with the ten principles of the UN Global Compact. The code of conduct provides support and guidance for employees in their daily work and imposes business ethics demands on suppliers and distributors.
All employees within the group receive training in the code of conduct and are informed of their personal responsibility to act in accordance with it. The manager of each respective function is responsible for ensuring compliance with the code in daily business operations.
Boule has over 100 suppliers, mainly in Europe and Asia. Some of these suppliers are in countries where the risks of breaches of environment standards, good business ethics, human rights and decent working conditions cannot be ignored. Boule expects all suppliers and sub-suppliers to act in an ethically correct way and in accordance with internationally recognized
standards for human rights, working conditions, environment and anti-corruption. Companies that accept the code of conduct undertake, within the parameters of their sphere of influence, to approve and adopt fundamental social and environment standards and, in turn, to ensure that their sub-suppliers satisfy the same requirements. Boule’s goal is that all suppliers sign the
Boule code of conduct for suppliers. To date, all critical sub-suppliers of Boule, which amount to 87%, have signed the code of conduct or submitted their own code of conduct, which has since been approved based on it and other commitments that are equivalent to or exceed Boule’s own requirements for suppliers.
With its 200 locally based distributors in 100 countries, Boule is also exposed to serious risks associated with sales where there is a risk of corruption, bribery and fraud. Boule has zero
tolerance for all forms of corruption and bribery. All distributors are therefore required to sign the Boule code of conduct, which clearly states that all forms of corruption are unacceptable.
Employees are encouraged and expected to report violations of Boule’s code of conduct through the company’s whistleblower function. Reporting is anonymous and is only treated to the degree reasonably required for investigation. Individuals reporting such incidents face no reprisals or other negative consequences. Boule’s code of conduct includes directions on
how employees should report suspected breaches within the organization. In 2020, Boule dealt with two cases of violations of the code of conduct that were reported through the
Boule’s value keywords are a pillar of the company and help us maintain our strengths and focus. The value keywords were developed together with the staff, by identifying what uniquely characterizes Boule. Through our values, we have created common rules, which we all follow, understand and can relate to both internally and externally. Our values strengthen our vision and mission statements and help us make the right decisions.
Auditor’s opinion on the statutory Sustainability Report
To the Annual General Meeting of Boule Diagnostics AB, business registration
Assignments and division of responsibilities
The Board of Directors is responsible for the 2020 Sustainability Report and for ensuring it is prepared in accordance with the Annual Accounts Act.
The focus and scope of the review
Our review was conducted in accordance with FAR’s recommendation RevR 12 The auditor’s opinion on the statutory Sustainability Report. This means that our review of the Sustainability Report has a different focus and a significantly smaller scope compared to the focus and scope of an audit in accordance with International.
Standards on Auditing and generally accepted auditing standards in Sweden. We believe that this review provides us with a sufficient basis for our opinion.
A Sustainability Report has been prepared.
Stockholm, April 15, 2021
Öhrlings PricewaterhouseCoopers AB
Authorized Public Accountant