Faller Packaging has published a sustainability report every year since 2003. Dr. Michael Faller, managing partner of the company, talks about the goals that the report aims to achieve, the circle of addressees and the response.
Was there a specific reason for publishing this report?
As a responsible family-owned company, ensuring the regenerative capacity of our natural resources and harmonious cooperation with our employees is virtually already part of our DNA. Faller Packaging’s commitment to sustainability has a very long tradition: we publish our sustainability report every year, and have done so since 2003. We were far ahead of the times when environmental protection, resource conservation and climate neutrality became such prominent topics. In 2014 we were, of course, one of the first signatories of the WIN Charter of the state of Baden-Württemberg and we are still very committed there. We are thus also committed to the twelve guiding principles included.
What expectations did you and the company management have of this report?
We want to use it to make visible how well prepared we are for the future. In our opinion, this is only possible through sustainable development. It is important to us to spread the conviction that economic success, ecological responsibility and social commitment can be brought into accordance. Last but not least, we hope to be able to convince other companies in the region, our employees and customers of this.
The topic is very broad overall – which aspects would you particularly emphasize?
The topic is indeed a broad field. And as I mentioned above, our focus is equally divided between the ecological, economic and social aspects. Within these areas, different aspects are always topical for us. In our last Sustainability Report, for example, we were able to report in particular on our successes in increasing equity, saving energy and expanding our company health management system. We are always looking for new aspects in which we can improve.
How does Faller Packaging position itself in competition here?
We make targeted use of our pioneering role in sustainability. Our customers greatly appreciate our ecological production processes. And our company’s future-proof financial policy also gives us a competitive advantage. Many of the innovations in which we invest, such as tool-free die-cutting technology and the increasing digitalization of administrative processes, safeguard our competitiveness and at the same time serve sustainability.
Who is the report’s target group?
Sustainability has always had a strong regional component for us. This is because most of the results of sustainable business practices benefit the regions in which companies are active. If you disregard the efforts to achieve a balanced CO2 balance, of course. So with our sustainability report, we are increasingly addressing our own employees, neighbors, communities and authorities in the regions where we operate production facilities. But also to our customers and banks.
After all, sustainability is sometimes suspected of being used as an issue by companies because it is fashionable. How do you protect yourself against the suspicion of “green washing”?
First of all, we very much welcome the fact that the topic of sustainability is currently being taken seriously. Of course, it’s not the point if more resources go into marketing sustainability projects than into actual improvements and savings. It is very clear to us that we invest much more in substantial results than in their communicative dissemination.
Moreover, our efforts to achieve sustainability in the economic and social sphere go far beyond the green aspect. And we also point out time and again, not altruistically, that these efforts also pay off for us economically.
What does the cost-benefit balance look like?
We have always maintained that sustainability must be compatible with the economic interests of a company. After all, we have to be successful on the market in the long term if we are to maintain our commitment to sustainability at all.
If we want to convince other companies and the industry that sustainability is worthwhile, this is of course particularly true. In short, anything we reduce in waste will also have a positive long-term impact on our balance sheet.
What was the response?
Of course, companies have a lot of positive news to report in a sustainability report. And if they have the right substance and are presented in an easily understandable and appealing way, it’s even better.
But this year we were particularly pleased to receive feedback. This year we had our sustainability report distributed by the local scout group in the neighborhood of our site in Waldkirch. One elderly gentleman was so pleased that he thanked our management with a moving handwritten letter. This was a great example of why we do business sustainably. As a company, we see ourselves as part of a community, bear a high level of responsibility and want to give something back to society.