One year after the launch of our sustainability strategy One Home: where are we today?
In 2022 Unilin introduced an ambitious sustainability strategy under the moniker ‘One Home’. This past year colleagues from the various divisions worldwide have thrown their weight behind the project. Katrien Godart, Chief Sustainability Officer at Unilin, has also noticed something even more important: “Many colleagues are already contributing to a more sustainable society on a daily basis. The mindset is there.”
In February of last year Unilin launched its sustainability strategy ‘One Home’: where are we today?
Katrien Godart: “Every day, all our plants worldwide implement concrete initiatives and projects to work towards the objectives of the three pillars of our strategy – Planet Home, Your Home and Our Home. And most importantly: we adopt a cross-departmental approach. Because if we can learn from each other we can take greater strides even faster. Sustainability is a long-term effort, with objectives for 2025 and 2030, but today we can be proud of how far we’ve come.”
A few examples of our realisations so far:
- 59% of Unilin's energy is already of the renewable variety. That’s quite an accomplishment! In Belgium we have two green energy plants, five wind turbines and over 14,000 solar panels have been installed worldwide. We invest strongly in green energy. And we will continue to do so in the years to come because we want to reduce our CO2 emissions by 42% by 2030.
- Useful for our customers: we have fourteen ecolabels and for 50% of our product categories the Environmental Product Declarations - or EPDs - allow them to ascertain the sustainable character of our products at a glance.
What realisations do you take the most pride in?
“I am especially proud of the dynamism that pervades all our divisions in putting the One Home strategy into practice. For instance, a great deal of focus is placed on circularity and circular thinking: how can we use renewable raw materials and make recyclable products? That is also crucial if we want to deal with the global challenges surrounding climate change. It should become an automatic reflex for everyone to factor in the climate impact of our actions in every decision, not just in our processes and projects but also in our everyday activities.
We intend to emit a full 42% less CO2 by 2030. This is not a random number, it is in line with what is required to limit the consequences of climate change: reducing greenhouse gas emissions to limit global warming to 1.5°C. Meanwhile this ambition has been validated by the Science Based Targets Initiative, an international partnership between the CDP, the UN Global Compact, the World Resources Institute and the WWF. As Unilin that is also something we can be very proud of.”
Not every colleague is involved in process innovations and product development. How can those colleagues make their own contribution?
“The scope is very wide and for many of our colleagues this sustainable mindset has become second nature. I’m thinking of all initiatives around our Green Workplaces, and the collaboration in Belgium with Too Good To Go, an app against food waste at work. Shortly we will also be launching a campaign on waste separation in Belgium, there are tips on energy savings on the intranet and just recently we developed a carpooling platform.
In late 2022, Unilin Malaysia donated and installed rejected planks for the rebuilding of the local temple, a wonderful initiative that we contributed to at the request of our local employees. So everyone can make a contribution, however small it may seem.
What else is in the pipeline for the rest of the year?
“We are less focused on objectives per year although we do make intermediate evaluations of our progress. This way we can make adjustments where necessary. Most of our objectives are long-term e.g. cutting CO2 emissions by 42% by 2030.
Something that is slated for this year is the continued preparation for the sustainability reporting to Europe. Early this year the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) entered into force. This new directive stipulates that as of 2026 our businesses will be obliged to report on our climate, social and environmental impact.”
What is the interim balance for yourself as CSO?
“I am proud to be able to contribute to our One Home story. Large companies can have a significant impact. We’re not there yet but every day we are taking steps in the right direction and that gives me energy.
It also gives me a lot of pleasure to see the passion and enthusiasm among our colleagues to make a difference and evolve towards a more sustainable organisation. This shows that our values of passion, excellence, entrepreneurship and respect are more than just hollow words. Let’s go for it together!”