His Royal Highness Prince Filip, Duke of Brabant, Prince of Belgium has visited Desso in Dendermonde, Belgium on Friday, 18th February. Desso has received increased attention due to its Cradle to Cradle® strategy, as this Royal visit follows that of Minister-President Kris Peeters of Flanders, Belgium, earlier this month.
The Prince is visiting a number of Belgian companies who are active in the areas of renewable energy and sustainable development, and Desso's Cradle to Cradle® strategy makes it a key player in this field. The visit was also a platform for a debate on 'Cradle to Cradle® & Sustainable Business', for which a number of industry experts were invited to share their opinions on this subject.
Prince Filip was welcomed by Mayor of Dendermonde Piet Buyse, followed by the Desso Board of Directors. Stef Kranendijk, Chief Executive Officer at Desso, began by outlining the principles of Cradle to Cradle® and went on to explain how Cradle to Cradle® helps Desso to boost innovation and a responsible business. The Prince then took part in a tour of the manufacturing facility and Super Tuft™ Plant, including a presentation of Desso's innovative carpet recycling facility: Refinity® (located in Waalwijk, The Netherlands).
The subsequent closed-door debate on 'Cradle to Cradle® & Sustainable Business' included selected experts in this field such as Lieze Cloots from the Belgian Federation for a Better Environment ('Bond Beter Leefmilieu'), Peter Garré from Bopro (Belgian's leading consultants in sustainable real estate development) and Professor Karel Van Acker (coordinator of the Leuven Materials Research Centre, Industrial Research Fellow at K.U.Leuven and chair of the Flemish Transition Network on Sustainable Materials Management).
Following the debate, the Prince was introduced to a number of Desso employees, across all levels of the organization. The visit was concluded with the presentation of a gift for Prince Filip: a Desso-made Axminster woven rug featuring the Arms of the House of Dukes of Brabant, presented by Pierre van Trimpont, Chief Operations Officer at Desso.
Stef Kranendijk was honoured by the Royal visit: "We are extremely pleased to have had the opportunity to receive His Royal Highness Prince Filip and show him what we're striving towards - and what we've already achieved. Cradle to Cradle® is about a totally new way of designing, manufacturing and marketing, that leads to innovation and a responsible business. It's tremendously important to spread the word and increase awareness on this subject, so that other companies take notice and realize what they too can achieve by going Cradle to Cradle®. The Prince's visit reinforces and highlights the importance of sustainability in business, and we were honoured to have been selected as pioneers in this field."