With sustainability being a top priority for the pharmaceutical industry, and increasingly being good for business, using thin, lightweight paper is beneficial for the environment and the balance sheet. Jürgen Eschbach of Bolloré Thin Papers discusses his company's work in the pharmaceutical leaflets market, its commitment to ecology and the launch of the web order service - an innovative new supply chain monitoring service.
It really shows how closely tied ideas of sustainability and economy have become that pharmaceutical companies are taking the weight of the paper they use into account. It makes sense though; using less material requires fewer trees be cut down and less money be spent. Bolloré Thin Papers, a French company that began making papers for roll-your-own cigarettes, specialises in leaflets for the pharmaceutical industry.
"It's now our most important market segment, the pharmaceutical industry," says Jürgen Eschbach, the company's head of sales management for Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Eastern Europe.
Bolloré offers a range of leaflets to partners in the pharma sector and, as inserts are required to include even more crucial information while remaining readable, more paper space with high readability is essential.
"We offer solutions that meet these special challenges for the pharmaceutical industry," says Eschbach. "Our Primapharm/Primabrite papers range from basis weights as low as 21lb up to 40lb, and provide an excellent printing surface with superior readability of the fonts required for pharmaceutical inserts."
With the nature of the services Bolloré provides, it is crucial to develop close relationships with customers. This necessity has led to the development of the new web order service, a supply chain management platform, which helps customers keep a close eye on their orders.
"Our main concern is to allow our customers to have real time information about the stocks they have in our company, especially for leaflets for the pharmaceutical industry," says Eschbach. "These clients need a high level of reactivity due to short lead times for leaflet deliveries to labs.
"And with this they have 24-hour, seven-days-a-week, real-time information about their actual stocks. So all round the clock they can check that."
The new service is receiving praise from customers. It makes their lives easier, says Eschbach, because they don't need a middleman. All clients need to do is enter the specifications of their order, enter a name and password, and they have access to everything.
"Feedback is positive," he says. "And it makes our lives easier, too."
With the ecological cost of paper, it's no surprise that the impact on the environment is a crucial part of how Bolloré positions itself. For example, 88% of its pulp purchases are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), or by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), as having come from environmentally friendly suppliers and from sustainable sources with ethical business models.
"I think everybody in this world has a certain level of responsibility," says Eschbach. "And we need to respect that responsibility as much as we can."
Part of this also involves serious investment in the reduction of consumption and emissions. All mills work with biomass boilers, and to reduce CO2 emissions Bolloré works with a water treatment station - unique in the paper industry in Europe. The company recently became part of the Global Compact network, a United Nations initiative emphasising corporate social responsibility in the field of human rights, anti-corruption and labour standards.
"We are an industrial company," says Eschbach. "But on the other hand we have to make sure that the impact on our environment is as low as possible and talk about the impact of our activity on coming generations."