OUR SUSTAINABILITY TEAM GIVES INSIGHT ON HOW TO THINK AND ACT SUSTAINABLY

Katrin Mann - Senior Manager Corporate Sustainability 

My position as Senior Manager Corporate Sustainability naturally requires sustainable thinking and action. Continuous exchange is essential for me, both within my own team and in forums and meetings with Corporate Social Responsibility managers from other companies. These discussions are very valuable because one can learn a lot from the positive and negative experiences of others.

I constantly try to educate myself. To deepen my knowledge of sustainability even further and challenge my way of thinking, I am currently starting a part-time MBA in Sustainability Management at Leuphana University in Lüneburg. In addition to the concentrated knowledge of the professors, the interdisciplinary exchange among fellow studentsbenefits me greatly.

In my private life, regional, seasonal and unpackaged products are particularly important to me. For example, I buy my fruit and vegetables at an organic market garden in a neighbouring village. Before I buy something new, I do a lot of research in order to support the right companies if possible. First, however, I always look to see if I can buy the item second-hand.

I also try to travel by train whenever possible. Of course, that doesn't always work out, but I do my best, within reason. In any case, I'm usually in good company when I travel through everyday life because I almost always have my great Marc O’Polo mug with me. Otherwise, I resort to reusable systems when I want to drink a coffee on the go—for good circulation and sustainably stimulated thoughts.

Maria Höhn -  Junior Manager Corporate Sustainability 

I've gotten into the habit of questioning things more and not taking the status quo for granted, whether at work or at home. I always ask myself whether there might be a better, more sustainable solution. In everyday life, this applies to a wide variety of things. For example, what does my insurance company actually do with my money? Are there alternative products made of reusable, natural materials? And more generally, do I really need this? To be honest, quite a few things fall through the cracks. If I decide I do something—for example, furniture, electronics or clothes—then I usually look first to see if they are available second-hand. Only if the offer doesn't convince me do I buy the item new. If clothing need to be repaired, I try to mend it myself if possible or take it to someone who can. A tailor can also help with second-hand clothes that might not fit one-hundred percent. For me, it's not so much about being perfect or finding the ideal solution as it is about going step by step in the right direction.

This way of thinking also helps me at work. Our team has the opportunity to look very deeply at a wide range of sustainability issues. This is a great privilege for me, because I’m continually learning something new. The topic of sustainability is incredibly dynamic, so there are always new insights and perspectives. That's great, of course, but it can also be a challenge because I always have to be up to date with—or, ideally, on step ahead of—the latest knowledge. To stay on the ball, we benefit from exchanges and cooperation with innovative start-ups, initiatives and NGOs, as well as from participating in seminars and trade fairs and keeping up with the relevant journals, magazines and podcasts. Also helpful are conversations within our own "sustainability bubble" of acquaintances and friends. A large part of our knowledge develops in joint projects with other Marc O’Polo teams as well as with suppliers and partners. 

It's often the little things that make a difference. For example, printing as little as possible, using the sustainable search engine Ecosia instead of Google, always fully turning off the screen or laptop, working from the home office, avoiding travel or going by train where possible, etc. Even if it sounds a bit trite by now, I still believe that every little measure is valuable and helps. Many Marc O’Polo employees are already really good at this, and we notice it in all kinds of contexts.

Laura Barth - Intern Corporate Sustainability 

My need to live a more sustainable life finds a double fulfillment in my job as a Corporate Sustainability Intern as this allows me to continue to think about my passion professionally. Whether in everyday life or at work, I always try to reflect on my actions and see how I can change and improve things. For information and inspiration, I read a lot of articles and listen to podcasts about circularity and sustainability. I also find it incredibly exciting to find out more about other sectors such as food and agriculture or construction and housing and learn about their challenges on this topic. This overarching and holistic thinking is an important measure that I think everyone should take.

I also discuss sustainable issues a lot with my colleagues and friends. This enriching exchange is what I enjoy most, both in my job and in my private life—passing on my knowledge and learning how others think about a sustainable, climate-neutral future.

But small things also play an important role for me. For example, I love going to clothes-swap parties or discovering new concepts like renting clothes instead of buying them. There are already many interesting approaches here. Basically, I try to own less and borrow, swap or buy second-hand more. This is the best way to conserve resources.

Corporate Sustainability Team

Marc O'Polo's holistic sustainability strategy and its integration into the company’s corporate goals demand sustainable thinking from each and every employee. In the end, we can achieve the big goal of climate neutrality only together and by constantly questioning our previous actions. As a sustainability team, we try to support all employees in their implementation and to raise further awareness of this issue.

Regular workshops on rental models, sustainability and circularity give employees the opportunity to engage with new ways of thinking. As part of the "Climate Neutrality" project, we will soon launch a campaign in which we share the knowledge we have gained so far on the topic of emissions.

For those who want to get involved beyond work, there are various initiatives, including the "Green Angels", a passionate volunteer group made up of all departments. Every fortnight, our Sustainability Team gives an update, based on which we jointly consider how we can make the Marc O’Polo Campus even more sustainable. New ideas are constantly blossoming here—for example, our small garden group "We in the green", which meets outside of working hours with the support of Marc O’Polo to take care of one or two green highlights on campus. We even have our own bee colonies and a ‘Clean-Up Day’ that we want to implement regularly in the future.

In addition, there are not only joint charitable campaigns such as the Christmas Tree Wish List, but each and every employee receives two days of holiday per year that can be used for charitable purposes. In the end, the big challenge remains a common one. Togetherness and continuity are definitely in focus when it comes to sustainability.

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