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A VPK pledge put in practice for a sustainable present and a future proof living

Since its foundation more than 85 years ago, VPK has never stopped growing. And our ambitions reach even further. To realize our growth objectives, we count on the commitment and enthusiasm of more than 6.200 employees in 65 locations around the world. That is why we take various actions to empower our people, making sure we remain a great company to work for, now and in the future.

It is not yet clear the impact that these unprecedented crises will have on the future of our modern society and economy. However, the ongoing healthcare crisis has already shown that in times of emergency it is possible for countries, businesses, and individuals to unbend beyond the unthinkable and truly change their habits.

We have a mission to maintain the functionality of our business while maintaining our team’s security a paramount factor.  Its our responsibility to contribute to the new normal by giving full support in avoiding supply chains and market disruptions.

Six pillars exemplify our company’s commitment to contributing to the development of a cleaner, fairer, and better world. We have built these pillars on the UN Sustainable Development Goals and established clearly defined KPIs in order to monitor our progress. This remains an ongoing process.

Building a strong safety culture across the whole company

The health, safety and welfare of our people is our top priority and as such, we are committed to build a strong safety culture across the whole company. Over the past years we have introduced several initiatives to facilitate this process with the objective of creating a safe site and reducing the risk of incidents, work accidents and ill health. Thus, at VPK Packaging Salonta we managed to have almost 900 days without any accident, which is a great indicator of our safety performance.

The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented and has seen a complete change to the way we have to live our personal and work lives. Businesses were forced to shut down, people were asked to stay home as much as possible. Our activity, however, was deemed essential during the crisis, because our packaging is used to support the essential supply of medication, food, and other vital goods that makes our life better. As a response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we chose to adapt rather than resist, so, from day one, we took all the necessary measures to continue our operations by securing the supply of resources, ensuring transport, and motivating our people to stay on board. There where challenging days during state of emergency and we managed to have no stoppages, technical unemployment, workday reduction or salary cuts. We had regular communications with all team members, detailing the importance of our work, and have put a lot of effort in ensuring that safe working conditions are in place and maintained at all times.

For our personnel who could work from home, we helped and supported this process providing the right tools and ICT support for remote activity. For those who needed to come in for work, we focused on ensuring social distancing and the adherence to strict hygiene measures. We also made physical changes to canteens, toilets and locker rooms enhancing social distancing. Having implemented a BRC food safety certificate in VPK Packaging Salonta, we made it easier for our employee to adapt and embrace all these changes. Regardless of what the future might bring, we will continue to be vigilant and will maintain our enhanced health and safety measures, to make sure we are prepared for any situation that might lie ahead.

A culture of creativity and rewards

Offering a stable work environment within a framework of corporate responsibility and sustainability allows motivated and qualified employees to pursue an exciting career path in which initiative is rewarded and recognized and opportunities can be seized. One of these initiatives will be detailed later on, proving creativity and rewards importance in generating new original ideas. Business sustainability rating platform accounts

Transparency within the value chain is a complex issue in a globalized economy. Our Group has selected two well-respected platforms to work with and to address these issues (Business sustainability rating Ecovadis and Sedex). On one hand, we create transparency for our customers and, on the other, we reduce risks and build on opportunities for our direct and indirect suppliers.

A customer- centric company for excellent services

We build long-term partnerships with our customers, suppliers, local communities, and other stakeholders. As a customer-centric company, we pride ourselves in being extremely flexible and providing excellent service. Being part of the VPK Packaging Group (www.vpkgroup.com) and the BBP Alliance (wwww.blueboxpartners.eu), helps us to allocate the right resources in delivering a great customer experience. Moreover, we can offer our multinational customers the right solution to purchase centrally on European level and deliver locally all over Europe, respecting specific local needs and pledging the same quality and services.

Circular solutions

Our products are made from renewable raw materials, making optimal use of energy, water, and materials. We keep track of our water consumption and take active steps to reduce it. Also, production of paper-based products is energy-intensive, so we manage it accordingly. We aim for energy efficiency, well planned energy conversion and alternative fuels. Thus, we protect and limit our use of the planet’s energy resources. The emission of fossil-based CO2 poses a threat to our planet’s carrying capacity. We have committed ourselves to becoming carbon neutral as fast as possible.

Consolidating new partnerships

As a fast-growing company, we invest heavily in order to ensure our customers that expenditures in our technical and structural business competences, around 3,5 million euros till middle of next year, will continue, consolidating new partnerships which will allow us to maintain our market position – Bart Dobbelaere, Managing Director at VPK Packaging Salonta.

Preparing for the new normal…

Since our previous sustainability report, the world has faced additional crises. These include the protest marches denouncing racial discrimination, the massive bushfires in Australia and the global COVID-19 pandemic.

At VPK, we continuously strive to change our practices for the better and to influence the habits of the packaging industry by doing so. While our product is a sustainable alternative to many other packaging substitutes, our industry remains resource intensive. That is why we are committed to the long-lasting sourcing of primary resources, eco-efficient production, and innovative practices to lead the way in sustainability.

With a world population of 7 billion people and limited natural resources, we, as individuals and societies, need to learn to live together in a sustainable way. We need to take responsible actions based on the understanding that what we do today can impact our lives and planet in future. Therefore, education for Sustainable Development empowers people to change the way they think and work towards a sustainable future.

If you want people to care about the environment, educate them.

There has been increasing recognition of the critical role of education for sustainability. It became clear that moving towards sustainability requires changes in the way we live (consumption and production patterns).

As a support for environmental education, we developed a non-formal teaching material: a board game, which is a creative and systematic problem-solving tool and develops critical thinking and empathy towards the natural world. These are invaluable skills that future education systems should sharpen as much as possible.

As the concept of smart cities sought to provide answers to sustainability challenges by combining new technologies with humanist ideals, leaving no one behind, inspired us in giving to our board game the same name.

Smart City, as we named it, teaches you to plan and manage cities, to equip them, to provide resources and to embrace the necessity of new ways of thinking, citizen engagement and collaboration.

As today’s students will need to deal with complex sustainability challenges, we believe that this initiative will stimulate and raise, in a creative way, awareness and sensitivity on environmental problems (waste generators, recycling different type of waste, value of a smart strategy, business acumen and so on).

“Whatever the future might bring, at VPK we continue to believe in the power of our robust business model as a supplier of sustainable packaging. For us, sustainability is the essential way to remain relevant as a company and to build a future-proof, resilient business” Pierre Macharis, CEO, VPK Group

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