This Dutch entrepreneur in consumer logistics proves sustainability can be cheaper when you look at the bigger picture.
sustainable is always expensive? Andries Vlot disagrees
The popular assumption is that sustainable is always expensive. One green entrepreneur in the Netherlands has a different opinion. “I absolutely do not agree with that. In fact, I am sure that sustainable is always cheaper, if you are willing to see the whole perspective.” says Andries Vlot, director & owner of TSN Groen, a consumer logistics and home delivery company.
tsn groen build their own electric vehicles
As you are no doubt aware by now, transport is a huge contributor to co2 and particulate matter. In 2020, TSN Groen made the switch from diesel transport to electric transport, and now they have a fleet of 60 EVs driving around. But because supply was lower than demand, they actually started up a new company with the aim of converting 100 diesel vehicles to electric.
“You can go electric, but if then the energy is not generated in the right way, you’re still at zero.” says Vlot. “That’s what made us decide to to install a solar park at our own distribution center. There are almost 3,200 solar panels at our current solar park, we generate about twice as much than we use ourselves.” Of the additional yield from the return to the grid, a portion is used to help those who are less fortunate.
TSN Groen employs their own ecologist
TSN Groen actually employs their own ecologist who studies everything the company plans to do beforehand in regards to its sustainability. For example, when planting around the warehouse, an area for bee hotels and a swallow wall were included. There are also bee hives around the distribution center.
The company work shoes are made from made from recycled PET bottles. Staff work in MUD jeans that are made from recycled denim jeans. And the outerwear and jackets are all made from material that can be can be reused to make new clothes.
This year, the aim is to transport people to work in a co2 neutral way, and TSN Groen are encouraging a bicycle program.
Sustainability is such a broad subject that it is not just about electric transport, but there is also plenty of focus on people and their well-being. TSN Groen also has a social workshop integrated in their warehouse so can they can reduce the distance to the labour market even further.
A main goal of Vlot’s is to inspire and do it well and get imitated
Vlot thinks it is very important to be involved in this, instead of only being focused on "How much can I save as much as possible during this year?"
That sustainable is actually always associated with…"That is more expensive." Vlot simply doesn’t agree.
“If we talk about public health, as opposed to reducing the co2 emissions from vehicles, for example. That cost saving is unprecedented.
“I’ve seen it myself business-wise now and this whole exercise is not any more expensive up front. The vehicles are a bit more expensive to buy, but against that is the operation…For example if you think about maintenance, to fuel… That makes a significant contribution to reduce the somewhat higher purchase price.
“Sustainability… I sometimes say: ‘Those are the fruits you get extra.’
“That really translates into lower absenteeism due to illness, more commitment of the people, more willingness to delivering quality.
“A main goal of mine is to inspire and do it well and get imitated. When they look back later and say: ‘He not only had an eye for the euros, but also for the people around him.’ That will be the biggest compliment.”
We think Andries Vlot is setting a fine example for other entrepreneurs and CEOs.
TSN Groen goes further than regular distribution.
TSN Groen enjoys a logistical challenge and likes to think along with their customers. Priding themselves on an efficient delivery process, TSN Groen works with both one-man and two-man distribution, where everything is possible and if desired, the packaging material can be taken back. To complete the service, it is also possible to take old furniture or white goods back to their recycling center.