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Sappi’s Treehouse opens its doors to creative sustainability ideas

Photo: Sappi
Photo: Sappi
Published by
Simon Matthis - 10 Oct 2012

Launched by Minister-President of Flanders (Belgium), Kris Peeters on Friday, 28th September, the Treehouse is the result of a joint vision and partnership between Sappi Fine Paper Europe, ANB (the Agency for Nature and Forests), the Belgian Municipality of Hechtel-Eksel, and communication agency Proximity BBDO. Put simply, the Treehouse is a platform, both physical and virtual, for like-minded individuals and companies to come together to find ways to embrace sustainability in their daily activities. Sustainability is at the heart of everything Sappi does, and this new space in the tree tops, designed structurally in the form of an open book, provides the blank canvas, and the environmental inspiration to drive, and share, sustainable thinking.

Located in Bosland, the largest forest in Flanders, the Treehouse was designed by German architect Andreas Wenning. It is made from wood and metal, and is in effect, a meeting room in the trees. Once the idea for the Treehouse concept was born, Sappi made it its business to find partners to make the project real. With sustainability firmly embedded as a company policy, a strong desire to share their experience with others, and to encourage further thinking on the topic made the commitment to bringing the Treehouse concept to life a natural next step. During the launch, Eric Van den Bruel, Product Development and Marketing Director for Sappi said, “As a pulp and paper producer, it is important for Sappi that there is a sustainable way to manage our forests. We devote a lot of our energy to sustainability, and are delighted to have the Treehouse as a new and inspiring platform where we can continue to learn from others and share our experience in this area.”

Open-minded companies from different sectors can meet at the Treehouse to brainstorm, generate ideas, and put them into action. In order to do so, participants must adhere to some basic principles designed to maintain the concept. For instance, the Treehouse must be used as a centre of creativity and thinking out of the box; the surrounding environment should be a natural source of inspiration; and most importantly, the results of the experience need to be shared and exchanged with other members of the Treehouse community through the online platform.

In addition to further developing the online platform which has been designed to hold all ideas that are generated from the Treehouse, an Ambassador programme has been put in place which will form the basis of the Treehouse network. Minister Kris Peeters has already been given his Treehouse business card as a first member of this elite group of forward thinkers on sustainability.