by   |    |  Estimated reading time: 7 minutes  |  in Business Agility, Corporate Social Responsibility, Creativity & Innovation, Sustainability   |  tagged , , ,

Early in 2021, IFS announced its inaugural Change for Good Sustainability Awards. The awards  celebrate and showcase the innovative initiatives  of our customers in five environmental, social and governance (ESG) categories. These are customers that not only promote sustainability, social responsibility and green initiatives in-house, but also inspire their own customers to embrace these values and are already planning for next year. 

IFS as a company not only drives for sustainability internally and recognizes achievement externally—it also has the ambition to be an influential voice in the global community by pushing the importance of technological solutions and forward-thinking ideas to help inspire others and combat the climate emergency. Hence the Change For Good Sustainability Awards program. This year’s awards were judged by an expert panel including Michelle Lancaster, Director, Sustainability at Microsoft, Jacqueline de Rojas, President at TechUK, and IFS Sustainability Ambassador and UN Patron of the Oceans Lewis Pugh.  

IFS was also at this year’s COP26 summit and representatives from our award winners had the chance to dine with Lewis Pugh and Jacqueline de Rojas during the event. They will also be invited to become founding members of the IFS Sustainability Council—a new advisory group, that will meet with key IFS decision makers to support our sustainability product strategy and development. 

So, without further ado, let’s meet three of our winners who all make outstanding contributions to a better and more sustainable society.  

Climate for Life: Heating homes, not the planet

Introducing this year’s winner in our “Journey of Transformation to Sustainable Business” category, Netherlands-based Climate for Life. As its name suggests, Climate for Life has been at the forefront of sustainability for years and at its core has a mission to offer sustainable heating and ventilation solutions to customers. In the last decade it has implemented a four-point strategy focused on sustainability: to transition from gas condensing boilers to heat pumps, to develop products and services that reduce emissions, to increase its product recyclability and to cut the carbon footprint of its manufacturing process.  

Kerst Algera, Operations Director, explains, “we realized our mission was really about creating a more comfortable, healthier and energy-efficient indoor climate for everyone. We wanted to see how we could redirect our expertise in traditional domestic heating and ventilation systems towards reducing CO2 emissions and making homes more energy neutral.” 

2021 will be the last year Climate for Life will sell condensing boilers, while its heat pump production and sales have risen to 10,000 a year—with installation and maintenance of each for a fixed fee for 25 years. The transition “has been difficult but we are committed” explains Algera, “at the time, we faced a backlash in Holland… but now customers recognize what we are offering in light of environmental benefits.” And the company has no intention of stopping there—aiming to be a major player in green heating revolution in the years to come and is implementing IFS software to help with this “which will no doubt help us both with analytics and modelling.” 

The judges loved Climate for Life’s entry and product, commenting “this is the climate as a service. It’s so clever, so clever. You just buy it, and they deliver the heat and hot water you need for a fixed fee. For 25 years. I love that.” 

Read the winner’s profile for Climate for Life and explore their ‘climate as a service’ proposition. 

Nature’s Path Foods: Sowing the seeds of sustainability

This year’s winner in our “Social Impact” category is Canadian based Nature’s Path Foods. Nature’s Path is a family run, independent business that produces 150 varieties of organic breakfast cereals and other snacks. The company has sustainability at its roots and has actioned many socially responsible strategies to help cut its carbon footprint and those of its customers. The company has become the first North American food producer to achieve zero-waste certification across its production line. The company has also built 187,000kwh’s of renewables in the last 11 years, donated over $30 million in food and grants to charities, community projects and food banks, and championed organic farming—keeping an area the size of New Orleans chemical free in 2019. Samantha Falk, Communications Director explains: “Our vision is to always leave the earth better than we found it, so we genuinely hold ourselves accountable to doing what’s best for people and the planet.”  

In 2021 Nature’s Path also became an early partner of Loop—a global reusable packaging initiative which includes some of the world’s top brands. Loop has allowed Nature’s Path to fully embrace a circular model for its packaging, where empty containers are collected from customers and are reused up to 100 times, and then recycled at the end of their life. Matt Livingston, Sustainability Stewardship Specialist explains “Even before Loop, we were achieving 97% reuse, recycling or compostability of our packaging by weight… Loop lets us take our reuse agenda forward. It’s super-challenging. But, just because something is difficult or expensive, that’s no reason not to try. Especially if it can make a positive impact on the planet.” 

Our judges were impressed by the company’s record of a positive social impact: “I like the diversity of programs that use their capital and cash for good, as well as community engagement, and clear impact. Smart partnering is a really good opportunity, you’re likely to accelerate the journey towards good outcomes. They’ve eliminated 244 tons of synthetic pesticides, which is the weight of 45 African elephants: that’s pretty cool!” 

Read Nature’s Path Foods winner’s profile and learn why they are never afraid to at least try and do the difficult – but right – thing. 

Eco Spindles: From discarded plastics to fashionable fabrics

And now we’re off to Sri Lanka to meet the winner in our “Most Innovative Solution for Sustainability” category, Eco Spindles is a pioneer in tackling the one of the biggest environmental challenges this century—plastic waste. The company currently collects 7.5 million PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles a month that lay discarded on Sri Lanka’s beaches. Each is then pioneeringly recycled into new products.  

Eco Spindles currently focuses on recycling into premium-quality monofilaments for cleaning tools as well as yarn for clothes in the textiles industry—unlike virgin yarn, recycled yard requires 60% less energy to produce and cuts greenhouse emissions by 40% in the manufacturing process. This process is truly world leading explains Anush Amarasinghe, Managing Director, “the facility is one of only two plants in the world capable of reprocessing PET flakes directly into yarn.” 

Eco Spindles too champions circular thinking, Amarasinghe explains: “We have embarked on a holistic strategy that spans both collection and advanced processing of waste PET bottles, allowing manufacture of value-added products using the recycled plastic we recover… [creating] environmental and societal benefits… It’s a win-win situation for everyone.” Furthering this, the company also focuses on uplifting Sri Lankan society and has strict standards within its work force, such as banning child labor, offering equal opportunity and fair payment to both men and women, and supplying PPE to plant workers.  

The judges saw a lot in this entry: “I love the multiple uses of technology to engage community, collect materials, and build a business on it. Huge impacts in reducing waste while providing incomes. They’ve created thousands of livelihoods for their local communities. I love that cycle of life. So many lives are being transformed because the communities benefit from that new way of recycling plastics and synthetic thread.” 

Read the complete Eco Spindles winner’s profile and discover more about Sri Lanka’s first and only plastic recycler. 

A standout sustainability trio

Three worthy winners who join so many companies that with IFS are helping change their sectors and the planet for the better. All three show the power of resourcefulness, ingenuity and vision in the face of climate change and are examples of how pushing for sustainability can not only create incredible stories but also bring business success. 

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