To succeed in the future, paper and packaging companies will, of course, still need to deliver financial performance – but they will also need to show how they are making a positive contribution to society and how they are helping in solving some of the world’s greatest challenges.
With the planet’s limited natural resources, people have an increased awareness of the ecological footprint of a product. To attract the right talent, paper and packaging companies need to make sure that theirs is a place at which young people want to work.
While for example, worker safety is commonly taken care of, the wood used in a paper mill should originate from sustainable plantations, and companies must take care of the needs of affected local communities.
Sustainability and Safety are some of the key aspects of a recent concept called Produce for Purpose. Sustainability in this regard means producing the ideal products at the lowest possible consumption of energy, water, and raw materials. In this case, thriving for sustainable processes can nicely match the economic targets of a company.
Safety was always first with the paper and packaging industry and this ONE aspect of produce for purpose that paper and packaging companies have always focused on is worker safety. This topic also has a huge impact on the ability to hire and retain employees.
Innovative concepts are being used to ensure workers’ well-being. For example, Russian metals producer NLMK together with SAP Innovations Lab have developed a pilot positioning system for shop-floor employees. They created a digital 3D model of their entire mill. In cross-linking different data sources, they can prevent accidents at work.
创新理念正被用于确保工人的福祉。例如，俄罗斯金属生产商NLMK与SAP创新实验室（SAP Innovations Lab）共同开发试用了一个面向车间员工的定位系统。他们为整个工厂建立了一个数字三维模型。通过交叉链接不同的数据源，以防止工作中的事故。
3D model of production facilitiy with workers
Workers’ position can be determined precisely through wearable devices such as smart watches, and coordinates can be set into context of functional structures of the mill like a crane. The concept of geo-fencing (…don’t enter a certain area...) can be enhanced now: It dynamically defines no-go areas on demand, for example, only when a crane is in operation.
There are further examples of how technology can help dealing with hazardous situations that occur frequently: If a device’s hood is open for maintenance, and high-voltage installations are exposed, workers are expected to stay away from that area. But the geo-fence can be refined based on related data from staff members' records of the HR area. For example, a maintenance engineer, who qualified for high voltage work, is even expected to enter the respective area and execute on a maintenance task.
As mentioned before, companies need to think about consumption of wood, water, and energy, but that’s not enough: consumers expect traceability of the products they buy. That includes consumer goods, of course, but also the packaging used for protecting those goods. Thus both consumers and CPG companies expect paper & packaging producers to run a fully transparent and seamless chain of custody in these regards.
But it doesn't stop at producing goods, and for example recycling is already in everyone's mouth. Paper is already recycled at high rates in some countries, but many applications are still designed for single-use. There is a huge potential in better understanding material flows, and carbon footprint associated with producing, recycling, and re-producing goods. And there is a huge potential in designing single-use products for better recyclability - and that surely applies to plastics packaging, too!
Consumer packaged goods (CPG) are items used daily by average consumers that require routine replacement or replenishment, such as food, beverages, clothes, tobacco, makeup, and household products. While consumer demand for CPGs largely remains constant, this is nevertheless a highly competitive sector, due to high market saturation and low consumer switching costs, where consumers can easily and cheaply switch their brand loyalties.