Sustainability management at ista


The subject of sustainability is gaining in importance in our society – and quite rightly so: we have to become aware of our responsibility. That's what ista CEO, Thomas Zinnöcker, also thinks and is putting his company on a sustainable footing so it can be a long-term, reliable and innovative partner for customers, but also for politicians and society.

“One ista, together, for excellence” is the strategy of ista CEO, Thomas Zinnöcker, who is committed to a more pronounced and comprehensive sustainability culture in the company. He would like to offer his employees security and an attractive workplace. He also wants to systematically provide support for colleagues who use their own initiative to further develop the subject of sustainability – regardless of whether they do it in the company itself or in volunteering work alongside their jobs. He is backing up his words with action and therefore launched the “Are you an ista sustainability hero?” competition last summer. This is his way of finding out more from his employees about their volunteering work so that he can promote it. And he was successful: the competition was very well received.

The idea behind the competition: to raise awareness of sustainability

The idea for this competition came from Maike Böcker, dual studies student in the Corporate Communications department of ista. Her interest in sustainability started at a very early age: “I was born and brought up in the country and already cycled to school when I was small. My parents taught me lots about energy efficiency so I have always made a point of saving water and electricity. Those are small things but they made me who I am and I developed an awareness for responsible action.” So it is no wonder that it comes as second nature for Maike Böcker to keep an eye out for sustainability in her professional life as well. For example, she often doesn’t fail to notice when the computers were not switched off or the light was left on in her department when people went home at night. She is glad that her employer is committed to sustainability and that the competition got such a tremendous response. Maike Böcker collected the many entries, drew up a short list and, together with ista’s sustainability committee, picked not just one but three winners.

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The sustainability heroes, Johanna Rapp, Marta Saldaña and Charo Galán Boto as well as Julia Jasinski and Vanessa Derksen, receive their awards from ista CEO, Thomas Zinnöcker, and Maike Böcker.

The prize winners for sustainable environmental protection

Where does sustainability begin? Have you ever thought about that? Actually it is the small things which make up the big picture: Sustainability begins with us using scrap paper and sustainable packing materials. But sustainability can also extend to major projects which, for example, involve granting microloans to women in Africa. It was for this very project that the first sustainability hero, Johanna Rapp, was awarded the top prize – a donation of € 5,000 to her organisation. You can find out more about this exciting project here.

“This way we often draw people’s attention to projects that urgently need support and make them aware of problems that sometimes get quickly pushed into the background in everyday life.”

The second prize – supply of a box of fruit for a whole year – went to the Spanish colleagues, Marta Saldaña and Charo Galán Boto, who work at ista Spain, the “green branch 2016”. Our Spanish colleagues have been very systematic in integrating their sustainability approach into their internal and external activities and practising sustainability at all levels. For example, they are expanding their fleet of electric cars and use public transport, wherever possible. They have also launched the “Caring Coffee” project: they give a donation to social projects for every coffee that the employees get from the vending machine. “This way we often draw people’s attention to projects that urgently need support and make them aware of problems that sometimes get quickly pushed into the background in everyday life,” explains Charo Galán Boto, HR manager at ista Spain.

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The sustainability heroes, Julia Jasinski and Vanessa Derksen (top left), Johanna Rapp (top right) and Charo Galán Boto and Marta Saldaña (bottom), are committed to social and ecological sustainability.

Another entry for the title of sustainability hero that also made it to the winners’ rostrum came from dual studies students, Julia Jasinski (24) and Vanessa Derksen (20). They won a prize for the analysis of their branch in Bonn. They talk about their idea themselves in an interview with INSIDEista:

Coming to your project: You carried out a sustainability analysis at your branch in Bonn – what exactly did the analysis involve?

Vanessa Derksen: Our branch analysis is an actual/target analysis. We examined and analysed the actual situation at the Bonn branch to find potential for improvement. And it is not always the big things that count. For example, to reduce CO2 emissions, we suggest introducing a job ticket. Paper consumption can be further reduced if people use incorrect printouts as scrap paper. Buying sustainable office material should also be a priority.

Which of your competitors' projects impressed you the most?

Julia Jasinski: We were very impressed by the green branch in Spain. There the theoretical ideas that were developed are already being implemented in every respect and they've even gone a step further. This example demonstrates very well how pulling together and common convictions can make a branch comprehensively sustainable. At a human level, Johanna Rapp's "vision:teilen" microloan project really moved us. The project shows that each one of us can make a difference.

There is a great interest in the subject of sustainability – where do you think that comes from?

Vanessa Derksen: We believe the energy transition and the major role sustainability plays in energy policy have strengthened the environmental awareness of each and every one of us. Slowly but surely everybody is becoming conscious of the fact that our actions are crucial to future generations. It is high time we used resources in a responsible way.

photocredits: Mike Henning