Alongside other sister companies in the Pochet Group (nearly € 500 million in sales in 2018, 4,500 people spread over 14 sites worldwide), Qualipacactively contributes to the Group's ambitious environmental and CSR program. A little more than a year after his arrivalat the helm of Qualipac, Thierry Rabu gives us his insight on all these aspects and more.
Jean-Yves Bourgeois:On the menu these last months, the harmonization of plastic production factories, the confirmation of an industrial strategy, standardization, harmonization of practices and of quality and innovation processes...
Thierry Rabu:Indeed, the areas you mention have been my priority in the past fifteen months and the different action plans are now well underway.In particular, we have focused on improving standardization between the different machines in our various industrial sites, to gain in flexibility and be more efficient in terms of "time to market." This also requires an optimum monitoring of all industrialization phases in order to be as competitive as possible with the best quality conditions anddeadlines, compatible with the requirements of our customers. To this end we have invested in new, more flexible modular injection machines, with a desire for standardization between sites and the strengthening of thesupply chain.We decided to give more consistency to our offer of standard products which had become too weak.In the niche of makeup, the aim was to strengthen our presence in the lip segment with lip glosses and lipsticks.
Jean-Yves Bourgeois:You also stress the need to boost innovation, which was already present in the genes of the Group.
Thierry Rabu:We decided to createa manufacturing and innovation laboratory in our factory in Chartres. This allows us to be more reactive in the pre-study phase, thanks to accelerated prototyping tools, material and functional assays.
Jean-Yves Bourgeois:You are also strongly committed to the environment?
Thierry Rabu:Of course, and this is also a dimension that has long been embedded in the DNA of the Group, which was created nearly four hundred years ago. At Qualipac, we work on both the recyclability of plastics that we use, on the fact that the components we manufacture can be separated and on the choice of types of ‘decoration’ for these parts. We are also already operational on second-generation bio-based solutions and we have started working on the third generation. And since the beginning of this year, we deliver a carbon balance with each rating. In addition, one of our advantages over other packaging players in the market, is our multi-material expertise that allows us to work on ecodesign from a global point of view and on the separability of components.
Jean-Yves Bourgeois: The Group will have invested a lot in recent years?
Thierry Rabu:Indeed, significant investments were made by the Group to guarantee a state-of-the-art industrial tool withstrategic impacts. In China, for example, our production tool was focused on exports. But today, thanks to investments in new metallization lines with VOC treatment, we cansustain strong growth in the Chinese domestic market. In Brazil, we have anext generationplant specialized in the makeup sector, which allows us to extend our foothold across the Latin American market. The sitehas a very broad range of expertise in cosmetic packaging: plastic injection, blow molding, lacquering, metallization and assembly. It spans over 18,000 m², i.e., 58% additional surface area, with the possibility for an additional extension of 50%. It is on this site that we manufactureLip Up,a lipstick mechanism with no silicone or polyoxymethylene (POM). The new galvanizing line at the site of Aurillac, France, has allowed us both to increase our production capacity and to improve the environmental footprint of our products.Our Aurillac plant has also been awarded the ‘Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant’label, which recognizes French industrial excellence and exceptional know-how. Finally, at the Saint Saturnin plant, we are rethinking production flows and the industrial efficiency of the site and we have invested in new machines to increase performance.
Jean-Yves Bourgeois:Sustainable development has become the cornerstone of any corporate strategy today. Your company is no exception to the rule.
Thierry Rabu:Absolutely, we commit ourselves and invest in accordance with the ambition set by the Group tobecome‘the world's leading company in high-end packagingfor perfume and beauty, and a one-stop destination for clients because of itsinventiveness,the excellence of its multi-material expertise, its committed teams and itsCSRpolicy.’Our Group has built its CSR strategy onfour pillars:protection and consideration for its employees, preservation of the planet (reducing the environmental footprint of sites and products, circular economy), dialogue and cooperation with all stakeholders to ‘progress together,’ and finally the preservation and transmission of know-how.
As far as environment is concerned, the Group focuses on two areas: products and processes. The first step is the measurement of our impact.Our goals by 2023 are to reduce by 70% our water consumption, by 20% CO2 emissions, and by 50% emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC).We have already made significant progress in each of these areas.
On the Qualipac Aluminum French site, in Saint-Saturnin-du-Limet, 40 kilometers south of Laval, the investment of the Group in the construction of a wastewater treatment plant has already allowed us to process all the anodizing baths, leading to releases 10 times below regulatory thresholds.
On the site of Qualipac in Aurillac,innovative electroplating processes on the new production line have enabled us to get rid of hexavalent chromium and to cut by 20% the concentration of chromium and nickel emissions. The recovery of energy from the heating of baths has also enabled us to reduce our gas consumption bymore than 50%.
Written by Jean-Yves Bourgeois, Beauty Packaging’s European correspondent