Interview with Lina K Wiles: New sustainability manager at Berendsen

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Berendsen accelerates its sustainability work. Lina K Wiles has stepped into the new role of sustainability manager with responsibility for the strategic work of piloting the company forward towards the UN Global Sustainability Goal in Agenda 2030.

Lina K Wiles holds a doctorate in ecology and ecotoxicology from Lund University, previously worked for six years at Tetra Pak, where she was responsible for sustainability communication in the Nordic markets, and as a strategist and consultant in environmental and sustainability at ÅF. Knowledge and experience that she brings with her into the new role at Berendsen.

- Textile service is a very exciting industry. There are great challenges, but also great opportunities, says Lina K Wiles.

Business-related

Berendsen has for many years carried out targeted improvement work with a strong focus on the use of energy, water and chemicals. The company has optimized its processes. What is happening now is that we look at the long-term strategies in order to not only be able to deliver a sustainable product in the future, but also increase clarity on the market.

- In order to build our competitiveness, it is imperative from a business point of view to work strategically on sustainability issues. That's how my role comes in, says Lina K Wiles.

Major changes are required

In its Agenda 2030, the UN has set global sustainability goals and in addition there are national goals. They give Berendsen a target image of what the company needs to achieve.

- No small changes are required, says Lina K Wiles. We must act throughout the value chain as several of the major environmental and sustainability issues are outside our own operations. Textiles, for example, have a major impact and are prioritized in our sustainability work. Every extra wash cycle we can get out of each garment makes our offering more durable.

Comprehensive mapping

Since Lina K Wiles started at Berendsen in December, the great work has been to map how the company stands not only against the overall 17 global sustainability goals, but also against the 169 sub-goals.

- The survey helps us to determine the direction of our continued work. It is not always obvious what is a sustainable choice. We want to work closely with our customers to ensure that we not only meet our own sustainability goals, but also help them achieve theirs.

Priority areas

The transport side is a focus area as distribution is a major part of the business.

- 70 per cent of the traffic's climate impact in Sweden will be gone by 2030. What does this mean for us? There are no patent solutions. What works depends on the context.

The energy issue with conversion from fossil to renewable is another important focus area - as is water. Several of Berendsen's laundry facilities have their own treatment plants and they are looking at the possibilities of further reducing their water use.

Sustainability work is also an important part of being an attractive employer and competing for the best workforce.

- We are over 1300 employees from around 50 different nations - we have and want diversity in our company. For many, we are the first employer and it gives us a social builder's responsibility. It is important. We notice among students and trainees the importance of working for a company that takes corporate social responsibility.

Good gets even better

Lina K Wiles has had the privilege of seeing and working with different industries. There is a big difference in how far the sustainability work has come, both between and within industries.

- Some have come a long way, while others have barely started their journey. Our industry is good, but there is still much to do. Above all, there is the potential to make a really big difference and Berendsen's circular business model is more right in time than ever.

Told for Ulf Silfverström

25% RUT deduction on laundry