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5% to Local Community: Making Every Drop Count

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Purposeful Commitment in Supporting Local Partners

In 2020, Spadel made a conscious commitment to use 5% of its net profits to support local partners and local solidarity actions. Koen Vanbrabant, Spadel’s CSR Project Manager, shares why this initiative is of great importance to the company, how they are measuring success and how it fits with Spadel’s B Corp journey.

Strategically Focused on Giving Back to the Local Community

Spadel is a Belgian family company with a strategy to work with strong regional brands. We are firmly anchored locally in the regions where we operate. Often our factories are in less densely populated, natural areas, where other employment opportunities are limited.

As a large employer of these local communities, and because the natural mineral water comes from nature, we feel it is our responsibility to give back to the community, as well as to protect the nature of these areas.

Spadel has a history of supporting local causes and being there when needed. With our goal of using 5% of our net profits to support local partners and initiatives, which is part of our CSR Strategy 2025, we plan to emphasize this even more by purposefully investing in projects that will make a strong positive impact.

Benchmarking Against an International Framework

To calculate what falls under the 5%, we are inspired by the Business for Societal Impact (B4SI) framework. B4SI is a global standard in measuring and managing a company’s social impact. We added environmental initiatives and impact to this, thus building our own framework.

B4SI allows to take three types of input into account: product donations, cash expenses and time. What matters is whether the initiatives are voluntary and if they contribute to a social or environmental purpose.

The product donations account for about 8% of our total contributions in 2021. Examples include donations to local food banks, to numerous sports and cultural events, and the emergency relief by supplying water to the victims of the floods in the south of Belgium in the summer of 2021.

Financial contributions, such as partnerships, memberships or sponsorships account for about 90%. Examples in Belgium include the Domaine de Berinzenne or the Parc Naturel des Sources. In The Netherlands we work with IVN Natuureducatie to bring people and nature closer together. In Bulgaria, Devin and the Blue Flag movement launched a large-scale project to expand the network of ‘Ecoschools’. In France, Wattwiller supports biodiversity and research activities in the field of arterial hypertension and the promotion of ‘low sodium’ consumption.

The final area of covered contributions is ‘time’, which accounts for about 2%. We encourage each employee to give back one working day to society. Examples of initiatives include participating in the World Cleanup Day or planting trees in areas damaged by fire (Bulgaria).

Measuring Success

Using the B4SI framework as our guide, we are proud to announce that we exceeded our goal in 2021 by giving back 5.39% of our net profits.

In the past, we didn’t have strategic guidance to help us evaluate which activities we should participate in. Now, by applying the three areas of the framework, we can analyze where we can best spend our time and money to give back to the local community in the most impactful way.

Making a Positive Impact as a B Corp

Earlier in 2022 Spadel and its brands became B Corp certified. For us, achieving this certification, which is given to companies who meet high social and environmental standards, was a milestone in showing how we are on a journey of being a positive impact company.

Obviously, we recognize that there still is a lot more to do, but we believe that every drop counts. In other words, every small action that we take as an employee in the organization or with the initiatives that we support externally contributes to making the world a better place.

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