For a better tomorrow with BekaertDeslee

"BekaertDeslee is developing a 2030 carbon reduction target in line with climate science."

BekaertDeslee is on a journey to discover how our products can become part of a circular economy and how innovative textile technologies can do their part in reducing the ecological footprint. In this interview, Charles Christiaens, Sustainability Manager at BekaertDeslee, gives insights about the company’s journey towards building a better tomorrow.

Can you tell us about BekaertDeslee’s approach to sustainability and how it is integrated into the company’s strategy?

In 2021, we worked out a dedicated strategy for sustainability, as previously, the approach was ad hoc and not coordinated. There was a need to develop a longer-term vision as sustainability has become of paramount importance for our company’s success in the long term. Today, this is being managed as a strategic topic with a dedicated sustainability manager, strategic projects, regular steering meetings, KPIs, and targets.

What are some of BekaertDeslee’s short-term and long-term sustainability goals?

Our short-term sustainability goals include ramping up our circularity performance and bring more sustainable products to the market. To achieve this, we work with recycled materials and develop products through a dedicated creation process to ensure they perform better on sustainability criteria such as recyclability, renewability, and a lower carbon footprint.

BekaertDeslee's is committed to contribute to a climate friendly economy. For our own business we are already developing an intermediary climate reduction target to be achieved by 2030. We aim to have this target accredited by SBTI and aligned with a 1.5°C global warming scenario.

What are some of the key sustainability challenges that BekaertDeslee faces today?

As a textile manufacturing company, and the textile industry being the fourth most polluting industry globally, BekaertDeslee faces various challenges related to energy, water, and resource consumption, leading to a high carbon footprint. In addition, social risks in the industry and supply chain are critical challenges. To address these challenges, we have a long legacy of incorporating environmentally friendly production methods to reduce water and air pollution and decrease energy use. Looking forward, we have identified opportunities for recycling and decarbonizing the business.

What are some of the key sustainability achievements or milestones that BekaertDeslee has reached in recent years?

BekaertDeslee has achieved several key sustainability milestones in recent years. These include improving safety figures, implementing proactive employee programs, prioritizing diversity and inclusion, and managing ethics topics such as anti-bribery and anti-corruption.

We also continue to make positive strides in environmental sustainability through projects such as solar panel installations on our Chinese site and the use of 100% green electricity in Brazil, Belgium and Poland.

These achievements are a result of our entrepreneurial mindset and willingness to seize opportunities to move the business forward. Our commitment to sustainability sets us apart from our competitors and reinforces our position as the most respected mattress fabric manufacturing brand.

Can you describe some specific initiatives or actions that BekaertDeslee has taken to reduce its environmental impact?

Last year we announced the concept of transparent circularity. Since then, we have reworked our value offer and have the label in place for one our championing products (SmartSleeve®). We are concretely looking into option to make this part of our mainstream offering in our European operations.

There is also a strong focus to work with our machine suppliers to further reduce energy consumption, and we’re also executing various programs internally such as waste optimization.

Furthermore, we put considerable effort into the creation, promotion, communication, and advertising of environmentally friendly products. Our commitment to sustainability can be seen at our booth at Interzum and troughout the TERRA collection. Every new product that we present is rooted in our sustainability strategy and shows our dependency of the health of the planet. In the center of our booth you can find the sustainability pillar, which explains these links.

How do you measure and report on BekaertDeslee’s sustainability performance?

We track our sustainability progress using several KPIs, typically one per material topic. These KPIs are reported internally monthly to evaluate and steer progress. Externally, we report our performance annually through our sustainability report.

Our KPIs are selected based on the Global Reporting Initiative, the most widely recognized sustainability reporting standard. This ensures that our KPIs have external relevance and can be easily compared to other companies. We avoid reporting KPIs that are of limited relevance to the public or are difficult to interpret, as this would make our report less transparent.

Finally, in your opinion, how can the textile industry prioritize sustainability even more?

In recent decades, the textile sector has evolved to a world of fast fashion, lower quality fabrics, and a race to the bottom when it comes down to price. While this trend has led to significant efficiency gains, it has also contributed to negative environmental impacts that must be addressed.

As such, there needs to be a paradigm shift in consumer behavior where fast fashion is no longer popular, and the industry should promote this. Furthermore, in a globalized economy, it is crucial to assure value creation is distributed fairly.