One Year Source of Change

Without a doubt, the launch of Source of Change platform in June 2019 was a game changer for the Spadel Group. Over two years in the making, it represents the biggest public commitment the Group has ever made and has been a key enabler in developing a strong culture of innovation and partnerships for change. Franck Lecomte, Head of Innovation and Sustainable Growth, and Ann Vandenhende, CSR Manager, look back on the first year of Source of Change and discuss what it has meant for the Spadel Group.

“The movement against single use plastics really gained momentum in Europe around two years ago,” explains Franck. “Public demand drove us to start looking for new solutions to our environmental impact. As a Group, we have a long history of protecting and safeguarding our natural resources, but new times call for new and more extensive measures. And so we had to start by defining our ambitions. How could we take the complex issue of packaging and break it down into realistic solutions for what is essentially a global problem?”

“Breaking down the issue of packaging has simplified the subject of how we tackle our environmental footprint.”

Holistic Approach

“We wanted to create a long-term strategy that covers all facets in the value chain for a truly holistic approach,” continues Ann. “The ten commitments that underpin our commitment to reinvent, reduce, recycle, and restore were carefully developed in collaboration with all of our internal and external stakeholders. The entire organisation was involved in defining these commitments and the actions that would allow us to achieve the KPIs we set. The Source of Change is the platform for communicating our progress on meeting the global plastics challenge head on.”

Franck Lecomte, Head of Innovation and Sustainable Growth

“Breaking down the issue of packaging has simplified the subject of how we tackle our environmental footprint. Defining our ambitions and objectives in such a structured way has brought clarity to how we can contribute to a healthy and sustainable future, in which cradle to cradle design principles help us close the materials loop. Signing the Ellen MacArthur Foundation ‘New Plastics Economy’ is one of the stepping stones for achieving this. It’s great to see how Source of Change has become the binding element in everything from sales presentations to marketing plans,” adds Franck.

“We are choosing to openly and transparently share the questions and challenges we face on the road towards a zero-emission economy.”

Personal Highlights

There have been many achievements so far, but the one that stands out the most for Franck Lecomte is the reduction of Spadel’s plastic footprint. “All of our brands are already close to achieving the reduction target we set for 2022 and are well on our way to achieving our 2025 objectives too. Wattwiller is the first of our brands to achieve 100% carbon neutrality, with the rest of our brands set to achieve this in the coming months. Our next milestone is packaging that is 100% recyclable as well as made from 100% recycled materials. None of this was on our horizon just three short years ago.”

“From partnering up with The SeaCleaners to joining forces with the cities of Spa and Stoumont, and ComCom du Pays de Ribeauvillé; the partnerships we have entered into are also major highlights,” continues Ann. “Initiatives such as the New Plastics Global Economy Commitment and Plastic Pact NL not only challenge us, but provide us with outside support to meet our 2025 commitments. There’s no holy grail when it comes to solving the problem of plastic and we learn as we go along. But with our CSR strategy we are choosing to openly and transparently share the questions and challenges we face on the road towards a zero-emission economy.”

“If we were asked to reset or redefine our commitments again today, we wouldn’t change a thing.”

Communicating Change

“Doing the groundwork and then building this platform has been an exciting journey for us,” agrees Franck. “Looking back, we could probably have been more active in communicating our strategy and actions right from the start. Strong internal and external communication is essential if we want to gain the visibility and traction we’re after. For the first time in Group history we have a newsletter in place and we’re learning what kind of content our followers are most interested in. We want the Source of Change platform to become a reference for sustainable packaging.”

Ann Vandenhende, CSR Manager

“From reinventing our business model to scrutinising every aspect of our value chain and looking for ways to further reduce our environmental footprint, sharing a zero-litter message and taking responsibility for litter that does find its way into nature, we truly believe that Source of Change adds up to an all-encompassing approach that will help us towards a zero-emission economy and close the materials loop,” says Ann.

“Most importantly, if we were asked to reset or redefine our commitments again today, we wouldn’t change a thing. Neither in terms of wording or in terms of targets. Our commitments are clear, now we just need to make sure we achieve every target and continue improving our communications. I’m really looking forward to our very first webinar in September on carbon neutrality. Please be sure to join us for it,” concludes Franck.