Grundfos: 40 years of pioneering water solutions in Singapore

Grundfos group president and CEO Poul Due Jensen reflects on his family legacy, and how the world’s first water solutions company with approved net-zero Science-Based targets will continue to invest in R&D, partnerships, and talent.

By Amira Yunos

Grundfos celebrates its 40th anniversary in Singapore (Image: Grundfos)

Grundfos’ family legacy

In 1984, Grundfos was the first international pump company to be established in Singapore. As a third-generation leader, CEO Jensen said that it was his father who internationalised Grundfos. “Taking that small little company that his father started into becoming the world’s largest pump manufacturer, that is legacy,” he said. With a global mindset, Grundfos saw opportunities in a city that was growing and planned to stablish a hub for South East Asia.

Today, its new Singapore Innovation Hub unveiled in November 2023 brings Grundfos’ R&D capabilities closer to customers and the market, while serving as a platform for collaboration with industry partners, customers, and researchers to codevelop energy and water efficient smart solutions, particularly in cooling applications.

The company’s solutions have also enabled landmarks such as Gardens by the Bay (GBTB), Marina Bay Sands (MBS) and Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) integrated resorts to optimise water and energy use. Grundfos’ solutions have also empowered over 300 buildings to achieve gold rating and above under the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) Green Mark certification scheme.

Starting with a small number of 15-20 employees, Grundfos has grown to close to 200 employees in Singapore today. According to Jensen, Grundfos’ international office here in Singapore is one of the most diverse. There were 25% women leaders in 2023, based on its sustainability report. “I noticed that the ethnic and gender diversity here is enormous, and young female talent is growing significantly,” he said. For the CEO, it has been Grundfos’ philosophy to hire local people, adding that the future is built by both the existing efforts of its team and the young talents brought into the industry. “They carry the blood, DNA and legacy of Grundfos. That is how we are growing and grooming the next generations to come.”

No green without blue: Sustainability in Singapore and beyond

Grundfos managed to reduce its total CO2 emissions by 9.5% year-on-year (YOY), as well as reduce its own water withdrawal by 7% in 2023, based on its sustainability report last year. For Jensen, the water-energy nexus drives the future. “No green without blue,” he said, referring to the blue economy that cannot be overlooked in the green transition for a more sustainable global economy.

Grundfos’ business model adopts pump circularity — which collects obsolete pumps and recycles as high a percentage as possible. Last year, Grundfos received 134,098kg of pumps through the takeback scheme, which represented a 109% increase on 2022 figures. According to the CEO, there is a need to take pumps back as CO2 is released to demolish these products. Thus, to protect the environment, the end-of-life pumps are disassembled and sent for recycling, with some components separated and preserved so they can be reused in future products. “We have customers now requesting circular products, which is a sustainable way of working,” he said.

Its takeback scheme also creates jobs for people with disability. “We have 2.8% of our staff working with some form of disability, some of whom are also helping with the dismantling of these products,” Jensen said. “Our people in the takeback programme can make a huge difference with what they do.”

In Singapore, Grundfos collaborates to cocreate water and energy efficient smart solutions. “Innovation is the fundamental piece that will fill the future cocreation of our solution,” Eric Lai, its regional managing director, industry – APAC and country director for Singapore, said. “We are working closely with government agencies and institutes of higher learning to cocreate water and energy efficient solutions, focusing on cooling application, given Singapore’s and South East Asia’s tropical summer climate.”

Grundfos Singapore’s country director also added that working with polytechnics and universities in Singapore will train young engineers with a mindset to develop sustainable solutions for the future. As an industry partner to Singapore Polytechnic (SP), Grundfos provides counsel on achieving a green campus, codeveloping smart solutions that support industries in their sustainability drive through collaboration, talent development, and sustainability education. Similarly, Grundfos’ partnership with Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) also taps on expertise to support sustainable urbanisation in South East Asia.

Moving forward, Jensen’s vision is about setting higher standards for water and energy to help drive a better world. With a revamped brand promise established two years ago, its new endline ‘Possibility in every drop’ expresses the company’s collective belief to respect, protect and advance the flow of water. As a solution technology provider, its products — through technology and innovation — make the difference. “Every time one of our products is installed, we do make a difference to the world,” the CEO said.

Poul Due Jensen, group president and CEO, Grundfos

Taking that small little company that his father started into becoming the world’s largest pump manufacturer, that is legacy.

Poul Due Jensen, group president and CEO, Grundfos

Read the article in WWA May/June 2024 issue.