Doing good business and providing fulfilling experiences

In this third and final blog of the series, Fieke de Haan, Director of Corporate Sustainability, highlights the approach for our missions of Good Business and Fulfilling Experience.

“Providing a safe, diverse and inclusive working environment is of great importance to us – not only inside the company, but also at our suppliers and customers. “
Fieke de Haan
Director of Corporate Sustainability

Doing good business is central to our daily work and it’s the foundation for running a sustainable company. We have clear policies, and train our people on topics such as fair competition, privacy, information security and business ethics.

Fulfilling experience is about fostering an environment that protects the wellbeing of our employees, customers and suppliers. This is achieved by providing safe and healthy workplaces, and by promoting education, diversity and opportunities for personal development.

Beyond compliance

Our good business practices go beyond compliance. We voluntarily publish a sustainability report, because we want to be transparent about non-financial information. From this year on, we will publish our sustainability report annually.

We have set up an annual global mandatory programme to ensure that everyone invests time in learning about good business practices. Around 1,000 employees in commercial and financial positions have followed a face-to-face, good business workshop.

In conjunction with EcoVadis, the largest sustainability ratings company in the world, we measure our progress on the topics of the environment, sustainable procurement, business ethics, and labour and human rights. The results of the annual assessment help us to improve our performance year on year. We are targeting a silver rating in the financial year 2023 and a platinum rating by 2030 at the latest.

Responsible partnerships

We are moving towards an even more responsible supply chain. We have updated our Supplier Code of Conduct (CoC) to include our way of working sustainably. Over the next 18 months, 100% of our strategic suppliers will sign our new CoC, which will also form part of our supplier audits. This is a good starting point to work together with our suppliers on sustainability, and is one of our requirements on our journey towards a sustainable future.

Cybersecurity is an increasingly important topic for us and our customers. We have invested significantly in our management systems to safeguard the privacy of our employees, customers, suppliers and business partners. The IT security of our solutions is under our constant attention. We proactively carry out risk assessments led by certified security officers, and a community of practice for developers is dedicated to this topic and constantly delivering improvements. Security by design is an important focus for our solution security team and will lead to extra cybersecurity services in the coming years.

Putting people first

Providing a safe, diverse and inclusive working environment is of great importance to us – not only inside the company, but also at our suppliers and customers. We are working towards a proactive HSE (health, safety and environment) culture at our sites worldwide. Our safety code and lifesaving rules put a strong and increasing focus on safe working conditions. We implement an HSE management system and strengthen our leadership guidelines to ensure a safe working environment. There is no job so important that it may be done in an unsafe manner!

North America Diversity and Inclusion Committee

Our Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Committee in North America looks at a range of activities from this perspective, including recruitment, education, external business relationships and the supply chain. Having a diverse and inclusive workspace is a key business benefit that leads to high performance. A key goal in North America is to reach out to diverse, minority and female-owned businesses that have the potential to become suppliers and sub-contractors. This initiative includes the offer of free training.

Labour conditions in our supply chain

Over the coming years we will aim to improve labour conditions in our supply chain. We are and will continue to raise awareness of our company’s lifesaving rules and safety code with our contractors. In addition, we’ll carry out audits and compliance checks on supplier HSE standards. Our responsibility goes further than that, so we work towards a policy on human rights and labour conditions that will provide a foundation for improvement plans in the supply chain.

Work experience with our solutions

We understand that working with our solutions can be physically demanding, noisy, repetitive and subject to time pressures. Therefore, we have dedicated teams focusing on the ergonomics, user experience (UX) and noise reduction of our systems. For example, we recently installed eight spiral chutes at a customer’s site in the UK that significantly reduce noise, and we have developed easy-to-pick and easy-to-stack solutions.

Furthermore, the development of our collaborative robots helps people to carry out repetitive and physically demanding tasks in a more comfortable way. Improving UX design, and design safety as an integral part of our solutions, will remain a point of focus in the coming years.

Social responsibility

Our good business activities also contribute to communities in the countries where we are present. Examples of our social responsibility include initiatives in India to construct water reservoirs and supply seven villages with drinking water, and the installation of solar panels for ten houses.

Last year, 60 Vanderlande colleagues from our Supply Chain Centre in North America (in partnership with Rise Against Hunger) prepared 19,925 food packages by hand to provide proper nutrition for those in need. In India we sponsor 23 young ladies pursuing degrees in disciplines such as engineering, medicine and finance. In The Netherlands we provide information about technology in schools, especially to interest girls in the subject. More activities will follow as we strive to increase our social impact in line with the growth of our business activities.