The launch of the EEKO brand in the greater Lille area has been a success as the organisation stayed true to its original business model, which combines sustainable development and profitability.
What is its approach?
The EEKO brand, created by the Van Klaveren company, employs the image of a squirrel (“eekhoorn” in Dutch), positioning the company as a veritable green partner of companies, local authorities and private individuals. The free collection system makes it possible to sustainably recycle used ink cartridges. But EEKO takes it a step further: a percentage of its income is paid over to its partner charitable organisations. Thus, every person “donating” a cartridge can select the organisation to which EEKO is to pay the profit from the resale. Thanks to a well-established system of collection boxes and envelopes branded for these associations (WWF or Cliniclowns for example), EEKO manages to collect close to 3 million ink cartridges per annum.
How did EEKO set up in France?
With some 20 years’ experience in the Netherlands, Gerhard Van Klaveren, the company’s founder, began to look at the French market in 2010. Considering a number of business opportunities, he quickly saw its potential and established EEKO France in 2011. Supported by Lille’s agency from start to finish, the company set up in Seclin and hired its first employee. By September 2012, EEKO France had set itself the goal of replicating its model in France and of structuring its French subsidiary accordingly. Michiel Ossevoort was appointed to get the project up and running. Logistics were optimised and communication tools sharpened (website and brochures) and a search undertaken to find an association that shared the company’s values. It quickly became clear that Les Clowns de L’Espoir was the ideal candidate. This association works to ease the hospital stays of children in the various paediatric facilities in the Nord-Pas de Calais region through shows given by volunteer clowns. The discussions between EEKO and Les Clowns de L’Espoir concluded on 18 September 2013 with the signature of a partnership agreement. “Our relationship with Les Clowns de L’Espoir represents a critical milestone for EEKO. It means that the company can provide an environmentally sustainable service while making a donation to Les Clowns de L’Espoir”, said Michiel Ossevoort.
How does the company rate its partnership with Lille’s agency?
“Our partnership with Lille’s agency was critical and decisive for us. The agency helped me prepare the French strategic plan as well as with its translation and implementation I was impressed with its market knowledge and the effectiveness of its network of local partners that was opened up to us. Lille’s agency was an impartial and creative partner throughout the process”, concluded Michiel Ossevoort, operational manager, EEKO.