Confirmation of a global commitment to sustainability
CIn the new decade, Sofidel confirmed its intrinsic commitment to the new international sustainability credo and its willingness to work in partnerships. In December 2010, it joined the UN’s Global Compact, a strategic platform for businesses aimed at implementing and promoting the basic principles of human rights, employment, the environment and combatting corruption. In 2011, it published its first Integrated Report – a more precise and exhaustive reporting tool providing data on its commitment to sustainability alongside information on economic and financial management and the consolidated statement of the Group. In April 2014, it unveiled its Less is More principle. The latter marked a fundamental change in approach. It sought to look for solutions to give “more” in terms of value, products and services with “less”, in terms of consumption and waste. The aim was to design better products with an increasingly reduced environmental impact; products made using fewer natural resources due to better efficiency and innovative features.
Second in Europe and continuously expanding. Time for organic growth
Between 2010 and 2013, the Group founded Sofidel Papir in Croatia, acquired Comceh in Romania, and the LPC Group, with plants in Great Britain, Sweden, Belgium and France.
The operation also included the acquisition of other major brands in the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Belgium, Holland and Luxemburg. In 2011, it also unveiled its new “Papernet” brand for the Away-from-Home market. This was followed by the Nalys and Cosynel brands in Belgium and Lycke in the Scandinavian countries. In 2015, it commissioned its new Swedish Tissue converting plant in Sweden, with a futuristic automated warehouse. Meanwhile, Sofidel’s new conversion plant in Ingrandes, France, was nearing completion. This marked a new phase of strategic growth for Europe; organic growth by increasing production at existing sites.
A new continent: arrival and growth in USA
In 2012, Sofidel broadened its horizons with a foray into the USA. It started by acquiring Cellynne which was active in the Away-from-Home sector with three plants: an integrated plant in Florida (Haines City) and two conversion plants in Wisconsin (Green Bay) and Nevada (Henderson) respectively. In 2014, it commissioned a new conversion plant in Oklahoma (Tulsa) and boosted production at the existing plant in Nevada. In 2015 there is the acquisition of Green Bay Converting Inc., a conversion plant in Wisconsin (also in Green Bay) and a factory in Mississippi (Hattiesburg). This was soon followed by a new Greenfield investment in Ohio (Circleville) to create its first integrated plant on US soil and the opening of its new Headquarters in Philadelphia (Pennsylvania). In just three years, Sofidel is now operational in 7 states and has a production capacity of 200 thousand tons.
Relentless environmental commitment
Five years after joining WWF’s International Climate Savers programme, in 2013, the Group met its set target to reduce CO2 emissions by 11%. Encouraged by these results and in line with its philosophy of Less is More, Sofidel has set even more ambitious targets for 2020. In addition to reducing direct and indirect emissions, it is also committed to increasing its use of renewable energies and to playing an active role in promoting the Low Carbon Economy in its sector and amongst its stakeholders.
2016. THE EVENTS
The 50th Anniversary has been a precious opportunity to affirm and fully promote the Sofidel identity. In this context it was decided to raise awareness to all stakeholders, both in Italy and outside Italy, about the history and the values of a company able to develop and grow continuously for five decades. A goal pursued by starting the celebrations at national level, with a press conference in Milan; supporting an event of the “Festival of Growth” in Lucca; celebrating employees with a party in all plants worldwide at the same time; supporting the production of a documentary “Paper, a never ending story” of the National Geographic presented in London and broadcasted in most European countries; activating a corporate campaign in major European newspapers; last but not least realizing a book about Sofidel history, the history of the paper industry of Lucca district and the culture of the tissue paper written by the University of Pisa. All these activities were strenghten even by public international recognition including the visit to the headquarters Sofidel of the Prime Ministers of the Italian Republic, Matteo Renzi, and a mention by the President of the United States, Barack Obama, during an event dedicated to foreign investment in the United States.
a new strategic growth phase
Together with this events, strictly linked to the roots of values and the increase of recognizability and reputation of Sofidel brand, 2016 was also the year of another significant projection towards the future. The start of a new strategic growth phase, which provides diversified paths of development for Europe and the United States. In the old continent, where now the dissemination of production facilities close to markets can be said to be substantially completed, the development of Sofidel will pass by organic growth: from the increase of the production capacity (in some cases doubled or even tripled) of existing plants to a possible, rare opportunistic acquisitions. In the US, however, where there is the dual need to increase production capacity and geographical coverage, and where wide margins for growth are expected, development will occur through replication of the strategy already successfully applied in Europe, namely through a mix of greenfield and acquisitions investments.
STRATEGIC GREENFIELD INVESTMENTS
In February 2018, the first converting line started production at Circleville, Ohio, integrated plant. In March, works started on Inola site, Oklahoma, where a new integrated plant is under construction to serve the South-Central and Central-Western areas of the U.S. It is the second strategic greenfield investment to support the Group’s growth in the United States. In October 2018, the Group officially inaugurated its integrated production site in Circleville – Sofidel’s largest, most modern and sustainable plant to date. The facility is characterized by the use of innovative technologies for the papermaking, converting and warehousing stages. In August 2019, the first converting line started production at Inola plant. The production site is expected to be completed and fully running by the end of 2020.