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S.E.E.D.S. Around the world

Country Manager Mario Opačak has set up a sustainability strategy for the Croatian sales company. Based on S.E.E.D.S. as a Group-wide strategy and suited perfectly for Croatia.

Why? Mario Opačak has no problem answering this question

“In early summer 2015 a plan was presented at the Managers’ Meeting for Eastern Europe, requesting national sales companies – NSCs – in the Vaillant Group to use the sustainability strategy S.E.E.D.S. and adapt it to their local situations. I knew immediately that we should do this in Croatia. We had actually done quite a lot until that point – both major and minor things – but we had not been working to a comprehensive strategy.”

However, this changed when a specially tailored strategy was set up which now suits the needs of partners, customers and the NSC. “Also, additional funds were provided for the pilot project – which helped us perfectly in realising the ideas we had already.”

Things went very quickly, and quite soon, in September 2015, the strategy "Vaillant 2020 - really green" was in place. The Vaillant Group Sustainability Management presented an initial policy and then supported the NSC in working out the details. After all, S.E.E.D.S. had to be broken down in more detail to suit the relevant local conditions at each of the NSCs.

  • 4

    subject areas

  • 1


  • 2020

    really green

The NSC in Croatia started by analysing its status for each of the four subject areas and then defined certain goals which it wants to reach by 2020. This is largely done through specific projects: for instance, reducing its carbon footprint, making the office building self-sufficient in terms of electric power, etc. Some of this has been realised already. The photovoltaic system has now been up and running since January 2016, and although the building is not yet carbon-neutral, it is already independent of any external power supply. An electric car, too, is now in use and can be recharged right outside the company’s doorstep. The charging station is also available to customers. Although this service has not met with any demand yet, electric mobility is a major point of discussion in Croatia and is generously supported by the state, says the Country Manager.

Three questions for

Claudia Altenrath, Head of Sustainability Management

Why local adaptions of the Group sustainability strategie?

We support the sales companies in using S.E.E.D.S. as a basis for developing their own sustainability strategy – one that is geared towards the needs of their markets.”

How does the Group sustainability management support the sales companies?

We are working on a modular tool box where sales companies can pick and choose the modules that will help them make progress.”

Are there already plans for a further roll-out?

Croatia is a pilot project country which has taken great strides ahead, followed closely by its big neighbour in the North, as we work with the Austrian sales company on their sustainability strategy."

But why should the Group-wide sustainability strategy be adapted in Croatia?

“Because it suits us,” Mario Opačak repeats. “Obviously, we, as Vaillant, are ahead of our time here in Croatia. But that’s precisely what it’s all about. We’re market leaders and we’re always ahead of the pack. We were the first ones to create a customer loyalty programme, to offer a training centre and a mobile information centre, to run a free customer hotline, a YouTube channel, a special training centre on renewable energies, etc. We are pioneers. And that includes this area, in particular. It’s important that the term sustainability should become meaningful in Croatia – and this hasn’t happened yet.” The strategy is particularly well served by Green iQ products, launched in early 2016, which are being supported through numerous media, including new ones.

The goal: green through and through

One major step has already been taken: On 16 September, the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, the company held the first Vaillant Green Day. As part of a full and varied schedule, the approx. 60 trade partners and representatives from politics, business, environmental associations and press became acquainted with the programme’s key points across six different stations. They were able to see and learn about the photovoltaic system on the building’s roof and the four aroTHERM heat pumps that heat and cool the building. At other stations, the guests familiarised themselves with the Green iQ products and calculated their own green intelligence quotient by taking the test featured in the Green IQ study. The German ambassador to Croatia, Thomas E. Schultze, opened the event as guest of honour.

One major aim is to gain partners for sustainability. Our second step will be active integration, which we want to initiate between 2018 and 2020. The first part of the strategy is a matter of demonstrating sustainability in real life, providing information and generating enthusiasm.”