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CSR, from neglected child to strategic pillar

“We have to do something with CSR.” This has been said at one time or another in every organization by management or board. It’s all very well, but if CSR becomes a must, you won’t make a real impact, Jurgen Terhorst knows. As quality manager and KAM coordinator at Life & Mobility, Jurgen has played an important role in setting up and developing Life & Mobility’s CSR policy. “Proud of the fact that we really got the CSR idea in the heads of many people.”

When Jurgen joined the company in 2016, CSR was still a bit of a neglected child. “There was an environment team back then, which set out some actions here and there, such as separating waste, but CSR did not yet have the attention it has now,” Jurgen explains. That changed when CSR had to be given a serious place in the corporate strategy. “Two years ago we made CSR one of the eight pillars within our strategy. CSR is now really starting to live in the organization. There is a team of people who want to work with CSR out of intrinsic motivation. That includes myself.”

"Two years ago we made CSR one of the eight pillars in our strategy." - Jurgen Terhorst

CSR is about much more

Before Jurgen and his team set to work, they first took a close look at what exactly CSR means. “Five years ago we were only concerned with environmentally friendly measures, but CSR is about much more, including, for example, transparency and being a good employer. To get a grip on that, we started using the CSR performance ladder; a kind of guide that provides insight into all the relevant themes to address. We are now focusing on five themes: transparency and communication, health and safety, minimizing energy consumption, being a good employer and sustainable use of materials. We link objectives to these, on the basis of which we initiate all kinds of projects. That way we are much more focused on CSR.”

“For example, we may now call ourselves carbon neutral, based on reduction and offsetting.”

And we are proud of that!

From fluorescent light to LED

And so CSR has made leaps and bounds in recent years. Although in the beginning it was difficult to get some plans “off paper. “We have some difficulty in making plans concrete, so sometimes we spend too long talking instead of taking action. So we hired an outside agency to help us with this. One of the first projects that got off the ground with this was the transition from fluorescent lighting to LED lighting in the warehouses and in production. A very nice result, which we all reflected on afterwards. We gave all our colleagues a gift of an LED lamp so that they could also start replacing it at home. A nice way to celebrate successes.”

CO2 neutral
Meanwhile, much more is going on in the field of CSR: “We are in the process of purchasing solar panels and a heat pump, we are buying green electricity, we are trying to make our transport more sustainable, we want to encourage our colleagues to come to work by bike: we are looking on all fronts where there is profit to be made and are discussing this with all disciplines. This has already led to good results. We can now call ourselves CO2 neutral, based on reduction and compensation. We have started ongoing reduction projects and what we cannot reduce ourselves, we offset.”

Great ambitions

Jurgen looks back with appropriate pride on everything that has been achieved so far in the field of CSR. What makes him most proud? “Especially that we have embedded the CSR idea in the corporate strategy with a small club.” Beautiful ambitions for the future also abound. “What seems very nice to me is to work on the basis of so-called science-based targets. These are scientifically calculated targets that individual organizations must meet in order to achieve national or international goals. For example, the UN climate agreement sets the goal of keeping global warming below 2 degrees. With science-based targets, we know what we as Life & Mobility need to do to achieve that goal. In the end, that’s when you’re doing the best thing.”

Click here for CO2 neutral in our CSR annual report.