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Sustainability: buzz or business?

Why did packaging automation supplier ELAU participate in the recent Sustainable Packaging Forum? Because enabling technology will make the difference between achieving sustainability and tomorrow’s cliché. Why did packaging automation supplier ELAU participate in the recent Sustainable Packaging Forum? Because enabling technology will make the difference between achieving sustainability and tomorrow’s cliché.
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FILED IN:  Sustainability  > Strategy
     

Most of today’s up-and-coming corporate executives hadn’t been born yet on the first Earth Day. But they are taking the initiative to make responsible use of the world’s resources part of their business strategy. That’s because, by definition, sustainability combines social and environmental responsibility with material cost savings.

And it’s apparently a very hot topic, because the third Sustainable Packaging Forum was completely sold out with over 500 in attendance. But only one of those attendees was from a supplier of packaging machinery automation.

Why was ELAU, maker of servo modules and automation software, present among the environmentalists, sustainability managers and materials suppliers?

For the same reason that the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute was covering the event for its print and online publications.

How automation enables sustainable packaging

“It’s not about motors or machines any more,” ELAU global marketing manager John Kowal told Packaging Automation magazine. “It’s about packaging systems delivering convenient, on-the-go consumer packaging that’s also sustainable.

“Our role here is analogous to an aircraft engine manufacturer’s contribution to an airline. We don’t make the airplane, but our technology can make it go faster on less fuel.”

ELAU is taking sustainability very seriously, just as the past decade has seen investors reward companies with good human rights records. ELAU’s parent company, Schneider Electric, describes its role as enabling ‘the new electric world,’ and ELAU envisions itself as a microcosm of that $24 billion-plus enterprise, one focused exclusively on making packaging operations more efficient through automation.

Specifically, ELAU sees its contribution to sustainability as helping the providers of packaging systems build in new efficiencies and the flexibility to overcome machineability issues that come with new and down-gauged materials.

Driven by corporate leaders, not consumers

The conference, held by the Packaging Strategies group in Pittsburgh on September 25-27, drew speakers from Du Pont, Kraft Foods, Alcoa, World Wildlife Fund, Starbucks and more global companies.

What makes this initiative fundamentally different from that first Earth Day is the fact that consumers largely have no idea what sustainability means. The initiative has largely been driven by corporations.

Sustainability is good business

Perhaps the most striking aspect of the sustainability forum is the overwhelming sense of sincerity and integrity shared by the speakers and audience alike. It’s clear that companies are implementing sustainability to protect their long term interests, not just to comply with the latest supply chain demand or reduce costs.

Given ongoing revelations concerning products from China, it’s easy to understand why social and environmental responsibility are simply good business after all.

The term ‘green washing’ refers to companies trying to convince the market that they are practicing sustainability when in reality they aren’t. There is clearly a stigma associated with such deception, one that is likely to cost a company customers and share price.

So while sustainability ‘score cards’ are being driven by Wal-Mart and other retailers, it’s reassuring to see that the honor system is alive and well among suppliers as momentum builds for sustainability.

About ELAU

ELAU is the only company worldwide exclusively focused on the automation of packaging machinery. ELAU’s PacDrive™ automation system offers the only automation platform purpose-built for the packaging industry.

ELAU equips over $1 billion worth of the world’s best machines annually, with over 35,000 PacDrive systems already deployed in packaging machinery worldwide.

The market demands packaging operations that are more flexible and efficient to fulfill marketing, supply chain and global business strategies. ELAU innovations have enabled a revolution in mechanical, software and hardware modularity to deliver these agile packaging systems.

Now ELAU invites the worldwide packaging community to take modularity to the next level with our new PacDrive™ Intelligent Servo Modules.

Far more than just distributing the servo drive out onto the motor, servo modules enable plug-and-play modularity, literally plugging machine modules into or out of the packaging system to change functionalities, formats and capacities.

By vastly streamlining the networks, cabling, interconnects and electrical hardware, Intelligent Servo Modules smaller, simpler, more maintainable and reconfigurable.

For more information, visit www.elau.com or email [email protected].

Most of today’s up-and-coming corporate executives hadn’t been born yet on the first Earth Day. But they are taking the initiative to make responsible use of the world’s resources part of their business strategy. That’s because, by definition, sustainability combines social and environmental responsibility with material cost savings.

And it’s apparently a very hot topic, because the third Sustainable Packaging Forum was completely sold out with over 500 in attendance. But only one of those attendees was from a supplier of packaging machinery automation.

Why was ELAU, maker of servo modules and automation software, present among the environmentalists, sustainability managers and materials suppliers?

For the same reason that the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute was covering the event for its print and online publications.

How automation enables sustainable packaging

“It’s not about motors or machines any more,” ELAU global marketing manager John Kowal told Packaging Automation magazine. “It’s about packaging systems delivering convenient, on-the-go consumer packaging that’s also sustainable.

“Our role here is analogous to an aircraft engine manufacturer’s contribution to an airline. We don’t make the airplane, but our technology can make it go faster on less fuel.”

ELAU is taking sustainability very seriously, just as the past decade has seen investors reward companies with good human rights records. ELAU’s parent company, Schneider Electric, describes its role as enabling ‘the new electric world,’ and ELAU envisions itself as a microcosm of that $24 billion-plus enterprise, one focused exclusively on making packaging operations more efficient through automation.

Specifically, ELAU sees its contribution to sustainability as helping the providers of packaging systems build in new efficiencies and the flexibility to overcome machineability issues that come with new and down-gauged materials.

Driven by corporate leaders, not consumers

The conference, held by the Packaging Strategies group in Pittsburgh on September 25-27, drew speakers from Du Pont, Kraft Foods, Alcoa, World Wildlife Fund, Starbucks and more global companies.

What makes this initiative fundamentally different from that first Earth Day is the fact that consumers largely have no idea what sustainability means. The initiative has largely been driven by corporations.

Sustainability is good business

Perhaps the most striking aspect of the sustainability forum is the overwhelming sense of sincerity and integrity shared by the speakers and audience alike. It’s clear that companies are implementing sustainability to protect their long term interests, not just to comply with the latest supply chain demand or reduce costs.

Given ongoing revelations concerning products from China, it’s easy to understand why social and environmental responsibility are simply good business after all.

The term ‘green washing’ refers to companies trying to convince the market that they are practicing sustainability when in reality they aren’t. There is clearly a stigma associated with such deception, one that is likely to cost a company customers and share price.

So while sustainability ‘score cards’ are being driven by Wal-Mart and other retailers, it’s reassuring to see that the honor system is alive and well among suppliers as momentum builds for sustainability.

About ELAU

ELAU is the only company worldwide exclusively focused on the automation of packaging machinery. ELAU’s PacDrive™ automation system offers the only automation platform purpose-built for the packaging industry.

ELAU equips over $1 billion worth of the world’s best machines annually, with over 35,000 PacDrive systems already deployed in packaging machinery worldwide.

The market demands packaging operations that are more flexible and efficient to fulfill marketing, supply chain and global business strategies. ELAU innovations have enabled a revolution in mechanical, software and hardware modularity to deliver these agile packaging systems.

Now ELAU invites the worldwide packaging community to take modularity to the next level with our new PacDrive™ Intelligent Servo Modules.

Far more than just distributing the servo drive out onto the motor, servo modules enable plug-and-play modularity, literally plugging machine modules into or out of the packaging system to change functionalities, formats and capacities.

By vastly streamlining the networks, cabling, interconnects and electrical hardware, Intelligent Servo Modules smaller, simpler, more maintainable and reconfigurable.

For more information, visit www.elau.com or email [email protected].

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