Sustainability as a business model: With its participation as a main partner at the Cradle to Cradle Congress, which ended in Berlin at the beginning of February, one of the leading international printing ink manufacturers is underlining the importance of the issues of sustainability and environmental protection. "We are aware of our social responsibility and see it as our task not only to optimise our own products and processes, but also to pass on their knowledge and do a bit of educational work," says Heiner Klokkers, Chairman of the hubergroup's Management Board, summing up the deep social roots of the 255-year-old family-owned company.
The international Cradle to Cradle Congress (C2C) has entered its sixth round this year. It is increasingly becoming a compulsory event for all those who want to establish a genuine recycling economy in accordance with the C2C rules. The contributions of renowned representatives from business, science, education, politics and society made it clear that environmental protection and economic growth are by no means mutually exclusive, but can form a meaningful symbiosis. In Berlin the printing ink manufacturer presented itself with its innovative ideas and projects as a pioneer and important contact in the printing ink sector.
The hubergroup's claim is clearly defined: Cradle to Cradle should increasingly become the industry standard. In order to live up to this ambition, the printing ink manufacturer is setting a good example. For example, the company has already received the Cradle to Cradle Material Health certificate for the offset inks produced at its Vapi plant in India and is working towards full certification. hubergroup Italy is also already certified with a wide range of Cradle to Cradle gecko inks.
During his presentation at the congress Heiner Klokkers made an appeal to companies, consumers and politicians and called for action. The printing ink manufacturer itself has already launched several lighthouse projects. One success story is the partnership with the Carlsberg brewery group, which operated a joint stand with the hubergroup at the C2C Congress. In cooperation with the beer producer, the printing ink specialist once again demonstrated its great commitment to sustainable products. For example, since the beginning of 2019, bottle labels for Carlsberg have been printed with the Cradle to Cradle silver-certified hubergroup Eco-Offset Inks Premium Plus. This concept is to be expanded in the near future to include further beer brands from the large brewery. But other strategic partnerships, such as those with a leading German discounter or an international furniture store, are also to be further expanded.
"Sustainability is a topic that concerns us all. Only if we all pull together can we make a difference and change the market in the long term. The C2C Congress was an important platform for us to exchange ideas and network with strategic partners. We see ourselves not only as a technology leader who deals with its competitors in the world of printing inks, but also as an influencer who has its followers in all areas of society and not just in the printing industry," concludes Bernd Groh, Global Product & Portfolio Manager SF/UV hubergroup.
Sustainability has many facets
A practical example of the circular model is the hubergroup's plant in Vapi, India. In order to reduce the waste water to a value of zero, a water treatment plant has been set up which recovers 95 percent of the water from the waste water stream. Only 5 percent fresh water needs to be added. It compensates for the loss of water through evaporation during recycling.
In Germany and some regions of Europe, the manufacturer takes the water that is produced during the washing process of the coating units back from its customers and also has it recycled. 25 percent of this water is used in purified form for the production of non-food coatings.
The printing ink manufacturer's social commitment is manifested in the seven-digit euro amount per year with which the hubergroup has been supporting the MAA Foundation for more than ten years. The MAA Foundation runs educational projects for teachers, pupils and students to improve the level of education in rural areas in western India. This enables even those children and young people who cannot afford the necessary financial means to receive a good education.