The inevitability of change

Feb 15 | 2024

Guillaume Rochman, Founder and CEO of SofraPack, looks at sustainability from a materials perspective.

Guillaume Rochman (right) with rolls of PleatWrapEveryone talks about sustainability. Every conference and webinar has it on the agenda. But when it comes to the use of more sustainable packing materials, are we really ready for a change?

It's important for companies to do all they can to embrace a green future. But the market is hard to change because people, despite wanting to be ‘greener’, don't want to take the responsibility to change habits of their companies.  This seems to be especially true in the moving industry.  Moreover, it's becoming harder to find good packers, so companies have started to develop their own packaging academies to teach people how to pack correctly.

There is a contradiction in human nature.  People don’t like to change yet, humans are very good at adapting to different circumstances. Still I hear that although many people like our corrugated liftvans and custom crates, because they are much more sustainable, they still like to stick with their wooden crates.  That’s true but now ISPM15 wood treatment standards are now everywhere. Many people like the idea of corrugated liftvans, but they don’t want to take to risk of a new approach. Some also accept that they are more sustainable, but believe them to be more expensive – which they are not.  While the cost of wood and plastic has increased recently, corrugated costs have reduced.

It's the same problem with PleatWrap which is much more sustainable than bubble wrap. Movers still question its strength or flexibility, until they try it for themselves. They think it’s more expensive, until they realise they use half as much because it’s more protective.  Even then, the packers sometimes say they don’t like it, just because it’s different and they don’t want to change. Change is hard and is seams that very few people in the moving industry are ready to change packing methods even for a greener future.

Although using corrugated cases and liftvans makes perfect sense today, many are determined only to use them when the alternatives are forbidden. That time is coming.

People now want to know how much more sustainable corrugated is compared with wood or plastic.  How they can explain the benefits of using sustainable products to customers. Then there is the increasing need for suppliers to provide information for their customers’ environmental policies.

I believe that it is now time for a change.  DKV, for example, a supplier of on-the-road payment systems, has recently announced a new digital tool, DKV COCKPIT, to help transport companies in Austria and Germany to calculate their CO2 emissions.  Those countries have already introduced CO2 tolls. We have also learned that FIDI is shortly to launch its own carbon calculator, demonstrating the importance of the need for measurement of emissions as a necessary step on the way to reducing them.

The industry is fast gearing up for much greater sustainability and, despite the human instinct to reject change, I believe that the change will come, and our industry will manage it successfully.

It is my intention that SOFRAPACK, with its green packaging solutions (Crates & PleatWrap), that create 50% less CO2 emissions during the full life cycle compared to wood and plastic, will play its part.

Photo: Guillaume Rochman (right) and rolls of PleatWrap which he believes is a viable alternative to bubble wrap.