It’s bubbling in the Metropolis Ruhr
Sustainable water production at Stiftsquelle
‘Delicious. Refreshing. Neutral.’ – that’s how the water from the depths of the Metropolis Ruhr tastes according to Sebastian Brodmann, CEO of the family-run Stiftsquelle in Dorsten.
We decided to meet the 32-year-old for a cold glass of water at the company site on the industrial estate, on what has turned out to be a scorching hot day with temperatures reaching 35°C. Next to the new building are stacks of blue empties crates. In front, an electric car sparkles in the sunlight. On top of the building, the solar energy system is storing energy. We flee from the heat into the air-conditioned building. Inside, Sebastian Brodmann appears, in a good mood and ready for our chat.
The company site in Dorsten finds itself in the middle of a region dominated by industry. However, test drilling has revealed that the water is of the highest quality. How is that possible?
Brodmann: The environment is not necessarily crucial to the quality. Mineral water must have various covering and separating layers, which keep dirt away from the mineral water. In this respect, depth and the structure of the earth’s deposits are important – both of which are very good here. It’s likely that the mineral water here is more than 800 years old, coming down as rain back then. Today, that water is the source of Stiftsquelle.
In the area of production, sustainability is playing an increasingly important role. What does a more environmentally friendly production process mean for your company?
Brodmann: In mid 2016 we launched our own organic mineral water: Landpark Bio-Quelle. We were the first to do so in North Rhine–Westphalia. Organic means environmental protection, high production quality and adherence to social standards. I like to use outputs as examples. In order to conserve groundwater, we only produce 80 per cent of the approved amount. With our photovoltaic system on the roof, we manage to cover one-third of our annual electricity demand through solar energy. We draw the rest of our electricity from renewable energies. Therefore, our production is completely climate-neutral. With the organic mineral water, we are committed to protecting the resource water not only for ourselves but also for the next generations.
We also have self-imposed obligations, such as voluntarily reducing the speed of our fleet of delivery lorries to 82 kilometres per hour. Doing this, we save fuel and reduce environmental emissions. To be even more eco-friendly, we are currently in the process of converting our cars to electric. In addition, the majority of our bottling consists of reusable bottles, which can be reused up to 50 times.
You are the fifth generation of your family to head the company, alongside your father. Was that always your dream job? How did you enter the business?
Brodmann: As a child, I dreamed of being a musician – I wanted a career as a drummer. But it was clear to me that it wouldn’t be marked by success and isn’t something for the long term. As a youngster, I would do various jobs for the family business during the holidays and got to know the production processes and employees. From that point, my path into my parents’ company was clear. I treasure the personal aspect of the family business – here, every door is always open. We support each other and take individual destinies seriously.
Why did you chose Dorsten as your location?
Brodmann: Our previous site was in Essen, in the middle of a residential area. It was questionable whether that site would continue to be productive in the future, particularly as we had very good growth forecasts – we now have a team of 105 employees. So, we started looking for other springs. The results of 13 test drillings in the Ruhr region showed that Dorsten ticked all the boxes: land, water, quality and quantity.
I treasure the personal aspect of the family business – here, every door is always open. We support each other and take individual destinies seriously.
Did you consider a site outside of the Ruhr region?
Brodmann: No. For us it was important that we took all employees with us to the new site, which we managed to do. It also had to be accessible from Essen. We feel connected to our region and home. That’s why it was unimaginable for us to move away from the Ruhr region.
Which advantages does this site offer?
Brodmann: It’s like this: we are taking a product from nature, because water is a classic natural product. Thus, we have a very large moral obligation to nature. Unlike others, we do not want to transport mineral water throughout the whole of Germany. Our aspiration is to distribute our product within the Ruhr region and not beyond. That makes ecological sense. And it’s possible in this region with its high density – a big advantage. So we are very happy to be based here.