Completely carbon-neutral production
At Palsgaard, I’m proud to say that we have an exceptional track record on sustainability. Five years before the launch of the SDGs, we set ourselves the goal of completely carbon-neutral production within ten years. We achieved this target last year – two years ahead of schedule – reducing our net carbon emissions from 12,029 tonnes in 2010 to zero in 2018. Over that period, we achieved CO2 reductions totalling 56,175 tonnes – equivalent to the amount produced by 4885 European (EU) households in a year.[i] Our six global production sites are now all carbon-neutral, achieved largely from changing sources of energy but also through new heat recovery and insulation strategies. Because few, if any, of our competitors can make the same claim, we are able to offer a clear benefit to our customers in an environment where sustainability is increasingly important to end consumers.
Our commitment to reducing our carbon emissions was the reason we were among a small number of companies invited to take part in the UN’s SDG Accelerator – a programme that aims to support business solutions to meet the goals, starting in Denmark, but with the eventual aim of global-roll-out.
The birth of a pioneering new anti-fog product
Efficient anti-fog properties are important in many different polymer-derived packaging applications, and our Einar range already included some highly efficient anti-fog solutions. However, we were often asked about the possibility of achieving anti-fog performance in challenging applications such as BOPP and PET. Our migratory anti-fog additives, which are highly effective in polyolefins, did not offer a solution because they show little or no migration in these highly crystalline or polar materials.
We therefore started developing a coating solution specifically for systems where migratory additives fall short. And with the UN Accelerator programme acting as a catalyst, we were able to develop a unique solution that lives up to the high standards of the Einar® range.
That was Einar® 1122 – a water-based anti-fog coating for industrial food packaging which keeps food looking fresh and desirable at low temperatures. As consumers tend to choose visually appealing products – leaving those with foggy packaging to decay – it helps reduce food waste, contributing to both SDG2 (end world hunger) and SDG12 (sustainable consumption and production).
Like all our solutions for the polymer industry, Einar® 1122 is plant-based, food grade and approved worldwide for contact with food (it is sourced from sustainably produced vegetable oils.) This makes it completely safe, overcoming growing consumer concern about harmful additives in polymer products (it is produced without amine or amide chemistry). Einar® 1122 is also highly efficient – it is durable and delivers consistent performance in applications that demand uncompromising quality, such as stretched polyolefin, polyester films and sheets for thermoforming. It compares exceptionally well with competing products, and superior performance has been demonstrated in numerous evaluations.
R&D is part of our culture
While the creation of Einar® 1122 owed much to our involvement in the SDG Accelerator, it would have been impossible without Palsgaard’s strong culture of R&D. We benefit hugely from our innovative scientific and application departments which have decades of experience in the polymer industry. In addition to working on new products such as Einar® 1122, they are able to offer their expertise to Palsgaard customers. As well as collaborating on the development of new products, they can undertake focused research assignments, focusing for example on how processing resources are best utilised, or how to manage the environmental impacts of production.
Conclusion – Real action on sustainability, real benefits
The UN points out that “the new global agenda for sustainable development can be operationalised in a business context, creating business benefits.” This has certainly been Palsgaard’s experience of working on the SDG Accelerator. As well as generating excitement around our ongoing sustainability efforts, it has led to the creation of a new product with real benefits for our customers in the polymer industry.