We live Sustainability

Introduction

Across all cultural borders, regardless of our background, gender, or education, there is something that unites us: we live our lives in communities – within our families, within our friendship groups, and in the workplace. Creating a sustainable society to help preserve our planet for future generations is something that can also be achieved only by working together. Every one of us can make a contribution to this, every single day and in many ways – for example, through a commitment to climate protection, resource conservation, the environment, and more equality in all spheres of life.

The United Nations has identified a total of 17 fields of action – the so-called Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The RKW Group is committed to these principles of sustainable development, which also form the basis for all the company’s activities in this vital area.

The RKW 2020 Sustainability Report summarizes our strategy, our targets, and what we have already achieved. With its interactive format, it also forms the starting point for something new: the RKW Sustainability Community.

What Drives Us

Plastics are an essential part of everyday life. Breathable films protect babies’ sensitive skin, agricultural films increase yields, and plastic packaging protects food from damage or spoiling. And what is more, comparatively little harmful CO2 is emitted during the production and processing of films.

Strengthening and further developing the circular economy is therefore the most important lever for creating a sustainable perspective for plastics. Key success factors in achieving this are making the most efficient possible use of this valuable raw material, developing products that are easy to recycle, and – last but not least – systematically expanding plastic recycling along the entire process chain. This results in sustainable solutions that make the lives of consumers all over the world that little bit easier, sustainable solutions that we are committed to producing every single day, together with our customers, suppliers, and partners.

What we want to accomplish

Sustainable development means that the needs of today must not be met at the expense of future generations. The RKW Group is committed to this principle as well as to its ecological, economic, and social responsibility. Based on our corporate strategy, we have therefore set strategic sustainability targets that make our commitment transparent and our contribution measurable.

  • By 2025, we will increase the proportion of recycled, renewable, or biodegradable plastics in our products to 15 percent. This means almost a doubling compared to 2017.
  • Also by 2025, we will reduce our CO2 emissions in GHG Scope 1 & 2 by 50 percent compared to 2019.

These two targets are the cornerstones of our sustainability commitment. In addition, there are further activities in the areas of environmental protection, occupational health and safety, social commitment, diversity and inclusion, and talent development.

How We Achieve Our Targets

We have created our sustainability community in order to give our commitment a clear direction and to guarantee continual improvement in our sustainability. The community is made up of experts from all company departments – research & development as well as environmental and energy management, HR, and sales. It also helps us to ensure that sustainability is enshrined in the company across all areas and that it is practiced on a day-to-day basis by the entire RKW Group.

And that is just the beginning. Sustainability affects us all, so it is a mission for society as a whole. The RKW Community is therefore also open to our customers, suppliers, partners, and external stakeholders – in short, to anyone committed to preserving our planet and helping to create a worthwhile future. There is one thing that all members of this community have in common: they practice sustainability every day – just like us in the RKW Group.

 

Harald Biederbick

Harald Biederbick, CEO

Company Profile

Our Company. Our Mission.

Our Mission

With sustainable film solutions, we enable our customers to improve the daily lives of consumers all over the world.

The RKW Group is an independent, family-owned company based in Mannheim, Germany, and one of the world’s foremost manufacturers of excellent film solutions for a range of industries and various fields of application, including in the agricultural industry, the hygiene sector, and the packaging industry.

Our expertise in the research, development, and production of polyolefin films has been continually consolidated and expanded over 60 years of experience, and we share this knowledge with our customers and business partners in the form of innovative and customized product solutions and services. With more than 3,000 employees across 19 locations in Germany, France, Belgium, Sweden, Finland, the USA, Egypt, Vietnam, and China, we operate all over the world.

What We Stand For

Respect and responsibility are our core values and a key part of our company philosophy. To us, respect stands for mutual appreciation and openness – both internally and externally. We strike to earn the respect of our customers and stakeholders every single day. Respect is not just an important factor in achieving success; it also guides and governs us as a privately owned company. Reliability means that we keep our promises to our customers – they can count on the reliable delivery, quality, and functionality of our products and services.

And that is not all. The RKW company slogan, “When excellence matters,” emphasizes our aspiration to consistently provide our customers with excellent products and services and to set standards in terms of quality and service – with a clear focus on creating added value for our customers, business partners, and employees.

Our Sustainability Targets

  • Increase the use of recycled, renewable, and biodegradable materials from 7.6% in 2017 to 15% by the end of 2025
  • Reduce Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol by 50% by 2025, based on 2017 levels

Company Figures

EUR 784
million turnover
>3,000
employees worldwide
>60
years of experience
350,000
metric tons of PP and PE processed per year
19
sites worldwide
In private ownership

Where to find us – 19 sites worldwide

Management

Committed to Sustainability - the Executive Management Board.

“As a privately owned business, RKW has a natural proximity to sustainability. Safeguarding our planet for future generations is deeply engrained in our strategy, corporate culture, and daily activities. As a leading international manufacturer of excellent film solutions, our goal is to actively drive the change towards a circular economy – including the efficient use of natural resources and protecting the environment. Based on our core values of respect and reliability, we aim at increasing diversity and inclusion, fostering talents, and contributing to a sustainable perspective for the entire industry.”

Harald Biederbick, CEO

“Sustainability is a key driver of our company’s success when it comes to evaluating, monetizing and executing business opportunities. Finance plays a crucial role when integrating sustainability drivers like renewable energies, recycled content and climate protection into our financial models and business cases. In addition, many of our key stakeholders are also looking for sustainability aspects when it comes to our long term financing strategy. RKW is well prepared to meet these requirements through sustainability linked financing instruments.”

Knud Müller, EVP Finance

“Building a circular economy for the plastics industry begins on the shopfloor. By using raw materials in a resource-saving manner, by continuously pushing our recycling efforts and employing energy as efficiently as possible, we aim at making our production as sustainable as possible. All our activities, processes, operating resources, products and services are regularly checked for their environmental compatibility. By reducing unavoidable emissions and waste to a minimum, we actively contribute to a sustainable future for generations to come.”


Dr. Alexander Wansel, EVP Operations

Find out more about the RKW management team here.

Products for Your Applications

RKW produces films, nonwovens, and nets for various applications and sectors. These include hygiene and agricultural films, films for the beverage industry, and packaging for powdery goods, films and nonwovens for medical applications, the chemical and processing industry as well as for the construction sector. They can be used in all products for everyday life – from robust cement bags to super-thin diapers.

The high quality and reliability of RKW products are the result of decades of experience and technical expertise in blown-film extrusion. And our customers are even more important – knowing the challenges they face, understanding what they need to successfully create and sell their products, and incorporating the corresponding requirements into our products – this is all part of our daily business and is our overriding principle.

Within the framework of the RKW sustainability targets, we are also committed to continually reducing the carbon footprint of our products and production processes – by downgauging, recycling, and reusing recycled materials, among other measures.

RKW is a market leader within Europe and a driver of innovation in backsheet films and round bale nets. This is a path that we are continuing to tread, as is demonstrated by our latest investments in modernizing our factories in North America and Asia, for example.

Products for Your Applications

Hygiene products

  • Standard, breathable, and elastic films (printed and unprinted) for baby care, feminine hygiene, and adult incontinence
  • Perforated films
  • Laminates (films and nonwovens)
  • Bands and tapes
  • Elastic and non elastic components
  • Films and laminates for medical applications and wound care

Products for packaging and industrial applications

  • Industrial packaging: bags (FFS, ProVent®), shrink and stretch hoods
  • Household: trash bags, carrier bags, household bags
  • Multipacks: printed and unprinted multi shrink films/multipacks
  • Consumer packaging: films for laminated reel products, FPO, liners, base foils, composites
  • Technical films and nonwovens: surface protection films, Aptra films, label films

Products for agriculture

  • Silage films
  • Silage bags and grain sacks
  • Nets for round bales
  • Round bale films
  • Pallet nets
  • Greenhouse films
  • Early harvest films
  • Mulch films
  • Fumigation films
  • Plant/crop coverings made from nonwovens

2020 Sustainability Highlights

WE ALL PLAY A PART

100% Renewable Energy in
Our German Factories

We have decided to use only electricity generated from renewable energies at our German sites. In relation to the power consumption of the whole corporate group, this amounts to a reduction in CO2 emissions of roughly 40%. We are gradually switching to renewable sources at our other European factories as a mark of our determination to continue along this path. Find out more here.

Environmental Initiatives at
All Our Sites

As part of the RKW Sustainability Campaign in summer 2020, we reported extensively on our strategic direction, sustainable product solutions, specialist articles, and joint projects with diverse organizations related to the issue of sustainability. Many RKW sites all over the world accompanied the campaign with local environmental protection initiatives. Find out more here.

3 Million Euros Invested in
New Recycling Technologies

For years now, RKW has been continually investing in efficient and innovative technologies with the aim of reducing our energy and resource consumption at our production sites and supporting the creation of a circular economy for plastics. This is why we invested a total of 3 million euros in state-of-the-art recycling equipment across various sites in 2020.
Find out more here.

Sustainability Targets for 2025 and Beyond

WE’RE LOOKING FORWARD

More
recycling

Increase the use of recycled, renewable, and biodegradable materials from 7.6% in 2017 to 15% by the end of 2025.

Fewer greenhouse
gas emissions

Reduce Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol by 50% by 2025, based on 2017 levels.

Continuous
improvement

Continuously further develop our sustainability strategy for 2030 – and beyond.

What we have already achieved.

We are co-creating a sustainable perspective

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Key Indicators

...and share our experiences to create a better future.