Taking strides on the Road to Sustainability 2030
The Etex Group, global Belgium-based company behind the Siniat brand, recently celebrated one year since the launch of their Road to Sustainability 2030.
The Road to Sustainability 2030 is a global roadmap for the future over five priority areas: health, safety and wellbeing; diversity, equity and inclusion; customer engagement; circularity and decarbonisation.
The Etex Group operates over 160 facilities in 45 countries. Each of these sites and locations have their own unique conditions and challenges, but the priority areas of the roadmap remain the same everywhere. We take a look at how they translate into action at Etex Australia, the manufacturer of Siniat products.
Health, safety and wellbeing
“It is notable that three out of the five priority areas of the Road to Sustainability 2030 are focused on people, indicating that social sustainability is a serious consideration for the business,” says Kathryn Walker, Regional EHS and Sustainability Manager (APAC).
“In Australia safety has always been our number one priority, but certainly our strategies have been boosted since we joined the Etex Group who regards safety as the very foundation of the business. We place a strong emphasis on safety training and have been following the SafeStart program that addresses human behaviour that can lead to injuries and fatalities.
“We can see how the participation rate in safety engagement actions is increasing. The result of the latest Gallup engagement survey had the highest results on safety ever,” Kathryn said.
Etex Australia teammates are also currently participating in the Virgin Pulse GO program; a holistic platform that promotes all aspects of health and wellbeing to highlight the importance of wellness and a balanced lifestyle.
Diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I)
The Etex Group has identified clear goals for 2025 to give equal opportunities to all Etex teammates. Strategies include the strengthening of governance and framework to cover 100% of teammates by DE&I policies, procedures and practices; the training of all teammates on DE&I issues, and eliminating the gender pay gap.
In the past year the focus in Australia has been on building more DE&I awareness in the workplace. Ambassadors have been appointed and a local roadmap with long-term objectives that align with the Etex goals has been developed.
A recent successful initiative undertaken by the Australian business was the celebration of International Women’s Day with an online event in which several senior women in the business shared their career journeys and challenges. All teammates were invited to attend and it provided an opportunity to connect and share.
“We regard customer engagement as a critical part of our business strategy,” says Stephanie Olsen, Siniat Marketing Manager. “We have been asking customers for their feedback on our products and service by means of an NPS survey for the past 3 years and have made several changes based on the feedback. One example is the introduction of a special resolutions team to our customer service department to assist with customer enquiries and improve service.”
“Siniat is known and respected for our ability to work with customers for the best solution. We often accommodate their project needs by manufacturing bespoke plasterboard and metal solutions, and our engineers are known and trusted in the field for their hands-on advice and ability to quickly and efficiently assist on site and in person,” Stephanie said.
Stephanie emphasises that Siniat’s Opt2Act® carbon neutral program was also created in response to a request from a customer, Lendlease, who expressed the need to reduce embodied carbon for the Barangaroo project in Sydney. Under the Opt2Act carbon neutral program, customers can opt in for products that are carbon neutral certified by Climate Active.
The Sustainability team at Etex Australia is currently working on various circularity strategies, but Kathryn emphasises that circularity is not only about the big company initiatives. It is about engaging the workforce and changing the behaviour of every teammate.
“We have already recently seen encouraging initiatives started by teammates in various areas of the business, including the establishment of a worm farm at our Beenleigh plant for compostable material. Another example is a project that was initiated in one of our factories where disposable plastic cups used for testing were replaced by metal cups to reduce plastic waste on site,” Kathryn said.
“It is important that teammates realise that every bit helps, and that everyone can help to make a difference.”
In 2023 Etex Australia celebrated the completion of a major milestone in their decarbonisation journey with the inauguration of the solar power plant at their Altona plant. (See the article elsewhere in this e-book).
Etex Australia is currently investigating the installation of a similar plant at their Matraville plant in Sydney.
“I think it is important to highlight that projects of this scope and size are not the only ones that can make a difference. We recently rectified a number of air leakages, improved insulations and made adjustments to equipment in our factories, resulting in improved energy efficiency and reduction of emissions,” Kathryn said.