From environmental charter to sustainable enterprise charter
Being environmentally-friendly has been high on Niko's agenda since 2001. We actively look for solutions to make the ecological impact of our products as small as possible.
To streamline our environmental endeavours properly, we use the VOKA Environmental Charter. We describe the goals we aim to achieve each year in this. An independent commission then checks to make sure we are doing so. We have been successful in this every year: for twenty years in a row, we have raised the bar for ourselves each time.
In line with the SDGs
In 2018, we switched from VOKA's Environmental Charter to their Sustainable Enterprise Charter, which was inspired by the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These sustainable development goals form the yardstick for sustainable development by which companies around the world – as well as governments and citizens – can measure their own sustainability. They cover 5 domains, the 5 Ps: planet, people, prosperity, peace & partnership. That means they go a lot further than just ecology.
What does Niko's sustainability policy emphasise?
SDG 1 – No poverty
SDG 2 – Zero hunger
SDG 3 – Good health and well-being
SDG 4 – Quality education
SDG 5 – Gender equality
SDG 6 – Clean water and sanitation
SDG 7 – Affordable and clean energy
SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth
SDG 9 – Industry, innovation and infrastructure
SDG 10 – Reduced inequalities
SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities
SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 14 – Life below water
SDG 15 – Life on land
SDG 16 – Peace, justice and strong institutions
SDG 17 – Partnerships for the goals
A few initiatives in the spotlight:
Niko makes a serious effort to keep the effects of its industrial activities on the environment as small as possible. It goes to extremes to do this. Niko does not just limit itself to the recycling of its production waste, but reduces its environmental impact from the beginning of the product design process. This is what is called "eco-design".
The RoHS declaration is included in the individual CE declaration of the product. You can also download our REACH declarations.
Niko advocates greater diversity in recruitment
Niko is proud to be one of the first signatories to a new diversity charter. This charter is a formal declaration of broader recruitment, irrespective of colour, background, age or orientation. More than 50 companies in the Antwerp-Waasland region have signed up to this VOKA initiative.
The charter recognises that diversity is not a ‘nice to have’ but a ‘need to have’ for enterprising companies, and that it is a prerequisite for sustainable growth and innovation. Bart Vanderkerken, Niko’s VP HR, confirms that Niko actively welcomes people from all backgrounds.
Ecological alternative to hazardous substances
Since 2017, Niko has been working with the firm Eco-Point, which develops bio-based alternatives for environmentally taxing maintenance and cleaning products.
It is our ambition to replace as many products with a danger symbol on the packaging with natural products. These are less taxing on the environment and more healthy for our staff.
The best filter from Mother Nature
Harmful solvents are released when we enamel the flush surround plates for our switches. This is why the air for the enamelling line is first purified before it is released. A filter made of tree bark and bacteria has turned out to be the most efficient way of removing solvents from the enamelling line's air.
Smart recycling of plastics
Niko's ambition is to re-use as many plastics as possible in its production process.
When moulding the flush surround plates, for example, a 'sprue' remains. The high-quality polycarbonate is ground up and melted down again, making up 10% of the raw material for new flush surround plates.
Niko is a Factory of the Future
Niko has been able to call itself a Factory of the Future since February 2019.
This accolade is issued by the technology federation Agoria to companies that succeed in getting their factories ready for the future. For a company like Niko, which aims to continue manufacturing locally in Sint-Niklaas, investing in innovation and digitalisation is the best way to remain competitive.
An interview with Niko's environmental co-ordinator
Dirk D’haese is Niko's environmental co-ordinator and is closely involved in the whole process right from the start. Dirk: ‘Our concern for the environment can largely be put down to Jo De Backer, the grandson of one of the founders and an executive director at Niko. Thanks to his commitment, Niko has always been a front-runner in terms of ecology and we do far more as a company than the legal minimum. Even though that comes with a price tag.’