Sofidel: Store Brands Sustainability Q&A

World Food Day

Why is the issue of sustainability so important to Sofidel?

Sofidel’s growth strategy is consistent with the United Nations 2030 Agenda, which calls for the creation of a more inclusive, resilient, and sustainable future for people and the planet. Sofidel has adopted eight of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals, which include decent health and well-being, quality education, clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, responsible consumption and production, climate action, land life, and partnerships for the goals. Each of these objectives focuses on building a healthier and cleaner environment that benefits both humans and the earth.

How has this focus changed how the company develops new products?

By integrating our organization with the United Nations and its sustainability agenda, we are making tremendous progress toward our objective to prioritize sustainability when developing new goods. This entails extensive study and collaboration with existing and new suppliers. There are several options to create and manufacture sustainable products, which is why Sofidel is continually seeking for innovative solutions, from manufacturing to distribution.

What are some of the cutting-edge new items that have been brought to market by Sofidel in recent years?

Sofidel is the first company in the United States to use paper packaging instead of plastic packaging for a number of our products. Our company has set a goal of reducing the use of conventional plastic in its production by 50% by 2030. Instead than using virgin plastic, alternative packaging, such as PCR (post-consumer recycled materials), repurposes previously used plastic. Another example is our award-winning Papernet Dispenser HytechSeas, which is manufactured from recycled ocean plastic. We understand the importance of water to the existence of the world, which is why our organization carefully manages water resources and guarantees that industrial processes are regularly monitored to optimize water consumption.

What have been some of the bigger challenges Sofidel has faced related to sustainability and the products offered by the company? How has the company solved these challenges?

Our greatest obstacle has been external, not internal. Sustainability is at the heart of our goal and our products, yet neither distributors nor consumers are always willing to pay extra for sustainable paper products. Another problem is determining the most long-term solution. For example, not all repurposed paper is more environmentally friendly than virgin paper.

How are the sustainable elements of the products communicated to consumers?

Sofidel is a business-to-business company. We sell to wholesalers, who subsequently sell to business consumers. Because our message might become diluted in the chain, Sofidel has recently engaged in more direct connection with stakeholders through greater social media engagement and corporate events (beach clean ups, sponsorships, and so on). It is a long path, and many brands greenwash their customers, but we are determined to educate the market and consumers on how to distinguish what is really sustainable and what is not.

Have there been changes to the company’s supply chain to make the transportation of products less impactful on the environment?

Yes! Sofidel is one of the few, if not the only, companies in the United States with a very efficient distribution operation. We have six plants in the United States: Ohio, Oklahoma, Nevada, Florida, Mississippi, and Wisconsin. The plants are situated near market consumption (people). Sofidel always looks at where consumption is and likes to stay near to it when determining where to construct the next factory, reducing extra “miles” to delivery. Currently, our plants’ radius of reach is quite optimal, making Sofidel a perfect partner for distributors looking to decrease their national carbon impact. Furthermore, Sofidel is constantly offering new ideas to reduce travel time as much as feasible.

What new products are in the pipeline for 2023?

We are currently looking to expand our paper packaging by offering solutions that are equivalent of national brands in all categories, especially in medium high qualities.