Plastiflex sets out an ambitious sustainability vision with BDO
By 2023 companies have to draw up an annual sustainability report about their objectives and the impact of their activities on the environment and the quality of life. Plastiflex Group nv, producer of flexible hoses, wants to make its sustainability vision, a fully circular production process, a reality already. That’s why the company joined forces with BDO to set up a Sustainability Transition Programme.
Plastic hasn’t really gotten a good reputation over the last decade. The media regularly flood us with horrific images of the damage that plastic is causing in the oceans and elsewhere. Nevertheless, Piet Gruwez, CEO at Plastiflex, believes that plastic is not a bad product in itself: "The pressure on plastic use is mainly on single-use plastic in the packaging sector. The need to create sustainable alternatives that help reduce the waste mountain is growing exponentially. In Germany, for example, it’s already mandatory as of 2025 that PET packaging consists of a minimum of 30% recycled plastic."
"Plastiflex strives to be the most sustainable producer of flexible hoses by eventually working in an entirely circular production process." - Piet Gruwez, CEO at Plastiflex Group nv
Piet expects that in time these obligations will also spread to the markets for which Plastiflex supplies hoses: "Today there is still little pressure from our customers. Among other things, Plastiflex produces hoses for vacuum cleaners or washing machines and such appliances last a very long time. Nevertheless, we want to move forward already. When the new European legislation on the disclosure of non-financial information comes into force in 2023, our company will not only be ready to report correctly, but we will also have a range of innovative products to offer our customers. "
"By creating our sustainability vision now, we will be ready to cope with the market disruption in 2023 with an array of innovative products." - Piet Gruwez, CEO at Plastiflex Group nv
Pragmatic, enthusiastic, efficient
In order to shape this sustainability vision, Plastiflex appointed a Sustainability Officer to develop a sustainability strategy and to effectively implement the initiatives. However, the need for an objective analysis by specialised ESG consultants remained. That’s why Piet Gruwez decided to call on BDO's Sustainability Advisors. "Out of the three possible companies, BDO's professionalism, enthusiasm and pitch convinced us the most," he explains.
The team led by Tessy Martens, Senior Advisor at BDO Digital, and Bart Dessent, expert in Transport & Logistics, was an excellent choice for Piet: "I am pleasantly surprised by the passion of the BDO consultants. The team is an excellent blend of more experienced professionals with extensive sector experience and younger members with a fresh approach. We could always count on their pragmatic and disciplined way of working. Despite the sometimes very tight deadlines, staff who were travelling or calendars that allowed little margin, the experts always managed to deliver within the agreed timeframe. A very pleasant collaboration."
BDO's Sustainability team helped Plastiflex draw up and measure KPIs, among others for the possibility of reducing waste water. Piet himself has been advocating the use of recycled plastic for years to eventually produce fully circular hoses. "Plastiflex wants to be the best and most sustainable producer of flexible hoses. We therefore want to actively contribute to the transition to using more sustainable materials. Virgin resins, where petroleum from the planet is extracted and converted it into plastic resin, deplete the raw materials far too quickly. So, in addition to reducing our water and electricity consumption, we also look to recycle waste materials and reuse them for new hoses. In this way we can significantly reduce CO2 emissions, and ultimately create a closed loop," Piet looks ahead ambitiously.
"The BDO team is an excellent blend of more experienced professionals with extensive sector experience and younger members with a fresh approach. Their pragmatic and enthusiastic approach ensures a pleasant and efficient collaboration." - Piet Gruwez, CEO at Plastiflex Group nv
Sustainability is about more than the environment
ESG, a more correct name for sustainability within companies, stands for Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance. "As a production company, it goes without saying that our policy primarily focuses on the ecological aspect. However, the social matters are also very important to us. Many of our employees work in countries where the living conditions don’t always reflect those in Europe. Plastiflex also wants to contribute its part there by providing sufficient food, vaccines and so on," Piet explains.
"Thanks to BDO's Sustainability Transition Programme, Plastiflex will be ready to report before the legislation enters into force. We want to act as an example for the market and for other companies who are not yet occupied with this. After all, you have to build a sustainable future today in order to make a difference tomorrow," concludes Piet Gruwez.
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