The question of where and how to position sustainability within an organization has been around for as long as the concept itself. For a company like Spadel, which has the ambition to be a leader in sustainability, this is a matter of regular reflection. That’s why we recently reorganized internally. Valérie Siegler, who heads the new department, guides you through the changes and Spadel’s priorities.
The idea behind the internal reshuffle is to better integrate sustainability into the Group’s branding, development and innovation strategies.
Heading this new Brand, Innovation & Sustainability Department is Valérie Siegler, who has held several senior roles within the Spadel Group these past ten years. Most recently, as the Country Director for Spadel France, developing Carola and Wattwiller into strong, local, sustainable brands. Her convictions on corporate social responsibility and what it means to be a positive impact business make her the perfect fit for her new role as Group Director Brand, Innovation & Sustainability.
“In recent years we managed to link sustainability and innovation, resulting in successful product innovations,” explains Valérie. “We now go one step further, aiming to further integrate our CSR vision in our brands’ strategies. And as such, to increase our positive impact.”
Over the past year, following a comprehensive organization-wide exercise, Spadel also defined a new purpose: ‘We connect people and nature for a healthier life, today and tomorrow’. One of the values of this new purpose is having a positive impact on society.
This, says Valérie, has been a particular source of inspiration. “This notion of having a positive impact brings purpose to our work and has increased engagement: from production line worker to executive, it makes all our concepts, strategies and actions very concrete. Ultimately, our people are our biggest asset and our number one priority today and tomorrow; their reach goes far beyond any particular project.”
Reflecting this commitment to positive impact Spadel, and its brands, became a B Corp in 2022. This illustrates the many years of commitment to sustainability by people across the organization. Scoring well on the day-to-day handling of our business (the ‘operational’ side), the next step is to dig deeper and see by which business model(s) Spadel can further increase positive impact in the future.
Another major challenge for Spadel is aligning our activities to planetary boundaries. “Climate change and biodiversity loss are very real and it’s up to us to ensure we continue setting ambitious new goals and achieving them. We need to recognise these expectations and integrate them in our thinking and operating model as they affect our proposals.”
One area with already clearly defined planetary boundaries is climate change. In 2023, Spadel started to work to align its carbon reduction goal to the latest climate science. By the end of 2023, a net-zero roadmap will be developed with corresponding action plans for our different markets.
Being an early adopter of the EU Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) and with pioneering objectives around water and biodiversity, Spadel is well-positioned to apply planetary boundary thinking on these topics as well.
“Innovations on both packaging and formulation stay high on our agenda. Packaging remains a major challenge in our industry, and innovations such as our new range of lemonades and the Eco Pack (which has just been named Product of the Year 2023 in Belgium and the Netherlands) are essential in helping us meet consumer demand for more sustainable solutions.”
Although the Spadel CSR strategy and its commitments have been established at Group level, there is room for local initiatives. In France, for example, Carola and Wattwiller have been accredited as “PME+ Pour un Monde Plus Engagé” – loosely translated as “Very Engaged SME” – a French certification based on ISO 26000. In Bulgaria, Devin’s efforts also do not go unnoticed, as it recently received the "Investor in the Environment" award from the Bulgarian Business Leaders Forum (BBLF).
Consumers are increasingly recognising the value of smaller, local organisations and expect their loved brands to have a positive impact when it comes to social and environmental challenges.
“The coming years are about further strengthening our brands and their values as they’re directly related to bringing our mission and vision to life,” adds Valérie. “Social trends affect us as much as any other organisation, and people expect more from us as an industry spearhead. They want healthier options and to feel reassured that the products they buy don’t harm the planet or add to resource scarcity. We need to make sure that all our products appeal and meet consumer and other stakeholders’ expectations at every turn.”
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