Tuesday, 16 July 2013 10:30

Van Houtum speaks out in the European Parliament

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Managing director Bas Gehlen was invited to give a talk on Van Houtum and Satino Black in the European Parliament on 4 June 2013. The use of Van Houtum as a business case study in the Business Innovation in a Living Economy report produced by the Worldwatch Institute Europe had led to this invitation. “An invitation at this high level is both an acknowledgement and confirmation of our authoritative position as a leader in CSR”, says Bas Gehlen.

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Managing director Bas Gehlen described our company philosophy at the European Parliament.

The Worldwatch Institute, a respected research institute based in Washington with a European office in Copenhagen, comes up with innovative solutions for challenging environmental problems and strives to create a sustainable world. “Having the privilege of talking about our company in front of an international audience in the European Parliament was a fantastic experience”, says Bas Gehlen. “Hardly an everyday event obviously.”

Bas Gehlen described our company philosophy in an auditorium alongside the main conference room at the European Parliament.  “I explained that ecological and economic considerations go hand-in-hand at Van Houtum. And that our signature product, Satino Black, is proof of that unique approach. It is Cradle to Cradle certified and leaves no harmful residues behind in the environment."

Van Houtum, in the select company of a number of other European companies, was the subject of detailed scrutiny in the Report produced by Worldwatch Institute Europe. Bas Gehlen: “We are mentioned in what can be seen as a report on the future that explores and analyses new forms of sustainability and new sustainability concepts. The guiding principle for innovation in a living economy is that a company is not an isolated entity, but part of an ecological system; you share reciprocally with your environment and set up closed-loop processes within that environment.  Our Satino Black concept fits in perfectly with the notion of a circular economy.”

Bas Gehlen continues:  “We always want to make a positive contribution to our stakeholders. If you succeed in achieving that continuously, your position as a company becomes unshakeable. We have had great success with Satino Black in this respect. Speaking figuratively, sustainability has to be in your genes and that is the case at Van Houtum. We have embarked on a journey to becoming a complete Cradle to Cradle company.”

The talk in Brussels is not an isolated event. “We are regularly invited to events of all kinds in order to explain our CSR vision. The presentation to the European Parliament was a wonderful experience and may open up new avenues of opportunity. Who knows what interesting and fascinating challenges we can expect as a result!”    

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