I. LET’S HAVE A LOOK ON BOLIX
Eleventh interview for ODD&THEKEDGERS, but the first one in French speaking ! We have had a virtual appointment at BOLIX located in Żywiec (south of Poland) with Magdalena Jurczak, Environmental & Quality Control Specialist and Cleaner Production Expert at BOLIX and Alicja Urbaś, Export Sales Specialist on the French market at BOLIX.
As used to speaking French in her job, Mrs Urbaś has proposed to translate our discussion : if at the first glance a translation in real time could have seemed to be challenging, it has been really successful ! Meanwhile, it has made this Public Limited Company more easy-to-understand in a field that we are not familiar with: building insulation systems and finishes’ manufacture. Leader of thermal insulation in Poland, BOLIX’s domestic distribution channel consists of almost a 1000 trading partners assisted by 40 BOLIX technical sales consultants. Beyond the Polish borders, the company exports to over 15 European countries like Slovakia, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Ukraine, Russia, Germany, Sweden, Ireland, the UK, Switzerland, Belgium or … France ! At the end, this is over 250 people directly employed by BOLIX. In existence since 1991, the company offers high-quality building exterior systems and finishes, interior finishes and products for ceramics installation that will solve customers’ problems. (Click here to discover the BOLIX’s products and exterior/interior solutions). Continuously improving the latest organizational techniques and innovative environmentally-friendly technologies, BOLIX cares for its financial credibility and the satisfaction of its stakeholders (customers, employees, shareholders, suppliers, …). Let’s discover to what extent in this article!
BOLIX implements Cleaner Production in its corporate strategy
First of all, BOLIX, as a company, needs to be profitable, it is important to remind that it is a “for-profit organization” so as mentioned above, BOLIX cares for its financial credibility. Then, the company is always looking for strengthening its competitive advantage by expanding & developing its activities, by modernizing its processes to produce innovative solutions, by improving its brand image, … What is important to understand is that caring about economic goals is totally consistent with Sustainable Development! It is the case as long as social and environmental goals are pursued at the same time. This is the sustainable development to reach: an integration, a conciliation, a viable harmony between the three pillars it is based on (Economic, Social, Environmental) (Click here to discover our heading #ODDLearning in our Instagram page @oddthekedgers with our post dedicated to the Sustainability pillars). Therefore, BOLIX also cares for the environment in its decision-making by minimizing the negative impacts created by its activities, by maximising the positive impacts of new technologies, … as well as the social goals by increasing customer satisfaction, job satisfaction and well-being in the workplace or actions for the health and development of local communities. To approach these different natures of challenges in the decision-process, Cleaner Production (CP) is a good concept implemented in industries like BOLIX.
Mentioning Cleaner Production (CP) in the part title echoes the previous interview we have done in Poland with the Polish Cleaner Production Movement Association. Met on the 18th of November 2020, we discussed with Michał Jan Cichy, President of the Board of the Polish CP Movement Association and Marek Wasilewski, Member of the board of the Polish CP Movement Association about the NGO’s field of activity of CP. Its mission? Promote and foster implementation of CP strategy in Polish companies, as well as to educate and inform them about environmental issues important for their activities. BOLIX is one of them, the company has been collaborating with the NGO since 2010 ! (Click here to read our Article« The Polish Cleaner Production Movement Association is dealing with CP across all Poland” ). To quote the words of Mrs Jurczak concerning this collaboration:
“We are happy and proud to be a member of the Polish CP Movement Association. Thanks to this collaboration, it permitted both to realize that we were already doing good actions and to implement many new good practices at BOLIX.”- Mrs Jurczak, traduced by Mrs Urbaś
BOLIX has begun with the CP Academy followed by 2 employees today CP Experts (included Mrs Jurczak), then the company has pursued continual implementation of CP projects to improve its environmental performances over the years and quickly obtained the Cleaner Production Certificate and the more demanding Cleaner Production and Responsible Entrepreneurship Certificate that integrates CSR topics. (Click here to see the BOLIX’s certificates and recommendations). Certificates are respectively verified in a 2 years and 1 year period, and BOLIX’s certificates renewal for 2020 are coming ! As explained by Mrs Jurczak and traduced by Mrs Urbaś during our interview:
“We have sent our Environmental [for the CP Certificate] and Sustainability [for the CP & RE Certificate] Reports for verification by the Polish CP Movement Association and representatives of the Polish Authorities but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the NGO and the Polish Authorities could not meet to give the official decision of renewal. But the audit has concluded with a positive opinion so we would officially receive the certificate in the next few weeks!” – Mrs Jurczak, traduced by Mrs Urbaś
Nevertheless, BOLIX’s CP strategy implementation has already been proven, as in being twice the Leader of CP in Poland (the last one in 2018). Furthermore, BOLIX implementation of Integrated Quality Management System and Environmental Management System has already been granted by the International Standardization Organization (ISO) for the conformity with respectively ISO 9001 and ISO 14001.
To go further in understanding BOLIX’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), we will make the activities of the company more concrete under the sustainability framework provided by the SDG matrix.
II. BOLIX COMMITMENTS FOR SUSTAINABILITY
General commitments for sustainability
Through CP strategies’ implementation (including CSR measures) integrated within efficient Quality and Environmental Management Systems in the company, BOLIX contributes to reach a part of the Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs). Let’s discover those that resonate particularly for the company in the SDGs matrix, according to Mrs Jurczak and Mrs Urbaś during our interview:
SDG 3 – Good health and well-being, SDG 4 – Quality education, SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth, SDG 9 – Industry, innovation and infrastructure, SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production, SDG 13 – Climate action
To illustrate to what extent, our interviewees have given us some actions BOLIX has done that are connected to those SDGs.
SDG 3 – Good health and well-being
• Actions taken to support the health care service locally : – supporting the healthcare service locally by providing masks and ordering meals for doctors in the local restaurant; – supporting Polish entrepreneurs and buying masks produced by a local printing house, which during the pandemic had to change its previous main business activity ; – funding cleaning products and disinfection of kindergartens and schools ;
• Actions taken to increase access to healthcare for employees and their families (cooperation with the insurance company PZU)
• Arranging for preventive vaccinations for company employees
SDG 4 – Quality education
• Cooperation with higher education institutions and representatives from science
• Financing activities aiming at improving staff competence and qualifications
• Trainings for contractors, EWI installers, wholesalers
• Hiring students as interns (occasionally international students), providing materials about the company for their Masters thesis.
SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth
• Providing jobs for more than 250 employees, affecting the development of contractors that install the BOLIX products
• Increase in employment, increase in sales
SDG 9 – Industry, innovation and infrastructure
• Monitoring of market evolution, anticipating trends within a time-frame of 2-3 and 5-10 years
• Development of strategic and operational plans
• Investments in R&D / know-how
• Construction of a research centre with climate chambers with an aim to:
- test product application in various weather conditions (temperature/humidity), irrespective of outdoor conditions
- select raw materials that will have an effect on application properties of products at high/low temperatures and high/low humidity;
- test wall finishes in various conditions;
- test the effects of thermal stress resulting from temperature fluctuations
SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production
– We manufacture innovative products such as:
• wall insulation systems that contribute to energy savings
• renovation/refurbishment EWI systems to upgrade the previously installed systems
• retrofit of existing wall insulation that has insufficient characteristics/performance, without removal of the existing thermal insulation to reduce waste generation
• systems offering enhanced resistance to microbial growth
• systems providing extended lifetime, high impact resistance and fire safety
– We carry out product life cycle analyses (LCA) and take measures to minimise the environmental impact, e.g. selection of raw materials with regard to environmental impact criteria
– Selection of local suppliers to reduce fuel consumed for transportation and logistics
– Optimization and improvement of technological processes and production methods Implementation of new solutions to improve water and energy management in line with the principles of cleaner production
SDG 13 – Climate action
• Production of thermal insulation systems to reduce carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emission
Presented here with BOLIX, this use of the SDGs matrix appears really easy but definitely helpful because it permits to give globally the areas where you have / could make a real difference through your actions. After understanding where your priorities are in the SDGs matrix (SDGs 3, 4, 8, 9, 12, 13 above for BOLIX), you need to have in mind that the SDGs are interlinked, meaning that one often leads to others, it is crucial to implement efficiently the SDGs in your activity, projects, actions, … as a company, NGO, public organization, individual, … : targeting only one of these SDGs with your activity, projects, actions often isn’t enough! Therefore, after understanding where your priorities are and the intrinsically nature of the interlinked 17 SDGs, you are able to perceive how you contribute / could contribute to the SDGs through your activity, action, project. To do this, we have developed a quite simple methodology at ODD&THEKEDGERS to qualitatively measure the contributions of your activity, actions, projects to the SDGs, whatever the lifecycle stage it is ! Let’s discover it in application for some CP measures implemented at BOLIX.
Focus on some Cleaner Production measures’ commitments for sustainability
Through the CP strategies’ implementation taken in recent years at BOLIX, the company succeeded in reducing its negative impact on the main environmental areas usually reported, which are emissions and generations of waste, energy and water consumption, …; but also additional benefits reached at the same time on social areas, which are the health, the well-being, the education, … and on societal areas, which are development of local community, best practices sharings in the industry, … This permit to understand to what extent CP strategies can be considered as CSR strategies because they take into account the economic performance, the environmental and the social impacts in the decision-making process.
To make the CP measures of BOLIX more concrete, our interviewees have presented us two CP measures implemented in the company.
First, a new method of delivery of dry raw materials, a measure implemented from 2011 to overcome the economic, social and environmental problems of the former method at BOLIX. Before 2011, the majority of bulk raw materials were delivered in paper disposable bags, which were first stacked in the warehouse and then in a storage silo from where they were automatically fed into the production process. This delivery method involved complex and costly in-house logistics and a lot of material handling related to the receipt and storage of the raw material and its loading into the silos before it was finally used in the production process. It also produced waste (used bags) and consumed a considerable amount of fuel and electricity. The idea was to change the form of delivery from bags to delivery from a road tanker directly to a silo and then fed to the process, through weighing systems. Because we know that a picture is worth a thousand words ! Indeed, here is the flow chart of the process before and after:
Second, an innovative heat recovery from technological processes (from sand dryers), a measure implemented from 2014 to overcome the economic, social and environmental problems of the former heat system at BOLIX. Before 2014, the premises were heated by an oil burner, while for technological processes a sand drying line with a thermal power was used (on on-going basis) that emitted flue gases and water vapour near the workplaces. The idea was to change the former system for an innovative one, patented in Poland and protected by law, developed by Sir Piotr Ostrowski, (Eng.D) from Politechnika Śląska (the Silesian University of Technology). The system developed permits to recover the heat from technical processes in a closed system that purifies all kinds of emissions and gases to heat the production rooms.
To understand these two CP measures implemented by the company through the SDGs matrix, let’s discover the GOOD PRACTICE SHEET we have done, supported by 3 TOOLS !
III. BOLIX AND THE KEDGERS
Could BOLIX be your next experience ?
Beside the purpose to make Kedgers (Kedge Business School’s students) aware of the Sustainable Development Goals, ODD&THEKEDGERS aims to inform the managers of tomorrow of responsible opportunities abroad in the associative, private and public sectors. That’s why at the end of our interview with Mrs Jurczak and Mrs Urbaś, we have not hesitated to ask some questions for you in order to know to whom this organization could turn for a professional experience abroad.
Unfortunately, Bolix is GENERALLY not looking for international students. Even if they hired polish students as interns, this collaboration is based on this win-win partnership where they provide the materials about the company for the Master thesis of the students. However, Mrs Jurczak told us there was once a Hungary student who came as an intern, so if you really have an interest in the field of environmental protection, we advise you to try to apply!
Precious words of Mrs Jurczak and Mrs Urbaś for the students that we are at Kedge
Before leaving, let’s soak up our interviewee’s advice !
“It is important to analyze your projects from an environmental point of view to measure your impact. You have to take the right actions taking into account the latest legal requirements and your product lifecycle analysis.” – Mrs Jurczak
“Implementing solutions that aim to improve production and its environmental impact is beneficial for all stakeholders. Awareness of environmental issues is increasing and you have to adapt to meet the needs and desires of your customers.” – Mrs Urbaś
“If we start building sustainable solutions today, we will see long term results. We will contribute to a cleaner environment for our children. Even with small actions one can contribute to a better future for others.” – Mrs Urbaś
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