UZIN UTZ Group and W. & L. Jordan GmbH cooperate hand in hand in climate protection as well
"Climate protection and resource preservation are the great challenges of our time - also and especially for companies. We have to pay close attention to this issue and confront it with consistent rethinking," says board member Philipp Utz, who, together with his brother Julian Utz, has clearly integrated the issue of sustainability into the corporate strategy of the construction chemicals specialist. Both want to reduce climate-damaging emissions in the company by 25 % until 2025.
With a tree sponsorship for 3,333 trees, the UZIN UTZ Group, a full-range supplier of flooring systems, underlines its own sustainability strategy and supports W. & L. Jordan GmbH, Central Europe's leading brand supplier of flooring, in its forward-looking Jordan Tree Sponsorship project. "We share the same corporate philosophy, which has always committed us to sustainable entrepreneurship. We are united by the deep roots of our self-image as responsibly acting family businesses, and both companies have taken up the cause of concrete measures against climate change," says Philipp Utz, who greatly appreciates the commitment of the long-standing partner.
In the following, we provide an insight into the "Tree Sponsor" initiative and the two companies' understanding of sustainability, including an exclusive interview with Jörg L. Jordan, Managing Director of W. & L. Jordan GmbH, and Philipp Utz, Member of the Board of Uzin Utz SE.
Tree sponsorship campaign by W. & L. Jordan GmbH
"In order for future generations to find an unspoiled world, we have to use natural resources carefully and responsibly today," explains Jörg L. Jordan, Managing Director of W. & L. Jordan GmbH. "As a company, we have a special responsibility in this regard. We have been closely associated with wood as a raw material for over 100 years. In recent years, storms, drought and persistent bark beetle invasions have severely damaged the forest stands in northern Hessen, which is the reason why we launched the 'Tree Sponsor' reforestation project to celebrate our 100th anniversary." Together with the W. & L. Jordan Foundation, the company is setting a strong example here with the aim of planting a vital mixed forest that is more resistant to environmental influences and more robust than a monoculture. The special feature: Every donation is doubled by Jordan. The donations cover the costs of planting and caring for the seedlings. So far, more than 70,000 trees have been donated by private individuals, associations, companies and institutions, which W. & L. Jordan GmbH has increased to a total of more than 140,000 plants.
"Hardly anyone still denies that climate change is noticeable. But while many only talk about it, we have tackled the problem passionately and successfully," Jordan continues.
Sustainability at UZIN UTZ
UZIN UTZ is actively participating in the reforestation campaign with a total of 3,333 trees. With this support, UZIN UTZ is not only entering into a "gold sponsorship", but is also making an important contribution to the topic of climate protection.
"We share the same corporate philosophy, which has always committed us to sustainable entrepreneurship. We are united by the deep roots of our self-image as responsibly acting family businesses, and both companies have taken up the cause of concrete measures against climate change," says Philipp Utz, who greatly appreciates the commitment of the long-standing partner.
Construction chemistry and sustainability are by no means a contradiction in terms at UZIN UTZ, but can be reconciled with each other, as a whole host of the company's sustainable activities prove. The holistic consideration of the product life cycle is firmly anchored in the company philosophy - from the raw materials to the disposal of the products. In addition to electricity from renewable resources, more sustainable packaging is also used, for example. More than 95 % of the products have been awarded the EMICODE seal as "very low emission", almost 40 % also bear the Blue Angel. Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) have been prepared for a number of products. Strategic initiatives for the further development of resource-saving products, but also for climate-optimised processes along the entire value chain, are intended to continuously improve the ecological footprint of the UZIN UTZ Group - for example through the use of alternative raw materials or the optimisation of freight routes.
Jordan- Our heart beats for the forest
With its JOKA brand, the family business founded in 1919 is one of the leading suppliers of floor coverings, doors, wood and wood-based materials in Central Europe. The JOKA brand range, which is geared towards holistic interior design, includes wood, design and carpet flooring, as well as doors, wallpaper and furnishing fabrics. 1.500 qualified employees at 73 locations in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Poland and the Netherlands guarantee proximity to the customer and competent on-site advice. Jordan is managed in the third generation by Jörg Ludwig Jordan.
In his interview, Managing Director Jörg L. Jordan provided insights into the "Baumpate" initiative and the company's understanding of sustainability.
Thank you very much, Mr. Jordan, for your interesting answers!
Dear Mr Jordan,
1. How does Jordan define sustainability for itself, its employees, customers and partners?
Nowadays, people often talk about sustainability. What is often meant is the sustainability of products, manufacturing processes and supply chains, but the identification of the employees in the company is a central element. Our employees are all part of one big family. We have a very low fluctuation rate. People are at the centre of everything we do. This is expressed in our prudent actions, production and working conditions, as well as in our responsibility towards the environment, and is also lived out in our dealings with our customers and partners, which is reflected in long-standing relationships and joint cooperations.
2. How do you put this understanding of sustainability into practice?
As a supplier of the JOKA and INKU quality brands, we always take a holistic view of products and manufacturers. In addition to technical requirements, the focus is also on social and sustainable issues. The whole topic of "innovative strength" is based on the approach of creating future-proof products with high sustainable benefits. This is only possible with production facilities and manufacturers that are oriented towards this and drive innovations in the area of sustainability, regardless of the product group.
Furthermore, sustainability aspects play a role throughout the company. This is evident, for example, in new buildings or renovations at our sites or branches, where a lot of wood is used, which in turn permanently stores CO2. At the newly built JOKA flooring headquarters in Kassel, we have installed a photovoltaic system on the roof of the building, which enables us to run our logistics operations almost CO2-free and also supplies up to 5,000 households in Kassel with electricity. This is now also being expanded. In general, the majority of Jordan's locations throughout Germany are already equipped with solar modules. Responsibility for the environment and the climate is also reflected in the tree sponsorship in which we are looking for partners to restore German forests.
3. One initiative of sustainability in practice is the "tree sponsorship" project mentioned above. How did this idea come about and how has this project developed so far?
As our origins lie in the timber trade and around 40 % of our product range is still wood-based, wood and forests are already in our DNA. Already from the founding years with later expansions, we are also active in forestry, where we are feeling the current catastrophic effects of climate change first hand. In recent years, storms, drought and the persistent infestation of bark beetles have severely damaged forest stands in Central Europe. Forced clearing was necessary, so that thousands of hectares must now be reforested so that the forest can once again fulfil its climate-protecting role in the future through renewable trees.
We have already taken the first step for the initiative on the occasion of the company's 100th anniversary in 2019. As part of a tree planting campaign, 12,645 trees were brought in and have been thriving in the forest in northern Hesse ever since. The expansion of the campaign was only logical, as the topic of sustainability is strongly anchored in the company philosophy. From the very beginning, we have been guided by the triad of social, economic and ecological sustainability. We stand for continuity and growth. The awareness of our responsibility towards people, society and the environment therefore determines all our activities. Therefore, we wanted to go further and created the tree sponsorship.The response to the reforestation campaign has been enormous. Thanks to numerous donations from companies, associations, foundations and private individuals, more than 60,000 trees have already been donated for climate protection since the start of the project in October 2020, which we as a company are doubling, so that with the trees for the Jordan anniversary we will have a total of almost 140,000 trees. The donations will be used to plant and care for the trees. We are very pleased that so many people are getting involved and actively supporting climate protection. We thank everyone who supports our campaign with a donation, whether small or large, because every tree helps to protect the climate a little more. So far, a total of over 30,000 trees have been planted and more are being planted every day.
UZIN UTZ - Sustainability in practice
"For the UZIN UTZ Group, sustainability means acting in harmony with economic, ecological and social aspects. This also incorporates the principles of our appreciative corporate culture, because only those who act sustainably and ethically are also economically successful in the long term. We want to pursue these goals in a credible, measurable and comprehensible manner."
- Julian and Philipp Utz
Dear Mr Utz,
1. UZIN UTZ supports the tree sponsorship project - what do you particularly like about this initiative? Are there parallels to UZIN UTZ?
The dying of the forests in Germany is becoming more and more evident year after year due to hundreds of square kilometres of bare areas of once densely overgrown forest regions. Climate change is showing itself there from a very clear side, which must be stopped. This requires projects such as the tree sponsorship of the Jordan company, but also a resource-saving handling of industrial raw materials such as plastics or cement. By increasing the use of recycled materials, the UZIN UTZ Group is also making a contribution to environmental protection.
2. Sustainability is often associated to a large extent with ecology. However, the UZIN UTZ Group looks at the big picture and implements sustainability on other levels. What is behind the UZIN UTZ Group's understanding of sustainability and how do you implement it concretely?
In our understanding of sustainability, four fields of action for sustainability have been in line for years: PROFIT (economy & securing the company), PRO-DUCTS & SERVICES (products & services), PLANET (environment & resources) and PEOPLE (employees & society). These four directions give us a clear orientation for our daily actions and for future-oriented decisions at the same time. With our corporate strategy "PASSION 2025", which has been in effect since January 2020, we are reaffirming the high importance of sustainability for our company, as the four levels of sustainability are merged with our corporate goals.
Our corporate actions are thus based on a consistent sustainability policy that is lived and further developed in all countries, divisions and departments, as well as along the value chain. We are all called upon to live the concept of sustainability and to take individual measures in the various departments. In the area of ecology, for example, our focus is on the development and use of sustainable packaging solutions. Furthermore, we have set ourselves challenging climate protection goals for the coming years. For example, we intend to use renewable energies throughout the Group and take further measures to reduce climate-damaging emissions.
We also want to respond to the needs of our customers and partners in a sustainable way and offer them not only excellent products, but also additional benefits. At the level of products and services, we have therefore created digital solutions and services that support our customers and partners, especially in these times. For example, we recently launched our digital training platform U KNOW, which offers the trade a comprehensive range of training courses on floor-related topics.
3. Sustainability and skilled crafts: Where do you see the greatest opportunities to combine the two topics?
The German skilled crafts sector is characterised by a high proportion of family businesses, which are often in the second or third generation. Sustainability in the skilled crafts sector is also characterised by long-term business management, whereby the preparation of business succession will be one of the central tasks for many skilled crafts enterprises in the coming years.