Peter Cas - Steklarna Hrastnik

Premium Beauty News - How did you manage your transition to the luxury market, in particular for perfumes?

Peter Cas - Our decision to enter to the luxury perfume market was based on the added value we can offer to our customers and our main competitive advantages: glass purity, exceptional flexibility as regards quantity and our capacity to produce the most technically demanding shapes. Over the past three years, all our investments were focused on improving our production activities and management to consolidate and increase our position in the luxury segment. For example, three years ago, we set up a five year roadmap for our Industry 4.0 transformation: it helps us significantly reduce time-to-market. It also guided us in our transition process from a general producer of tableware and packaging glass to specialist of packaging glass with technology recommendations. Today, our production capacities reach 285 tonnes of glass per day. All in all, our investment in this process amounted to 40 million euros, over three years.

Premium Beauty News - Is it also a transition to a more environmentally friendly production?

Peter Cas – Definitively! In 2020, we invested 26.2 million euros in our production capabilities. At the core of this investment is our new G furnace, which is based on the cleanest technology available today - the oxygen technology, which guarantees less energy consumption, but better productivity. Although production capacities increased, we prevented any additional environmental impact.

In 2021, we will also finish our new on-site cryogenic oxygen plant, which will supply pure, sustainable oxygen for our new furnace. Sustainability plays a key role in our choices regarding production technologies. That is why we managed to reduce our CO2 emissions and energy consumption by 8% and 12%, respectively, in 2019, compared to 2015, while increasing our production capacities.

In addition, three years ago, we started to develop the hydrogen technology as part of a pilot project. Last year, we became the first in our region to experimentally confirm the decarbonisation of glass melting with hydrogen obtained with renewable sources. The new G furnace is ready for this innovative technology.

In the second production unit, the B furnace will be converted into a hybrid regeneration furnace, which will use 60% of green electricity.

Both previously mentioned future low-carbon projects relating to the glass furnaces, will help replace our fossil fuel consumption by a third of green energy, increase the furnace’s energy efficiency by 10%, and reduce our carbon footprint by a fifth by 2025.

Premium Beauty News - Do you also apply this sustainable approach to your products?

Peter Cas - Absolutely. In 2019, we also launched a pilot project focused on smart decoration and functionalization of glass products. A major aspect of the project involves eco design. As regards decoration, we aim to use only colours that do not contain heavy metals and to introduce organic additives for standard colours in order to make them more sustainable. Thanks to AI and augmented reality, which will be implemented, we will be able to closely monitor the whole process in order to optimize raw material consumption, like colours and solvents, as well as energy consumption. This project will be completed within two years.

Premium Beauty News - Beside ecodesign, what are your innovation efforts focused on?

Peter Cas - We developed smart packaging that creates direct contact between the shopper and the brand. Our smart bottles provide additional information that the brand choose to reveal to its consumers, like where was the specific fragrance made, which plant extracts it contains, etc. In addition, smart bottle also reduces the purchasing process time by making it possible for shoppers to access the brand’s website when they want to reorder a product. Various features as sounds and colours may be added to the bottle during the promotion period so that it may pulsate according to music or change colour. Of course, the usefulness of additional functionalities depends on the fragrance itself. Despite the fact that the smart bottle is bearing the an electronic tag, it may be easily recycled. Yes, even here, our focus on sustainability remains present.

Premium Beauty News - What are your expectations for 2021?

Peter Cas - Forecasts are very dificult as the market remains unpredictable due to the current health situation. As regards the market demand, we foresee a tough first semester, but it should be followed with a strong increase, once vaccination campaigns will have led governments to lighten sanitary precautionary measures. Nevertheless, thanks to our capacity to serve targeted customers with adapted services and the best products in their category, we believe our growth and market shares will keep rising.

Now, as for the distribution of standard and personalized products, we aim to keep increasing the standard part. The new shapes of different sizes and the new volumes for existing shapes will significantly help us to fulfil this objective.