Though sustainability has always played an important role in Ekopak’s history, in 2021 the company started its transition from undertaking various initiatives and projects to approaching sustainability in an intentional, consistent, and integrated way. In this chapter of our report, we would like to outline the process of developing our sustainable strategy and introduce its four pillars.
Els De keukelaere – CFO
By establishing our sustainable strategy, we clearly identify where we can create the biggest impact – allowing us to streamline our efforts where it makes most sense.
To be Continued
In Q2 of 2022 we will publish our first sustainability report, which will illustrate the process in full and will also detail our concrete ambitions and goals as validated by our Board of Directors.
STEP 1: it starts with us
For our company to grow sustainably, we don’t separate our business strategy from our sustainability efforts, but rather develop them both so they reinforce each other. That is why our sustainable strategy starts with determining the business strategy: what do we do as a company? What do we stand for?
Once we have a very clear understanding of who we are, we can recognize the actual impact that we have as a company. Our strategy must then guide us where we are able to create the biggest impact, so that it not only assures this impact is as positive as possible, but that it also strengthens our business.
Pieter Loose – CEO
Sustainability is achieving that balance between ecological, social, and economic aspects. When this balance is achieved, whatever we do for the good of the world, will also be for the good of the company – and that is how we will be able to grow sustainably.
STEP 2: all about the stakeholders
Once it is clear what we do as a company, we can identify where our biggest impact lies, and what our priorities and risks are. But for that, we need our stakeholders. If ‘sustainability’ is the balance between ecological, social, and economic aspects, we need to determine which ecological and social aspects are important for our stakeholders, and thus for our company.
Because our stakeholders are impacted by our business, they experience certain needs. These materialities represent potentially interesting opportunities for Ekopak (if we can meet these needs) but they can also express significant risks (if we fail to meet them). Talking to our stakeholders broadens our horizon, so that we don’t experience the world through our own tunnel vision but are made aware of the risks and opportunities that lie outside of our own perspective.
In our sustainability report, we’ll explain how we identified our stakeholders, plan to communicate with them in the future and how we learned about their materialities regarding Ekopak.
STEP 3: Priorities
Sustainable development is only possible if we have a positive impact on the world around us, as well as on the economic reality of our company. Drawing up our strategy is a constant balancing act, then – in which we need to prioritize those issues that have the most impact on both sides.
As soon as we are aware of our stakeholders’ needs, we need to determine which materialities to prioritize and integrate into our strategy. We determine these priorities by plotting all materialities on a matrix that considers both the relative impact Ekopak has on a materiality (and thus on the stakeholder) and the impact a materiality has on Ekopak’s business. In that way we can find the right balance between people, planet and profit that allows us to further develop sustainably.
“No business can become 100% perfect, but that shouldn’t stop us from steadily and purposefully improving ourselves step by step. We do so by prioritizing the things with which we can make the biggest difference.“
Dwight Vandendaele – Ekopak Belgium
In our sustainability report we’ll show our materiality matrix and explain the process that went behind the prioritization of the materialities.
STEP 4: determining our sustainability pillars
A list of materialities would not be a very effective way to communicate what sustainability means to Ekopak. By integrating them into a clear and concise story, it helps our company communicate – internally as well as externally – where our focus and priorities lie.
Renewable water use
The world is headed to a major shortage of usable water. To avert an ecological and humanitarian disaster we need to use the right water sources for the right applications. Only then will our water usage become renewable and therefore sustainable. To make this possible Ekopak supports companies in their transition from the traditional water grid to a decentralized supply.
Safe water use
Companies use water either as process water or as an ingredient in the product. In both cases the water has an important impact on safety. Ekopak guarantees this safety by treating the water to the desired quality and by maximizing continuity.
Ekopak makes an important contribution towards more sustainable water usage thanks to its decentralized supply but can only do this thanks to a highly skilful and ambitious team. However, the same drive and passion that drives innovation, can also cause employees to burn out. It is thus essential that Ekopak invests in both the mental health and knowledge of its Eko-wolfpack.
Responsible asset management
The impact of Ekopak’s own operations is small compared to the difference we make for our clients’ impact. Still, we also want the improvement of our own footprint to stay at par with the evolution of society. Our focus is on our buildings and our mobility, as we aim to reduce our negative impact on CO2 emissions, air pollution, water, energy and waste.