ProjectGenelecSubmitted byGenelec

Genelec has been championing sustainability since 1978. It’s a core principle of our company and we believe it’s as important as profitability and sound quality – it’s what makes us stand out. We’re passionate about sustainable design and practice, with long product lifetime, support for the circular economy and close monitoring of our environmental impact influencing our ability to protect the world around us.

Our commitment to long-lasting loudspeaker design dates back to 1976 and our work with Finnish national broadcaster YLE. The station required a reliable loudspeaker with easy serviceability and a long lifecycle, so our first model – the S30 – was born with these qualities factored in from the outset, setting the benchmark for every Genelec design that followed.

Our sustainable practices aren’t just focused on our product design, as we apply this mindset across all areas of our business, too. We implemented our environmental policy and program back in 2000 and have adhered to the ISO14001 certification for environmental management for almost 20 years now. Additionally, the electricity we purchase to power our factory and headquarters in Iisalmi, Finland, is based on 100% CO2-free and partly renewable energy, including roof-mounted solar panels. Each employee can buy a bike at a subsidised rate to commute to and from work, which contributes to a sustainable transportation network at our factory in Iisalmi.

Finally, we believe that the people within our organisation are our biggest asset. They make us versatile, create a huge diversification of skills and creativity, and promote innovation. We focus on continued learning and professional development within our team, and we’re proud that over a third of our team has been with us for 10 years or more. Women make up 37% of our workforce, occupying positions on our Board, directing our Finance and Production departments and running our US subsidiary.

Our products are designed to have longer life cycles and support the circular economy. Each one is built to last, with high levels of reliability and commitment to spare part support for as long as possible.

All models come with a two-year parts-and-labour warranty, with a further three-year extra parts-and-labour warranty to those that register them with us online, making it a five-year warranty overall. In sharp contrast to what has become an increasingly throwaway world, our commitment to providing spare parts continues at least 5 years after a model has been discontinued – and longer wherever practical.

Ever since the 1029A model was first introduced back in 1996, we’ve steadily transitioned to using aluminium as the main material in our loudspeaker enclosures. It’s incredibly versatile, and the die-cast recycled aluminium that we use is created from scrap metal, which uses just 5% of the energy required to produce primary aluminium. This saves significant amounts of energy and in 2020, 97% of all the aluminium we used was recycled.

In 2020, we introduced our RAW finish loudspeakers, which require no painting and less finishing material. As well as using less manufacturing resources, this finish showcases the individuality of each recycled-aluminium enclosure. The RAW range features some of our best-loved designs for studio, AV and home applications, and now includes two models from our flagship The Ones Series of three-way coaxial loudspeakers.

Launched in 2019, our Smart IP networked loudspeaker range takes our sustainable thinking even further by combining recycled aluminium enclosures with efficient internal Class D amplifiers and operation via a single CAT cable. The loudspeaker is powered by PoE (Power-over-Ethernet), resulting in low power consumption and reduced cable requirements. Smart IP also utilises a building’s existing IT infrastructure, making it a scalable and future-proof solution.

Aimed directly at the AV market, the Smart IP family runs from any PoE networked switch, with power, audio, and control all delivered via the one cable. It benefits from a unique proprietary power supply design that allows the loudspeaker to instantly deliver the maximum rated power, enabling it to deal with peaks in the audio, whilst drawing the far lower, continuous PoE power.

Featured in Smart IP – and all our loudspeaker products since 2013 – our power-saving Intelligent Signal-Sensing (ISS) technology was developed to meet the EU’s ErP Directives and our company’s own wider sustainability commitments. If no audio is detected for a certain period of time, ISS circuitry sets the loudspeaker to a low-power sleep state – thus saving power as soon as the audio is interrupted.

Sustainable product development and design is also essential to reach the levels of quality known and expected from Genelec. The process starts with identifying any problems that customers are facing, and how our product design might solve those problems. From this, we then look at whether the design complies with the regulations of both the Finnish Government and European Union. These practices have become second nature to all members of staff, as it’s something we’ve uniquely championed from the outset.

And it’s not just our products that are inherently sustainable. At our factory in Iisalmi, we have an up-to-date recycling centre which collects metals, biowaste, electronics waste, hazardous substances, mixed waste, plastics, wood waste and paper in containers that our waste partner empties and recycles. To ease the identification of the plastics in recycling, a vast part of plastic parts inside our products are labelled with appropriate markings. Additionally, the cardboard that we use uses between 2% and 91% recycled material. Recycled material use varies due to the required strength and durability.

The recycling rate at our factory is consistently improving due to our new waste recycling centre. For cardboard and energy waste, waste compactors with remote monitoring are used, which notifies the waste handling company when the press needs to be emptied. In 2023 Genelec also realised that the break-down rate for our biodegradable plastic packaging was too long. In response, we changed to a supplier that provides bags that consist of 30% Post Industrial Recycled (PIR) plastic.

Lastly, these days, global supply chains can be incredibly complex, but with effective communication and engagement with our suppliers, we can evaluate their capabilities in managing environmental and social issues, their communication practices and their financial stability. Last year, we created a supplier Code of Conduct to help develop better sustainability and responsible business practices.

We aim to prevent and minimise the creation of waste, but if any is generated it will be re-used or used for secondary purposes, including energy production. Assisted by the new waste recycling centre mentioned above, we recycled 60% of all waste in our Finnish factory in 2023.

Aside from our ISO 9001 and 14001 certifications, in 2020 we also took some first preliminary steps in monitoring our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions according to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, which provides a standardised way of calculating and measuring emissions.

The protocol divides emissions into three Scopes; Scope 1 includes direct emissions from our company facilities and vehicles, Scope 2 covers indirect upstream activities such as energy purchases (and this is the area we investigated), while Scope 3 focuses on indirect activities both upstream and downstream, including in areas such as business travel, transportation of goods and much more.
There is much still for us to do in this area, but the work is ongoing.

Probably the biggest challenge we’ve faced is that these days, global supply chains are often complex – involving multiple participants and companies – which makes it difficult to ensure complete transparency.

Why we should win:

Commitment to sustainability since 1978, with sustainability given equal importance to sound quality and profitability.
Our products are designed to provide many years of reliable operation.
Long-term adherence to ISO 9001 and 14001 international standards.
We use die-cast recycled aluminium that is around 95% more energy efficient to produce.
We deploy Class D amplifier designs and proprietary ISS technology for power efficiency.
All models come with a two-year parts and labour warranty, extendable to five years when registered online.
We minimise all waste on-site at our factory and recycle a large proportion of it.
In 2020, 97% of all the aluminium we used was recycled.
In 2023 we recycled 60% of all waste at our Finnish HQ and factory.