Omrin flew in Brain Fuel for an SDG Kickstarter project. We would like to share this unusual, impactful case with you.
“I had never seen a traffic jam at our Eco Park in Heerenveen. But at that time there was a 5-kilometre-long congestion.”
Renate van Opzeeland
“Of course, I believe in the importance of making a better world. Having said that, the waste processing company also wants to look beyond just rubbish, beyond just The Netherlands. How can we contribute to solving global problems? To the seventeen sustainability goals the United Nations have listed: the Sustainable Development Goals?”
These are the words of Renate van Opzeeland, who has been working for Omrin since 2002. Being a Compliance and Facility Manager, she focuses on environmental management and biodiversity, and presides over six departments, including environment, acquisition, and quality.
Waste processing company Omrin can be seen as a pioneer when it comes to sustainability. It was elected most sustainable company in The Netherlands in 2019 and at this moment it already meets the objectives Dutch municipalities only must meet in 2024: 70% of all collected rubbish must be recycled. Having said that, the waste processing company also wants to look beyond just rubbish, beyond just The Netherlands. How can it contribute to solving global problems?
Fun fact: ‘omrin’ is the Frisian word for ‘circle of life’!
“Impression of one of the physical SDG Kickstarter sessions. We also held digital sessions during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“The percentage of women was high,” says Renate smiling. “Usually there are more men than women. It might be dangerous to say this, ha-ha! But it provided a different view: not just result-oriented, but bigger, more innovative.”
Brain Fuel’s SDG Kickstarter relies heavily on the seventeen sustainability goals the United Nations issued. The Kickstarter consists of three parts: the Impact Ranker, the Impact Checker, and the Impact Launcher. Which SDG do you feel is important, how (well) do you implement them already, and how do you turn all this inspiration into action?
“What really made an impact on me at Brain Fuel, was the professionality, the powerful guidance during sessions, and the clear layout of the methods. Besides that, the enthusiasm is contagious,’ Nicole Bakker of Circular Engine explains. Nicole is a circular strategist and played a leading role in founding the process and taking the step towards strategy and policy making at Omrin.
These are the eight SDGs Omrin is working on as we speak. They are clearly visible on the website, too.
“Everyone should have a tree on top of their roof!” Renate says jokingly. “We hope people will view Omrin not just as a waste processing company, but as an organisation that attributes to a better world. Let people talk about the impact we make, like preventing floods.”
Some results of the SDG program at Omrin:
“We’re making nice progress giving meaning to the SDGs, so they can be applied to strategy and policy making,” Nicole says. You can clearly see this new attitude in Omrin’s Strategic Vision 2021-2024, which she developed together with Arthur D. Little.
‘Building circular waste chains for the well-being of future generations’, it says in capital letters on one of the pages. It’s not anymore just about Omrin or The Netherlands, but about the whole world; the future generation. “Step by step we implement the SDGs,” Renate adds. “They are now a part of Omrin. This wasn’t the case before we did the Brain Fuel sessions.”
The next generation’s voice will be heard in ‘Omrin inspires and acts’.
“I remember a lot of pear trees that were going to be destroyed. Then I thought: could we do something about that? What if people, consumers, could come here and pick them up for free?”
Because of COVID-19 the growers couldn’t export their pear trees. That’s how Omrin got the idea to give them away to the public. And that’s exactly what they did. At first, they wanted to give away 5,000 trees, but ultimately the number went up to 20,000 trees, provided by multiple growers in The Netherlands.
“I had never seen a traffic jam at our Eco Park in Heerenveen. But at that time there was a 5-kilometre-long congestion. Without the session about the SDGs this would never have happened. People are still talking about it. It had a great impact on the intrinsic motivation of the employees”, Renate concludes.
Omrin wants to recycle 80% of its rubbish in 2024: that’s 10% more than the municipal standard (which it already passed). It’s an ambitious goal, though we absolutely believe in a successful outcome.
Thinking about the SDGs can bring about a lot. So, get your own version of the United Nation’s SDGs and use the SDG Kickstarter method to find the pros and cons within your organisation.
Do you need help? We’d love to guide you. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at +31(0) 58 203 80 33.
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