At Decospan, we have always been committed to sustainable practices, previously driven mainly by intuition and a genuine desire to have a positive impact on our environment. Now we are taking an important step forward by embedding the principles of ESG – Environment, Social and Governance – in our strategy. Louise Chys (Compliance Manager) and Pauline Ollivier (Compliance Coordinator) tell us what ESG means for Decospan and how it is shaping our new sustainability strategy.
What does ESG mean?
ESG stands for Environment, Social & Governance – three fundamental criteria when it comes to measuring sustainability. It serves as a cornerstone for responsible and sustainable business. Louise explains: "Decospan has always been aware of its environmental and social responsibilities. However, our actions were driven by intuition and a genuine desire to improve our environment. Now we are formalising these practices using ESG within a sustainable strategy."
The European Green Deal & Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive
In recent years, the world has become acutely aware of climate change and the need for immediate action. Europe has set the goal of becoming a climate-neutral continent by 2050, through initiatives such as the European Green Deal. Pauline stresses, "To achieve these goals, legislative frameworks are being created, including the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive, which imposes obligations on larger companies. This reporting goes beyond financial aspects and now includes sustainability targets - that's where ESG comes in.”
"Decospan has always been aware of its environmental and social responsibilities. However, our actions were driven by intuition and a genuine desire to improve our environment. Now we are formalising these practices using ESG within a sustainable strategy."
The sustainability journey
Decospan has embarked on a comprehensive initiative to examine and evaluate its current sustainability efforts. Louise notes, "We are not a publicly listed company, so we were not previously required to share sustainability information like some of our colleagues. But to set goals, develop strategies and take action, we need to know where we are today. That is why today we are mapping the current situation of our two sites in Belgium and Decospan France Nord. This first sustainability report will be published in early 2024. Next year, we will make the same exercise at group level. Officially, this is not required for all sites until 2026, but we want to get a head start now to get to know the process."
A crucial aspect of Decospan's sustainability strategy is stakeholder engagement. Pauline stresses, "We believe in collaboration. We sought input from our customers, suppliers, employees and industry organisations. Their insights helped shape our strategy, focusing on our DNA, core values and key priorities."
Below, you’ll find an overview of all sustainable initiatives currently taking place in Decospan:
- Solar energy: We have already invested in solar panels in Belgium, Decomat and Decospan DOO to generate green energy. Since a few months, we can now add to this our site in Hazebrouck (northern France). A nice addition to our biomass boiler, which has been in use since the company was founded at its current location in 2000. The project at Decospan France Sud is being started up as we speak.
- Hybrid Fleet: since 2021, we will have switched to hybrid commercial vehicles, reducing our CO2 emissions.
- FSC® and PEFC Certification: Decospan is FSC® and PEFC certified to ensure the responsible sourcing of wood.
- Environmental Product Declarations (EPD): We conduct thorough EPD studies to measure and optimise the environmental impact of our products.
- Optimisation of wood use: We aim to use wood in the most efficient way possible, from log to finished product. This approach helps us get the maximum value from each wood source and minimises waste. Our 'Infinite Wood' product line is a great example of this.
- Grensland circular Menen: By participating in the Grensland Circular initiative, we actively contribute to promoting a circular economy in our region. This includes reusing materials and reducing waste.
- Participation windmill: We are involved in a windmill project 'Grensland Power' in Menen that generates clean energy and contributes to the transition to renewable energy sources.
- Aqualex: By using Aqualex taps, we contribute to water conservation within our facilities.
- Decofit: Our Decofit initiatives, such as cross-training, cooking workshops and various sports initiatives, contribute to the health and well-being of our employees. We believe that healthy and motivated employees are essential to our success.
- People Engagement Survey: We have started conducting regular surveys to measure and understand our employees' engagement. This feedback helps us to continuously improve our working environment.
- Family Business Award: Decospan is the one-year Belgian ambassador for the Family Business Award of Excellence 2023. The jury praised Decospan, among other things, for the strong strategic model it has developed that blends a healthy no-nonsense management of the company with passion for the product and the well-being of its employees.