Sustainability in Every Drop: Virospack’s Ongoing Commitment towards a Greener Future
Virospack isn’t just talking about sustainability, it’s acting on it, and quickly. Rosa Porras, Marketing and Communication Manager, and Aida Rodriguez, Environment Manager, talk about Virospack’s bold moves towards a more sustainable future, how they are achieving it, and what’s on the horizon for Virospack this year.
Virospack has very ambitious and specific objectives for sustainability by 2025. What are some of the biggest challenges in achieving them in such a short time?
We gave ourselves such ambitious goals because we are committed to sustainability as a way of life for Virospack. The world’s resources are limited and both businesses and consumers are more aware than ever before about environmental impact. In order to make change happen, you have to be active and focus on what you can do to be part of that change. At Virospack we are motivated at the management level and inspire every member of our team to be part of this change.
We have raised awareness across the entire staff of our updated goals and responsibility for the protection of the planet and future generations. We believe that this is a team effort and there are many ways in which everyone can play their part.
By using our well-defined Sustainability Strategy as our guide, we have already accomplished many achievements in recent years.
Today at Virospack we work with 100% renewable energy, use 100% FSC-certified wood, and recover up to 100% of the water used in our decoration processes with a goal of 5% energy reduction. We are promoting a reduction in the use of resources with a 31% reduction of water and a reduction in air pollution through innovation.
We have also committed to minimizing waste and plastic with a per unit production decrease of 63% cardboard waste, 21% decrease of hazardous waste, and 35% less plastic.
However, the hard work never stops and the packaging industry will never be finished when it comes to sustainability. Virospack knows this, so we continue investing in sustainability as one of our top priorities. Currently, we plan to expand our facilities with a sustainable building project through the BREAM certification. One of our main objectives is to respect the planet with innovative eco-design, new developments, and the latest materials.
Our well defined and quantified goals for 2025 include a 30% reduction in VOCs, a 10% decrease in hazardous waste, 50% of materials come from PCR, and recycling 85% of hazardous waste.
As you can see, when we say the commitment to our environment is part of Virospack´s DNA, they’re not just words, they’re reality.
How does Virospack encourage every team member to think about their impact towards the environment?
Our team is very important to us. Our sustainability policy isn’t just about the environment, it expands to labour and human rights. Employee health, respect, and safety is at the forefront of all of our processes. We ensure that our suppliers follow labor laws as well.
Additionally, it is very important that everyone on the Virospack team is committed to sustainability and the environment, therefore our company’s performance KPI’s also reflect sustainable production and a reduction in waste.
Last year, we launched a contest for our staff, the Environmental Proposal Competition. Members of the Virospack Environment Committee submitted environmental proposals to make Virospack more environmentally conscious. Every member of our staff was encouraged to participate.
The winning project was the construction of water structures. All of the savings achieved in the company over a year as a result of the winning environmental proposals will be used to aid the Vicente Ferrer Foundation. This foundation has several projects underway to eradicate poverty and ensure sustainable development in South India.
Other project submissions found ways to reduce waste. One of the key features of the competition was that every single person at Virospack could see clear ways in which we could implement greener working practices, and many of them are now accomplished in our working environment.
The involvement of the full staff in this project has been a success. We are excited to continue developing new projects and ways for our staff to join in on our mission for a more sustainable future. Not only does this make us ‘greener’ from within, but the involvement of the entire team encourages comradery and the chase to see new opportunities through creativity.
What progress have you already made towards sustainability in the past few years?
After developing a clear sustainability policy, the first step was achieving ISO14001 certification. Following the guidelines set by the EMAS (EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) was a way to guarantee our place as a leader in the cosmetic dropper industry and working towards becoming a leader in sustainability in Europe.
Since the beginning, we have worked to involve the entire team in our goals and raise awareness.
Sustainability is part of Virospack and it´s present in all our processes, productive sections and departments, it’s in the DNA of the company.
Our purchasing policy considers sustainability as an important value in the supply chain. It’s important that we associate with companies who are also working towards a better tomorrow.
How did the events of 2020 shape your new objectives?
We have not let the events of the last year stop us from achieving our goals.
It’s true that almost every packaging manufacturer around the world had to take a step back and reassess how to continue meeting production needs with the ‘new normal’.
At Virospack, we acted quickly and thoroughly whilst ensuring the safety of our staff. Because Virospack’s environmental objectives are at its core, we will reach our goals by 2025.
As a completely in-house company, how do you shuffle increased international demand with sustainability and continued innovation?
Through years of experience, Virospack has designed a method to fulfill all of our international commitments in house, without dependence on third parties or external suppliers. Our promise to meet the expectations of the brands is always met, even in the most extraordinary and difficult moments from the past year.
Since more than 95% of our products are shipped internationally, it is essential to have a tried and tested process. A lot of consumers count on us to maintain high standards and packaging solutions.
2020 has revolutionized the beauty industry and changed what consumers expect from brands and their packaging. What consumer beauty trends have you noticed and how are you reacting to them?
Confidence, hygiene, and mental well-being are the 3 biggest macro trends we see today.
The global pandemic has changed many things and one of them is the way in which consumers shop for everything and the way they relate to brands and the values they appreciate from them. These changes also affect beauty products.
Worldwide there is an increased interest in sustainability, overall well-being, and desire to interact with brands.
Suppliers have to respond quickly to consumer´s growing demand for less wasteful packaging. Consumers are beginning to value products presented in packages that are not immediately thrown away. Virospack has been working in this direction for a long time, anticipating market needs. And with this objective we are investing in more sustainable materials – new materials, materials from PCR, or natural materials such as wood that is biodegradable, with which we have developed our Natural Dropper Cap, “Just Wood”, unique in the market.
The “Clean Beauty” movement is advancing rapidly, and consumers are well aware of the importance of disinfection and hygiene in their daily lives. This interest in hygiene has also transferred to the type of products consumed. Last season there was already plenty of talk about the washed face effect, striving for skin that looks cared for, more hydrated, more luminous, and more regenerated versus a face with more makeup. Nowadays with the ubiquitous use of masks, confinement, and working at home, it is evident that clean beauty has come to stay, at least for a while.
Another emerging trend is the role of “professional influencers“. In the search for greater security and consequently, for the advice of a health and beauty professional, an expert over a celebrity or an influencer. Some traditional advertising images today are considered insincere and out-of-touch. After our shared experience, with the pandemic, the confinement, and the consequences that this has brought us and will continue to bring us, we must be especially sensitive. Brands are staying close to reality, to the consumer, and their fears and illusions.
Now that we are a year into a public health crisis, an expert opinion is very sought after when it comes to our health, both for our bodies and mentally. Today mental well-being is highly valued, with 59% of women declaring it to be one of their highest priorities. Brands need to give that to consumers to gain their trust. Consumers want to talk about wellness and mental health more than ever and brands should be open to this.
The consumer today is more connected than ever and at the same time more disconnected than ever and the excess of digital connection generates loneliness and mistrust. The consumer needs to return to the real world, to their social and work group, and to feel like a part of a community more than ever. That is why brands need to be more than beauty brands, they should be lifestyle brands as well.
Consumers expect top-quality packaging from clean beauty brands that is made with high-quality natural ingredients. All of this should be in packaging that looks very stylish and modern.
Today we cannot talk about transparency without talking about well-being or sustainability. Not just Beauty, but beauty with efficacy, safety, and mental health.
Since consumers are going to physical shops less, beauty brands need to convey this lifestyle of wellness without face-to-face interaction. Packaging can be a great way to show consumers what your brand stands for.
How does Virospack fit in with the clean beauty movement?
We are committed to hygiene and safety and maintain it throughout all levels of production.
Companies feel confident knowing that our packaging solutions are produced with the strictest EU quality and hygiene standards.
It’s essential for natural and clean beauty products to be packaged in clean, chemical free packaging solutions like Virospack. The trust that consumers put in Virospakc’s products means everything.
Consumers searching for clean beauty products are often drawn to packaging with more environmentally friendly packaging, like lightweight glass and wood packaging. Virospack developed the world’s first dropper with an all-wood cap, which gives an extra layer of sustainability to clean beauty products. It is made with no plastic threads, which is an enormous technological breakthrough. Nobody thought it could be done, but Virospack did it.
Since the purchasing process relies upon transparency, trust, and expert advice, how does Virospack communicate its brand ethos now that COVID has forced less face-to-face interactions?
We have added a new sustainability section to our website where brands can learn what Virospack stands for, in addition to asking any member of our team! We are focused on full transparency in what we do and the creation of our products.
In order to maintain trust, we publish our EMAS declaration every year. This details all of the environmental behaviour and data of Virospack.
Virospack showed that it is one of the leaders in eco-design with the development of the first dropper with a 100% natural all-wooden cap last year. How does Virospack overcome technical challenges to innovate?
The team at Virospack aren’t afraid to think outside the box and we foster an environment of innovation. A 100% all-natural wood dropper wasn’t thought possible, which we took as a challenge. And, at first, it did seem impossible!
We needed to meet our quality standards which was a very complex process with a noble material like wood. After dedicating a lot of time, research, and thorough quality testing, Virospack was able to achieve the impossible. We are proud to offer the market the world’s first wooden dropper cap, made without plastic threads or glue, resulting in a very low environmental impact.
Our wooden dropper proves that beautiful design and sustainability can result in something wonderful. After achieving this, we know that we can do anything if we work as a team. We accomplish two goals in its manufacture, being more respectful with the environment and also reducing the carbon footprint produced by the final dropper. It is an ultimately more sustainable product that responds to market demand and the needs of increasingly committed brands and consumers with responsible consumption.
We are of course always looking towards the future and are working on upcoming eco-design projects. We are continuously looking for ways to make our designs more eco-friendly. We know that investing in research and development is the way forward for outstanding functional sustainable dropper packaging.