FLEXIBLE SOLUTIONS FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE
Customers want sustainable packaging. Companies have to adjust to this. Together with its customers, the packaging manufacturer Elif works to develop individual solutions that are both economical and sustainable. Hakan Salargil, Executive Chairman of Elif Holding, explains in an interview why a customer-oriented approach is so important.
Mr. Salargil, Elif works with many big brands worldwide. In your view: How high is the demand for innovative and sustainable packaging solutions among your customers?
We are a longterm-partner of leading brands and blue-chip multinationals across various regions like Barilla, Coca-Cola, Essity, Henkel, Kimberly-Clark, Ontex, Procter & Gamble and Unilever. These partners put trust in our high-quality innovative and sustainable solutions. In the past two years, the requirements of our customers have increased significantly in this respect. Together with our customers, we work hard to develop innovative concepts for their success. Therefore, we need more and more to understand even better the customers of our customers.
In what ways does Elif adapt to meet these demands?
Our experts are ready to help our customers to anticipate market trends and new technologies. Consequently, we at Elif try hard to continuously adapt to fast-changing markets because these days customers and consumers continually require even more innovative and more sustainable solutions. Elif consequently adapts to stay ahead of trends such as digitalisation, demographic shift and environmental concerns. Our 34 highly qualified experts in our Research and Development Center in Istanbul shape the future of the international markets.
Customer centricity plays an important part in Elif’s business culture. What does that entail?
Our customer-centricity program ensurescontinuous innovation in packaging to deliver product superiority based on enhanced customer and consumer engagement. Selected examples include hybrid technology, eco-packaging and hologramtechnology. For example: In close cooperation with a machinery supplier, we developed an individual product for one of our global customers which enabled an automatic filling process entirely without manual work. We spent two years creating this product and this unique process. As a result, Elif became the sole supplier of this product on a global scale for many years. Elif’s storage method also focuses on the customers’ expectations and needs. Rather than having one central warehouse, Elif understands the customers’ needs and offers tailormade solutions in this sense.
Elif uses a hybrid printing technology. How does this benefit the customers?
Hybrid printing technology is a cost-effective solution for customizing packaging. It enables our customers to create individual products for end users. at relatively low cost. This enables companies to improve brand identity and standardization and allows them to launch their brands more quickly. Furthermore, it is an entirely solvent-free sustainable technology. We don’t need hot air for the drying process, which results in a much lower carbon footprint.
Elif developed a plastic bag that was made of 50 percent recycled plastic. What challenges does the use of recycled plastics present and how does Elif meet these challenges?
By collaborating with one of our longterm partners, we developed an eco-packaging for their detergent business unit. The result was the first plastic bag in their portfolio with 50 percent recycled content, driving progress towards a circular economy by creating smarter packaging. This is not only useful for people, but also conserves the natural resources of our planet. However, the correct sorting of used materials and the widespread availability pose the biggest challenges we will have to master in the future.
What are Elif’s future goals in Europe concerning a thriving circular economy and environment?
Sustainability is part of our DNA and our services are part of the solution for future challenges. Elif shares a vision to support a circular economy where the packaging doesn’t become waste. Elif enables customers to reach their sustainability goals by using more recycled content, biobased materials, bio-degradable Green PE and fully recyclable MDO/PE laminate structures. For 2025, our goal in consumer goods products in Europe to be achieved is to develop packaging that is 100 percent recyclable, reusable or compostable and has a recycled plastic content of 35 percent.
Sustainability means more than protecting the environment. Elif invests in people, especially in their own employees. What does that mean to Elif?
Indeed, Elif is an inspiring place to work and strives to be an employer of choice in our chosen markets and we are proud that we have a high average service period per employee of 9,2 years. Our over 1,600 employees help to create a healthier life for millions of people around the world. Every day. We feel confident that we create sustainable packaging for life. Our long-term success depends not only on our business strategy, but also on our values: leadership – responsibility – diversity – integrity – a passion for adding value – and a commitment to our communities and in particular our employees. We believe in giving everybody an equal opportunity to advance in their professional careers. Therefore, we support human resources development initiatives in order to advance the competence of our stakeholders. Our smart business fosters sustainability.
Source: Handelsblatt supplement Themenbote - Circular Economy - Der Schlüssel für nachhaltiges Wirtschaften, 28 January 2021
Read original article in German here