When the market is flooded with competition, and sustainability – one of your key differentiators – is routinely misappropriated throughout the industry, how do you ensure that your business not only survives, but thrives?
Here, Global Technical and Sustainability Manager, Aidan Hill, reveals how prioritising sustainable business practices, throughout three family generations, has secured Autex’s position as leader in an increasingly crowded marketplace.
Tell me a bit about your previous experience and your current role at Autex.
Originally, my plan was to work in environmental conservation. I did a Master of Science then majored in environmental science, and my first job involved monitoring air and water quality, which followed into working with businesses to reduce their trade waste. It was all hands-on field work – which was very interesting but it also made me understand the challenges that a lot of businesses are faced with, when trying to become more sustainable. I moved to the UK and started working as a sustainability consultant, helping businesses with understanding their carbon emissions and wider environmental impacts. My current role at Autex involves helping the company to reduce its impact on the environment, working with our manufacturing and operations teams across the world towards achieving more sustainable outcomes.
Why is sustainability important for Autex?
Sustainability is a core value for Autex – and has been throughout most of Autex’s history. Every decision – from how our products are made to how our design and manufacturing teams communicate – is made with sustainability in mind. It’s a constant feedback loop, where my team and I reach out to key stakeholders for input on how we can do things better, which is then fed back into our business and design processes. Autex is a family business, so sustainability is a value that has been passed down through three generations – you can see that from a lot of our sustainable initiatives, which have been in place from the outset.
How is your industry changing and what role does sustainability play?
The biggest challenge Autex has experienced in recent years is increased competition. The market has been flooded with similar products – but it’s also given us an opportunity to showcase what we do differently, our sustainability practices and how our products are superior. Autex was launched more than 50 years ago, so it was a very different business back then – but even so, we have always prioritised sustainable practices, and that’s given us a real edge in the market as customers begin to understand its importance. I’ve been in sustainability for 20 years and the traction that has occurred within just the last 2-3 years has been incredible. Much of that change has been driven by politics, but there’s also a real grass-roots demand for it, a real industry disruption. Customers are beginning to scrutinise what they’re buying and asking tough questions; making sustainable products, in a sustainable way, really puts us at the forefront of the market.
Why is Autex sponsoring the 2020 Sustainability Awards?
Autex has always been a leader in sustainability but, in this age of ‘greenwashing’, it’s in danger of becoming a throw-away term. Unfortunately, it’s becoming increasingly easy for suppliers to hint at sustainability without actually putting any of the practices in place. We have a responsibility to the industry to make our message quite clear – to show them what we’re doing, in terms of sustainable practices, and why we’re doing it.
For more information visit Autex here.