Euro Brand Management GmbH - B-Corp - Packaging for the Footwear Industry

The world is changing and is paying more attention to concrete traceable actions, and not to promises of sustainability. For Luigi Grosso it has long been important that every company thinks as a Benefit Company by 2050. But becoming a B-Corp was not easy.

The company founded by Luigi Grosso in 2007 whom we interviewed, is a Munich-based company that provides packaging, packing, loading and transport optimization services in the name of sustainability for brands and shoe factories. In 2015 it earned certification as a B-Corp, that is a Benefit Corporation and thus became part of the group of 4,600 global companies that work for profit, reinvesting part of the profit in sustainable and regenerative initiatives.

Before getting to the B-Corps, we would like to understand what values move your work. “Our company does not deal with simple Packaging and Packing, but is committed to studying in depth, both vertically and horizontally, the entire packaging and transport method and process that footwear and apparel companies, and the fashion industry in general, apply throughout their value chain. We work with each department involved, from the one that deals with sustainability, to that which deals with marketing, supply chain, costing … to get a comprehensive view of the company’s needs regarding packaging: boxes, cartons, masking tape, tissue paper, filler paper. We evaluate every aspect, from the accuracy of the colors to the final weight of the packaged products, to best achieve the objectives that our customers have set themselves.

Then, thanks to our widespread network of innovative suppliers over the world (because the proximity of our suppliers to the delivery points of the products is obviously also fundamental to further reduce the environmental impact), we provide companies with everything they need for their activities of packaging and packing.

We could say that our mission is to optimize processes and eliminate from the world of packaging all those materials that are not eco-efficient. Finding solutions that, for example, eliminate plastic and are, perhaps, compostable.

” An emblematic case that represents your work.” “With Geox, after years of collaboration, we have succeeded in creating a completely plastic-free footwear packaging system. Even pictograms indicating the materials used in the shoe have been transformed from plastic to 100% compostable paper and printed with eco inks. For packaging we used a different structure from the previous one which allowed them to significantly reduce the amount of paper, energy, water and generate less CO2. For us, ‘reduce, re-engineer and eliminate’ are basic principles that allow us to reduce the environmental impact of each product. Without renouncing the ‘wow’ effect that must always be ensured to provide the consumer with the best possible shopping experience. Our study and our work, among other things, provide certain and clear data regarding the environmental impact of the processes and products we suggest. Data that companies can reuse, if they want, in their certification paths.

 ” So even before becoming B-Corp you were already oriented towards sustainability… “In 2006 I read Al Gore’s book, ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, one of the first books to deal with Climate Change. As soon as I finished the last page I said to myself: ‘I have to do something’. I thought that doing business differently would mean doing the right thing, but also that it would be a good way to diversify from my much bigger and stronger competitors in the market. If at the beginning the customers were wary of the somewhat disruptive topics we were talking about, today it would seem strange not to address certain issues. And our choice rewarded us: this year we recorded a + 40% turnover, and the projections for the coming year speak of doubling. ” When did you approach B-Corp certification? “In 2014 and became the first certified B-Corp in Bavaria the following year. Re-certification took place in 2017, and now we have completed the third assessment which will be proofed by B Lab this year.”

” What investments did it require of you? “Becoming a B-Corp does not imply so much an investment in terms of costs, but rather a long-term commitment to develop concrete initiatives that require, first, a change of mentality and a new cultural paradigm within the company. The initial step is to change one’s mission within the company statute, indicating among its purposes also that of positively influencing society and the environment.

Euro Brand Management GmbH