5 questions for... Bram Kuunders

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16 June 2022

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Bram Kuunders is Marketing & IT Manager at Looop: Moving Circularity Forward. He is the inspirator who answers the 'five questions to' this time.

About Looop

If we don't act now, our chance to turn the tide of climate change will be gone. That's why we have a mission: a 100% circular world where waste no longer exists. How do we achieve this? By upgrading by-products from the food and fermentation industries according to the Ladder of Looop. And turning them into full-fledged raw materials for the food chain, ingredients for animal feed, renewable energy sources and innovative, bio-based products. We believe that circular operations are the key to a sustainable, climate-neutral economy and society.

1. Why are you engaged in sustainable business?

As an organization, but also as a person, I think we should be engaged in sustainable business. Why? Because I feel called to contribute to a sustainable future. Personally, I have a great preference for companies that want to make a difference in the sector(s) in which they operate. I want to be able to contribute something to the world of tomorrow, with impact.

I think the impact we are making now at Looop, with regard to a circular economy, is great. We are giving almost 2 billion kilos of co-products a second life. By doing so we not only reduce the CO2 footprint, but we also contribute to the production of sustainable (consumer) products, the circular food chain and the generation of green energy. And I am part of this, of which I am very proud.

"I want to be able to contribute something to the world of tomorrow, with impact."

2. What, in your opinion, is needed to accelerate the path to a sustainable society?

Mainly two things: leadership and awareness. If you want to continuously (move) as an organization, you need a robust vision with a matching leadership style. Think of the well-known examples, such as Elon Musk (TESLA), Mark Zuckenburg (META) and Bill Gates (Microsoft). Real leaders with a robust vision. They all have this in common. The technological advances they create for the world also contribute to further sustainability. Awareness is created primarily through continuity. People need to know the information and recognize the connection. The way you do this and the communication around it is incredibly important.

If, as an organization, you want to create a sustainable solution for your product, service or process then you need to act step by step. Take small but concrete steps and mechanisms to then be able to scale up. Look at what employees actually have to deal with and respond to that. Once employees see the benefit, they will be motivated to want to do it right. Then you've already achieved a big goal.

The communication should be accessible, clear and understandable. Always in small steps and especially not negative or finger pointing.

A good example is that every company building has solar panels on its roof. That the employees know about it is good, but what is often forgotten is to show what it yields. What do we save as an organization by the solar panels? How many KW, CO2 and Euros? By actually giving insight you create awareness and you awaken the fire for even more sustainable solutions within the company.

3. What are you contributing to a smarter, more sustainable and healthier Limburg?

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Within Looop, I am responsible for both the Marketing and IT departments. On the one hand, my task is to ensure that the company remains (strategically) correctly positioned, and on the other hand, I am responsible for automating and digitizing (business) processes. With in mind that IT facilitates rather than manages. 

In our marketing department we have opted for digital. Through this conscious choice we save money on printing and the associated CO2 emissions. From the IT side we work with data, which is created by digitizing and automating processes. We use this data to make analyses and to make adjustments in order to continually optimize the process (continuous improvement). This results in more efficient and effective processes. If we manage to do both properly, we save not only time, but also materials, paper and energy.

Because Looop gives co-products, from the food and fermentation industry, a second life as raw material for pet food, bio-based materials, animal feed, insect feed and for the generation of renewable energy, we ensure fewer emissions and a lower C02 footprint. The release of less co2 emissions translates into healthier air and therefore a healthier Limburg.

"What matters most is taking action yourself. Do it and just start."

4. How can other organizations/entrepreneurs make that shift? Do you have any good tips?

A simple way to start with sustainable business is to see where (sustainable) savings can be realized within your company. Think of less energy consumption, electric driving, reuse of products or raw materials and sustainable partners to work with.

What it's mainly about, in my opinion, is taking action. Do it and just start. Often all kinds of great ideas are put on paper, but don't get further than that A4 sheet. By starting concrete, small and step by step you already set a good example. Then share the impact (results) within and outside your company. Show (awareness) what impact is made. Once employees see what the impact is, they become motivated to contribute to it. Then, after a while, it becomes part of your culture and, as far as I'm concerned, that completes the circle.

5. Why are you a member of shiftLimburg and what can this platform do for you?

Being a member of shiftLimburg gives me the opportunity to get in touch with other entrepreneurs/organizations who also want to work towards a sustainable economy and society. In addition, shiftLimburg offers a wonderful platform to position our company Looop and thus the Agri-Food sector.

Written by

Bram Kuunders