"Recently, we have had to deal with major challenges, such as brexit and the COVID-19 crisis. Like others, we had to adapt the way we work and react very quickly to the changing market. And that hasn’t always been easy. However, looking further into the future, I think the biggest challenge will be to make businesses as sustainable as possible."
So how do you make your business as sustainable as possible?
"There are several possibilities, but one of the first steps you can take as a company is to move from a linear system to a circular one. Traditionally, a product is made, bought, used and thrown away. In a circular economy, those products are recycled as raw materials or re-used. Think of shared bicycles or shared cars and car pooling, for example."
Or pallet pooling, your core business?
"Indeed. Pooling is based on the principles of the circular economy. We rent out our pallets and containers to companies. They use them and afterwards we collect, check, repair them if necessary and offer them for use again. In this way, we close the cycle and extend the life of our products. This way, together with our customers we save an enormous amount of CO2, waste and, in the case of wooden pallets, reduce the consumption of wood.
There is a lot media attention around timber these days, ranging from sustainability to scarcity. What role do you, as pallet pooler, play in this?
" As a pallet pooling leader, wood is a key product for our business. That’s why we’ve always strived to make the best and most sustainable use of it. For instance in 2020 we achieved one of our sustainability targets to use only 100% certified sustainable wood. This means that the forests where we obtain wood from are managed in a sustainable way and that zero deforestation is guaranteed. We’ve now entered a new period of more ambitious sustainability goals to go beyond zero impact. So by 2025, we want to plant two trees for every one we use. In this way, we restore the ecosystem and take the next step towards regenerative supply chains."
Regenerative supply chains? Can you elaborate on that?
"Regeneration actually means 'rebirth'. By that we mean that we want to revive the earth and society. Instead of aiming for a zero operation and reducing our impact to zero, we want to go beyond that for a positive impact. To give back more than we take. We’ve been sharing and reusing pallets worldwide for over 60 years. We call ourselves the pioneers of the circular economy. Well, now we want to become the pioneer of regenerative supply chains and help other companies to take this path as well. That's why our slogan is: 'Helping the world move more with less'."