Dirk Schallock, Chairman of the Management Board of the E.G.O.-Group, on the E.G.O.-Group's sustainability strategy, the associated opportunities and the challenges of consistently practicing sustainability in the company.
With the new corporate strategy, the E.G.O.-Group is expanding its commitment to sustainability. Mr. Schallock, what does sustainability mean for E.G.O. in concrete terms?
That we are committed to the topic with all its opportunities and challenges! Sustainability is a central guideline for corporate management and how we at E.G.O. think, act, and do business in the future. Our aspiration: We no longer take anything from the earth that we cannot give back! To reinforce this, we have set ambitious objectives for the coming years. In the long term, these must become standard practice at our 23 sales and production sites in 19 countries worldwide! We don't want to settle for anything less.
You are combining comfort and sustainability – isn't there a contradiction here?
At first glance, it looks like it, but not to me! We offer our customers ever-greater convenience in processing or specific product applications. At the same time, we are constantly working on sustainability and are thus continuously improving our processes, technologies, and products. This is not a trivial task or one that we can complete, but rather will always be a work in progress.
Name the most important sustainability goal for the E.G.O.-Group
There is no such thing as the one “most important” sustainability goal. But what can certainly be said: Embedding the topic of sustainability throughout the entire organization is an enormous task. This effort has never been made before in this way, in this form and complexity, in the entire history of E.G.O., and it demands a lot from us! In the long term, we have set the objective of reducing CO2 emissions by 65 percent by 2030. While on the path to achieving this, we need to noticeably reduce the use of resources, emissions, and energy consumption at all E.G.O.-Group sites. Furthermore, by 2024, we want to redesign at least one plant in a climate-neutral way, build a new climate-neutral building, and redesign a product range to meet the requirements of a closed-loop economy at all levels: from product development and production to transport and recycling.
Where do you see challenges?
Moving away from the classic consumptive economic model is accompanied by numerous changes, some of them far-reaching, including changes in production processes, usage habits, statutory regulations, or entirely new requirements resulting from product return and recycling. This means that employees must constantly embrace change and view change as an opportunity. In short, every E.G.O. employee needs the will to leave their comfort zone again and again and adapt to new conditions. Familiar routines, established processes, and stable structures have to be questioned and, if necessary, discarded, which is not easy.
But we at E.G.O. are on the right track and willing to do so! I believe that you can do almost anything in life if you want it badly enough and are willing to do a lot for it.
Which project in the field are you proud of?
Our tree planting campaign, which started in Oberderdingen at the end of 2020. My colleague Thomas Kohlbauer and I have sent out a strong first message for our new E.G.O. corporate strategy and the topic of sustainability with this project. We are planting one sapling per employee worldwide, so that we will have planted 5,600 new trees in total. The tree itself is not only a symbol of the new strategy. It makes tangible what is one of our central concerns for the future: Minimizing the E.G.O.-Group's carbon footprint. The tree-planting campaign is just one measure of many. Other projects, such as the climate-neutral transformation of our E.G.O. site in Austria, are underway and making me proud because I sense that the entire E.G.O. family is joining in!
What are you personally doing to live more sustainably?
I am convinced that each of us can find ways to live more sustainably in our everyday lives. For me, this means living consciously: eating consciously, traveling consciously, consuming consciously, being mindful overall. For me, it also includes balancing my job and my family. These are small things, but as we all know, big changes start with small steps.