Alpla focuses on a circular economy

The company’s sustainability report illustrates progress in sustainable development

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Alpla focuses on a circular economy
Chief executive officer, Philipp Lehner (Left) and Christoph Hoffmann, director of Corporate Strategy, Sustainability & Circular Economy (Right), with the sustainability report 2020 Photo Credit: Alpla

The fourth sustainability report prepared by Alpla, the global specialist for innovative packaging solutions and recycling, illustrates the company’s progress in sustainable development between 2018 and 2020.

In its latest sustainability report entitled ‘The cycle to a better future begins with the right packaging,’ Alpla gives an extensive update on the topic of sustainability and the company’s targets. Chief executive officer Philipp Lehner sets out the key aspects of the strategy for the next few years and said, “I believe that Alpla as a company has a responsibility towards society to guarantee secure, affordable and sustainable supplies for the global population in the future too. At the same time, with a carbon footprint which is usually lower than that of alternative packaging solutions, plastic makes an important contribution to climate protection.”

Circular economy as a success factor

The circular economy has been an important part of Alpla’s sustainability strategy for many years. The company always champions closed loops and greater awareness of plastic as a recyclable material. After all, the use of recycled plastics conserves fossil resources and reduces carbon emissions.

For example, PET regrinds material from the Alpla plants in Austria and Poland cause up to 90 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than virgin material. With the input of around 2,06,000 tonnes of PET and approximately 88,000 tonnes of HDPE, Alpla’s own recycling plants and joint ventures around the world are, in total, contributing significantly to the use of recycled plastics in production.

Expansion of renewable energy

Electricity accounts for around 95 percent of Alpla’s total energy consumption. The company, therefore, sets great stores by the efficient and responsible use of electricity. In addition to using cutting-edge technologies, a key topic is increasing the proportion of electricity from renewable sources: ‘Globally speaking, we were already covering 28 percent of our electrical energy consumption with electricity from renewable sources in 2020, compared with 18 percent in 2019,’ says Martin Stark, director of Corporate Plant Engineering, giving an insight into the current developments.

Alpla also focuses on the employees

At Alpla, the focus is always on people. The safety, good health, and equal treatment of the 21,600 employees worldwide are top priorities. Alpla also sets great stores by continuing professional development, employee development, and training up a new generation of workers in its training workshops.

The Alpla Sustainability Award was initiated this year to spotlight the huge commitment to sustainability demonstrated by the employees daily. This involved projects in the areas of recycling and waste reduction, the protection of local ecosystems, and social issues being submitted and recognized.

In-house plants cut carbon emissions

In terms of production, it is important to Alpla that it acts locally. In 2020, 68 of its 178 sites were operated as in-house plants. Around 42,500 tonnes of carbon emissions were saved in 2020 by locating packaging production wall-to-wall with the customers’ bottling lines, thus eliminating transport journeys.

Growth in various regions

In addition to the Asia region (China, South East Asia, and India), the AMET region (Africa, Middle East, and Turkey), in particular, is one of Alpla’s strongest growth regions. Encouragingly, the topic of sustainability is gaining importance in this region. Christoph Hoffmann, director of corporate Strategy, Sustainability & Circular Economy, has the following to say on the current developments, “We are anticipating strong growth in the AMET region in particular, specifically in Africa. The task in hand is to implement now the recycling and waste management solutions that have been in place in Europe for some time in these regions.”

 

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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