Salinas Packaging Group has taken to heart the environmental and societal facet of corporate responsibility. Now making room for action and collaboration, both upstream and downstream, the company is creating synergies and aligning with guidelines to achieve its goals. Interview with Carmen Yago, head of the group’s Corporate Social Responsibility strategy.
How has CSR been approached so far in the group?
CSR is both an emergency and a priority. Climate change isn’t waiting for anyone and the ability to create value, performance, breakthrough innovation, co-responsibility and, therefore, sustained growth, now depends on how the company organizes and manages its three axes: economic, social and environmental. But moving towards sustainable developments not simple, it implies an important transformation of the entire corporate culture: processes, objectives, tools and people, and nothing is more difficult to change in an organization than how daily tasks are done. We have framed this transformation in three phases: discover, drive, and become an agent for change. Discover because the sustainability dimension is very broad and a lot of work is needed to communicate internally, identify and prioritize the issues to work on. Drive with objectives, tools, and a solid architecture of sustainable KPIs. For us, 2021 signals the end of this phase and we have built a solid “runway”. Over the next few years we will teach ourselves to fly right and this work into positive impact.
What concrete results can you highlight?
Although we have been working under ISO 14001 and FSC certifications for many years, the reality is that we embarked on sustainable development via Global Compact and Ecovadis. One milestone that set the stage for change within Salinas Packaging Group is the fact that ecological and social issues have moved out of the closed circle of our quality and human resources departments to enter into management meetings and, as a result, transversal work and commitment has begun throughout the company. From here, sustainable, social, and economic data are beginning to intersect. For example, putting the focus on Lean Management — a project of the production department to increase efficiency levels — also influences waste reduction and employee engagement. BRC Packaging standards teach how to report risks, particularly social and ecological. All of this inspires and teaches us how to achieve other important goals, such as being a zero-waste company, calculating and reporting our carbon footprint, building a product life cycle calculator and a strong positive social impact plan.
What are your priorities for the coming years?
To turn these learnings and tools into disruptive innovation, both in terms of processes, materials, and products. Design is now more than ever a strategic and fundamental part of creating packaging that respects both the environment and the luxury brands’ aesthetic codes. Focusing on building a sustainably responsible supply chain to decrease our Scope 3 emissions (approximately 70-80% of these emissions come from our supply chain) is an additional focal point. Another interesting concept that we have been working on since we signed our commitment to the European Diversity Charter is innodiversity, which means managing diversity and innovation together to achieve a higher level of competitiveness.
What are some examples that can illustrate your approach?
In 2021, we had two pilot projects with KURZ and REXOR, which have allowed us to launch luxury boxes with metallic decoration, but free of plastic, while creating two circular systems for the recovery of industrial waste. In the case of KURZ, this waste was to become a new raw material and in the case of REXOR, the waste was used to re-create a new metallic film. We’ve also improved our mono-material boxes with cardboard interiors featuring high quality clipping and protection that are 100% made in house. All of our polybags are now made from 100% recycled materials and we continue to work on their end of life. Socially, our diversity index has increased by 5% over the past two years. In 2019, we defined our raison d’être and our ultimate goal: to have a positive social impact.
What are your long-term plans?
Our vision for the future is to see sustainability as a customer service, in other words, to create an architecture of collaboration and transparency so strong that it becomes our strongest value proposition. We are associated with the world’s most important CSR platforms, and they are setting goals for key dates in 2030 or 2050. Obviously we would like to attain those goals and be able to say loud and clear that Salinas Packaging Group has made a positive contribution to the development of the SDGs and the slowing down of global warming. But on a day-to-day basis, we work with three-year strategic plans, which we call HORIZONS. We know that achieving them is not the end of something, but the beginning of another stage.