Sustainability

“This is business critical!”

Text: Peter Willebrand
Foto: Kegen Lorentzon
December 19, 2022

Think about sustainability in everything you do, help customers to make climate-smart choices and demand more from suppliers with the greatest potential. Clein Ullenvik equates sustainability with good business. “Best of all is that we ourselves own the issue. It is up to us in term of what we want to achieve.”

A long-term commitment to a better world – and a strictly business-critical tool. That is how CEO Clein Ullenvik sums up “crash reality”, which sets the framework for Alligos’ current and future sustainability work.

– Ultimately, of course, it is about the company’s survival and everything we do. We must help companies to work – that’s our mission. We ourselves were early to start driving the issue of sustainability and we have also set an example for others over the years. There is strong support from both the board and our owner for continuing on that path,” he says.

RECENTLY IT HAS been a case of ‘green-hushing’, in that we don’t speak clearly enough about what we do within the environmental field.

– There is an honesty in our DNA that sometimes comes up in tenders, for example, when we point out that certain requirements cannot be implemented in practice with today’s knowledge.”

At the same time, he admits that there has been a paradigm shift in how sustainability is viewed, which is now catching on widely throughout the industry.
– Many of our competitors have released great sustainability reports, which is a signal that we ourselves have to step up and become even better at communicating what we do.

ABOUT AGENDA 2030

In 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution with 17 global goals for a better world: Agenda 2030 for sustainable development.

Sustainability consists of three parts: economic sustainability, social sustainability and environmental sustainability. No goal can be reached at the expense of another. It will take success in all areas to achieve these goals.

CLEIN ULLENVIK STRESSES that a major focus of Alligo’s sustainability work

is on the supply chain, particularly upstream in the value chain.

– With the kind of business we operate, our biggest influence is not what we do ourselves but at the supplier level. This is absolutely where our biggest potential is and where we can make the most difference.

At the other end of supply chain – downstream – is the customer. Here it is about communication and guidance.

– We simply have to get better at helping customers to make more sustainable choices.

ACCORDING TO ULLENVIK, sustainability can provide a good selling point (slagläge). It can bring new business, regardless of the economic situation.

– Our own brands are at the top in terms of quality and we have a strong offer in terms of price. When we try to add the sustainability angle, it becomes difficult. Therefore, we must have those pieces in place, and be able to link sustainability to our brands.

– A large part of the market also consists of public bodies that are not as affected by the economic conditions. Many of them are also the driving force behind sustainability demands. The government must be a frontrunner, which of course spurs our work within sustainability. Behind our own products in work clothing and personal protection lies a lot of hard work to meet all standards and customer requirements.

“I wish we were better at conveying that message to the outside world so that in tougher times customers don’t choose cheap copies on the web that break after a couple of weeks.”

Stores will have a key role in delivering that message.

“Our retail network’s accessibility and proximity to the customer is incredibly important. We don’t ship our products around – we are local and accessible, which is also an important aspect of sustainability.”

“Another aspect of course, is that we have to develop and supply new products that live up to the customers’ expectations and what they demand in terms of sustainability, and that make their business grow. Again: sustainability is a business benefit that should permeate everything we do.”

 

AS A PUBLICALLY LISTED COMPANY, the requirements for transparency and correct information are crystal clear. This also applies to sustainability claims.

“We can be confident that our core business revolves around solid brands and tangible products such as work clothes. It also makes it very easy for people to grasp, which is an advantage when you have to reach out to many. We shall make even more use of this in our external communication, aimed both at customers and investors.”

Sustainable developing is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

– Gro Harlem Brundtland, UN’s World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED), 1987

Sustainability is a business benefit that should permeate everything we do

says Clein Ullenvik, CEO of Alligo.