Meet Vanessa Rae, our Marketing & Sustainability Director for Knauf Insulation Northern Europe. VANESSA HAS TAKEN OVER THE SUSTAINABILITY RESPONSIBILITY IN HER REGION, REINFORCING NORTHERN EUROPE’S COMMITMENT TO THE TOPIC.
What motivated you to add sustainability to your scope of Marketing Director for Northern Europe?
"Back in 2020, I was inspired by the launch of our For A Better World sustainability strategy and I wanted to have an active role in driving its delivery in our region. As a leading manufacturer of sustainable solutions, we need to become a true sustainability leader; this is very much part of our brand and value proposition, so it nicely complements my marketing responsibility.”
Why is sustainability important to you?
"Sustainability is important to me personally as a citizen of the world; there is no denying the detrimental effects of human activity on the planet and the consequences are truly scary. We must urgently act to reduce carbon emissions and take care of our fragile planet, and our business has a big role to play in this."
What do you feel are your key achievements since commencing your role as Marketing & Sustainability Director?
“As I started in the role, I completed the ‘Business Sustainability Management’ course at Cambridge University to give myself a knowledge base, and a clear structure for tackling my new challenge.
“I‘ve spent significant time on raising awareness of Knauf Insulation’s sustainability credentials both internally and externally, creating an inspiring story which can be used not just by me, but also by the rest of the business.
“I’ve engaged directly with our customers, which has been invaluable, not only in understanding what they expect from us, but also it has made me realise that, while there is a lot more for us to do, we are already in a very good position when it comes to our sustainability journey.
“I’ve also made good progress on developing our regional roadmap for 2023.”
How do you see the future of your role / team and what would you like to achieve?
“I am delighted that we have been given the green light to increase resource in the regions, so we are now building a sustainability team in Northern Europe. This means we will have the skills and resources to accelerate the progress we are making under the four pillars of our For A Better World sustainability strategy. With the support of Diana Dzhambazova, the new Regional Sustainability Manager, I would like to finalise the roadmap for our region and launch it in the new year, and work with the rest of the regional and central teams on projects that will take Knauf Insulation to the next level in our journey, including green energy and the circular economy, for example.”
Do you have any exciting projects planned for 2023?
“There is a lot going on in every part of the business, whether in the People area, Circular Economy, Zero Carbon or Better Buildings.
“There are also some upcoming improvements in product performance. With the rebuild of the St Helens furnace and major investments in new equipment, we will be able to launch lower lambda solutions as well as reduce further the embodied carbon of our products, which is a very exciting step change. Keep your ears open!”
What are the current sustainability focus areas and challenges within your region?
“The key focus is on ensuring our products are relevant both now and in the future – with building regulations tightening we must ensure that not only we have the right solutions for the market, but also that we support the regulators on their journey towards net zero. Accordingly, we are working with government and influencers to ensure the right policies are being put in place to close the energy efficiency performance gap so buildings perform as designed in real world conditions.
“The biggest challenge I see, mid/long term, is likely to be the transition to green energy for our manufacturing process. This will require a company step-change in technology and can only be achieved together with our central technology team – however, think how amazing it would be if Knauf Insulation was one of the earliest adopters of green energy for our industry!”