Fewer machines, more sustainability

AMI invests in sustainability through an Impact Loan

"We want to be at the forefront of every field and that also applies to sustainability," says Arthur de Ruiter, Commercial Director at AMI. So it comes as no surprise that the company is investing in making its machinery fleet more sustainable. AMI opted for an impact loan to finance the project, taking advantage of the favourable conditions.

"2016 has got off to a fantastic start," says Commercial Director Arthur de Ruiter. The firm has been producing aluminium hardware since 1956 and is based in Lomm in the Dutch province of Limburg."We are currently celebrating our 60th anniversary. We also became cradle-to-cradle-certified early this year. And as the cherry on top, we were once again crowned Supplier of the Year in June for which companies are judged on their efforts in sustainability and CSR."

Added value

AMI has been taking huge steps over the past few years in the field of sustainability in particular, De Ruiter reports. "You need to offer added value in order to stand out in the market. We started the process to become ISO-certified a few years ago. We became the first lock and hinge manufacturer in the Netherlands to become CSR-certified in 2014. And now in 2016 we've achieved cradle-to-cradle-certification, the first hardware company in the whole world to do so!" Cradle-to-cradle is the product certification programme that helps businesses to emphasise and optimise their products for the benefit of people and the environment and is one of the quality marks on which the impact loan is assessed.

Innovative solutions

Working towards sustainability is a continuous process according to De Ruiter. "We are of course looking at our own business, but also the wider chain that we are a part of. That allows us to make proper arrangements with our aluminium suppliers." The latest project at AMI is to make the machinery fleet sustainable. De Ruiter: "We always want to go that one step further – one example being our use of innovative solutions to combine our door handle machine, which consists of two parts, into a single piece of equipment. The new machine can now make both male and female parts that together form a single pair of door handles. What's more, we've found a machine that makes two other pieces of equipment in our press redundant. This innovation means substantial energy savings and a reduced use of resources. The new machines are also safer for our employees and better for their health."

Attractive discount

It was at a meeting for cradle-to-cradle companies where the AMI director first heard about impact loans. These loans are intended to help businesses invest in their future while making a positive contribution to people, the environment and society and are available at an attractive discount. To be eligible, businesses must be at the forefront of their sector and demonstrate that they are active in the field of corporate social responsibility by possessing one of the selected quality marks. Rabobank received 100 million euros from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to provide impact loans to SMEs and midcap companies.

Rewarding efforts

For AMI, the impact loan helps to cover the substantial investments required to finance sustainability. "We are able to benefit from favourable conditions through the impact loan, which is something we of course find highly attractive," says De Ruiter. "This is an extremely worthwhile initiative of Rabobank. The construction sector has been in turmoil since 2008, but now it seems the tide is turning. It's important for Rabobank to boost investments in the sector this way. It also feels like a reward for our efforts in sustainability and cradle-to-cradle – something of which we are extremely proud."