ITC’s sustainable packaging revenue doubled in a year – Sanjiv Puri

Company to invest in plant-based molded fiber plant in MP 

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Puri said ITC’s paperboards, paper and packaging business is today one of India’s largest, greenest and most technologically advanced.

In the multinational conglomerate ITC’s 112th annual general meeting held recently, chairman and managing director Sanjiv Puri shared his vision on ITC, which he said is ‘Nation First – Transforming for our Shared Tomorrows.’ 

Puri said ITC’s paperboards , paper and packaging business is today one of India’s largest, greenest and technologically advanced. India’s ambitious growth trajectory, he said, is expected to drive demand for high quality value-added paperboards and sustainable packaging. 

Packaging South Asia had reported how ITC highlighted the significant expansion of its sustainable products portfolio and the impressive revenue growth achieved by its paperboards and specialty papers division in its recently published annual report for the financial year 2022-2023. ITC’s sustainable solutions, including the ‘Filo’ series and ‘Omega’ series, gained strong traction in both domestic and international markets, the company had reported.

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Sanjiv Puri, chairman and managing director ITC

“Current per capita paperboard and paper consumption in India is considerably low at 14 kgs, compared to world average of 57 kgs, pointing to the growth potential. The emerging trend for plastic substitution will also provide further fillip to the demand for paperboards and plant-based molded fiber biodegradable products.”

In order to realize the significant market potential, the ITC Next strategy for the paperboards and packaging business entails development of a portfolio of value-added paperboards and sustainable packaging, strengthening structural competitiveness, scaling up a cost-effective fiber chain and leveraging opportunities arising out of the mega trends of digital and sustainability, Puri said.

“The value-added paperboards portfolio has been fortified with substantial capacity augmentation in the last five years. The paperboard Business, together with the packaging business, is at the forefront of developing sustainable packaging solutions and a range of planet-friendly, biodegradable and recyclable products have been launched on existing platforms under the ‘Filo’, ‘Omega’, ‘Bio-seal’ and ‘Oxyblock’ series.” 

These eco-labelled products, Puri said, have recorded a 2x increase in revenue over last year. Work has been undertaken to create a new platform with exciting market opportunity for substituting plastic packaging with plant-based premium molded fiber products that are capable of solving complex engineering and aesthetic requirements, he said.

 Accordingly, ITC is investing in a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Sehore, Madhya Pradesh, to manufacture technologically sophisticated products with promising applications in pharmaceutical, cosmetics, electronics and other sectors.

“The business is an acknowledged icon of environmental stewardship, with focus on decarbonization, sequestration and livelihood generation. The recent state-of-the-art high-pressure recovery boiler commissioned at Bhadrachalam will reduce coal usage by one-third while improving ITC’s share of renewable energy by 6%. ITC’s afforestation program has greened over 1 million acres and supported over 190 million person-days of employment for marginal farmers whilst creating a sustainable and competitive fiber chain for ITC.”

According to Puri, it is evident that a competitive wood-based industry can generate large economic multipliers, enable significant carbon sequestration and livelihood generation. “Our country has 30 million hectares of degraded forest land capable of being converted into productive and green assets. An enabling policy framework that would permit enterprises to lease degraded forest land can enhance competitiveness, spawn new wood-based industries, enable import substitution to the tune of US$ 4 billion annually, create large carbon sinks and generate significant rural employment of nearly 1.3 billion person-days.”

ITC’s manufacturing excellence, thrust on digital, sustainability and frugal innovation capacity will enable competitively superior performance whilst also creating significant environmental and social capital as it embraces the vast opportunities ahead, Puri said.

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The multi-channel B2B in print and digital 17-year-old platform matches the industry’s growth trajectory. The Indian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Middle East packaging industries are looking beyond the resilience of the past three years. They are resuming capacity expansion and diversification, with high technology and automation in new plants and projects.

As we present our 2024 publishing plan, India’s real GDP growth for the financial year ending 31 March 2024 will exceed 6%. The packaging industry growth will match the GDP growth in volume terms and surpass it by at least 3% in terms of nominal growth allowing for price inflation in energy, raw materials, consumables, and capital equipment.

The capacity for flexible film manufacturing in India increased by 45% over the past four years. With orders in place, we expect another 20% capacity addition in 2024 and 2025. Capacities in monocartons, corrugation, aseptic liquid packaging, and labels are growing similarly. As the consumption story returns over the next six months, we expect demand to return and exceed the growth trajectory of previous years. The numbers are positive for most of the economies in the region – and as shown by our analytics, our platform increasingly reaches and influences these.

For responsible and sustainable packaging, with its attendant regulations and compliances, there is significant headroom to grow in India and the region. Our coverage includes the entire packaging supply chain – from concept to shelf and to waste collection, sorting, and recycling.

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– Naresh Khanna (25 October 2023)

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