Philippe Schläpfer | Chief Sustainability Officer

SONGWON's positive contribution to the environment

SONGWON's positive contribution to the environment

Philippe Schläpfer | Chief Sustainability Officer

As SONGWON’s Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) can you tell us what sustainability means for the company?

As a global leader, we have been working for many years to become a more sustainable business and have focused on the specific challenges that we face in our industry. In order to achieve an overall coordinated approach across all our activities, SONGWON decided that it was important to highlight its commitment to take our company’s sustainability to the next level by appointing back in 2019 a CSO to drive these efforts. Over the past few years, SONGWON’s sustainability initiatives have been becoming more widespread across the organization and the management knew that to progress further meant it was important to ensure that a sustainability framework was embedded and aligned in SONGWON’s corporate strategy and planning.

Sustainability is generally understood as ensuring the balance between economic growth, environmental care and social welfare with the preservation of natural resources where development meets the current need without compromising future generations’ ability to meet their own needs. SONGWON’s approach is a pragmatic one involving small but relevant, concrete steps over the time. None of us have a magic wand we can use to change society’s behavior. To progress, we need to engage in collaboration with customers and/or suppliers or other relevant stakeholders. At SONGWON, we aim to make sure that every business activity or development project we work on is as ecologically and economically sustainable as possible. We want to create things that last.

Plastic has become a major crisis topic worldwide, how is SONGWON responding to this?

The actual material itself is not where the real problem lies, it is what we do with it. SONGWON’s approach to plastic pollution is founded on the principle that all players in the plastics value chain agree to move from a linear economy to a circular economy and cooperate to find sustainable solutions that consider the entire lifecycle of plastics. We maintain that finding the best way forward requires extensive collaboration up and down the value chain, from plastics producers to recyclers and brand owners. We all have to become smarter and seek innovative out-of-the box solutions. Apart from meeting the responsibility of our leadership role, SONGWON endeavors to support the circular economy shift by collaborating where we can and doing our part wherever we see an opportunity.

We completely support the creation of projects relating to circular economy while developing additive solutions that contribute to improving the recyclability of plastics and helping to make the processes more ecological, faster and more efficient.

Can you share some of the things SONGWON is doing to make the world a little more sustainable?

SONGWON is leading the way in sustainable packaging and label printing. We have collaborated with the innovative German packaging specialists, Berry bpi group, to develop special PE-bags, made of recycled materials which have originated from different waste streams, including industrial printed bags that have already been used. In fact, we are one of the 1st chemical companies in the world to package products in 20kg PE-bags made with 50% recycled PE.

Furthermore, all of our solvents required for de-inking are recycled continuously in a close-loop process. The labels are printed with a special fiber laser marking technology without any ink. We are also one of the 1st companies to using such a marking technology successfully for full label printing.

In 2017, SONGWON invested in a new ‘state-of-the-art’ Technology Innovation Center in South Korea. The center provides a valuable ‘hub’ right across the business and enables the company to accelerate its development of new innovations that support sustainability in our industry. For example, at K2019, we launched an entirely new family of flame-retardant synergists based on a proprietary technology designed to combine high performance with safety and sustainability.

At SONGWON, we aim to make sure that every business activity or development project we work on is as ecologically and economically sustainable as possible.
We want to create things that last.

What are some of the things SONGWON is aiming to achieve going forward?

We would like to expand on our cooperation with Berry bpi group and have set a mid-term target to increase the amount of recycled PE in our PE bags to 80% without compromising the strength and quality of the bags in any way. In addition, we would like to get to the point where we see all of our customer’s PE-bag-waste shipped back for recycling. SONGWON will also continue to look inside the organization in a continual drive to optimize processes, source more efficiently and use resources to reduce SONGWON’s environmental impact. With an eye on global developments, we will monitor what other players in the industry are doing. We want to learn from others as well as to share our experience with them to ultimately help us all improve our sustainability efforts.