Shaping change: Greiner publishes its first sustainability report

12/06/2019 | 5 min read
Theresa Wieser

The plastics processor and foam manufacturer Greiner, which is based in Kremsmünster, Austria, is about to publish the first Sustainability Report in its company history. This will not only provide a detailed account of the group’s commitment to sustainability, but also define measureable targets such as the establishment of a cyclical economic approach and the halving of emissions by 2030.     

Kremsmünster, 12 June 2019. Ambitious, committed and future-oriented are the adjectives that Axel Kühner, the Greiner AG CEO, uses to describe the initial Greiner Sustainability Report, which will be published on 12 June 2019. The report highlights the sustainability measures initiated by the group worldwide and tackles current ecological and social issues. Axel Kühner, “The presentation of our Sustainability Report constitutes an absolute milestone, as in it we undertake an obligation to make a tangible and, above all, measureable contribution to sustainable development.”    

Sustainability as a cross-sectional subject 

Although Greiner has established focal points such as those regarding circular economy and CO2 reduction, the group nevertheless regards sustainability as a cross-sectional subject. Because, as Hannes Moser, the Greiner AG CFO, explains, “Apart from plainly evident areas such as environment-friendly product design and responsible material employment, sustainability also means being a good and reliable employer that appreciates the individuality and diversity of its workforce. Moreover, both sustainable management, which involves long-term and transparent relations with all stakeholders and the securing of profit-oriented growth are matters equally inherent to the sustainability thematic area.”    

A focus on circular economy  

During 2018, the various impacts of plastics were dealt with extensively on a European level and initial regulations for the industry followed. Greiner welcomes the new EU plastics strategy and in fact has been working on sustainable solutions for a number of years. Indeed in 2016, which was well before the topic of plastic waste came to dominate the day-to-day media agenda, socially and environmentally acceptable conduct was already anchored within the group through the introduction of the binding “Plastics for Life” sustainability strategy. During 2017, there followed the installation of sustainability management across the entire concern and now comes its first Sustainability Report. Accordingly, group activities aimed at product portfolio modification with respect to recycling capacity, increased innovation in line with sustainability and the establishment of a cyclical economic approach, not only represent measures in accordance with the European strategy for plastics, but go beyond the statutory requirements and constitute key issues with regard to which Greiner leads by example.         

Targets as a corporate development blueprint  

The objectives contained in the Sustainability Report partly extend up to the year 2030. They form a blueprint for the future development of the group and more than meet the demands of the EU’s plastics strategy. The targets from the introduction of an internal carbon pricing system by 2020 and the promise that by 2025 all the plastic packaging manufactured will be suitable for recycling, reuse or composting, to an assurance that all problematic and superfluous plastic packaging will be eliminated and an obligation that by 2025 a considerable percentage of the material employed will emanate from recycling.  Axel Kühner, “The latest example of these endeavors is a shampoo bottle, which is produced entirely from recycled polyolefins. It has an attractive design and offers both optimum product protection and outstanding environmental compatibility. The recycled material for this product, which is also 100 percent recyclable, is obtained from plastic milk bottles that were collected in the UK. In fact, the motto, “designed for recyclability” was a primary consideration from the very start of this development.”   

It is also worthy of note that the Greiner Sustainability Report foresees the occupation by women of 35% of managerial posts by 2025, as well as a 53% cut in specific CO2 emissions and an increase in the share of renewable energy in electricity purchases to 90% by 2030.  

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Greiner is headquartered in Kremsmünster, Austria, and has four operating divisions comprised by Greiner Packaging, Greiner Bio-One, Greiner Foam and Greiner Extrusion. Greiner is one of the leading producers of foam and processors of plastics for the packaging, furniture, sport, automotive, medical technology and pharmaceutical sectors. It also numbers among the top manufacturers of extrusion lines, tools and complete profile extrusion plants. In the 2018 financial year, Greiner achieved sales revenues of EUR 1.631 billion and employed a workforce of roughly 10,700 at 140 locations in 33 countries. The Greiner CEO is Axel Kühner and its CFO is Hannes Moser.

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