Flamingo Pet Products inspires with first sustainability report
Sustainability is high on our agenda at Flamingo. With a first sustainability report, we show what we have achieved in 2022, and what goals we have set for 2023.
Packaging reduction, extensive onboarding processes including Flamingo-buddy for new employees, a brand-new web shop and a new and more sustainable head office are just some of the many action points.
Flamingo Pet Products is a wholesale supplier of pet accessories and snacks in Geel. For 50 years now, we have been bringing pets and their pet parents closer together with a range of 8,500 products. We are growing fast: in just a few years, the number of employees has increased from 120 to 176. Along with the number of employees and turnover, the awareness of the impact on our world also grew. That is why we did not want to wait until the publication of a sustainability report became mandatory, but we wanted to get started right away and inspire others with a first edition.
How do you start writing such a report? And above all, what do you report on? "To define the topics, we held an internal workshop, but also drew inspiration from industry trends, legislation, and of course the expectations of our stakeholders," said Kirsten Ceulaers, sustainability coordinator at Flamingo. The company also looked further into the GRI standards. The 'Global Reporting Initiative' is one of the most well-known and first reporting frameworks for sustainability issues worldwide. "For our first sustainability report, we therefore used the GRI framework as a guide. "This allows us to monitor our own progress and that of other GRI users on an annual basis," Kirsten adds.
Seven topics emerged from this extensive exercise. This is what we at Flamingo intend to focus on and report on in the future:
- Circular packaging
- Climate protection
- Sustainable products
- Safe and pleasant working environment
- Safe products for pets and their pet parents
- Economic growth
- Sustainable partnerships
From the report
More sustainable products & packaging
In recent years, we at Flamingo have already done a lot in terms of packaging reduction. This included replacing plastic with paper/cardboard as much as possible and avoiding excess packaging material. In addition, a different type of pallet wrap was chosen, which saved 2130 kg of plastic compared to last year.
We also plan to further reduce packaging in 2023. Among other things, we also want to work towards achieving FSC certification for our products as well as packaging made of paper/cardboard and map out our secondary packaging.
In 2021, we launched 'Flamingo Green', a range aimed at reducing waste by using natural, recycled or recyclable materials. Emphasis on this range shifted in 2022, as we want to look at the entire range to see where we can make it more sustainable.
In addition, Flamingo wants to increase the share of products of European origin.
In 2022, 16 employees were driving an all-electric or hybrid company car. Flamingo also offers bike leasing and already 35 employees have leased a bike. The current building has 10 charging points for electric cars and 3480 solar panels on the roof.
In 2023, Flamingo will move into a new building, which is equipped with 4028 solar panels on its roof. The new building is extra well insulated, more energy efficient and has, among other things, 30 charging points for electric vehicles.
Safe and pleasant working environment
The staff are the driving force behind Flamingo's growth. That is why we want to go the extra mile for our employees. In 2022, we introduced an onboarding programme where new employees are regularly invited for a good conversation and assigned a Flamingo Buddy to accompany them on their journey. There are also many feel-good initiatives such as food truck visits, small holiday gifts, receptions and more. In addition, staff engagement is encouraged with a suggestion box and extra attention is being paid to inclusion and diversity.
In 2023, there will be more initiatives for employees, such as 'Let's GO FlaminGO' which encourages our employees to exercise more. Furthermore, we at Flamingo intend to focus on even greater engagement and better internal communication using intranet and the intervention team will be expanded.
Safe products for pets and their pet parents
By the end of 2022, almost all electronic devices and dog and cat toys have been tested and approved according to EU directives. For a small part of the products, such as new items, tests are still ongoing. In addition, 100% of the suppliers declare compliance with the REACH directive. This is a European directive that restricts the use of toxic substances. Clear warnings, instructions and ingredient lists on the packaging also contribute to the safe use of Flamingo products. Finally, there is strict quality control in the warehouse and complaints are registered so that each one of the complaints can be checked.
By 2023, Flamingo aims to have 100% of its toys and electronics tested and approved. Furthermore, we want to keep our finger on the pulse in terms of legislation and packaging labelling recommendations, among other things. Finally, more attention will be paid to frequently recurring quality complaints.
In 2022, we already partnered with the following organisations: Pet Sustainability Coalition, BEPEFA and amfori. By 2023, we at Flamingo intend to introduce a 'code of conduct' that will include basic requirements for working with suppliers. This code of conduct ensures good living and working conditions.
In 2023, we will participate in the Voka charter for 'Sustainable entrepreneurship', a programme that accompanies and advises Belgian companies on doing business in a sustainable way. Based on the 17 United Nations International Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs), an action plan tailored to Flamingo's needs is drawn up. The aim is then to achieve 10 sustainability actions on an annual basis to get the charter.
Flamingo grows. We have received a nomination for the Trends Gazellen and thus for the fastest growing companies in the province. In 2022, we expanded our business from 55 to 60 countries and launched 991 new products. In addition, the new web shop was launched in 2022.
In 2023, the private label sales team will be expanded and efforts will be made to improve digitalisation and new website features. Finally, we at Flamingo aim to reach a service level of 95% in 2023.