VDL Groep views corporate social responsibility as an integral part of its overall business policy. This means that CSR aspects are taken into account in the decision-making process for organisational, process-related and technical matters. In our view of Corporate Social Responsibility, we distinguish three subareas: employees, products & production processes and society.
Sustainable building and recycling
VDL self-manages all its own building works. In all new-building and renovation projects, we focus on the sustainable use of material, lower energy consumption and reduced burdens for the environment. We achieve this, for example through smart design, with large volumes of daylight in our factories, the use of LED lighting, the installation of solar panels, the use of a ground source heat pump and by using residual heat from the production process for heating our premises. The new VDL Fibertech Industries premises in Hapert were awarded the GPR certificate in 2016 (Municipal Practical Guidelines for sustainable building, grade: 8). At VDL Nedcar in Born, paint particles in painting lines are captured and subsequently reused.
Sustainable living environment
Although the contribution by VDL to a wide variety of products remains concealed to a casual observer, due to our subcontracting activities, we still produce machines and products that make a fundamental contribution to a better living environment. We, for example supply products to the automotive industry (electric driving and battery technology), healthcare (such as devices for treating people with cancer), science (discovery of the universe), material use and waste reduction. We elaborate our existing designs to increase and improve methods of making these machines and products. Through smart design and advanced production methods, we deliver added value to our customers, and create employment opportunities for the manufacturing industry. Other examples of sustainable products (co)developed and manufactured by VDL include electric buses, the production of parts for an e-bike, a buggy produced from recycled plastic, a production line for producing sustainable building materials from plant waste, a machine for converting waste into biogas and the production of the sustainable Dopper drinking bottle.
In a circular economy waste streams are connected to one another in a kind of loop, as is the case in nature. A circular system is designed to re-use products and materials as far as possible and to keep the destruction of value to a minimum. That is a completely different approach to the linear system, where raw materials are transformed into products that are destroyed at the end of their service life.
At VDL the circular economy is largely enforced in practice. It is embedded in our business processes. This is because circularity can considerably reduce total service life costs. At VDL the responsibility for lies where it belongs; with the companies themselves. Our company directors are responsible for their profit and loss account. This motivates them to save on costs. The management team encourages our companies to make sustainable choices.
A circular economy offers opportunities for entrepreneurs; more chain co-operation, innovation, less consumption of raw materials and less waste. We can only take advantage of these opportunities if we all; companies governments and consumers pursue a circular economy. Bear in mind, that industry is increasingly controlled by the consumer. Companies must not adopt the arrogant approach that we can impose products and services on the consumer. The consumer is becoming more aware of sustainability and the circular economy. We are at the service of that consumer. Close co-operation between all parties is an important condition for the circular economy to succeed. Co-operation is the energy of the circular economy. That fits in really well with VDL Groep’s DNA.