Spread Group, leading global provider of individualized fashion and lifestyle products, has appointed Martin Gawlak as Vice President of People & Culture. This new position will be accompanied by a comprehensive strategic realignment of human resources and corporate development. Martin will report directly to the CEO, Dr. Julian de Grahl.
Spread Group sees the position a key aspect of the new direction in corporate strategy. Martin’s appointment coincides with the recently announced partnership with B2B merchandise platform mula. as well as greater company focus on innovative and sustainable human resources development. The new Vice President of People & Culture has already worked with the Berlin-based start-up in the past.
Martin will oversee the strategic development of the People and Culture department at Spread Group. Across all locations and all affiliates, the experienced manager – with over 20-years in leading management positions – will push forward the development of company culture, talent management and digitalisation.
Gawlak has a diploma in economics to go with his master’s in organisational psychology, and his last role was as Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) at foodspring, a Berlin company and part of the Mars group.
“I am excited at the chance of strengthening corporate culture at Spread Group as they adapt their structures and grow across all parts of the company group. Together with my team, I want to create a working environment which continuously develops their skills and helps the management team reach their ambitious goals.”
Spread Group CEO, Dr. Julian de Grahl:
“The exceptional commitment, talent and team spirit of our employees has been a key success factor over the past twenty years. Spread Group management aspires to continue the performance and innovation culture, which has existed here since day one, in the next phase and to further develop our talents in a targeted manner. With his extensive expertise, experience in fast growing companies and last but not least as an experienced user of the mula. B2B merchandise platform, Martin a perfect fit for Spread Group.”
Photo Martin Gawlak, Vice President People and Culture (Copyright: Spread Group)
Spreadshop has put together an expert team of content industry leaders, creative entrepreneurs, and creator economy consultants to form their first-ever Creator Advisory Board. This initiative aims to shape the next chapter of creator commerce for Spreadshop and beyond.
Spreadshop.com is a software as a service (SaaS) provider that helps designers, creators, and influencers monetize their custom merchandise online. They have announced the formation of their first ever Creator Advisory Board, under the strategic guidance of an accomplished group of creatives, to further empower the creator community.
Since 2016, Spreadshop has focused on becoming the best merchandise platform for creators of all kinds. In 2020, Spreadshop became an official YouTube partner, allowing eligible shop owners connect their shop to the Youtube Merch Shelf, Store Tab, and more. Last year, Spreadshop launched a Brand Ambassador Program with the goal of empowering shop owners with added value. Brand Ambassadors not only educate creators about how to use the platform, but also create content and workshops designed to help creators live a more sustainable creative life.
Lauren Virgin, Influencer Marketing Manager at Spreadshop, shared, “I am beyond excited to add the Creator Advisory Board to our existing Brand Ambassador program! We’ve already seen so much success working with only a few of these pros, thereby helping smaller creators grow their channels or brands to monetize their merch. Being able to scale our program with a wider variety of experts will be awesome. I can’t wait to use their guidance to help even more creators in the future to ultimately become a key part of the new creator economy.”
Spreadshop’s Creator Advisory Board will meet regularly to give feedback, discuss topics important to the creator community, and demo upcoming platform features. One of the first topics of discussion will be input on new print on demand products, with a heavy focus on more sustainable clothing for all.
Millie Adrian of It’s Modern Millie and a founding member of the creator board says, “It’s one thing to work with a brand on a one-off collaboration, and it’s another to partner with a company that truly sees your value – and that you believe in. Together we can create a more significant impact. I love working with Spreadshop as a brand ambassador and am beyond thrilled to become a founding member of the Creator Advisory board. It’s exciting to see a company not only invest in their creators but create a space where they can receive direct feedback, thoughts, and opinions. It’s a great help to guide their projects with a creator perspective in mind. I truly hope other brands see these strides Spreadshop is making and get inspired to take similar action.”
The company welcomes the following new members of the Creator Advisory Board:
Millie Adrian – Online Educator and YouTuber of It’s Modern Millie, who teaches aspiring Influencers how to turn their personal brand into a full-time business.
Daniel Batal – Content Creator & Professional Channel Consultant.
Roberto Blake – Creative Entrepreneur and Founder of Awesome Creator Academy.
Saul Colt – Creative Genius behind The Idea Integration Co., an award-winning boutique marketing and advertising agency made up of professionally creative and funny people.
Andrew Kan – Award winning Documentary Film Director. Skilled in Storytelling, YouTube Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Camera Operation, and all things film-making.
Desiree Martinez – Founder of Women of Video, YouTuber, Podcaster, Author, Award-Winning Social Media Creative Content Creator.
Jessica McCabe – American Actress, Writer, and Producer of How to ADHD on YouTube.
Nick Nimmin – YouTube Content Creator and Educator dedicated to helping other content creators succeed.
Tom Phan – Content Creator of Clueless Bushcraft on TikTok and Youtube.
Jim Rugg – Eisner Award Winning Cartoonist and Content Creator for Cartoonist Kayfabe on YouTube.
Renee Teeley – Creator Economy Executive with over 15 years of experience helping creators, brands, and enterprise companies grow their communities and build their businesses using video.
Hussam Tatari is the producer of our premium collection, and his family-run business has been devoted to the textile industry for over 100 years. When the political situation forced the closure of their factory in Aleppo, Hussam didn’t feel like quitting. Today he says: “What I love is to continue what my family has been doing for generations, and it fills my heart with pride that my family name has been standing for quality all the while.”
Hello! Can you briefly introduce yourself?
My name is Hussam Tatari, and in my company we are four partners: that’s me, my brother, my Italian partner Massimo Burdo, and Tobias Friedmann from Germany. On August 22nd, we had a video team here to document how the company produces. The footage also shows how we implement measures for sustainability, because this issue is very important for everybody and our future. We are already accepting this challenge today. It’s important to take these measures before our competitors do, because it creates additional value that will help us stay ahead of the market so that we can successfully sell clothes today and tomorrow.
How did you become a clothes manufacturer? And what do you love about your profession?
By profession, I am electronical engineer, and after my studies I decided to join our family business in textiles. For three generations and over 100 years, the Tatari family has established a textile business in Tangier, Morocco. In my time, this has been run by my cousins. And when I finished my studies, I established production facilities in Syria to continue the family tradition with a production site in Aleppo. In the beginning, it was a lot of hard work, and thankfully it became quite successful over time.
From what we hear, it has to do something with Queen Elisabeth as well.
There has been a long tradition of clothes manufacturing in Syria. We have been exporting fabrics to the United Kingdom for a long time, and Queen Elisabeth’s brocade wedding dress was made in Damascus of natural silk fabrics that stemmed from Aleppo.
And what do you love about your profession?
When producing a piece of garment, we start with quality yarn to make the fabric, and then we dye it to create something from scratch that hasn’t been there before. This is why I’m passionate about my products, and it is the main reason I wanted to become a draper. It gives me great satisfaction to create something with my own hands, so to speak. This is very important to me.
You moved to Turkey from Syria in 2011. How did you manage to put up your manufacturing company in such a short time?
Unfortunately, the political situation in Syria hailed an end to private businesses like mine: it was first nationalized and then closed. We relocated to Kahramanmaraş in Turkey, because it was only about 150 kilometers from my home city. There has always been the thought of going back to Syria one day – this is why I didn’t move further away. In the beginning, it was a completely new situation in a strange country. We came here with 50 people to start anew, most of them family members and former employees. We didn’t have any money or equipment, because everything had been taken away from us. It was a big challenge for us.
All our customers supported us from the start, when they gave us advanced payments. This trust was based on well-established customer relationships, as we’d been growing with our customers – or partners, which describes it much better – for over 20 years. Two of our customers and my German business partner lend us money so that we could get started again. We were blessed to be given a new chance. After only 18 days of relocating, we were able to ship the first container of new products we manufactured at our factory in Turkey. What started with just 50 people that travelled across the border has now turned into one of Turkey’s great clothes-manufacturing success stories. Today we have over 2,000 employees and generate an annual turnover of €70m.
You produce garments for well-known European companies, like Engelbert Strauss, Versace, Lonsdale, or Alpha Industries. How did the collaboration with Spread Group start?
Spread Group approached us in 2015. They liked the products and were interested in our ethics. We like assuming responsibility by not only complying with laws and regulations, but acting in a socially responsible manner. We want to ensure that everyone involved in the production process has a strong sense of responsibility to live up to our standards. These are ethical standards that include sustainable conduct and collaborative social responsibility, such as BCSI. We all want to have a bright future. After the CEO of Spread Group visited us to see for himself how we produce, Spread Group placed the first order and have been ordering from us ever since.
Are the third-party companies you use for spinning, knitting, and dyeing in the area? And what are their quality standards like?
As of this year, we’ve been doing everything mind spinning yarn inhouse. This is how we were able to shorten the supply chain and become more sustainable. And most of the cotton we source comes from Turkey and Greece, which is another way of having short supply chains. We expect the partners we work with to ensure the same degree of social responsibility that we have. We make sure our partners adhere to ethical and environmental codes so that the commitment is not limited to environmental and ethical compliance, but also facilitates an improved socioenvironmental setting for the workforce.
Sustainable clothing is becoming more and more important. Do you have any goals to become more sustainable?
It is very important to us to guarantee a high degree of product standards to our partners, because we want to ensure that our production conditions meet the expectations of both our staff and our customers. We are very happy that these measures helped us be awarded the OEKO Tex and GOTS certificates. Moreover, in the section where we dye our fabrics, we use gas instead of coal until the installation of solar cells has been completed to supply electricity. This will result in higher production costs of 50 cents per kilogram, but we are fully committed to reducing pollution wherever we can. We are also installing a green hydrogen station. This way, we will manage to obtain renewable electricity by means of electrolysis. Hydrogen gets separated from the oxygen you find in water, which is a great alternative to traditional energy resources. We are hoping to start using it next year.
It feels like you have a great passion for creating garments. What makes you happy about it?
I am happy when I get the job done perfectly. This is when I feel supportive as a service provider. I always ask my partners and customers for new ideas, so it doesn’t feel like we’re a photocopy machine that keeps producing the same things over and again. Currently, it’s the sourcing of organic cotton and using recycled materials to create new garments. I really like exploring those new avenues. We undertake these efforts to make sure that our customers are completely content with the products, because happy customers keep coming back.
Final question – will you still be a family-run business in the future?
[laughs] Yes, absolutely. The next Tatari generation is already eagerly waiting in line. One of my sons is about to finish university, and he will then join the team. It makes me extremely happy that he feels like joining us. My other son, Abdullah, graduated from university last year, and he has joined us already. He currently does a language program at a school in Germany, seeing that most of our customers are based in Germany.
Two planting drives for biodiversity and the environment
We’re delighted to see our cooperation with licensing partner Studio 100 Media blossoming. Starting with the Maya the Bee X Spreadshirt collection in 2021, we have since begun to take active steps towards educating employees and the wider community on key environmental topics. This is part of Studio 100 Media ’s Projekt Klatschmohnwiese (Project Poppy Meadow). The goals of the project are simple: educate children on the importance of insects and encourage them to help biodiversity with the motto “let’s make it buzz and hum together”.
Led by Licensing Success Manager, Annina Vettermann, Spread Group got involved by themselves with two planting drives. On Plant a Flower Day (12th March), they turned our rooftop terrace into an insect-friendly biotope, with more digging and planting taking place on World Bee Day (20th May). All 500 Spreadsters who work in Leipzig were given seed bags with wildflowers native to the region. These little starter packs were the basis for the task of trying to create the best bee paradise on their balconies or in green spaces. The winners will get a cute little surprise from Maya the Bee’s partners, all to be announced at the end of the summer.
Tips and tricks can be found on Maja’s insect protection website: www.projekt-klatschmohnwiese.de
G’Day Matt! Matthew Alexander has been part of our copywriting team since June 2022, writing texts for our US market. For the Australian-born copywriter, writing is not just a job, but also something he pursues as a hobby. Prior to working at Spread Group, he worked as a freelance copywriter and web developer, as well as a travel agent, among other things. Learn more about Matthew and working at Spread Group in our video!
Quick, strong and independent: it’s not exactly a coincidence that 7 years ago Annina Vetterman helped set up “Wonder Woman”, the first licensed topic for Spread Group. Thanks to a remarkable amount of willpower, she finished her bachelor’s in Media Production, a master’s in Media Management, all while working with us as a graphic designer. Oh, and she was a young mother at the time, too. This eventually turned into a permanent job as a graphic designer for licensing. Today, she’s the Licensing Success Manager, a role which covers a range of topics, all focused towards successful merchandising strategies. Annina also develops marketing campaigns, organises donation drives and cooperates closely with our over 200 partner brands, including many with core sustainability values.
Spread Group: How would you define sustainability?
Annina Vettermann: For me, sustainability starts in the mind. It’s wrong to think that small scale changes don’t make a difference – our actions have an impact on our entire environment. We can easily change a few things in our everyday lives, such as separating waste properly or drinking more tap water.
Spread Group: What drives you to live a more sustainable lifestyle?
Annina Vettermann: My son! When we go shopping, ecological factors always influence what we buy and what we don’t. I’m impressed with how knowledgeable this generation of young people is. I wouldn’t have been able to reflect on my consumption like that when I was 14. In a lot of ways he’s right, to keep our planet intact and liveable, we need to consider how we consume. When it came to getting a Christmas tree, he eventually managed to convince me that it doesn’t make sense to take a healthy, living tree and put it in your living room.
Spread Group: What sustainable projects are you and your team working on?
Annina Vettermann: At the minute, our biggest project is the cooperation with Studio 100 Media as part of their educative initiative Projekt Klatschmohnwiese (Project Poppy Meadow) with Maja the Bee. This year, we also planted created our own wildflower meadow on the roof terrace at our Headquarters in Leipzig. Then we called on our employees to take part in a competition to find the wildest flower meadow, as well as offered competitions boosting awareness of Spreadshirt’s organic collection.
In terms of our internal processes, we have cancelled our license partners’ printed brochures and publishing programs, switching to digital magazines. In fact, the licensing team even sometimes received certain print issues three times because colleagues had subscribed to them independently. Most of it went straight into the garbage can. I find the digital brochures much more practical anyway, because I can also read them on my smartphone.
In addition, the Licensing Team is often on the road a lot, at trade shows and conferences. Due to the pandemic, these have taken place completely digitally in the last two years, which has saved travel time between appointments, among other things. Within the industry, it appears that some events will now be permanently digital, and many will be hybrid. I’m curious to see if this trend is here to stay.
Spread Group: What are your concrete sustainability goals?
Annina Vettermann: We are working to reduce our paper consumption to a minimum. We also pass on requests and suggestions from our license partners to our purchasing and product range departments. For example, for a larger range of organic products. Currently, our colleagues in the purchasing department are already working on finding sustainable alternatives for each product type in our range, such as our plastic lunch boxes. We also want to establish long-term cooperation with our license partners. Whether it’s a big brand or a “niche” brand – we are not interested in short trends, but in sustainable brand building. To achieve this, the licensing team needs to take to strategically develop the right themes.
Spread Group: What would you recommend to readers who are looking to delve further into sustainability?
Annina Vettermann: When I go shopping, I often ask myself the killer question; ‘do I need it, or just do I just want it?’ A lot of impulse buys disappear when I do this.
Corporate Social Responsibility at Spread Group: www.spreadshirt.com/sustainability
Projekt Klatschmohnwiese: www.diebienemaja-bienenschutz.de
Words can be a weapon: political statement T-shirts make their stance clear – openly, loudly, and boldly. Our look into fashion history with Katherine Hamnett, the inventor of the statement T-shirt, on International T-shirt Day 2022 shows how far the impact of a simple T-shirt can reach.
In simple black and white, Katharine Hamnett achieved her international breakthrough as a designer: when the Brit met then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1984, she openly displayed her criticism of the US-made Pershing II guided missiles. Her statement T-shirt “58% Don’t Want Pershing” became a fashion legend and Hamnett herself a role model for all activists who express their protest with words rather than fists. Although the political statement T-shirt does not seem like a fashion revolution at first glance, it contained two important moments: typographically, its striking capital letters symbolize an outcry, and its simple design invites imitation. It was, and still is, one of Katharine’s central design tenets that her designs should be reproduced; more important to the designer than the question of original and fake is that as many people as possible carry their messages out into the world.
Her commitment was and is manifold. From “Think Global” to “Stop Acid Rain” to “Choose Life”, Katharine Hamnett turned political and social protest into it-pieces in the mid-80s. After a break from the scene, Hamnett celebrated her big comeback in 2008, once again capturing the social zeitgeist; whether “Second Referendum Now” or “No War”, there are just as many reasons today as in 1984 to make a statement in bold black and white. But is it enough, in these times, to stick to a “fashion statement”? No, says Katharine Hamnett, who rejects any form of “slacktivism”. In addition to her clear political stance, sustainability has been playing an increasingly important role in her designs in recent years. It is important to her that her products are produced using the most ethical and environmentally friendly methods available. Her collections use organic cotton, recycled polyester, or sustainably sourced silk and avoid the use of any pesticides in the production process.
For fans of the fashion icon and those with an affinity for political statement T-shirts, we’ve put together a collection of expressive organic T-shirts in the spirit of Hamnett. We are offering 22 percent off a Spreadshop purchase and 15 percent off a Spreadshirt purchase today only in honor of Katharine Hamnett and T-shirt Day.
Some of our political statement T-shirts
T-shirt “Stop Climate Change Go Vegan”
T-shirt “Choose life”
T-shirt “No More Fashion Victims”
T-shirt “No War”
Same goal, different approach: Spread Group and their new neighbours in western Leipzig “war mal deins” offer unique products to their customer bases. Yet only the latter work with 100% used material for their creations. Their philosophy and commitment to sustainability was an eye-opener for us and ended in us collaborating for an upcycling project. We met up with Iris Ebel and Lisa Koops to talk about contemporary fashion and why it’s a topic which affects all of society.
Spread Group: First of all, we’re interested in knowing how you got into fashion design?
Iris Ebel: I’ve been making my own clothes since I was 13 years old. Since then, fashion has been a big party of my life and I ended up applying for a design degree at the Art EZ University of Arts in Arnhem. Being half Dutch myself, it seemed like a pretty easy decision. Just like Lisa, I made it through the tough application tests.
Lisa Koops: It’s a pretty similar story for me. I have always been into fashion, and was drawn by the vibe in the Netherlands, there are a lot of highly renowned fashion schools there. Back then I couldn’t speak Dutch but that wasn’t necessary as all the courses were in English.
Spread Group: Were you always primarily focused on sustainable fashion, or did this occur during the course of your degree?
Lisa: The internships I did during my studies showed me that I didn’t want to be part of the fast fashion industry. When I worked at events like London Fashion Week 2019, I noticed just how tough some of the working conditions in the industry are. The long working hours just became normality: There were times in the degree when I was working for 9am to 9pm on some designs. My atelier was essentially my home.
Iris: Yup, it was pretty crazy. I had an internship which involved sitting at a computer, editing designs and sending them off to manufacturers. The design process consisted of converting technical drawings onto the computer. Not exactly what you’d expect, and not particularly creative.
Lisa: That’s true. But we still never even considered completely giving up on fashion design. We love fashion, especially the creativity of it.
Iris: Exactly, and then the second-hand shops in the Netherlands began to catch our eye. They really inspired us and made us realise how amazing it is to work with used materials.
Lisa: It’s also cheaper. The material was simply given to us by friends. We had built up a network and some proper orders just started coming in. For our graduation project pieces, we naturally used designs we’d made from used materials.
Spread Group: Is this where the idea for your own fashion brand “war mal deins” came from?
Iris Ebel: Effectively, yes. We took the English phrase “used to be yours” and translated it into German. We had already thought about opening our own second hand shop, which we recently opened up on Weissenfelser Strasse. Additionally, we offer screen printing as well as embroidery and sewing workshops. These are all ways for us to show our approach to fashion with people who want to learn.
Spread Group: Is there really such a big difference between your approach and classic fashion design?
Lisa Koops: Of course. Our approach flips the design process upside down. Normally, you think of an idea, draw it, and then look for the right materials. For us, the materials – which customers can bring along themselves – dictate the design process. We develop our ideas based on the materials and then start drawing. It’s a very intuitive process.
Spread Group: We gave you a box full of new T-Shirts and hoodies from our returns and were blown away with what you did with them. You’ve really got your own style. How would you describe it?
Iris Ebel: The logo print and the patchwork is typical of us. We’ve got a big denim collection and the material is extremely reusable. If we look at our donations, it seems like the skinny jeans era is coming to an end.
Lisa Koops: A bit of a street style, a bit of elegance. Just contemporary fashion – not only through our sustainable goals.
Spread Group: That’s a nice description of contemporary fashion.
Iris Ebel: Thanks, we agree. We’re seeing the consequences of the fashion industry through the donations coming in. Sometimes we even get unworn products, still in their original packaging because people have missed the deadlines for sending them back. Others bring bags full of used clothes. On the other end of the spectrum, we had a woman who brought a piece of silk clothing that was over 100 years old. Apart from a small hole it was impeccable.
Lisa Koops: We don’t want to judge anyone’s behaviour. Fashion is often a personal topic but not always. Our actions influence different processes all over the globe. Tons of our old clothes are sent to Africa, where there’s a lack of infrastructure for the fashion industry to develop. Others are sent to Indonesia, including brand new clothes, where they are burnt. That means it’s much more sustainable to keep clothes and try to locally make something nice out of them.
Spread Group: How can our readers learn more about you? And how can they get hold of some the unique items from our upcycling project?
Lisa Koops: Best thing to do would be to swing by our shop or send us a message on Instagram if you want us to reserve something for you. You can also take some photos of some of your old treasures or just bring them round. We’ll then think about how we can upcycle it.
Iris Ebel: The costs depend on how long the task will take. T-Shirts cost about €30, and trousers can be anything up to €150.
Spread Group: Sounds amazing. Thanks for the talk and those stylish pieces you designed for this collab!
Website and online shop: https://www.warmaldeins.com/
Our oceans have become a landfill site and the numbers are not looking good. According to 5 Gyres, there are around 5.25 trillion bits of plastic floating in the sea, and it’s getting worse every day.German organisation BeachCleaner has decided to tackle this problem head on. Since 2021, they’ve been selling plastic free products with Spreadshop.
Anne Mäusbacher wasn’t expecting a Mediterranean holiday to be so life-changing: “On the beach in Ibiza there just seemed to be so much plastic rubbish around – much more than I’d seen in previous holidays. That’s when my husband and I started pulling out floating bits of plastic using our son’s fishing net.” This experience was what kickstarted BeachCleaner. Since 2015, Anne has been campaigning, alongside several volunteers, for plastic-free oceans and more awareness of sustainability. BeachCleaner are driven by their slogan “Act – Learn – Transform”. They “Act,” by conducting educational work and initiating trash collection campaigns around regional bodies of water. They “Learn” by sharing their knowledge on how to carry out effective clean ups and make (organic) DIY care products. And they “Transform” by starting young, with a program called “Kids for the Ocean” which targets school children.
“Plastic is one of the biggest dangers and challenges of our lifetime. Every minute a truck-sized load is dumped into the sea. BeachCleaner aren’t just here to educate people about the state of the oceans, remove plastic or engage with people, we are here to find effective solutions to the production of single-use plastics. Together with Spreadshop we can make and offer sustainable products which assist the transition towards a plastic free and conscious life”, explained Anne. To get people acquainted with this issue, she recommends people to start tracking their own plastic usage through a Plastic Footprint Calculator. People often underestimate just how much plastic rubbish results from their everyday activities.
Every purchase in the BeachCleaner Spreadshop contributes towards helping the organisation. The shop itself is, like all Spreadshops, completely free. That means the organisation of the tasks, production, shipping, payment, as well as the customer service are carried out by Spreadshop. As such, we can give more time to Anne Mäusbacher to do the things that matter: “We also do regional clean-ups, especially in and around Nuremburg. The reason for this is simple: 80% of the plastic waste ending up in the sea originates from inland, coming from lakes or rivers. Therefore, we go to the route of the problem and are grateful for the many volunteers we have supporting us. Only together can we win the fight against plastic waste!”
For further information:
Shop “BeachCleaner”: www.beachcleaner.de
Do Laux has been our creative director for 10 years and has been overseeing Spread Group’s brand communication and visual language. When she came to Leipzig from New York City in 2012, she began a fundamental rebranding and rejuvenated the group’s entire visual identity, including the Spreadshirt logo (“love tab”) and homepage’s layout. This was followed by an overhaul of TV spots, newsletters, social media channels, landing pages and many other elements. In the process, the American with Korean roots was able to draw on her many years of professional experience as a graphic designer at the Yard advertising agency, L’Oréal and Maybelline in New York City. Soon, Spread Group’s European customers will be able to hold a particularly sophisticated design from Do in their hands: Our new packaging made of 100% recyclable material was designed by her as part of our “Committed to a Greener Future” initiative.
Spread Group: How do you personally define sustainability?
Do Laux: To use fewer resources, everyone must pull together: Society, business, politics. But each and every one of us can also make a contribution to reducing our ecological footprint. Every individual can make their personal contribution to a better future. For example, you can do a lot to protect the environment within your own four walls. A lot of water can be saved if you turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth, soaping up, washing dishes, etc. Take showers instead of baths, the shorter and less hot the better. A flow limiter will also help you use less water. Avoiding waste, as well as separating and recycling is also a good idea. You can try upcycling and give old items a second life. Organic products are also better in the household. Use cleaning agents, detergents, cosmetic products, etc. that are produced organically.
Spread Group: What motivates you to live a more sustainable lifestyle?
Do Laux: It’s very important to me to give my children the possibility for a good future. For decades, our society has been looking for ways to minimize our CO₂ footprint. Today’s world of technology and innovation has gradually provided us with a solution, namely sustainable and smart buildings. The transition to a sustainable lifestyle has not only a social and environmental impact, but also an economic one that guarantees us significant profits and cost reductions. Is it possible to improve the performance of a building at a low cost while making a significant profit? My answer to this is a resounding yes.
Spread Group: What sustainability projects have you and your team already implemented?
Do Laux: I’m very glad that the packaging for Spread Group is going plastic-free this year. We’ve already replaced the plastic wrappers for bigger consignments with recycled paper, and we’re going to offer paper mailers for all other consignments by the end of the year. Best of all, the new packaging solution is a multi-brand paper packaging system that is reusable and recyclable: All of Spread Group’s business units will use the same recycled paper mailers, and the branding takes place by means of a paper sticker that will get attached when it gets shipped. Thus, the design had to be neutral enough to be able to represent the various business units of Spread Group. This is why it depicts a graphic, which – by showing movement – symbolizes the connection between both the brands and the sustainable idea of benefiting the ocean with using less plastic.
Spread Group: What specific sustainability goals have you set for yourself?
Do Laux: At Spread Group, we understand that real responsibility can be measured by the respect we show for our planet, our people, and our economy. This means that we must hold ourselves accountable for the sustainability of our actions. In other words: we need to strike a balance between what helps us grow as a business and the effect our actions have on our employees, our society, and the environment. The idea is to shoulder tomorrow’s responsibility by accepting it today.
Spread Group: What do you recommend to all readers who would like to further explore sustainability?
Do Laux: Whatever you do, try to keep in mind that every action will makes an impact, positive or negative. This kind of awareness helps you minimize the negative actions and focus on the positive ones. This kind of mindset helps you develop positive habits that will definitely make a change if everybody adopts them.
Spread Group: Thank you for the interview, Do!
Corporate Social Responsibility at Spread Group: www.spreadgroup.com/sustainability