Sustainability Challenge reaps over 150 ideas

During November and December 2020, we had a group-wide virtual sustainability challenge, motivating all people in all parts of the organization to bring forward ideas to make Elopak an even more sustainable company. More than 150 ideas were submitted.

We asked all employees for their ideas to improve sustainability in our production, offices and homes. Despite the challenging situation, we saw departments organising virtual workshops with lively discussions and true commitment.

We advised our colleagues to take all aspects into consideration across the three elements of sustainability – people, planet and profit. The ideas ranged from initiatives to reduce our emissions, a better way to separate waste, improving our work efficiency, a healthy lifestyle and contributing to social initiatives, both at work and at home.

All ideas were reviewed by cross-functional panels, who performed a thorough evaluation considering social, environmental and economic implications of the ideas. The review panels were impressed by the range of ideas and clearly stated that they will take many of the ideas further. However, three winning ideas were highlighted and was rewarded with prizes to all participants.

Winner category: People
The winning idea in the People category was to buy workwear in a material that is least harmful to the environment, such as organic material, without the use of hazardous chemicals for dyeing. In addition to less harm to the environment, this would bring a positive element to employees wearing the clothes, with a feeling they are helping to make a difference.

Other ideas included arrangements for flexible workplaces, improved digital work processes and sponsoring/supporting charity activities f.ex. Food bank, elderly people, blood donations, orphans or local charity arrangements. There were also suggestions related to the use of electric cars both as leasing cars, when travelling and as company cars.

Winner category: Profit
Many great ideas were received from all parts of the organization to improve also the Profit side of sustainability. From two different teams came the winning idea to increase the filling rate of trucks by adding an extra layer on the blanks pallets. By doing so, we will be able to fit more cartons in one truck, which means lower CO2 emission and lower transport costs per carton.

Other ideas were about saving energy, reducing the use of plastics, improving printing, more efficient transport and auditing. We will further investigate the received ideas and also work cross-functional to implement as many ideas as possible

Winner category: Planet
The winning idea in this category was tree planting projects. Tree planting helps to restore and maintain valuable forest areas. It contributes to increase the main source and component of our packaging. Trees bind CO2 from the atmosphere, and thus forests make a significant contribution to climate protection.

The idea is very good and relevant for Elopak. We have promoted responsible forestry behind our cartons for years, and we would really like to engage in tree planting as a way to actively remove carbon from the atmosphere. In fact, one of our current carbon neutral projects (2021) includes mangrove planting in Kenya, having well documented positive effects on both local livelihoods and climate. On a global level, Elopak will further investigate the possibility to plant trees as a natural development of our carbon neutral program.

Other ideas included further initiatives to promote biodiversity, such as the protection of bees or urban gardening. Those and a lot of other projects would thematically fit very well and will underpin Elopak’s commitment to preserve natural resources for the next generation.