How MAN ES created 100’s of sustainable, people-led initiatives with Acadal

How do you involve people in a large organization to collaborate on figuring out how to solve a key element in the corporate strategy? Here's how MAN Energy Solutions did it by high involvement through Acadal.

MAN Energy Solutions is the world-leading designer of ship engines and technological solutions for maritime.

With a strict focus on the global climate impact from the maritime industry, a key element in the corporate strategy is to lead the way towards a carbon-neutral future for the industry.

Significant technology shifts are happening in products and solutions and one of the key focus areas are environmental friendly green fuels. Thomas Leander, Head of Solutions & Site Manager of MAN Energy Solutions in Frederikshavn, wanted to try new ways to implement climate activities on his site.

We wanted to do more locally on our site and investigated how the UN SDGs could be implemented to get there

About that task, Thomas says

“We are committed to sustainability and are daily working on solutions that enables our customers to fulfill their climate ambitions. But we also wanted to do more locally on our site and therefore investigated how the UN SDGs could be implemented here”.


That investigation resulted in choosing UN SDG goals 8, 9, and 12. And Thomas knew it was essential to activate the employees to make an impact:

“We quickly agreed that we needed to involve our employees in this endeavor. Our products are of course essential, but our own behavior requires all colleagues to take ownership of the efforts. That’s why we turned to Acadal — we needed a way to involve hundreds of employees better than hosting meeting upon meetings.”

Thomas Leander, Head of Solutions & Site Manager Frederikshavn

MAN Energy Solutions Frederikshavn made it a voluntary project for their 440 employees, and 203 joined the program.

“We didn’t want it to be informational. It had to be a real contributing program, run by our employees. So, running sprints on our 3 selected UN SDGs through Acadal worked out perfectly. It allowed everyone to learn about the SDGs while creating ideas in the context of our own business at the same time.”

MAN Energy Solutions ran 19 sprints on Acadal across 4 months, distributed on the 3 selected goals 8, 9 and 12.

259 local employee-led initiatives

The employees created 259 ideas for sustainability efforts done at the local site in Frederikshavn. 

MAN categorized all the ideas and 5 categories stood out as the ones with most initiatives: Paper use, plastic use, lifecycle of components, work from home, and communication importance of sustainability.

It’s also the 5 categories with the most team validation on the ideas. And the broad validation is key to Thomas Leander:

Our employees have taken ownership. That’s where Acadal supports — engagement at scale without endless meetings.

“We need to accept a lot of sustainability efforts starts with our own behavior. And aligning that across 440 people is a huge change management effort. But by engaging our emloyees in the process has made the first initiatives very successful. Our employees have taken ownership. That’s where Acadal supports — engagement at scale without endless meetings.”

Internal poster from MAN ES Frederikshavn

About the 259 ideas crated, Thomas says:

“We were really pleased with seeing our employees join the program and come up with simple ideas to wildly ambitious ones. Even with the challenges of not being in the office due to Covid, we managed to involve our employees and create stepping stones for the sustainability effort.”

Taking ownership

One of the outcomes was making posters of some of the ideas that were founded in office life.

“We wanted to make it visual that we were acting on the ideas. Like using mugs instead of single-use coffee cups is. It’s a small thing, but it helps everyone remind us of the more hidden activities. Like the filtering of factory water that’s out of sight.”

Here are 3 of the nudging posters MAN created for the Frederikshavn site.

Nudging posters from three of the initiatives

Building a story to join

The efforts also translate into recruiting and ownership.

“We play a significant role in making the world more sustainable through our products and services, and we invite our colleagues to contribute to fulfilling that mission.

It makes me proud every time I hear new hires choose us because of our sustainability efforts. And it happens more and more. We have created a story people want to join”.

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