Company NewsSustainabilityJacobi Sustainability

At Jacobi, we are driven by sustainability. We frequently speak about our long-term aim, which is to become the world’s most sustainable supplier in our industry.

For us, sustainability involves several aspects. For many sustainability is solely about the planet, about what we should be doing to protect the Earth. We feel there are other factors to consider. Our corporate responsibility, for example, our requirement to help those who live in the areas in which we operate and look after the people who work for us. As well as this, we need to operate sustainably too and ensure that, as a business, we can continue to function long term.

To achieve all of these and our main goal, we need more than just compliance. We cannot simply make sure we comply with the minimum requirements. There is much more to this than ticking the sustainability boxes. We want, and have achieved, involvement from our people at all levels.


CEO, Remko Goudappel

We spoke to Jacobi’s CEO, Remko Goudappel, about how he’s driven the sustainability message and how it’s now being embraced throughout the business.


What does sustainability mean to you in terms of Jacobi?

Sustainability inspires me. It gives me purpose. I’m excited about it. I see the need for the world to do something and I see an opportunity to contribute. It all boils down to limiting the temperature rise on earth really. That’s a key thing and we can contribute.

I believe that if we do Product, People and Planet right then the profit will be secured long term and it will give purpose to our team. If you give purpose to the people by doing it, long term you secure profit because you do exactly what the customers want from us. It’s not a dilemma for me. It strengthens our drive to grow the business.


What prompted the change for you?

I was driven by sustainability before I joined Jacobi. It has to do with two things, my background and what the world needs.

I learned a lot about sustainability in my previous companies. Later, I got into the water treatment business and decided for myself that the markets I want to serve were driven by sustainability. Then I met Anders Skeini who had a great company and great people and gave me the chance to lead the company. I was very excited as I saw the potential of Jacobi to make a difference in terms of sustainability. It was a “diamond in the rough”.

In the beginning it was different because people didn’t understand. They asked ‘what is he talking about?’ In the beginning it was very much a vision. Nailing it down into KPIs means people can see it’s measurable. We are monitoring and progressing and they can see step by step. People become invested in it.


Can you see mindset change across the company?

Absolutely. Different people appreciate different parts of it. Those in production appreciate the safety efforts and training and the CSR projects, while the sales people appreciate the customer retention aspects. Overall though, everyone appreciates the total of it.

Are sustainability matters at the forefront of day-to-day business?
Definitely. In meetings, I always start with sustainability KPIs. It starts with safety, then I cover information about the other seven.

This isn’t true for everyone, but the main part, yes. For example, CSR. This takes time for our Asian teams. Safety, too, requires hours of training. The set of KPIs gives a holistic view on the business and gives purpose.


Was there a turning point when you realised the drive for sustainability was making an impact?

Externally yes, discussions with two of our biggest global customers about our sustainability efforts. I felt on track and we were highly appreciated by these customers.

Internally, particularly in Asia, but across the board it’s fully embraced. I get notes from people, particularly following CSR activities during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. We supported communities and it made a difference. I felt very much supported by the people.


How does Jacobi’s approach to sustainability differ to those of other companies?

We see sustainability as a broad thing. Some companies only look at the environmental side. In my view, it’s about how to run a company in the long run. How to continue being a strong employer in the long run and develop the business.

What is different also is the focus on customers and people. We’re not system driven or tick box driven. The systems are there to support us, not the other way round. If you grow you need more system-support but I’m very careful not to become a systems driven company. We are people and customer driven. We are growing rapidly so it’s a challenge to keep the balance.


As you know the COP26 summit has just been held, what were your thoughts on the event?

During COP26, the UN have tried to agree on a united plan to make sure that global warming will not exceed 1.5°C by drastically reducing green-house gas (GHG) emissions in a timely manner. In my view, it is disappointing that the joint statement was weakened last minute and lost its full commitment to deliver in full and on time. At the same time, my disappointment inspires me to do everything in my power to contribute to reducing GHG emissions. Jacobi is fully committed to fully deliver on our sustainability promise. Join our journey!


Remko, thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. We look forward to future updates.


Indeed with the COP26 Climate Summit having just taken place in Glasgow, sustainability, climate change and protecting the planet are at the forefront of people’s minds. At Jacobi, we’ve been thinking about and working towards sustainability for a long time. As we gain more and more knowledge about how our actions can affect the planet, and how crucial it is for us to limit our negative effects on the planet wherever possible, we realise how important it is that we get this right. As a global business, we have a lot to consider and we want to do so thoroughly for each aspect of the business.

We don’t claim to have all the solutions at our fingertips right this moment, for Jacobi, this is a journey. As we continue on this journey in both the near and distant future, we’ll be updating you with our steps. Check back here on our website for future updates or follow us on social media.

1 Comment

  1. Good work. Good planing. Great achievement and wonderful success. I would like to partner with you. if you need supply of wood charcoal and coconut shell charcoal from Africa, please get in touch with me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment