As part of Sonepar’s commitment to creating a more ethical and sustainable world, our brands often go the extra mile to support initiatives that have a positive impact on the environment, sustainable development, people or society as a whole.  

Team TU, an initiative founded by Technische Unie employees in the Netherlands, has seen employees putting their best foot forward since 1994 to participate in Roparun, a 500+ km, 44-hour non-stop relay race between Paris, Hamburg and Rotterdam.

The RopaRun event raises funds for the Roparun Foundation, a charity supporting terminally ill cancer patients. Its motto is: “Adding life to days, when days often can’t be added to life.”Each of the 40 participants of Team TU, and in particular its seven board members, have a personal emotional connection to this issue. This motivates the colleagues to put their time and energy into organizing the activities of Team TU. For fundraisers, they can count on the support of approximately 200 employees in organizing bake sales, car washing, and other handy ways to raise sponsorship money.

The personal involvement of employees is essential to the success of these events, and the motivation of participants to undertake the challenge of RopaRun.

The initiative was launched in 1994 by employees of Technische Unie’s warehouse in Alphen aan de Rijn. Since its founding, Team TU has participated in every edition of the annual RopaRun event, marking 25 years in 2018. That year, Team TU succeeded in raising a net donation of €90,250.

The teams, over the years, have consisted of a melting pot of men and women, representing almost all disciplines in logistics, sales, procurement, IT and all other departments of Technische Unie, while the whole project has enjoyed the ongoing and unconditional support and enthusiasm of TU.

In 2018, Team TU consisted of employees from 15 different branches, organized by a board of seven volunteers. Team members are selected on criteria of physical fitness, willingness to help organize the fundraising activities and geographical distribution over Technische Unie branches, and four professional physiotherapists volunteer to help with preparations.

We caught up with Bas Van Delden, a Customer Support Contributor from the Hague, South Holland Province. As a longtime participant in the scheme, he was happy to share Team TU’s achievement with us.

The race sounds grueling – how does Team TU get motivated and how would you describe the team spirit?

BVD: It is not really about the competition; we do this all for charity. Of course, achieving a good finish time is fun, but the most important thing is to finish. It is definitely a gruelling race with many highs and lows.

The spirit and atmosphere in the team are great. The team changes a little each time, but some of our colleagues come back every year. I myself will participate for the 25th time next year. There are no hierarchies in the team except for the team captain. We are all equal and aiming for a shared goal.

 

How much money have you raised since 1994?

BVD: For the past 25 years, we have built up a cumulative net donation of €1,041,685. I am proud to say that every single euro goes to charity. We want to thank all our loyal sponsors, from our colleagues, to our suppliers, ABB, Draka (Prysmian), Gira, Grundfos, Pipelife and Marriott Hotel-Charles de Gaulle and more!

 

How does Roparun fit in with Team TU’s overall CSR strategy?

BVD: Our CSR vision has three pillars: people, planet and profit, which we have translated into our own CSR policy. Participating in Roparun fits perfectly into the people pillar. As a socially engaged company, we care about people and support several charities, making Roparun an ideal candidate for us to sponsor.