the keyword at time to make sense ‘19

27 nov 2019, dimitri barbe

The more sustainability is incorporated into your company, the bigger the party. And our party was definitely a big one. This year, we gathered once again for our sustainability marketing event, ‘time to make sense’, to celebrate communication with impact.

Positive impact offers an added value to your brand – on the condition that:

  1. your product is great (it’s functional), 

  2. your environment benefits from it (you care about social responsibility) and

  3. your story inspires others (your target group has an emotional connection with your brand). 

And what if that’s not the case? Then it’s time to make sense. How? Kris Michiels, Kathleen Van De Vijver, Jurgen Vandervelde and Ynzo van Zanten have shared their stories in the most honest, gripping and sensational way possible.


find your purpose

‘Every day I think: what will I change today?’ That’s how Kris Michielsadventure at Unilever started. He was given complete freedom to find his purpose and came up with B-Better, the water in a box solution he and partner Hélène Esser recently unravelled under the wings of the global business group.

The business duo wants to improve general health on the one hand, and raise environmental awareness on the other. Kris dreams of litter-free streets and wants to achieve this by convincing consumers to use less disposable packaging and participate in clean ups. Kris is perfectly aware of the fact that Unilever can make a huge impact on the plastic soup. With more than 2.5 billon people buying Unilever products on a daily basis, the multinational really has the potential to make a difference. And that’s exactly what Kris wants to do. Dream big or go home!

research has shown that brands that are committed to society grow 69% faster than their less committed counterparts

break with conventions

As spokeswoman for the Belgian prison system and coordinator at Cellmade, Kathleen Van De Vijver provided us with an insight into the prisoners’ world. ‘There's only one way to make imprisonment meaningful, and that's by giving prisoners something meaningful to do.’ Prisoners need more than just visits to give them a goal or purpose – they can also be made to feel useful by carrying out an activity or job, through the fact that they have something to do. People who work find peace, have structure and can build something for the future. A future in society, because 99% of prisoners are released one day. Cellmade wants to give them a chance by making arrangements with carpenters, textile workshops, farms, jewellers... that can, and want to, outsource work.

‘80% of prisoners just got off to a rough start and ended up outside the system, but each prisoner goes through an evolution in prison, they could end up being your neighbour again’

stay true to yourself

‘Only if we approach sustainability in an authentic way as an individual and collaborate as an organisation can we make a real difference’, says Jurgen Vandervelde, Chief Commercial Officer at Eneco. In 2018, the Belgian energy provider changed its strategic focus from what to why. The company wants to transition to 100% sustainable, decentralised and locally-generated energy (core activity) to contribute to the energy transition in Belgium (purpose). Eneco’s culture is perfectly aligned to Jurgen’s values and standards. He wants to make an effort for the next generation, for his children’s planet. Clearly. But is the average consumer in Belgium aware of Eneco’s sustainable mission?

this is how you engage your employees with your brand

‘the emotional connection of a commodity like power? for us, the connection is in our company values. our why. the fact that we want to improve the energy world for future generations’

set a good example yourself

If you’re successful, you are responsible for changing the world, says Ynzo van Zanten, Choco Evangelist at Tony’s Chocolonely. He wants to have an impact through chocolate. By raising awareness among chocolate lovers and setting the example in the industry, Tony’s Chocolonely wants to make the entire chocolate industry slave free. ‘Our USP is to remove the U. We don’t want to be unique. We want other brands to copy us. A good example tends to be followed.’ Ynzo wants other chocolate manufacturers not just to copy Chocolonely’s packaging or image, but the entire business model. Because respecting and protecting human rights should not be something that distinguishes your brand from others. That’s what your recipe should do.

‘it would be more sustainable to make no chocolate at all, but not being able to breathe isn’t pleasant either’
time to make sense

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