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Internal operations

As a provider of sustainable technical solutions, Unica also works hard to manage its own real estate in an energy-efficient manner. The company’s head office in Hoevelaken was already certified according to the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM), a sustainability label aimed at realising sustainable buildings with minimum environmental impact. The recertification in October 2021 resulted in the awarding of a fourth star and an Excellent BREEAM-NL In Use certificate for the Unica head office building. A biodiversity survey still to be carried out will provide insights into how Unica can make the nature around its buildings even more nature-friendly.

Now that as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic working from home has acquired a far more sustainable character for many office positions, attention has shifted to a reassessment of Unica’s accommodation policy. The first inventory was carried out in 2021 among employees and management, to determine whether office space could be used more efficiently. The results of this inventory will be discussed in 2022, as a precursor to determining which changes will be implemented in the company’s accommodation policy.

With regard to mobility, advances were made in 2021 towards a more up-to-date policy that matches the spirit of the modern world. In line with developments in society, the new mobility policy has taken account of the shifting demand from ownership to use. This updated mobility policy features greater freedom of choice for a lease car or a mobility budget which, among other benefits, allows a more flexible approach to travel by public transport. As a consequence, the traditional lease car policy at Unica has been converted in a modern, flexible and sustainable mobility policy, that also ties in with the trend towards more flexible (home) workstations. To further encourage the electrification of the vehicle fleet, the range of electric lease cars has been further expanded and price adjustments have been made in line with the most recent fiscal incentive schemes. The position of service vehicles in the electrification process is still a subject of discussion, and as the technology improves, so the options open to the company in terms of electric vehicles are constantly growing. Unica is seriously experimenting with these options at various locations. The final touches will be added to the new mobility policy in 2022, and represent an important step towards the target of ordering no more petrol driven cars by 2025, and making Unica’s vehicle fleet completely emission-free by 2030.

In 2022, Unica plans to make the final touches to its working from home policy, taking account of the influence of changes to accommodation and mobility. As well as laying down the formal agreements between employees and management on working from home, a toolkit will also be developed to facilitate remote working.

Circularity and the more efficient deployment of the available resources is another development that has enjoyed an upsurge in interest at Unica. Despite the growth recorded by Unica in the past three years, the organisation has succeeded in reducing the volume of waste by 16%.

Circularity is also a clear spearhead within the entire supply chain. As part of Unica’s contract for the Central Government Real Estate Agency, Unica has joined forces with its chain partners in developing a circular marketplace. The aim is to make maximum use and reuse of the materials and raw materials used in the project.

This is a clear example how contractors, clients and suppliers have joined forces to accept their responsibility for circularity. In individual cases, too, Unica is encouraging its suppliers to come forward with circular innovations. During the annual Unica Innovation Challenge, the concept for circular air filters proposed by AQ Group was awarded the prize for best idea. Unica has set aside an investment budget to further develop this solution together with AQ Group over the next few years.

Over and above the centrally adopted policy, at numerous other places within the extensive Unica organisation, the principles of sustainable business are being put to practice. In the autumn of 2021, the internal sustainable entrepreneurship network was launched, to bring together all the knowledge, creative ideas and implementing capacity for sustainable business practice. An appeal to all Unica employees to join the network attracted 35 enthusiastic participants who attended a kick-off meeting in November 2021 at the Hoge Veluwe National Park. The sustainable entrepreneurs network has set itself the ambition of developing a number of pilot projects into action plans in 2022, and of course further expanding the network of sustainable entrepreneurs within Unica.