A personal perspective on sustainability

Sustain the ability to make a difference

Sustainability is a mentality that should pervade everything we do. KAEFER’s Head of Corporate Sustainability & Communication Francisca Gorgodian reflects upon the company's commitment.

The year was 2008. Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ was a little over a year old and Leonardo Di Caprio’s “The 11th Hour” was still making headlines. The UN Global Compact was hitting its stride and more and more large corporations were realising the need to focus on themes and issues that went beyond the yearly balance sheet. This was also the year I was approached by our then CEO to build the sustainability department at KAEFER. To quote one of our Norwegian colleagues: “I never did this before, but it sounds like fun!”

At KAEFER, we’re fortunate enough to be able to put sustainability at the top of the agenda. This was as true back then as it is now. On the one hand, we can champion the benefits of our services for energy efficiency. And on the other, we expect our people around the world to embrace sustainability as a way of working, acting and living.

We’ve been promoting this for the last 12 years and we’re certainly on the right track, but much more can be done.

Our business has expanded from where we started more than 100 years ago and we’ve begun to introduce more and more services that prolong the lifetime of industrial facilities, for example. We also have a Corporate Innovation and Technical Excellence Department that focusses on developing and finding new and smarter technologies to safeguard all kinds of assets. These are just a few examples, but it clearly shows that sustainability is a core element of our business model and we’re grateful for this to be an area where we can earn our money.

We’ve also worked on our internal sustainability strategy and increased our efforts to become a more sustainable company. Our sustainability report has been published for several years and we have used it to showcase examples of how our sustainable approach works all over the KAEFER world.

Today, we can say that we are at a tipping point. Our clients are developing new policies related to sustainability and as part of their supply chains, we are slowly but steadily expected to commit to specific targets. On a regulatory level, the European Union is working hard to mitigate the impact of climate change and to reduce carbon footprints.

At the same time, the UN is renewing its focus on its Sustainability Development Goals.

The pressure to act sustainably is coming from all sides and we see this as a positive development. That’s why earlier this year, we decided to approach sustainability from an even more strategic point of view. What can KAEFER do to become more sustainable? What are the material issues we need to address? What do we need to do on a group level and what do we need to leave to the country entities? What do our clients expect from us? What can we ask our supply chain to deliver? These and many other questions are being openly discussed on an ongoing basis in our Sustainability Working Group.

We’ve just started to surf the second big sustainability wave and we still have a long way to go. Chances are, we will encounter challenges along the way that must be overcome. But our commitment is strong, and we are certain that KAEFER will make its mark as a company that truly cares about the environment as well as the social and governance elements of sustainability.

To support our work and engage in our stakeholder dialogue, please participate in the next stakeholder survey in January 2021. All details will be published on our website and social media channels and we look forward to receiving your input. Together we can forge a path to a better and more sustainable future.