Heger, situated in the Southwest of Germany on the rim of Black Forest and at the shores of Rhine river is a medium size enterprise, manufacturing superabrasive sawing, drilling and grinding tools mainly for professional end-users in the construction industry. We have been in this field of activity for more than 110 years, family owned, and well known and integrated in the community of Heitersheim. Being established in such an area, where farming, wine growing and tourism are a major business, our factory and our employees are very much aware of the balance between economic success, growth ambitions and the preservation of our homeland.
When I heard about SEAM the first time I had the impression that another label will be sold to companies already having all kind of labels and certificates just to follow the “Fridays for Future” enthusiasm and to pretend to be a modern and attractive employer. But very fast, the SEAM architects from FEPA showed a completely different picture of what all of this is about.
It is far more than a label. It is far more than the protection of our planet. It is an attitude of responsible behaviour towards our nature, our work environment our collaborators and the economic conditions. It is the necessary attitude to maintain with the given circumstances. It is far from being a burden! It represents the foundation of a continuing successful existence of all our businesses.
And every business must proceed regarding the principles of sustainability. The young generation will check if we, as an industry, as a society, as a country, as the world, took our responsibilities. And if we do not accept those, we will not succeed. Profitability is part of the program. It is accepted that this is the base of all businesses. But it must be a healthy and sustainable profitability.
The path to SEAM is feasible for any size of business. The threshold to become member should be easy for any responsible company. There are 6 KPI’s to be chosen from the 3 pillars of SEAM: Environment, labour, economy. You can choose and you can set your goals. Of course, this is obvious for any kind of change management. There must be a measurable goal. If you cannot measure it, you will not succeed.
We all know that the SME represent the vast majority of all businesses in terms of GDP and employment. If SME’s do not take part in the change, it just won’t happen. And if Europe does not take this important first step, no one will! Europe profited for centuries in being the first for economic changes. From industrial revolution to the exploration of the planet. I think now it is time for us to use a part of our wealth to pay back to the planet and implement some changes.
And we must work on our supply chains. Sooner or later, we will be forced to have a closer look at our suppliers whether they give the same respect to the resources and their labour force as we do. We cannot benefit from cheap sourcing without looking at the conditions in our supply chain.
SEAM does not just mean being good to nature. It means prospering businesses in a healthy environment with a satisfied workforce, also respecting resources and labour conditions in the supply chain outside Europe.