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Sustainable investments

much more than simply ticking
a box on the CSR agenda

Paul Beaver, CEO of the POLIFILM PROTECTION subgroup, in an interview about

  • the construction of Blueprint productions in the midst of the pandemic
  • the survival-assuring link between innovation & CSR
  • the investment philosophy of the protective film producer

Mr Beaver, with the construction of the production facility in China, you have accompanied one of the most investment-intensive projects in POLIFILM Group history. But that’s not all – the actual construction coincided with the pandemic. How did that make you feel as the person in charge?

Honored! My initial response is that I cannot escape the feeling of honor of being tasked with managing such a huge project. My second most significant feeling was one of trepidation; It was not easy handling everything by ‘remote control’ not being able to travel, without the restrictions of Covid-19, I would have been in China every 2 months, to be on site, to discuss personally with all involved and assure everyone good progress was being made. Instead, we had to change our tactic to weekly VC’s. However, our flexibility came through and it worked well, the team did a great job.

Did the pandemic affect the investment and construction plans?

Absolutely YES! International travel to China was not possible, but locally we had big problems too. Availability of Raw Materials was an issue, local lockdowns prevented workers being able to reach the site, our own local management team could not visit site for some months. Towards the end we entered a phase of approvals, just when the officials could not visit the site for the assessment and approval phase to begin. In the end the project was completed well, a little delayed, but we got there.

Which role did CSR topics play in the planning?

CSR played a big part in designing a brand-new facility for the future. In some cases, producing our products involves the use of solvents, this was restricted in our old location. For us to grow and develop our capabilities in China, we needed to consider our CSR position in this respect. We therefore decided to include in our investment, a fully automated Solvent Recovery System which collects and reuses these solvents in production. This played a big part in selecting the right location, the correct design of the construction itself, and the appropriate investment planning.

Minimize any ‘throw away waste’ and maximize our recycling and reuse of our product: this is the future.


And which role will CSR topics have in future investment plans, especially for a plastic producing company?

CSR will always play a part in our future strategy as a plastics producer. We must be honest and say the use of plastics will always be with us in daily life. What we need to do is minimize any ‘throw away waste’ and maximize our recycling and reuse of our product. This is the future. Our investment planning follows this train of thought, we will invest in more recycling capabilities, we will engineer the processes to reuse PIR, we will develop the network to get the PCR back from the market. We want to show everyone that POLIFILM takes this matter to heart, and we will be the responsible partner in the future.

How would you rate this on an innovation scale from 0 (= not innovative at all) to 5 (= top innovative)?

5 for sure. If we consider recycling a pure PE product, my rating would be towards the lower end of the scale. But to recycle and reuse the full range of protective films that POLIFILM Protection manufactures world-wide, is a 5. We have many different adhesive systems, we print, we have many colour combinations of carrier film, inks, different release coats to name a few. To get a reliable process in place that can take all these different parameters of process waste, be it ours or our customers, then have a reliable logistic network in place, this is real innovation. We are not there yet, but we are well on the way.

We cannot engineer our future if we do not have a vision of our CSR direction, everything is linked.


Um eine genauere Vorstellung von Ihrer Antwort zu bekommen, verraten Sie doch, was Innovation für Sie persönlich bedeutet?

Innovation ist von entscheidender Bedeutung. Ohne Innovation können wir nicht wachsen, ohne Wachstum werden wir nicht überleben. Dabei ist Innovation eng mit CSR verknüpft.

You are with POLIFILM, in particular POLIFILM PROTECTION, for more than 22 years. From your experience – how much innovation potential and or new developments is required to be successful?

The world is a small place and time moves quickly, manufacturing techniques constantly evolve, production developments and efficiency gains are in constant evolution. Without innovation with our products, which supply all industry sectors, we would not keep up. We must constantly innovate, as our customers innovate, as their processes change and their processing equipment evolves, our films need to move with the times. Our product range we sell today has some significant differences to those products we sold 20 years ago. Innovation must be part of our daily life.

Will the way of selling film changed in the future?

I believe our USP’s will change, a wide audience will drive this. Firstly, we need to show that we are taking our sustainability seriously, which of course we are. Our customers need to demonstrate they are working with responsible suppliers, as they themselves need to show this to their market. I expect this element will play a much larger part in the decision-making process when customer select suppliers. Historically price was always the first question asked by buyers, but times are changing. I expect sustainability to reach the top of supplier evaluations at some point soon.

Imagine we would have a similar conversion in a few years – would you wish that your answers are similar?

Yes! Let me explain; I have tried to demonstrate in my answers that POLIFILM Protection has a philosophy of a moving organization. We move with the times, we look for opportunities to innovate, we look at where the market is moving and we move with it, we look at where CSR (for example) is going, and we go with it. If I provide similar answers, it shows that our philosophy is the same, but the position we will be at, at that time, will have moved on.

Paul Beaver, CEO of the POLIFILM PROTECTION subgroup


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