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Building tomorrow in a sustainable and socially responsible way
Sustainability is part of our DNA and entirely embedded in everything we do. This allows us to react appropriately to all kinds of social, economic and ecological challenges we face today – and tomorrow. To, as a business, operate consciously and with respect for humankind and nature. That is how we contribute to a world in which we can still operate tomorrow, and in which we can still live our lives.
Limit our ecological footprint
Our machines and trucks use fuel – a fact we simply cannot but accept. However, we are able to accelerate making our fleet more sustainable. Today, over 92% of our trucks is EURO6, which significantly lowers NOx and nitrogen/soot particles emissions. We also continue to renew our fleet, hence why we increasingly deploy high performing and energy efficient machines.
Secondly, we focus on behaviour change. We employ specialists who on a daily basis train all operators and drivers in how to use their material in an efficient and CO2 mindful way. For instance, by tackling our fleet’s idle time, we succeeded in lowering CO2 emissions by over 20%, even though we deployed more machines.
For our buildings and infrastructure, we prioritise energy saving techniques and green energy, like using rainwater to wash our machines or for sanitary installations. We also reduce travel by air and promote carpooling. Our employees benefit from flexible hours and have electric bikes at their disposal to avoid those dreadful traffic jams.
We actively monitor our annual carbon footprint and included carbon reduction as a target in our non-recurring result-based bonus plan (CLA90).
Decrease transport impact
Traffic jams and clogged roads are a huge societal and ecological issue. Which is why since 2003 already, Aertssen puts a lot of effort in inland waterway transport, via our own multimodal transport coordinator Shipit, but also by participating in shipping company Fluviant. In 2018, we transported over half of the soil we move via waterways – which equals no less than 80,000 trucks that did not go on the road. In 2020, we actually accomplished this for almost 75% of the moved soil.
Aertssen always goes for sustainable buildings. In 2019, we opened a new logistics centre next to the E34 in Vrasene. This building is BREEAM certified (level ‘good’) and in fact one of the first large industrial buildings in Belgium to receive that certification. BREEAM is a leading international standard that determines the sustainability level and local impact of buildings of any shape and size.
Investing in green energy
We participated in sanitising the Gipsberg in Zelzate and co-own the 55,000 solar panels on what is now known as de Zonneberg. That way, we supply green electricity to 4,000 families (15 MW).
We are an active member of The Shift, the Belgian sustainability network bringing together hundreds of businesses and NGOs. We also are part of Flux50 and Waterstofnet (Power-to-Gas cluster). Both organisations research the use of hydrogen (as source of energy). In that same context are we conducting research on how to store solar energy in hydrogen, injecting hydrogen in inland waterway vessels on the Ghent-Terneuzen canal and options of using trucks running on hydrogen. Lastly, we invest in wind energy for a more constant and green electricity supply.
Sign for my future
Aertssen Group has entered the Sign for my future project, a citizen’s initiative that has meanwhile grown into a wide coalition of youth, entrepreneurs, industry representatives, media and academics, aiming to push our next governments towards an ambitious climate policy and ensure a solid future for our kids. We also closely follow other initiatives.
Our CEO Greg Aertssen, being an ambassador, sits at the helm of Sign for my future and wholeheartedly subscribes to their mission. Contrary to non-descript slogans, Greg in fact requested not to take on the role of an inventor of the so-called new future, but rather to become first user of new options, by cleverly combining existing technology. Think of sustainable production of hydrogen from solar energy and using hydrogen as an ecologically sound fuel source.
Taking care of our people
Together, we are one family, one team, in which we offer our workforce and white collars the same opportunities and chances. We are always there for each other, through thick and thin. Continuous learning and training, options for adjusted and part-time schedules, cool team activities and several other initiatives assure everyone feels a valued member of the Aertssen family. A workplace that makes you feel accomplished, and in fact keeps being a great place to be at.
Safety, always and anywhere
At Aertssen Group we want our employees and subcontractors to return home safe and sound in the evening. Despite differences in markets and local context, we implemented one, identical safety culture: ours, made in Stabroek! Also in the Middle East, to Aertssen Group safety is pivotal. We have to be a role model when it comes to safe work environments. We want to be a safe place to work, no matter the location, without incidents – an approach valued by our clients just as much as by our workforce.