5 examples of (eco) systems thinking from #ttms21

just do it!

23 nov 2021, karen defranc

Our 'sustainability party' this year provided plenty of inspiration. Whether it was about the link between nature and innovation, about local integration, development, protection, transformation, about 7 basic laws for life and the key to sustainable business success, or how something only benefits an individual if it benefits the whole system. For those who missed the punch line or the event, feel free to count down to 13 October 2022 for #ttms22. In the meantime, here are 5 tips from our speakers for implementing sustainable business and communication in your organisation.

1. get back to nature 

‘6 out of 10 Belgians value nature more since the lockdown'.  
 joeri van den bergh, co-founder of insites consulting


If we are to believe Joeri, we will soon all be swearing by shinrin-yoku. Japanese for "bathing in the forest", this is a therapy for the senses and a recipe for perfect health. Because, as it turns out, “Those who looked at greenery during the lockdown experienced fewer negative emotions.” And, “Nature is something very democratic: it’s there for everyone. Just not everyone is equally attracted to it. If we can rebrand nature, we are already one step ahead.”

Topics: shinrin-yoku, lying flat movement, #cottagecore, born to rewild, urban rewilding, wild at heart, biophilic design, [natural] shockvertising

2. switch to a sustainable business strategy  

Sustainability only works if it's part of your mission, because as a company all your innovation power and energy go into realising your mission'.  
yves bonne, general manager at interface  


'Leading the industry to love the world’ is the mission of flooring manufacturer Interface. General manager Yves Bonne talked about the ripple effect of the industry and how companies can only truly pioneer sustainability if they can say yes to the following three questions:

  1. Is it a vision that comes from the top (rather than box ticking from marketing)?
  2. Are we providing sufficient resources to work towards that vision?
  3. Is that vision shared and supported internally?

Topics: visionary entrepreneurship, personal transformation, mission-driven innovation

3. think big (and hairy) 

’set a big, hairy goal, because we won't make it with small steps alone’  
– janneke leenaars, csr manager at interface  


“Set a big, hairy goal”, said CSR manager Janneke, “because we won't make it with small steps.” In twenty-five years Interface has become a mission-driven floor manufacturer with zero environmental impact: “With less raw materials and more recycled and bio-based materials.” After its Mission Zero pledge by 2020 (zero environmental impact), top management and co are aiming for climate positivity by 2040.

The company takes 'hairy' quite literally: it found a sustainable alternative to bonding carpet tiles with bitumen (a binding agent derived from crude oil) in the hairy toes of the gecko.

Topics: Mission Zero, Climate Take Back, science-based targets, bio-based materials, embodied carbon

 4. look at the sector from a different angle 

’In a world where ‘property developer’ has become a bad word, we want to build self-sustaining neighbourhoods.’ 
– nicolas bearelle, ceo of revive 


“We offer better quality of life,” said Nicolas. “In a world of dinosaurs, ‘project developer’ has almost become a swear word. We want to close circles and build self-sustaining neighbourhoods.” Today, Revive rehabilitates abandoned industrial sites in cities to create meeting places, enhance biodiversity and build neighbourhoods with respect for people and the environment. "We started with a clean slate, with people who are eager to do good.” Its sustainable approach has already earned Revive the title of SME of the Year 2021.

Topics: B Corp, biophilic design, climate neutrality, water recycling, community building, BMI index

 5. innovate from within 

‘our mindset change has come about because circularity has become central to our corporate culture.’ 
– nathan goddefroy, co-leader of we play circular by decathlon


Nathan is one of the founders of Decathlon's spin-off 'We Play Circular'. As a 'sportsman and Decathlon connoisseur at heart', he wants to change the business model of the sports retailer from linear to circular. “3.8 billion products are sold a year to make sport accessible to as many people as possible worldwide. At the same time, 77% of our CO2 emissions are in our products, which often gather dust in families that no longer use them. We want to provide a pool of sports equipment that can be shared without limitation thanks to an all-inclusive loan formula. And it's great to work on such a personal project within a company.”

Topics: intrapreneurship, the profitability of circularity, inclusiveness and health

this is what our guests took away from the event: