Shaping a sustainable future. Together

Here at Vanderlande, we believe that sustainability is everyone’s business, and that’s why we’re empowering our international community to get involved and help make a difference. Director Corporate Sustainability Fieke de Haan reveals how the company is building an environment where teams and individual employees across the globe can contribute to reaching Vanderlande’s sustainability goals…

“We’re also focusing our efforts on leveraging the strong partnerships with our key customers to drive forward our sustainability ambitions.”
Fieke de Haan
Director Corporate Sustainability

We all know that doing business in a sustainable way is more relevant than ever. We’ve taken the long-term view at Vanderlande and set the wheels in motion some time ago. Our sustainability strategy was launched in December 2020 and early last year we signed the Climate Pledge, committing to become a net-zero carbon company by 2040 – ten years ahead of the Paris Agreement.

Our sustainability framework gives everyone clear guidance and focus about the steps we’re taking. Within this, there are four core areas: zero carbon footprint; circular economy; good business; and fulfilling experience – and we’ll be collectively working towards achieving these goals, while developing strong partnerships with customers, suppliers and third-parties to drive our ambitions forward.

Meeting the challenges

As a global community, sustainability is everyone’s business, so we’re coming together to pool resources, present a united front and make a difference. There’s much work ahead, but it’s clear that our employees want to contribute towards solving challenges.

In the past year, we have created a dedicated and growing community within our global company network. At the time of writing, more than 400 people have already signed up and we’re expecting many more to join us and share their knowledge, ideas and competences.

Taking the initiative

We’re already reaping the rewards of our community way of working. As sustainability is not a new topic to Vanderlande, more than 50 initiatives – often customer-driven – have been identified and mapped out throughout the organisation, with the scaling of some high-impact activities already started. For example, we’ve now supplied over one million recycled plastic totes for automated picking, which is just a part of the necessary transition away from virgin plastic.

Meaningful partnerships

Thanks to the ongoing successful global collaboration, we’ve been able to identify and motivate the relevant experts and are in the process of defining KPIs, which will be shared in Q2.

We’re also focusing our efforts on leveraging the strong partnerships with our key customers to drive forward our sustainability ambitions. We believe that trusted long-term partnerships can bring together diverse resources in ways that can achieve more impact and increased value. For Example, at Istanbul Airport a team of process engineers was able to reduce energy consumption of the Baggage Handling System by re-routing bag flows in a more efficient way.

Another initiative has come from the energy and power competence team, which measures the actual use of power in our systems. They are currently gathering information from around the world to make a ‘better energy use’ proposition, which can then be adopted by others.

Moving forward

This is the decade of change. We feel the urgency and are taking significant steps: setting KPIs, scaling best practices, and engaging with customers, suppliers and third-parties to collaborate further.

A growing number of colleagues are feeling a sense of urgency to ensure that we’re on the right path on our sustainability journey, and our community is helping us accelerate the activities to reach our goals. Our next steps are to implement our targets and launch initiatives to make sure we reach those targets, with the support of all employees in our community.

We will also explore new initiatives, while seeing how we can develop others with the most potential as a matter of priority. We can’t do this alone; we’re just one part of the value chain so we need to collaborate. It’s a complex topic, and if we are serious about shaping a sustainable future, we need to leverage our strengths and set targets that will allow us to have a measurable impact. That will enable us to scale up and accelerate together.