Sustainability is a must-have

Sustainability is a must-have

Taking social and ecological responsibility is a matter close to Laura’s heart – at work and in her free time. As a product manager at SKIDATA, she also coordinates the initiative that promotes corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Sustainability in business starts with the proper separation of waste in the office and goes well beyond product supply chains. “Working sustainably has now become a market requirement. No longer a ‘nice-to-have’, but a ‘must-have’,” says Laura. The 43-year-old is the hardware product manager for the skiosk product family at SKIDATA GmbH and has also been the coordinator of the CSR initiative for a year. “It’s even more important to take on social and ecological responsibility in the workplace than in your private life,” says Laura. “The leverage is much greater here.”

 

“A great opportunity to do something good”

Laura’s own commitment to social and ecological issues initially began as a personal journey. After studying international business and management – and gaining many years of professional experience in event management at Red Bull and as a product manager at ServusTV – she realized it was time for a change. In 2017, she took some time off. However, she didn’t remain idle, but traveled to Cambodia and worked as a volunteer for a non-profit organization in rural areas for seven weeks.

How did this happen? It sounds almost like a fairy tale. “A former work colleague told me about how he had met a penniless young man, Samnang, on a trip to Cambodia a long time ago. He financed English lessons and an education in tourism for him,” Laura says. Samnang managed to build a livelihood as a successful travel entrepreneur and in 2009 he founded the Angkor Kids Center in Siem Reap province to help other children in the region have a better future through education. This non-profit organization focuses on teaching English and basic computer skills. Laura was immediately excited: “It's a great opportunity to do something good!”

Laura set out on her own trip to Cambodia and helped to set up a library, took care of infrastructural issues and assisted with English lessons. “It was an exciting but also challenging time,” she says. Laura was particularly impressed by the children’s gratitude and self-motivation: “They spend half an hour cycling out there after their official school lessons to learn English of their own accord.” The donations for the Angkor Kids Center are managed by the Helpucation association from southern Germany. After her volunteer work on the ground, Laura was elected to the board of the association and is now active as treasurer.

 

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Engaging with social issues in the workplace


Originally, Laura wanted to go abroad again for a longer period after her return. But she then discovered a job opening in product management at SKIDATA. “I already knew a few employees and had heard a lot of positive things about the company,” she says. Laura was particularly attracted by the international orientation of SKIDATA. Since then, she has dealt with many technical topics in her day-to-day work. “I’ll have to do my social activities on the side,” Laura thought to herself. But last year, the opportunity arose to integrate them even more into the job.

The CSR initiative was launched in the summer of 2022 on the initiative of several employees. Since then, a total of 19 colleagues from different departments have been working towards one goal: creating awareness of the social and ecological responsibility that SKIDATA has and establishing CSR as a key value in the company’s culture. “CSR is not an additional activity, but a way of doing core business – it is an attitude,” Laura explains. “Everyone should think about how they can make their job more sustainable.” She herself increased her working hours and took on the coordination of the initiative. “I’m happy to be able to engage with social issues at work now, too,” says Laura, and adds: “We’re one of the first really well-functioning cross-departmental teams at SKIDATA.” The shared roadmap with 33 initiatives, which the group presented at a townhall meeting for all Austrian employees, testifies to this.

 

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Responsibility as a corporate value


The CSR initiative also enjoys the support of the company’s management. With the new corporate value of CARE, entrepreneurial responsibility is already anchored in the SKIDATA’s culture. “Now it’s a matter of implementing this value,” says Laura. Her own path at SKIDATA leads exactly in this direction. In the summer, she is due for TÜV certification as a CSR manager. She also has plans for her private life: “When my son is a bit older, I definitely want to travel to Cambodia again with him.” Laura’s son is also the one who gives the topic of sustainability particular urgency: “For me, my son is the motivation to keep the earth we have worth living on for future generations. We’re nearly out of time.”

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