Ignite Stories: Rexel & SustainLab

Having met during Sweden Innovation Days 2022, Rexel Sweden and SustainLab joined forces to help the electrical technology distribution company transform their approach to sustainability reporting and data management.

Rexel faced the challenge of gathering, processing, and reporting on sustainability targets and environmental impact data effectively. Prior to meeting SustainLab, their annual sustainability reporting process was a tedious and time-consuming task.

“Like any other company we want and need to report our sustainability targets and our environmental impact. Every year in December, you have to start collecting all the data, which can be a hassle. We recognized that the process needed to be more efficient,” says Humaira Baneryd, Head of Sustainability at Rexel.

After identifying this innovation need, Ignite Sweden connected the company with startups developing technologies with the potential to solve this challenge. It was at Sweden Innovation Days 2022 when Rexel’s Innovation Manager digitally met Sustainlab, a startup that specializes in automating sustainability data flows within and beyond organizations. Their platform provides a seamless journey from data collection to data visualization and reporting.

Maria Svantemark, CEO and Co-founder at SustainLab, explained that their mission was to help companies make sustainability data collection less of a burden and, in turn, motivate employees to embrace sustainability initiatives by automating the data handling so they can spend less time reporting and more time accelerating change.

The Collaboration

The two companies found a shared vision together with a clear solution in Sustainlab’s offering for Rexel’s sustainability reporting challenges. With the implementation of SustainLab’s sustainability management platform, Rexel witnessed transformative changes in their reporting and data management processes.

“Because their sustainability data was spread throughout their organization and in very different formats, it was a challenge keeping track of the latest version of the data and the process of how it was actually being created,” says SustainLab’s Maria.

SustainLab’s solution addressed three key issues, including the scattered data that was consolidated and normalized, resulting in more consistent and reliable insights. The tedious data processing tasks were also automated, enabling employees to focus on more strategic aspects of sustainability. And finally, the platform facilitated flexible reporting, allowing customized reports for different departments, making sustainability data accessible and actionable across the organization.

Maria Svantemark (SustainLab)

“It’s important to use this data when it’s new to actually drive your business forward in a more sustainable direction. The platform makes this easier as it can analyze thousands of data points in seconds and they can then use this in as many ways as possible,” adds Maria.

Learnings and Challenges

Throughout their collaboration, the two companies uncovered some valuable insights about working with each other.

The key learnings include the need for companies to be open to change and flexibility when collaborating with startups. Embracing innovation and taking calculated risks are essential for reaping the benefits of such partnerships.

“Even if we are taking a technical IT system, it doesn’t mean that we can just continue as normal. We have to change our processes in how we do things. So that takes time. But the good thing about working with a startup is that they’re very flexible and adjustable to your needs and what you want,” says Humaira.

For startups, Maria emphasizes the importance of crafting business models that ease collaboration with larger companies and provide value without demanding substantial upfront investments. This approach enables startups to build meaningful partnerships and drive impact together.

Humaira Baneryd (Rexel)

Rexel & SustainLab were awarded last year the Ignite Rapid Rollout for their outstanding collaboration.

About Rexel
Rexel are experts in multichannel distribution for the energy world, Rexel supports its professional customers with sustainable and innovative solutions, wherever they are.

About SustainLab
SustainLab is a Sustainability Management platform that automates the collection, processing and visualization of sustainability data.

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