Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Jim Vos, 56 years old. I have been with EK for over eight years, first as Manager of the Buying department. I have now had the responsibility for ESG within EK Sport for almost a year. Within EK Sport, six colleagues have written an ESG strategy and we are now in the process of activating this plan in order to achieve our objectives. This plan is not my plan, or even the plan of these six colleagues, but rather the plan of the entire EK Sport division and has been approved by the management.
What are your biggest drivers?
One of my children has been minimalist right from an early age, and he has made me increasingly aware of sustainability. In addition, my wife and I started walking to Rome five years ago. During this trip, you see how beautiful it still is everywhere and that we should want to see and cherish it.
What opportunities do you see for retailers with regard to ESG?
I think consumer expectations of ESG will accelerate and we can benefit from this if we can at least meet these expectations – however, I would rather we inspire our retailers for ESG.
What is your point on the horizon? When is your mission succesful?
That moment when all the employees at EK Sport have ESG in their minds in everything they do, and we can educate and motivate retailers and their employees in the ESG principle so that we can make a difference for end-consumers, too. I also think it is important that we take these steps with ESG because we ourselves think it is important, rather than only doing it because the law and regulations require us to.
Circularity is an important topic in your new strategy, and you have already taken initial steps in this area in recent years.
What exactly have you done and what impact has this had?
Danny Pormes is an entrepreneur in our Runnersworld formula. He started recycling shoes in his attic-room five years ago because he was challenged to do so by the government as part of a tender to supply sports shoes to the army. This led to Fast Feet Grinded, the first factory which can fully separate all the raw materials in shoes. This made us aware, early on, of the importance of collecting shoes. We want to pay (even) more attention to this in the near future.
What are the next steps?
We started SAM a few years ago; this means that suppliers make their deliveries to our central warehouse, and we deliver to our retailers from there. This ensures that deliveries are bundled rather than being despatched as separate small deliveries. This leads to vastly reduced transport miles and thus CO2 savings. In addition, transport to the shops, and from our webshop, will become increasingly green.
We are also doing a pilot where we keep plastic and cardboard out of the shop. We keep this in the warehouse and are working with our major suppliers to see how they can supply us using less packaging. The shoes we collect are first sorted by the recycling company Het Goed, and selected shoes are sold in their 30 shops. The rest are recycled by FFG after which they serve as raw material for sports-fields, POS material or slippers. We will now also start a textile collection pilot in co-operation with Het Goed. We are also working on offering a repair service from all our Intersport branches and at least one rental concept in all our Intersport branches.
At EK Sport, you work with formulas. Does this mean that ESG has become a core value of one or more formulas,
and that you profile yourself as a sustainable retail formula?
For Runnersworld, sustainability has been a topic for some time, so I also think Runnersworld is the leader in this segment. With Intersport, we are at the beginning of the journey, but have embraced sustainability both internationally from Intersport International, and nationally from EK Sport, and we are going to put it into practice more and more in the coming period. Our dream is that every employee has sustainability in mind in everything they do, and that this sets us apart from the competition, thus making it a revenue model, too.
Can ‘free’ retailers, who do not belong to a formula, but are still EK customers, also use these services?
The moment a service has proven itself within a formula, it also becomes available to the rest of the organisation.
Where can people call you for?
Colleagues and retailers are finding it increasingly easy to approach me with questions on this subject, they can ask me anything, and my advice is to just start with small things and then expand it systematically, and also to be careful because, before you know it, you will start to like it!