Article

22.05.2017

How do you become a Climate Positive company?

In your Climate Positive strategic plan, don't simply seek to reduce your carbon footprint. Take the lead in terms of environmental responsibility. The example of the conversion of the Swedish H&M group is a good one.

Adopting a Climate Positive strategy is happening through a "resilience to climate change" approach; an allusion to the psychological resiliency required to bounce back after a shock. In practical terms, all of the initiatives undertaken must reduce the carbon footprint in creating products and services. It is equally important to accompany the implementation of these initiatives and the changes they engender.

What steps should be undertaken?

  • An integrated strategic framework to manage impacts from climate change within the organisation.
  • Measurement and analysis of the carbon footprint at all levels (operation, products, services).
  • Positive communication to contribute to the public debate about the risks and interventions.
  • A published report.

A practical example

At the beginning of April, H&M published its 15th sustainability report for 2016, the opportunity to unveil its objectives set for the future, such as its commitment to use 100% recycled or sustainable materials by 2030 and the desire to become a Climate Positive company throughout its entire supply chain by 2040.

The phrase "entire supply chain" is essential. Today, many companies are making strong promises – 100% renewable or 100% carbon-neutral at such and such point in time – but without always involving the entire chain. However, if the changes concern the whole supply chain, they will have a global impact on the organisation and will strengthen the sincerity of its message.

In the case of H&M, the ultimate goal of the transformation is an entirely circular fashion industry.

"Our long-term objective is to become a 100% circular economy through close collaboration with experts and stakeholders. This will enable us to get closer to our objective: initiating the change towards an entirely circular and sustainable fashion industry."
Anna Gedda, Sustainable Development Manager at H&M.

To this end, the H&M Foundation launched the Global Change Award in 2015, an annual competition aimed at discovering innovative ideas promoting eco-friendly fashion.

Can a fashion company be successful even if it forgoes the excesses of fast fashion? Definitely, as Jean Chabert proves with Stanley/Stella, which produces custom-made clothes from organic cotton.

“We want to be a game changer,” says Jean Chabert, CEO of Stanley/Stella. "When I was born 62 years ago, 2 billion people were living on our planet. Today there are 8 billion. That’s the reality, so we need to stop depleting resources. Human activities always have consequences, but we must constantly strive to improve. That’s our commitment, and we enshrined it in a charter in 2022. We monitor our entire ecosystem and focus on people and trust."

Clothing as a means of communication

The B2B company from Brussels sells clothing that serves as a means of communication. Stanley/Stella customers have T-shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies printed or embroidered and they offer these personalised items to their own customers. "We're in a giveaway industry, and our prices are at least 50 per cent above the average. But we offer superior quality and respect for people," says Chabert.

Organic cotton: half the water

15 of the 220 Stanley/Stella employees are directly or indirectly involved in Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) activities. For example, they check that agreements on working conditions and safety at the production sites are respected. The company buys its organic cotton, produced without Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) or pesticides from India, Tanzania and Turkey - it uses 70 per cent less water than conventional cotton. Stanley/Stella has also made long-term commitments throughout the production chain to minimise any negative impacts on people and the environment. For example, 90 per cent of containers arrive at the warehouse in Germany by inland waterway, the least polluting form of transport.

Considering all the impacts

“Of course, we have to remain realistic,” Chabert adds. "Companies that want to be viable must also remain profitable. By definition, we use resources to make textiles. So, we consider all the impacts. For example, we continue to operate our textile decoration business in Europe, even if it's more expensive. Wastewater containing inks and dyes is treated and reused. At the moment, we can't avoid electricity being generated by gas in Bangladesh. We check how willing a country is to make progress in this area. And in the meantime, we offset what we can't avoid."

Trust and humanity

“Trust is at the heart of any good relationship,” says Chabert. "I used to have a cash flow problem. I relied on my own equity and for years, had no loans. I was the only shareholder for a long time. Eventually, I opened my capital to 40 per cent and applied for loans from BNP Paribas Fortis. Today, we know each other well, and I don't have to explain my company's limitations; they know the industry. They co-finance the stock, offer an invoicing solution, support our development in the United States thanks to their international network, and much more."

Today, it’s full steam ahead for Stanley/Stella. In 2023, turnover more than doubled to EUR 170 million. The company also hopes to enter Japan and South Korea soon. For Chabert, one thing is clear: "Our most important wealth is not on the balance sheet. It’s our people."

Stanley/Stella is ready to change the world. Discover more entrepreneurial stories.

 

We monitor our entire ecosystem, focusing on people and trust.

Our prices are at least 50 per cent higher than the average. But we offer superior quality and respect for people.

The Brussels-based scale-up Optimy brings together corporate volunteering, donations, patronage and sponsorship activities all on one platform. On it, their impact on society is concretely measurable.

"Originally, I didn't think of myself as a social entrepreneur, even though I was involved in sponsorship. At the request of our customers, my partners and I have developed an entire provision of services that has become the most comprehensive platform on the market," says Kenneth Bérard, CEO of Optimy.

One of these customers was the BNP Paribas Fortis Foundation, which wanted to make a greater social difference and also give these actions more visibility. "It's a must for companies to contribute to society. This generates added value for the company and fuels a positive spiral. But that social impact has to be measurable. How many children have been helped? How many trees have been planted? What effect does this have on employee satisfaction, image and turnover? Our model offers all of this. This means that companies don't have to purchase new modules every time they want to add additional activities. I think that’s our great success factor. We are the market leader in Europe in our sector and the only company operating in both Europe and North America."

Personal support

"Many companies are full of good intentions. They want to have a positive impact on society, but they often lack a good method to do this efficiently," the entrepreneur notes. "They tend to see all their efforts in isolation. The Optimy platform offers a solution for this. It's easy to put together and it's service-oriented. We adapt to the processes of each business unit and company. It doesn't work the other way around," assures Bérard. "Our customers are not looking for technology; they're looking for guidance. We invest in personalisation, and it's paying off, as a customer satisfaction survey shows."

Structuring actions

The first piece of advice that Optimy always gives companies is: don't shred your efforts, they should form a whole. "We recommend that companies structure their actions using our tool. The corporate social responsibility policy must be in line with the company’s values, DNA and broader strategy. And of course, the actions must be transparent and well executed."

The right partner

From the beginning, the connection Optimy had with BNP Paribas Fortis was decisive for the company’s growth. "The fact that the bank follows us has increased our credibility with our partners, investors, customers and also internally. Now it's setting up a factoring service for us to further support our growth."

Optimy's growth was initially supported by cash flow, which is unusual for a technology company. Financing came into play beginning in 2019. That's when a Canadian fund specialising in software as a service (SaaS) companies and affiliated with the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) became a shareholder.

Multicultural enrichment

As with increasingly more companies, one of Optimy’s biggest challenges is recruiting new talent. “We've been able to convert that challenge into an asset,” concludes Bérard. "We attract talent from abroad. Sixty people from twenty nationalities work in our Brussels branch. This multiculturalism is a huge enrichment and has helped us break through internationally."

“The corporate social responsibility policy must be in line with your company’s values, DNA and broader strategy”.

Article

10.02.2021

What is the future for mobility post-coronavirus?

The health and economic crisis has affected all aspects of every sector. Among them, mobility, for both private individuals and for companies.

Mobility is evolving every day. And it has been driven further as a result of the coronavirus crisis. Many people have been locked down and working from home has been widespread in many parts of the world.

The coronavirus crisis has changed concerns about transport

We are no longer moving around in the same way. And concerns are no longer the same. According to a BCG Consulting report, social distancing and vehicle cleanliness are the most important aspects for 41% and 39% of respondents, respectively, when choosing a mode of transport. There is also pre- and post-Covid mobility, with respondents being more likely to choose walking, their own bicycle or scooter, or their car than before the crisis.

Sustainable and alternative mobility in the years to come

Mobility has not necessarily waited for the coronavirus crisis in order to evolve. And, according to the same report, the share of more environmentally-friendly vehicles will continue to increase. By 2035, more than 35% of new vehicles will be electric cars, becoming the predominant form of motorised transport worldwide. Autonomous cars will also become more common, with 10% of vehicles being level 4 vehicles (able to travel without a driver, for example), and 65% level 2 or higher.

Customised mobility for employees, right now

The future of mobility is also relevant now, especially for businesses and the self-employed. The need for alternative modes of transport does not only concern private individuals, but also employees. There is no longer a single mode of transport for all situations, but a range of means depending on the need at a given moment. Electric cars, hybrid vehicles, electric bicycles, a public transport season ticket, car sharing, leasing, etc. These modes can take different forms and be combined in a mobility card, for example. There are benefits for the employees and managers of a company but also for the company itself through cost reduction, optimisation and fleet management.

Want to know more about sustainable and alternative mobility for you and your employees?
Find out more about our tailor-made mobility solutions
Article

28.01.2021

The road to alternative mobility

Nowadays, responsible fleet management is built around sustainability. We're here to help you identify and realise your Corporate Social Responsibility ambitions.

Together we can cut your company's carbon footprint, improve employee mobility, and make sure these steps become a central pillar of your company's added value. In short, our aim is to have an alternative mobility policy.

Energy transition

We can help you make the switch to alternative mobility and new technologies to reduce your carbon footprint. Our SMaRT approach ensures your fleet has the best energy mix to match your strategy and driver profiles.

Alternative mobility needs new technologies to go hand in hand with new infrastructure. That's why we offer not only electric cars, but also the right charging solutions, too. As part of our integrated service provision we can determine how many charging points you need, install them, and manage how they are used both at the workplace and at the driver's home.

Soft mobility

Modern mobility management is about more than just cars or vans. You need a 360-degree approach. We'll work with you to determine your mobility strategy and needs. Greener cars are just one of the options available. We have a number of mobility management solutions (such as the Mobility Card) and alternative mobility solutions (such as bicycle leasing) to inspire your organisation to offer a more flexible range.

Focus on employees

When you put your employees at the heart of your organisation, you're in a better position to find skilled employees, satisfy them, and retain them. Go a step further than just an alternative mobility solution: focus on their safety and let them play an active role in achieving your sustainability goals. Trust us to improve their safety and integrate new technologies.

Operational leasing is offered by Arval Belgium SA/NV, with the intervention of BNP Paribas Fortis SA/NV – Montagne du Parc/Warandeberg 3, B-1000 Brussels, Brussels Register of Companies VAT BE0403.199.702.
Promotion only available from Thursday 21 January up to and including Wednesday 31 March 2021 and is only available to professional clients (self-employed, liberal professionals and SMEs) of BNP Paribas Fortis and Fintro.
The information provided here does not constitute an offer. An offer is made only after your file has been accepted and is always subject to Arval Belgium SA/NV's General Terms and Conditions.

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