The past few years have changed the world and made a huge impact on our lives. Even limiting our analysis to the economy and business aspects, we cannot ignore the fact that the onset of the pandemic forced commodity markets to abruptly reverse course after decades in which value chains,including the one relative to packaging, had embraced an increasingly globalised model. This triggered a series of cascade effects, ultimately influencing the way we are able to meet our clients’ needs.
In early 2022, the war between Russia and Ukraine added even more complexities to a world already riddled with health crises: a burden that seems destined to generate instability in the markets and, unfortunately, various criticalities in the long term.
All of this happened while the packaging industry already faces the great challenge of fully meeting the needs of citizens and consumers who are increasingly interested in sustainability, and able to express their preference for lower-impact products at every level, down to everyday purchases.
We are still in a situation of relative uncertainty as regards laws being drafted to favour a “green” evolution in the field, and it is not easy to monitor all the legal initiatives that are quickly emerging around the world and may impact our business. For example, at the time of writing, the European Commission is discussing revisions on the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive, which marks a crucial stepping stone on the way to identifying the packaging solutions that will dominate the European market in the next few years. In the face of such a mutable social and legal context, Gualapack has built an internal structure that is able to quickly interpret change, and most importantly effectively respond to it thanks to a strong capability for innovation.
This report strives to present the activities we carried out and the objectives we achieved in 2021, which was a year of great commitment and satisfaction for the evolution of our products and our activities overall.
Indeed, in 2021 we continued to spur the introduction of products with an improved environmental impact, recording a 30% increase of their sales within our portfolio. While we are aware the road ahead is still very long, it is important to stop and recognise that clients and consumers appreciate and reward more sustainable packaging alternatives.
An important part of this development is tied to the fruitful launch of Pouch5, our recyclable pre-made pouch, which is reaping success with an increasing number of clients across the globe and won Italy’s Best Packaging Award in 2021.
As regards production processes, improving internal efficiency helped us to achieve remarkable reductions in water consumption and waste generation, and to improve our emissions of CO2 per product unit.
In 2021, we also started to enjoy the fruit of the hard work we had begun on safety. Completing the Group’s manual by collecting all our best practices at the global level and, most importantly, our managers’ great attention for the issue are two crucial factors that allowed us to improve all our safety indicators. Yet, we don’t consider this a “finish line” we have crossed, but the inspiration to do even better in the future.
As regards social initiatives, in line with our long-standing tradition, in 2021 we funded and carried out numerous projects to create positive social impact on the communities where the companies in our Group are active, through both the initiatives of the SociAL Foundation and projects launched by our various plants around the world.
We are well aware the road to a sustainable future is paved with daily challenges and requires openness to new business models, starting from our products and finally encompassing all of our behaviours. At Gualapack we take on these challenges with enthusiasm, convinced there are always opportunities to seize within great changes and confident that, with our clients and suppliers, we will be able to create a world where packaging will have a lower impact and yet maintain all the functional qualities that allow us, today, to preserve and use many of the products that are part of our everyday life.