Premium Beauty News - The announcement of the sale of Qualipac, your plastic and metal division patiently built and developed since 1991, had the effect of a bomb in the small world of luxury packaging. The press release refers to a "fast changing environment". Can you tell us more?
Tristan Farabet - It’s no secret that the high-end beauty packaging market is undergoing significant changes. First of all, it is a market increasingly driven by the Skincare category, which today represents 40% of the global market and 60% of growth, while conversely the perfume market is slowing down. It is also a market whose centre of gravity is shifting to Asia. At the same time, the pressure of environmental challenges calls for substantial investments. Finally, we must jump on the bandwagon of the transformation of Industry 4.0 production technologies, with the introduction of artificial intelligence in factories.
A number of changes, which will severely strain our resources. Especially since our clients’ expectations are also evolving at high speed, with in particular a growing demand for personalization of their customers and the increasing influence of indie brands. Many factors that require more agility on our part.
These transformations indeed open the way to a whole lot of opportunities but they also require major adaptations and investments. This reconfiguration of our Group will give each of our activities more means and resources to help our clients meet their challenges.
Premium Beauty News - Did concerns regarding the future of plastic as a packaging material have an influence on this decision?
Tristan Farabet - Plastic is a material which has a rightful place in tomorrow’s packaging and industry. But, in this sector too, massive investments will be required to meet future challenges, particularly in terms of environment. We are already observing a growing concentration of actors looking to reach the critical size enabling to absorb forthcoming R&D costs.
Premium Beauty News - Pochet is returning to its former trade, chiefly a glass-making group. Is this the shift to a new diversification phase, which would be more geographic- than trade-related?
Tristan Farabet - Pochet’s history is almost four centuries old. During its long history, the Group has regularly had to respond to market changes. And history proves that it has always managed to adapt its strategy and its scope! In past decades, the Group, for instance, acquired a stake in Cristalleries Saint Louis, before reselling its shares in 1994, when it acquired the glassmaker Lalique, sold in 2008. In 1991, the creation of Qualipac, addressed the need for horizontal integration, to better serve customers.
The Pochet Group has always managed and developed its portfolio of activities, and this adaptability has ensured its sustainability. Today, we actually want, as a first step, to strengthen our glass-making division with an accelerated investment strategy: transition to an Industry 4.0 factory, extension of our offer on the skincare market, acceleration in terms of CSR with the development of new eco-responsible solutions, reduction of our CO2 emissions, etc.
But we will also explore all growth opportunities available. And among the important points of this process, there is the issue of the geographic diversification of our activities. And in this regard, Asia is at the heart of our thinking.
We are also going to study market expectations in neighbouring segments and see to what extent our strengths and assets could allow us to provide relevant solutions. A similar reflection could also take place around emerging technologies.
Premium Beauty News - Has the Group renounced to its one-stop shop strategy with a multi-material offer, or will it continue through a joint-cooperation with PSB Industries?
Tristan Farabet - This strategy based on a comprehensive product offer to our customers, actually responds to a real need. It allows better supporting less expert brands and saving time. But it does not necessarily mean that we should manufacture all the packaging components, this strategy can be fully expressed through partnerships, in a logic of reinforced ecosystem.
Premium Beauty News - What is the place of Solev in this new system?
Tristan Farabet - Solev remains a Group subsidiary, with cutting-edge activity and technologies which, in part, serve the Group and also other customers. For Solev as for the whole Group, we are giving ourselves new leeway and new investment capacities.
Premium Beauty News - Are environmental issues an important part of these investments?
Tristan Farabet - These are today, key issues for the entire industry. We have several levers for action within the Group. First, with regard to all the production processes. For instance, for each product, we have succeeded in reducing our GHG emissions by 29%. Similarly, we have reduced our water consumption per tonne of glass produced by 60%. At Solev, investments made in 2018-2019 to improve the treatment of volatile organic compounds enabled to cut down emissions by 80%. We will continue our efforts in this area.
The second lever for action concerns the product itself. It’s about designing more eco-responsible products. This is, for example, what we did with SEVA, with the first premium glass, which relies on a specific recycling sector that only processes perfume glass, guaranteeing high quality recycled glass and requiring no treatment.
All of these actions enabled us to obtain the EcoVadis gold medal for all our businesses: Pochet du Courval, Qualipac and Solev! And we intend to continue on this path to excellence.
Premium Beauty News - For Pochet, what will the transition to Industry 4.0 consist of?
Tristan Farabet - We are going to digitalize the production chain even more. The challenge lies in how to collect data throughout the entire production chain, process it, and use it to optimize and better control our processes. This could enable, in particular, to anticipate problems before they even appear and to reduce waste rates. The field of possibilities is huge, it is a considerable challenge.