Elin Letterblad is one of our new sustainability leaders. For her, the mission is simple: “We want to run responsible businesses that are good for people and planet. The connection between sustainability and profitability is growing stronger day by day,” she says.
As Sustainability Manager at AxFlow Group, the Fluid Handling Solutions business group, Elin’s job is to help the group achieve this ambition. And to move forward with purpose.
“When you see children taking time out of school to go on climate strike, you know things aren’t moving fast enough,” she says, referring to the international wave of youth climate actions that started in Sweden in 2018. “In business and in society, we have to do more.”
Elin joined AxFlow as a graduate trainee in 2013. Now in her thirties, she sees climate change and resource depletion as an existential threat.
“It isn’t fair to deprive future generations of resources. We need to ensure they have the same access to resources as we do – and we need to use those resources responsibly,” she says.
A broad approach to sustainability
AxFlow is working towards this in multiple ways. One initiative involves making sure that products do not contain hazardous or regulated substances, including substances restricted under REACH and “conflict minerals”, such as tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold mined in conflict zones. Income from these minerals perpetuates armed conflict, and child or forced labour may be used in the extraction process.
The initiative is doubly important because AxFlow is dependent on its suppliers: as a distributor, the group has no manufacturing of its own. Elin works actively to engage with suppliers and find common ground so everyone can work towards adopting more sustainable practices.
“Since we don’t make our own products, we need to make sure our suppliers work in line with our values and demands. We also need to make sure they can answer relevant questions around the product,” she says.
Elin says this means making sure that suppliers meet agreed standards and, where necessary, supporting them to improve their performance and guarantee good working conditions. However, she stresses that it is never enough just to “do good”; sustainable solutions need to be profitable and accessible.
“People won’t buy a sustainable pump unless its technical performance can match competitor models. Sustainability and economy must go hand in hand. It’s about paving new ways for doing business and not staying stuck in the same tracks. We need to be bold and develop our business models.”
“It’s all about using resources more effectively,” she says. “Pumps can run for 50 or 60 years if they’re looked after. That’s sustainability in action.”
Questions? Please get in touch with Elin at email@example.com