ACTEGA, manufacturer of specialty coatings, inks, adhesives and sealing compounds for the print and packaging industry, unveiled its latest strategic commitments towards operating more sustainably and supporting a more sustainable future for the industry.
The company is developing and adhering to exacting strategies, investing in its facilities and R&D, and working together on a global scale to achieve this goal. As a result, the latest progress made has been to implement numerous, successful local initiatives, achieve new environmental certifications and employ a set of new tactics that will support a circular economy.
New company-wide strategies to deliver long-term results
With sustainability at the core of ACTEGA’s business, it is an important driver in the company’s approach to innovation and the development of new products, technologies, and methodologies.
‘The industry is and must move towards more sustainable raw materials if it is to combat climate change,’ explains Benjamin Lux, Chief Technology Officer at ACTEGA. ‘We need to transform every element of our global economies’ “take-make-waste” system and ask ourselves how we want to manage resources, make and use products, and what we intend to do with the materials afterwards. With this in mind we have detailed and implemented 5 strong tactics to move the company and its products towards a circular economy model.’
In a circular economy approach, there is no waste. Everything has a new use and continues within the product cycle. ACTEGA’s 5 tactics to achieving this model are as follows:
1. Recycle – Ensure ACTEGA’s products can effectively and with minimal impact on the recycling process, contribute to end products that can be recycled.
2. Reduce – Invest in new technologies and innovative product solutions to reduce material and waste volumes, lower energy consumption and to make processes more efficient.
3. Displace – Aim to remove materials that are difficult or impossible to recycle by creating innovative product solutions and contributing to the development of better processes.
4. Replace – With ACTEGA’s expertise in chemistry, formulation and application, the company is committed to the development of innovative and safe solutions that make everyday products better and more sustainable by replacing CMR (Carcinogenic, mutagenic and reprotoxic chemicals) and hazardous substances in product formulations.
5. Degrade – If individual packaging components cannot be kept in the cycle, complete degradability should be a target. To achieve this, ACTEGA is forming strategic partnerships to develop new supply chains. Working with brand owners, raw materials suppliers and regulatory agencies, this partner-centric approach utilises the best and most innovative technology and expertise available today.
Closely linked to tactics 1, 2 and 5, an initial raw materials investigation into the carbon footprint of ACTEGA’s products concentrated on selected Paper & Board coatings. These first findings concluded that reducing the carbon footprint of binders within ACTEGA’s water-based products can significantly reduce the products’ overall carbon footprint. This could be achieved by incorporating either exclusively bio-based materials or biomass balanced raw materials (using both the original components and a certain amount of certified renewable feedstock within existing chemical pathways).
Lux continues, ‘Obtaining this information is just the first step. ACTEGA is now exploring exactly how we change the composition of these products, without compromising their renowned high quality or functionality, to reduce their carbon footprint. It’s an ongoing process and one we are fully committed to.’
Individual ACTEGA facilities are also developing and implementing numerous projects, designed to boost each sites’ environmental credentials. As part of the “Let’s ACT!” campaign within the business, teams are working together to minimise their local environmental impact. Such initiatives range from significant investments, like the installation of solar panels at ACTEGA in Vigo, Spain, to utilising specialised skills within the Lehrte, Germany, team to promote biodiversity and nature at the site, including successfully nurturing 6 bee colonies.
Bees play an extremely important role in the environmental health of the planet but sadly, numbers worldwide are decreasing. At the ACTEGA site in Lehrte, Germany, two employees take care of six bee colonies as experienced beekeepers. On a neighbouring meadow orchard, they ensure the safety and health of these animals and control the brood. The value to the local environment due to these 30 000 bees per colony should not be underestimated and of course everyone benefits from the honey produced! This is packaged in glass jars, vacuum sealed with the PVC-free compound, PROVALIN®, and the label decorated using the sustainable metallisation technology, ECOLEAF®.
The solar panel project at ACTEGA in Vigo, Spain sees 184 photovoltaic modules installed, making it possible to produce 140 000 kWh of electricity annually for the facility’s own consumption. This corresponds to about one tenth of the site’s total electricity demand for 2022. ‘Besides the clear operational advantages, this investment has a real strategic value for us and shows our unconditional commitment towards a more sustainable future,’ explains Teresa Ramos, Managing Director at ACTEGA Artística, Spain.
The local “greening” initiative at Lehrte has involved ACTEGA colleagues across the business, environmental associations and a landscape architect, planting, building and contributing to the upkeep of plant and flower beds around the grounds. This natural planting does not only contribute to more sustainability, but it also promotes the well-being of employees and creates an attractive, friendly, and inviting ACTEGA site for customers, business partners and every visitor.
‘The collective passion at ACTEGA to deliver on our environmental promises is evident when you hear local success stories like these and it makes us, as a management team, extremely proud to be working with such dedicated colleagues,’ says Thorsten Kröller, President, Division ACTEGA. ‘Combine the drive within the teams with the clear vision from ACTEGA’s leadership, and I am confident that we will achieve our business’ sustainability goals. It is crucial that we continually evaluate our processes, products and operations, and then implement new strategies to improve sustainability across all of these aspects. For us, it is also important that we are transparent about our journey towards the targets set to demonstrate our commitment to these objectives but also, help our customers and industry peers embark on similar projects and work towards a more sustainable future for all.’