The Colam Sustainability Awards were created in 2016 to highlight initiatives taken by Sonepar's associates and operating companies, that have had an impact on environmental, social, and people issues.
These three categories present a unique opportunity to showcase projects and visions for a better future. The winners of each category are selected by a jury comprised of four Colam Entreprendre representatives, a Sonepar representative, and two external figures. The fourth prize, the Coisne-Lambert award, is chosen by all Colam shareholders. The objective of both parties is to recognize initiatives taken by Sonepar’s associates and opcos that have a positive impact on sustainable development as a whole.
31 initiatives were entered from 13 Sonepar countries and opcos, and we are thrilled to announce the four winners.
The Environment Award - France
In recognition for an initiative that has a direct or indirect impact on the environment (include resource management, waste management, energy efficiency, renewable energy use, and biodiversity, etc).
Sonepar in France was named the winner of the Environmental Award, for their StockPro application, which introduces the subject of circularity to the heart of the Sonepar France ecosystem. The application allows our customers to sell and or buy products left in their stocks and allows Sonepar to put its unsold stocks onto a digital marketplace. StockPro has a clear objective: to avoid throwing away reusable products, and thus comply with the new requirements linked to the energy transition law in terms of recycling and treatment of building waste. The French legislative framework has become more and more demanding in terms of recyclability and waste treatment, and the building sector is particularly concerned in this regard. StockPro responds to Sonepar’s strategy to expand its service offering, and is also completely in line with Sonepar's digital transformation. Sonepar's associates provide regular feedback from their experience on the field, resulting in regular updates that adhere to their customers' needs and allow them to provide the best-in-class service.
The Social Award - Sacchi
In recognition for an initiative that has a direct or indirect impact on society as a whole (including health, well-being in the workplace, education, creating job opportunities and reducing poverty, circular economy, etc).
Sacchi was named the winner of the Social Award, for its collaboration with an NGO named the AVSI Foundation for almost 15 years, which was established to help 160 children find foster care. Three years ago, that partnership was strengthened even further as more associates became involved in helping another 90 children from the school of Kampala, Uganda. As of today, Sacchi has helped over 250 foster children, each of whom is assigned child is assigned to an associate who is responsible for keeping regular contact to ensure that they’re doing well and being looked after. At the end of 2019, nine associates had the chance to go to Uganda, meet the children and AVSI local contacts and live with them for a week. Sacchi’s partnership with AVSI is growing with each passing year, more and more children are being assigned to its associates, and the team hopes that this project will inspire other opcos within the Sonepar network to look into establishing similar initiatives.
The Diversity & Inclusion Award – South-East Asia
In recognition for an initiative that has a direct or indirect impact on people (including promoting diversity, celebrate difference, work against discrimination, etc). For Sonepar, diversity and inclusion are not only about policies, programs, or headcounts, it’s also an opportunity. At Sonepar, we strive for unity, not uniformity!
Sonepar South-East Asia was named the winner of the Diversity & Inclusion Award, for their admirable efforts in establishing a sense of belonging for every associate in the organization. In 2020, they saw 40% women in mid-management positions, a 50% gender split, established a new recruitment policy that promotes gender equality, diversity, and considers candidates from all races, gender, and physical conditions. Pay grades are also not defined by gender.
Mainly HR motivated, these new policies take everyone’s needs into account. For example, returning mothers are provided necessary support in the workplace by means of lactation rooms and dedicated refrigerators for milk storage, and prayer rooms are also being established for associates. Promoting mutual respect within the workplace has been key and is continuously developed throughout the company. It may not be an innovative initiative, but more a necessary approach in moving forward to develop a comprehensive workforce, attracting the best talents and providing necessary support in place for a conducive workplace.
The Coisne-Lambert Award - Brazil
In recognition of an initiative that stands out as an exemplary project that has helped communities on a grand scale. This award is voted by all Colam shareholders.
Sonepar in Brazil was awarded the Coisne-Lambert Award, for their NGO ‘Expedicionários da Saúde’ Assistance Plan. 2020 was a challenging year for all communities. Particularly in Brazil, there was a clear need to support vulnerable hard-to-reach populations that have little to no access to healthcare. At first, Nortel assisted the setup of a field hospital in Campinas, a city in the state of São Paulo which was most affected by the pandemic. All opcos in Brazil (Nortel, Dimensional, and Eletronor), then joined forces to contribute and donate electrical materials and tools to the northern region of Brazil to support the construction of emergency wards/nurseries to vulnerable hard to reach indigenous populations in the Amazon Forest.
The NGO ‘Expedicionários da Saúde’ has a long history of promoting healthcare in remote regions of Brazil. Associates have been actively supporting activities for years, and so when they called upon all other opcos in the country to join the initiative and make a difference in these communities, many associates answered.
Approximately 30 employees were directly involved in the different stages of the process, including the diagnostic and assembly activities of the field hospital, the identifying the electrical materials and tools necessary to be delivered, and all the logistics processes so that everything could reach their destination in a timely manner.
At the field hospital in Campinas, 600 people were directly assisted in 84 assembled beds. The mission in the Amazon Forest installed 262 Health Units in a region that is home to 750 indigenous communities, with approximately 23,000 people. In these locations, 10,000 electrical materials and tools provided by Sonepar in Brazil were donated and installed.
Currently, Sonepar Brazil fully intends to continue organizing voluntary initiatives with their partner, and expand the availability of equipment (electrical materials and tools) in these communities.
We would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the six finalists of the Colam Sustainability Awards:
- 'JINC Young People INCorporated' - Technische Unie – Netherlands
- 'Waste recycling assets' - Elektroskandia Sverige – Sweden
- 'One Earth One Ocean' - Sonepar in Germany
- 'Conflict Mineral Reporting Tool' - Elektroskandia Sverige – Sweden
- 'Enable Quality Education Infrastructure for Underprivileged Sections of Society' - Sonepar in India
- 'WATT Women Advocating Today for Tomorrow' – Sonepar in the USA
An event was held on Friday 24th September to announce the winners and award their prizes consisting of €5,000 (approx. $6,000) from Colam Entreprendre, to help extend and prolong the initiatives both at the level of origin (i.e. branch, opco) and elsewhere in the Sonepar Group.