Rapala VMC believes that the 2020 launch of its ambitious corporate sustainability strategy will place it among the most sustainable players in the industry.
And, according to Research and Sustainability Manager, Taneli Väisänen, it was ‘about time’ someone within the trade took charge. Väisänen says: “It’s clear to see that in each industry, the need for sustainable action has only grown in importance during the last decades. And yet ours was lacking in pioneers to show the way. As one of the biggest players in the field, we decided it was high time to start pushing thing towards the sustainable.”
Väisänen added that delivering the strategy was by no means an easy task. “Implementing the new corporate sustainability plan entails investments, innovation and tireless re-evaluation. Breaking old habits can be a challenge, especially when it comes to raw materials. Think of plastic or lead and it’s easy to see why they are so widely used. They both have properties that make them incredibly functional. Finding substitutes with similar characteristics and attainability is far from easy. However, it is something that we are constantly working on.”
Rethinking raw materials is just one aspect of Rapala VMC’s renewed strategy. Sustainability is a battle that needs to be fought on all fronts. “We are reviewing every touchpoint – from resources to waste management and end-of-life scenarios of our products. Our vision is to provide anglers with products that come in ecological packaging and have been manufactured using sustainable energy and all the time maintaining the high quality our brands are known for,” says Väisänen. “This way of thinking can already be seen in some of our product designs. Take for example the V-Slab from Storm (right). Instead of making the bait of solid soft plastic, our engineers developed a product that is basically hollow in the middle, saving a considerable amount of PVC plastic, while still meeting the needs of demanding predator anglers. This is an excellent example of the philosophy Rapala VMC is heading towards.”
With many other companies declaring to have ‘gone green’ the role of transparent communication is becoming more important by the day. Adds Väisänen: “In every industry there’s a lot of greenwashing going on. That’s why we believe honesty is the best policy. We are making great efforts when it comes to openly communicating our sustainability-related actions. And if someone calls us out on something we could improve upon, we are more than willing to hear it and take action. Our current strategy – as ambitious as it is – is just the beginning. After each milestone, there’s always the next one. That is what sustainability is all about – continuous improvement.”