Adopting an environmental approach to business

Adopting an environmental approach to business

PFE International is recycling truck tyres and producing rubber crumb, which is really paying dividends for this multinational group.

The group produces a number of products derived from rubber crumb, including acoustic underlays, broadloom carpets and bulk continuous filament yarn.

“It is economically and consciously sound to comply with the most stringent rules before they are enforced. This yields substantial first-mover advantages in terms of fostering innovation,” says PFE International CEO and Van Dyck Carpets director, Mehran Zarrebini.

“In an increasingly environmentally aware society, consumers prefer eco-friendly offerings and are prepared to pay the premiums to secure them, offering businesses a competitive advantage in redesigning existing products or developing new ones.”

However, creating a sustainable business model did not merely entail rethinking customer value propositions, but developing innovative ways for building revenue and delivering services in tandem with other companies.

Van Dyck acquired a 49 percent stake in the Mathe Group in 2014 to secure a raw rubber crumb supply and diversify its supply chain. Zarrebini says South Africa currently dumps 10 million tyres annually, prompting the $1,5 million (R20 million) investment into a newly commissioned factory that began operations in March 2016.

In 2015 Van Dyck recycled approximately 40 000 truck tyres. This would increase to 150 000 with the new plant and the company was negotiating to divert the recycled steel to either a Germiston-based foundry or to export it to South Korea for use in the shipbuilding industry.

“Companies have to develop innovative solutions, but that will only happen when executives recognise the simple truth that sustainability equals innovation,” Zarrebini notes.

Last year Van Dyck Carpets became the first African organisation to achieve the Carbon Trust Standard for Carbon, an international mark of excellence recognising success in reducing carbon emissions.

Zarrebini’s initiatives have resulted in a 2,8 percent reduction in direct costs applied to company facilities and vehicles; 30 percent reduction in electricity and steam purchased and 12,2 percent reduction in environmental elements.

Additional savings have translated into a 55 percent reduction in PFE International’s environmental footprint.

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