Sustainability communication

Kim Berrendorf
April 4, 2019
Experienced professionals
Hi, I’m Kim, I’m 31 years old and recently joined Baloise as a communications specialist for sustainability. What do I do in my job? I’ve heard and answered that question many times since I started.

Sustainability management

Sustainability management is not just about finding out where Baloise stands in the social, ecological and economic spheres and where it could improve, it’s also about the relationship and interaction between actions and measures. This is the crux: not everything that seems sustainable at first glance is sustainable.

The paper cup example

We’re all guilty of it: How often do we take a coffee-to-go and then throw the cup away? Paper cups are a disaster for the environment – not compostable due to the coating and the glue used and therefore obviously not an ecologically sustainable solution.

How about reusable cups? Are we doing something good for ourselves here? Almost. To ensure the cup is really ecologically more sensible than the paper cup, it should not be rinsed after every use. Flushing consumes energy and water. A paper cup is ultimately burned and contributes to the generation of energy. And the reusable cup? The more often you rinse it, the worse the ecological balance.

Kim Berrendorf, a young dark-haired woman leaning against a glass ceiling

How’s Baloise doing?

We still use cardboard and plastic cups, but the trend is towards using our own reusable cups and bottles. This certainly isn’t an ideal solution but that’s something I want to change. We already have some initial ideas for improvement.

Tracking down sustainability, digging it out and driving it forward

My first task now is to set up a sustainability network. What do we plan to do in the future and why, and how do we communicate this? I discuss responsible investment with Asset Management, diversity with HR and our life cycle assessment with Logistics.

Responsible investment?

Who would have thought that investing insurance and third-party funds would have to meet certain sustainability criteria?

Diversity?

We’re taking the right steps here, promoting more gender equality at management level (admittedly, we have to get better at this), supporting our LGBTQ network, bringing generations together, strengthening our sales force and finding new working models for older employees.

Life cycle assessment?

This includes, among other things, our energy and water consumption, as well as the quantities and types of waste and our business travel, i.e. the car, air and train journeys we make for meetings.

Stay tuned and communicate sustainably

We have a need for optimisation, but we’re on the right track. Ultimately, it’s my job to generate attention and awareness here, to identify opportunities and to promote ideas across departments.

This is where my own sustainability and perseverance is called into question. To ensure that the issues I bring up are internalised everywhere, I have to repeat them as often as possible, reminding people again and again, drilling them again and again, and persevere. I must also make sustainability visible. That poses a real challenge! How do I do it? By talking about it, presenting successful projects both internally and externally, and highlighting the issue in workshops and forums. I have a lot to do and I’ll keep you up to date. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Kim

Kim Berrendorf, a young dark-haired woman in front of a glass facade