HelloPrint is the world’s largest marketplace for customized print products. They produce customized print products as locally as possible, using a high-density network of more than 200 high-quality producers serving customers in 13 countries.
One of the most notable aspects of HelloPrint is their commitment to sustainability. Over the years, they have intensified their efforts to ensure their operations have minimal environmental impact.
These sustainability efforts gained extra momentum after they participated in Impact Nation, a sustainability accelerator program by the Dutch bank ABN AMRO. To help them achieve their sustainability goals, they brought on board Isabelle de Wolf.
Isabelle first started under CFO Lennaert Koch and has since been promoted to VP Sustainability with a seat in the boardroom, a clear indication of how seriously HelloPrint takes sustainability.
Since HelloPrint started intensifying their sustainability efforts, they’ve made significant strides in ensuring their operations are environmentally friendly. But there’s still a lot to do in order to become sustainable in a future-proof way.
One of the main challenges Isabelle currently faces is developing a comprehensive understanding of HelloPrint's impact as an organization. Next, it’s translating this understanding into a tactical sustainability strategy. To accomplish this, she first needs to conduct extensive research and analysis, which can be a time-consuming and complex process.
Isabelle: “The challenge is to combine economic and ecological factors and integrate those into the business strategy. This involves identifying areas where the company can reduce its environmental impact while also improving its bottom line.” This means she needs to work closely with other teams to ensure sustainability is integrated into all aspects of the company's operations.
Meeting the minimal legal requirements for organizations in their industry regarding ESGs is another challenge.
“We want to ensure HelloPrint is in compliance with CSRD and other regulations related to sustainability. This involves staying up-to-date with changes in legislation and regulations and making the necessary adjustments to ensure compliance.”
Lastly, Isabelle's role also encompasses project and change management, which involves ensuring everyone has access to the right information and makes sustainability part of the business's decision-making process.
Previously, all of these challenges were ultimately the responsibility of HelloPrint's CFO. Now that Isabelle’s become VP Sustainability and joined the MT, she’s taken full ownership of this role.
One of the most immediate problems to solve is how to measure sustainability and its impact. This is a complex issue that involves identifying key metrics to focus on for measuring progress.
Isabelle: “Building the business case for sustainability requires a deep understanding of the company's operations and the ability to identify environmental and social impact areas. Sustainability is such a broad concept that it can be difficult to make it very clear and specific, and to ensure everyone understands and embraces its importance.”
Isabelle is charged with communicating the importance of sustainability to all employees, from the CEO to the front-line staff. Isabelle: “We also want to preempt legislative/regulatory changes. For instance, with the upcoming CSRD directive, we knew we needed to take this into account. And we’re not the only ones either. I’ve begun to notice people in my network getting hired specifically for CSRD compliance roles at other companies. It’s my job to be proactive about these types of regulatory changes.”
As for KPIs or metrics Isabelle focuses on, one such metric is about increasing eco-sales. One way to achieve this goal and simultaneously build awareness around it internally is by making sure growth, marketing, and product teams take it into account when improving the product offering, developing marketing propositions, etc.
The ultimate goal is to ensure that all HelloPrint teams consider both economic/financial and ecological/sustainable factors. By working closely with all departments, Isabelle hopes to achieve this goal and position HelloPrint as a leader in sustainability within their industry. The right KPIs can make all the difference here.
At HelloPrint, senior leadership believes in the importance of integrating sustainability into the business. However, it’s still a challenge to balance out and prioritize projects which will most likely contribute to a better commercial performance versus sustainability initiatives that have a less clear or quantitative, short-term incentive, for example.
Isabelle is now an independent member of the MT focused solely on sustainability, meaning she doesn’t prioritize any other incentives. “It will be my job to challenge other members of the MT on sustainability, bringing this to the forefront of HelloPrint, increasing awareness and allowing for more top-down influence. It’s getting more and more traction within the company, but there’s still much to be done.”
Isabelle: “It's also important to remember that sustainability is an iterative process; new innovations become feasible all the time. For example, if a new type of material made from renewable sources were to be invented, this would help achieve certain targets. It's so crucial to keep iterating on sustainability policies and have the latest data and insights on emissions.”
Which brings us to Coolset and the way it’s improving HelloPrint’s approach to sustainability with its more accurate datasets and methodology.
The initial footprint calculation that HelloPrint conducted was over the year 2021. It was a footprint calculation based on activity data and only focused on the categories they were aware of. However, they wanted to ensure they had a full picture of their impact. In response, they began searching for a new tool to help them understand their true impact to identify opportunities for improvement.
“One important issue was the need to track year-over-year changes in our sustainability measures. This would allow us to better report on our progress and the efficiency of our sustainability measures. To adhere to GHGP guidelines, it's necessary to use the same methodology every time sustainability impacts are measured.”
After researching several options, HelloPrint ultimately decided to partner with Coolset. Coolset's software and team have all the necessary capabilities and internal knowledge to help HelloPrint measure their impact while adhering to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, and become fully CSRD-compliant.
Isabelle first discovered the platform through LinkedIn content shared by Coolset CEO, Konstantinos Kouzelis. She again encountered the company when Coolset hosted a joint webinar with Rainbow Collection, one of HelloPrint's partners.
After evaluating several other companies, Isabelle ultimately decided to partner with Coolset due to their unique methodology and their ability to provide better year-over-year tracking.
Isabelle: “To get started, I had an introductory call with my colleague Megi, one of our sustainability specialists, and Konstantinos. During the call, we discussed our goals and how Coolset could help us achieve those. We received an offer, which we discussed internally. After some additional questions were discussed, we were ready to proceed.”
Implementation went very smoothly, with Coolset's customer success team, led by Selma Boeke, following up consistently to ensure that everything was processed correctly. Isabelle: “I was impressed with the level of attention and support we received from the Coolset team throughout the implementation process.”
"Coolset provided clear insight into the varying environmental impact throughout the year and which factors contributed to those higher emissions."
Coolset proved to be an efficient way for HelloPrint to gain more insight into their carbon footprint and the specific factors contributing to it. Isabelle praised the platform for making it easier to compare progress on a year-over-year basis. The continuity that Coolset offered made sense for HelloPrint.
Isabelle: “Switching carbon emission analysis partners anytime soon no longer seemed like a viable option. Looking to the future, we’ve set reduction goals 2025 and 2030. To achieve this, we’ll continue working with Coolset's methodology for the next few years, with the aim of making HelloPrint a more sustainable business across the board. A long-term collaboration with Coolset would be amazing.”
Overall, the results of HelloPrint's partnership with Coolset have been very positive, with the platform offering valuable insights and helping to drive the company's sustainability efforts. The future looks bright for HelloPrint and Coolset, as they continue to work together towards a more sustainable future.