Corporate social responsibility
Athlon is convinced that sustainable entrepreneurship is the only logical approach for a company that puts its customers first. This becomes clear when you look at the broader context in which we operate.
In order to provide our customers with the best possible service, we need to ensure a seamless fit between a large number of factors. The expectations of our customers, the expertise of our employees, the reliability of our suppliers and the goodwill of our environment: together they form a challenging and complex puzzle. Anyone who wants to complete this puzzle must maintain a good overview.
In traditional business operations, corporate social responsibility (CSR) would be considered an additional complication. At Athlon, however, we do not see any conflict between sustainable entrepreneurship and our business objectives. On the contrary, by taking into account the broader social context in which we operate, we gain inspiration and unexpected opportunities arise.
The expectations of our customers
At Athlon, we anticipate tomorrow’s mobility. The holistic approach of corporate social responsibility acts as the ideal framework for this. Not only does it allow us to take a head start in dealing with future mobility issues, it also enables us to broaden our horizons and identify opportunities that lie outside our traditional area of work.
For example, since 2006 we have been offering users of a company car a wide range of options. They can combine different means of transport depending on their needs and usage, at no extra cost to the employer. Our multimodal transport solutions have been growing steadily since 2012. When the mobility budget was introduced in 2018, Athlon already had years of experience in that field.
The expertise of our employees
People give it their all at work when they feel involved and appreciated in their workplace. Click here to discover how that idea inspired us to transform our office building into a (literally) thriving biotope. Find out how that engages, inspires, and helps our employees recharge their batteries, which our customers are able to witness day in, day out.
The reliability of our suppliers
When looking for suppliers, we cherish the same expectations as our own customers. We know the power of sustainable entrepreneurship, so we look for suppliers who have made that same commitment. This is how we lay the foundation for a solid, sustainable partnership.
The goodwill of our environment
Our world is wider than our customers, employees, and suppliers. We have an impact on our neighbourhood, our society, and our environment, and vice versa. Our commitment and ambition always remain the same, regardless of the size of our contribution. We share this vision with our parent companies, Daimler Mobility AG and Daimler AG.
Our vision in practice
Anyone visiting our offices will immediately see that when it comes to corporate social responsibility, we wear our heart on our sleeve. Here you won’t see any neatly mowed lawns or cobblestoned paths flanked by rows of hedges around a sterile office space. At Athlon, we have a wildflower meadow, haystacks, and fruit trees. This constantly changing environment is alive and inspiring. And our employees reap the benefits, sometimes even literally.
For the management of the greenery around the building, we joined forces with Herman, a biodiversity specialist and chairman of the local Natuurpunt department. He still helps us with the maintenance of the beehive, the flower meadows, the dead hedges, the settling pond, the lawn and much more. Thanks to well thought-out pesticide-free landscape management, the area surrounding our building has become a haven for many unique plants and animals. In fact, we have already spotted more than 16 different species of butterflies.
We have also removed a lot of pavements and replaced them with grass pavers, which, just like the settling pond, allow for better water absorption and create their very own mini biotope. To achieve this, we had to move our employee car park a few hundred metres, but that turned out to be an added bonus. The Athlon team start and end their workday with a refreshing walk through our very own small biotope. And in an environment like this, we encourage walking meetings during the workday too. After all, there’s no better way to get some fresh air and think outside the box.
The office building itself – formerly a stereotypical administrative centre full of plastic and gypsum – had been left to deteriorate for ten years. We decided to give it a well-deserved makeover by joining forces with Nearly New Office Facilities (NNOF), a company based in Vilvoorde that specialises in circular office furniture. The idea was to create small-scale modular workspaces enabling different ways of working, from very sociable to hyper-concentrated. Our partnership with NNOF allowed us to save seven tonnes of CO2 during the renovation.
It goes without saying that a healthy work environment goes hand in hand with a healthy way of working. We encourage this with practical measures such as free fresh fruit and showers for those who like to cycle to work or exercise during their lunch break. But it also means giving our team flexibility, trust, and the freedom to make their own decisions. We provide training on stress management and burnout prevention at all levels of our organisation. We also pride ourselves on the balanced male-to-female ratio at all levels of our company, as well as an enriching diversity in terms of our employees’ origin and background.
Of course, none of this was achieved in isolation. By playing an active role in our neighbourhood, we can mean a lot to one another. We are happy to welcome our neighbours to our annual family celebration and our Christmas market. Throughout the year, we strive for open and accessible communication to ensure that local residents know who to turn to if, for example, a low-hanging branch needs to be pruned.
Your partner in corporate social responsibility
Athlon’s activities are built around one central thinking exercise. We ask ourselves what is important to our customers. This goes far beyond simply answering a question. Providing services in a rapidly evolving sector such as mobility means anticipating tomorrow’s demand. Sustainability and social responsibility will inevitably play a major role in this. By responding to this with full conviction, we not only honour our corporate social responsibility efforts, but we also manage to come up with better, smarter solutions: smarter mobility.
Given today’s traffic, it no longer makes sense to choose the largest possible car for the available budget only to get stuck in traffic jams. That is why we developed the Sustainable Mobility Plan. Since 2008, together with our customers, we have been looking at the range of possibilities that best meets their mobility needs. As part of this plan, public transport or bicycles can replace or supplement a company car. This gives our customers the freedom to choose sustainable means of transport whenever possible and use a company car when they need it.
By actively promoting alternatives to diesel cars, more economical cars, and an eco-friendly driving style, we reduce our customers’ emissions and prepare them for the stricter guidelines that lie ahead. This is also one of the reasons why we are strongly committed to electric mobility. In 2011, we were the first leasing company in Belgium to invest in e-mobility. Today, we are continuing to build on this pioneering role with a 360° offer, from A to Z – or rather, from recharging plug to traffic lights. This enables our customers to enjoy the comfort, innovations, and tax advantages of electric driving worry-free.
Of course, we are happy to share the experience we have garnered over the years. Entrepreneurs from a wide range of sectors regularly visit our offices to gain inspiration and exchange best practices. We like to take the lead in our network. Our most experienced sustainability experts do this by giving lectures across the country, for example. This allows us to pass on what we have learned and also pick up good ideas to continuously improve our own operations. That too is corporate social responsibility at Athlon.