Isabelle Orhan, Promens

Isabelle Orhan, Promens

PremiumBeauty News - How far have you got with the Green Cube program?

Isabelle Orhan - Before I answer your question concerning the first concrete results of this ambitious program, let me first explain the origins of the project. Today, protecting the environment is a priority to preserve the planet’s natural resources and ensure its future. Kyoto has set the objectives: by 2050, our emissions must be reduced by four. We are of course aware of our responsibilities at Promens and we strive continually to reduce the environmental impact of our activity and products.

If you recall, a few years ago, packaging had two main purposes: preserve the content and attract the consumer. Packaging had to be easy to use and to carry, provide information to the user (instructions of use, legal requirements ...) and facilitate product differentiation in a increasingly challenged market. Nowadays, environmental awareness has become one of the main things to take into consideration when developing a packaging.

"Green Airfree", Promens

"Green Airfree", Promens

Raw materials must be as much as possible, easily sortable, recycled and recyclable. We systematically optimize the thickness and weight of packaging to reduce the consumption of raw materials and preserve fossil resources.

We have chosen to develop our environmental expertise internally. We are accredited by the ADEME [1] to carry out our carbon footprint calculations and our innovation engineers are trained to use the TEAM software to calculate lifecycles. Nowadays, like innovation, environment has become an essential pillar!

Premium Beauty News - The production stage is obviously essential!

Isabelle Orhan - This stage requires a lot of energy but a well conceived design is a guarantee for optimized productivity. Each parameter of the process is taken into consideration and studied accordingly. For example, our engineers prefer using hot runner molds to get rid of sprue waste. Temperature and pressure parameters are optimized, always keeping in mind that reducing a parameter may increase another one, causing higher energy consumption.

Incidentally, our plants clearly show their environmental commitment with:
- ISO 14001 Certification: the three French factories (Bellignat, Géovreisset and Eagle) have been certified by the AFAQ AFNOR.
- An accreditation by the ADEME to audit and assess the carbon footprint.

Furthermore, we have developed the PBS (Promens Business System) which is a strategic initiative meant to enhance our operational performance. It involves all staff, from operators to management, in a combined effort to build a culture of continuous measurable improvement to identify and reduce losses. This program, based on the methodology of Continuous Improvement and Total Productive Management, is a global improvement of the system with defined standards, focused on sharing experiences and best practices from the Group. As regards concrete results, today all our factories are analyzed in terms of Carbon footprint whether they are located in France or Poland ... They all follow action plans to improve the Group’s footprint.

Green Cube programme, Promens

Green Cube programme, Promens

Premium Beauty News - What about the consumer?

Isabelle Orhan - Of course, we also imagine how the consumer is going to use the product. The aim being to develop efficient products to avoid waste, facilitate evacuation and deliver accurate dosage.

Consumer’s awareness is increasing everyday and projects on environmental labelling will further strengthen this trend. Currently, Promens is capable of providing brands with the carbon footprint of all its bottles or jars. Our approach is to offer brands a real expertise in terms of packaging and environment. We opted for an educational approach rather than the use of marketing bluffs which we find many examples of in our industry!

For example we advise against the use of organic materials with a CO2 footprint sometimes much worse than raw materials. We prefer to adopt in this area a realistic and long term approach.

Premium Beauty News - And finally there is the recycling stage...

Isabelle Orhan - Our priority is to find supply chains of recycled materials (PCR). We are focusing on three raw materials: PE-HD, PP and PET. Our challenge is to find raw materials in line with the use of cosmetic products. We can also offer the use of recycled materials coming from our own production waste, the quality of which we guarantee through careful selection.

Our strict management of waste is based on an optimization of upstream channels:
- Select the origin of waste,
- Not discard waste that can be recycled and reused,
- Separate hazardous waste from others (neon, aerosol, oil ...),
- Send sorted out and separated waste to their respective industry.

Premium Beauty News - Can you give us some examples of this approach?

Isabelle Orhan - There are obviously many. For instance, Green Airfree which is available on the English market. This Airless bottle with a pouch has been awarded with the Ecocert label and granted a favorable opinion from the COTREP. We are currently working with several brand owners on calculating the carbon footprint of our packaging and analyzing their life cycle. We are demonstrating for instance how to improve carbon footprint by skipping some finishing stages and integrating additives in the material. This is concrete work. We are clearly getting ahead of our competition in this domain and for example Johnson & Johnson has asked us to participate to the CDP program (Carbon Disclosure Project).