InkWeek's Day Five focusses on sustainability education
InkWeek comes to an end with enlightening sessions and knowledge-sharing on sustainability in print and packaging and how one should adopt newer technologies to remain relevant and sustainable.
25 Mar 2022 | By Aultrin Vijay
InkWeek has come to an end with many valuable insights from 32 industry stalwarts shared on the platform. The fifth day ended today with experts sharing some informative points on the sustainable initiatives carried out in our country and touched upon what needs to be done.
Manas Sarkar of UFlex, in his opening speech, detailed how the company has remained sustainable since the framing of its organisational values and shed light on some of the sustainable products offered by UFlex.
He listed the three pillars for sustainable solutions: Source reduction, source substitution and biodegradability. He said, “By recycling 100% of MLP and using the granulate in the country we shall prevent carbon emission of 1.5 million tonnes of CO2.”
He suggested product down-gauging wherever possible using new generation polymers without compromising on the end use requirement. He also stressed upon product re-engineering and source substitution and shared some case-studies that saw real success.
Sarkar presented on UFlex’s post-consumer recycled grade films with up to 100% post-consumer recycled PET content under the brand name Asclepius. The film technology is a family of plain, treated, coated, high barrier and heat sealable BOPET films based on up to 100 % PCR polymer content.
The presentation was followed by the keynote address from Dr KA Arul Anand, joint director (technical), designated officer – central licensing (Telangana and Andhra Pradesh), FSSAI.
He spoke about the various safety and licensing aspects of food and an online food safety compliance system (FoSCoS) by FSSAI, where applications are scrutinised and approved.
He also listed out several initiatives adopted by FSSAI to promote healthy eating and safer food products, and shed light on the regulations that the industry needs to be aware of. He also detailed the various upcoming regulations from FSSAI for packaging and labelling.
He also stressed upon the importance of obtaining approval from FSSAI for recycled products used for packaging food/FMCG products.
Anand’s keynote was followed by a panel discussion, which was moderated by Ramu Ramanathan, editor at PrintWeek and WhatPackaging? magazines. The panellists were Ganeshkumar V, associate vice president – sustainability, DQS India, Ramakrishna Karanth, CEO at Siegwerk India, Medha Tadpatrikar, founder trustee/co-founder director, Keshav Sita Memorial Foundation Trust/Rudra Blue Planet, and Shailesh Verma, VP and global sales head – packaging and lamination films, Cosmo Films.
Karanth defined sustainability as, “Achieving a sensible balance between social, ecological and economic needs. We need to leave this world a better place when we hang up our shoes.”
Meanwhile, Ganeshkumar said, “There are so many definitions and perceptions and interpretations. In short, sustainability is managing resources without depleting them for future generations.”
Tadpatrikar said that sustainability has become a buzzword. “We are generating a lot of waste and don’t know what to do about it. That’s when we think about sustainability.”
Verma said that Cosmo Films has been working on different film solutions to bring fully recyclable structures such as mono-material structures. “All our films are printable with water-based inks. Coatings that we use are also water-based; there’s no use of solvents.”
He explained how the company has been utilising rainwater for 30% of its consumption and how water retained from affluent treatment was being used for 50% of its production processes.
He also stressed upon the importance of energy conservation. Currently, Cosmo Films uses 25% renewable energy, with solar panels in all three plants. The company is also planning to add wind energy to ramp up its renewable energy production.
Verma also highlighted how the company has been retrofitting its equipment for energy conservation. Apart from that, its plants are equipped with sky roofs, large glass panels, centralised chilling, water from cooling towers to maximise its focus on energy conservation.
Karanth, meanwhile, explained the company’s latest business agenda HorizonNow, which aims to achieve seven measurable targets (based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals) by 2025. Its ambitious sustainability agenda touches all aspects of the business, building on the company’s circular economy achievements to date.
Some of the notable goals are achieving carbon neutral scope 1 and 2 emissions globally, ensuring 100% of Siegwerk suppliers are committed to UN Global Compact Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) requirements, achieving a minimum gender representation at the executive level of 15%, and establishing product environmental footprint data for 100% of Siegwerk products.
“We will keep on improving safe inks in the market, so consumers and brand owners remain sustainable,” Karanth explained.
Ganeshkumar spoke about how sustainability can be implemented. However, he made an important point, “So many regulations are being formulated. Just adhering to it does not make us sustainable. More should be done. There should be a reason why we’re doing this, not just for the sake of it.”
Tadpatrikar explained that although her company managed to be zero waste, “we are trying to reduce our carbon footprint”. She also emphasised on the need for collective efforts. “All brands are doing something in a big way. Unfortunately, there’s nothing done collectively.”
She also pointed out that nobody speaks about the responsibility of end-users in segregating waste and contributing to the cause. “Effort must be made to educate them,” she said. “I would start with awareness, creating social groups and having an effective collection system. Technology comes at the end.”
Karanth noted that the very key aspect is to unlearn. “If we don’t do that, we cannot implement new technologies,” he added. “People should adopt new age technologies to reap benefits in business as well as achieve sustainable operations.”
One of the points that could be of interest for most of the businesses was made by Ganeshkumar. “Every fruitful step towards sustainability is like a cashback scheme. The benefits will always return.”