Innovating to meet customers' sustainability goals
Logoplaste, a global designer and manufacturer of bottles and other rigid plastic containers, headquartered in Portugal, implements creative solutions to help its many blue-chip clients achieve their growing sustainability goals.
The company pursues two major strategies to improve its environmental footprint: (1) locating its production lines within customers’ plants (“plant-in-a-plant”), which eliminates the need for trucks for shipping and secondary packaging, and (2) using innovative design tools to improve the environmental profiles of the bottles themselves. When Carlyle invested in Logoplaste in 2016, Carlyle’s investment team saw an opportunity to support expansion of plants and innovative packaging, often meeting customers’ sustainability goals.
“Plant-in-a-plant” production model. In 2010, Logoplaste began its partnership with global beverage leader Diageo with an on-site plant at Diageo’s Plainfield site near Chicago, which eliminated an estimated 2,327 trucks from the road each year. Logoplaste currently has 44 plant-in-a-plant facilities and nine “nearby” facilities (representing 93% of all facilities) and estimates that every site opened using the plant-in-a-plant model eliminates almost 10,000 trucks from the road per year, based on current typical production rates and average bottle sizes. With new resources, Logoplaste aims to expand its model. For example, if three onsite plants per year are opened, with average shipping routes at 223 miles, the estimated carbon savings each year amounts to an impressive 11,000 metric tons.
Innovative design. Logoplaste’s Innovation Lab works with clients to research and develop the most feasible, viable and sustainable packaging solutions, which include integrating biomimicry methodology into the packaging process to pursue greener design. As one example, the team redesigned the NESTLE/LACTALIS bottle, modeling the label area on fish scales, which reduces the bottle weight and gives more rigidity and flexibility to the bottle. Creative design tools also helped reduce Diageo’s carbon footprint per bottle by 53% from 2014 to 2015. In 2016, Logoplaste relaunched its 29/25 bottle neck—which today is used worldwide—reducing the weight by 20%, another step forward in the light-weight design and carbon footprint reduction. In addition, company-wide energy use per bottle produced is down 20%, and the percentage of recycled PET utilized as raw material has increased from 7.8% to 15% from 2012 to 2016—delivering even more carbon benefits.
The company’s level of creativity in bottle design isn’t just environmentally effective: it’s award winning. The company’s Ecover Ocean Bottle is a perfect illustration of both source reduction and recycling. Through new “skeleton” design processes, based on the structure of the very ocean plankton threatened by ocean plastic pollution, the bottle uses 20% less material while retaining the same stability and functionality of a conventional plastic bottle. In addition, 10% of the raw materials come from ocean plastic waste itself, with the remainder from other recycled sources. This innovative solution was recognized with awards from the Green Good Design Awards, the German Design Awards, the European Business Awards for the Environment, and the iF Design awards.
Logoplaste is just as conscious of the labor impact of producing these industry-leading products. In the past year alone, the company’s worker safety initiative led to a 37% reduction in the hours of lost time due to workplace accidents.
Client tributes. Proving that sustainable business practices are simply good business, Diageo (2015) and Proctor & Gamble (2016) have each given Logoplaste the award for top supplier within the past two years. Logoplaste also received SC Johnson’s 2016 Sustainability Excellence Award for producing the first 100% postconsumer recycled content Windex® bottle.