Trendsetters: ROCKWOOL's Mirella Vitale Discusses Sustainability & Transformation for a Global Brand
Although many brands are looking to find their place in a sustainable future, few can truly say that their product portfolio has a positive impact on many of the global environmental issues facing the planet today. The ROCKWOOL Group, without question, is a sustainable company. As the world leader in the manufacture of stone wool products, the company's diverse brands literally protect life, one's assets, and even the environment through water-repellant, fire-proof and thermally-efficient building insulation and other products that control noise and vibration.
In a newly-created position as Senior Vice President of Marketing, Communication and Public Affairs for the ROCKWOOL Group, Mirella Amalia Vitale is leading the charge to globalize marketing efforts and drive the company's re-positioning as a truly global brand with a strong sustainability agenda and an increased customer-focused business approach. She is uniquely positioned to take on this role after spending 15 years in the alternative energy field working for market-leader Vestas Wind Systems in various leadership roles in Italy, Spain and Denmark.
Stone wool, the basis of ROCKWOOL products, is a versatile material made from a natural and abundant resource – volcanic rock, which is comprised largely of basalt and chalk. Stone wool, or mineral wool as it sometimes called, is formed by melting the rock at high heat, and then blowing it into a spinning chamber to create cotton-candy-like fibers. Applications for stone wool include ROCKWOOL's thermal insulation, filtration, soundproofing, and even a hydroponic growth medium.
Speaking on a panel at the ANA's Masters of Marketing conference last month in Orlando, Mirella Vitale explained how ROCKWOOL's stone wool products have extraordinary characteristics. "The combination of fire safety and energy efficiency is unique. Measured over a period of 50 years, our products save more than 100 times the energy that goes into producing them. Society's ever-increasing focus on energy efficiency presents us with some outstanding opportunities."
Additionally, ROCKWOOL insulation conserves energy resources and reduces air pollution and CO2 emissions by minimizing the combustion of fuel, which helps to alleviate environmental problems like the greenhouse effect, smog and acid rain. ROCKWOOL insulation is also non-combustible with ability to withstand temperatures of more than 1000°C without melting. Not only does it keep out the freezing cold, but in hot climates, stone wool helps to keep indoor temperatures comfortably cool. And ROCKWOOL's acoustic solutions improve schools, hospitals, offices and sport facilities in many countries.
Despite these facts, Mirella Vitale is very much aware, as a marketer, that the consumer is a critical factor in their offering, and some contradictions exist—particularly in the US. For example, 2016 US Department of Agriculture figures indicate that organic foods account for only 4% of total food sales in the United States. Eco cleaners in US households represent a mere 3% of the total market. While 35% of all vehicles will be electric by 2040, they represented 1% of sales in the light vehicle category in 2015, based on Bloomberg New Energy Finance data.
As she develops a global marketing platform for ROCKWOOL, Mirella Vitale is confident that environmental, social and economic benefits will make the consumer the company's number one sustainability partner.
The ROCKWOOL Group, with a head office location near Copenhagen, Denmark, was founded in 1909, and its insulation production started in 1937. ROCKWOOL Group operations have a large presence in Europe and Russia, and a rapidly-growing position in North America; they now have over ten-thousand employees in 37 countries in their effort to support customers worldwide.
Mirella Vitale is a true internationalist. Italian by birth, she studied foreign languages and literature in Bari University, Italy with continuing professional education in a High-Performance Leadership Program at IMD, Lausanne, Switzerland. She joined ROCKWOOL in a new Group Management position in February 2016 just after the company announced their ambitious business transformation program.