Part 2, Of teamwork and the individual contribution to sustainability: A conversation with sustainability manager Dr. Sascha Schneiderwind
Since June 2022 Dr. Sascha Schneiderwind’s has been responsible for sustainability at Jagenberg Group. In this second part of our two-part interview series, he talks about the response to the sustainability report 2022, provides suggestions for sustainable behavior and gives an outlook on the future.
In the first part of our conversation, you mentioned that a lot of clever heads contributed to the sustainability report. How was the feedback on said report?
Internally, it is fantastic to see how everyone works as one. Sustainability is teamwork and without local support of operative corporations this report would not have been possible. Externally the feedback is good, incredibly good. You must keep in mind that this report is not mandatory for us to publish until 2025. Loads of suppliers and customers were surprised. They did not expect us to deal with this topic as deeply as we did. Banks, for example, were also pleasantly surprised that we, as a medium-sized company, are already dealing so intensively with sustainability. However, we are not leaning back and press a play-button when needed. On the contrary: we know that our work must be in line with the interests of our stakeholders — and it is far from being done. We want to minimize emissions, use more sustainable supply chains, be exemplary as an employer and be socially responsible. And, of course, continue to report on these efforts.
“We are not leaning back and press a play-button when needed.”
Dr. Sascha Schneiderwind
What can employers actively help here — do you have suggestions, what could be done daily by individuals?
To be honest, it’s almost impossible to answer this with concrete measures. Instead, we offer three levels to consider: Firstly, our Code of Conduct helps to minimize negative impacts. This is our moral obligation, and everyone should adhere to it. Secondly, we need to be aware of sustainability. Acting sustainably starts with thinking: Does the light really have to be turned on or do I ventilate properly in winter? I am always happy, for example, when colleagues book e-cars at travel management. This shows: the workforce is thinking along and has already internalized sustainability. Thirdly, it is about the influence as a company at large. All employees are invited to contribute to improve processes or suggest optimizations for machines. After all, those who design and assemble our machines know their area best. Every idea is worth being listened to when being expressed. This is why we have set up a contact path. I can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org and I help to push initiatives in the right direction.
“Every idea is worth being listened to when being expressed. [...] and I help to push initiatives in the right direction.”
Dr. Sascha Schneiderwind
Speaking of “the right direction”: What are the right directions for you?
From now on, we will publish a sustainability report annually. We act as if it is mandatory for us to publish said report even if this is not going to be the case until 2025. Next, we will start an Accelerator Program, a sort of ambassador’s network at every location of Jagenberg Group, to establish our initiatives group- wide. Many company groups, for example, install photovoltaic systems and use regenerative power. Furthermore, we are working on improving the accounting of Scope 3 emissions, meaning all those greenhouse gases which we do not have a direct impact on.
What are your next goals for Jagenberg Group?
We already spoke about one major goal: I want to include every single employee in our sustainability initiatives. I want to give every single one of our employees the opportunity to participate — and for them to do it! It has only been 12 months since we started accounting CO2 bilances. Now it is time to act! Sustainability can be fun: just think about bike trips through town or competitions between departments about who can plant more trees. There are countless possibilities.
To include employees, we have recently started an online questionnaire to gain insight into our employees’ interests. Is sustainability a central topic for them? Do they feel strongly about social topics or education? Or is health an important topic for them to discuss and focus on? We will also adapt the group’s content to those needs. And I can already tell you this much: the response rate is incredible. After 24 hours, 20% of the workforce had already replied and filled out the questionnaire.
True to our mission statement “Create.Future.Together.”, our motto for sustainability at Jagenberg Group is “Caring for the Future”. Something I wish for is that every single employee takes an interest in this topic and will fill it with life. My current impression is, that we are on a good way!
“’Caring for the future’ is important for all of us: I hope that everyone will contribute to this topic and will fill it with life so that it does not remain an empty shell!”
Dr. Sascha Schneiderwind
Dr. Schneiderwind, thank you for your time and the interesting discussion!