Koehler Group submits first sustainability report

A transformation into an even more sustainable company

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Koehler Group
Koehler submits first sustainability report on its own initiative. Photo Koehler

At the end of February, the Koehler submitted its first sustainability report. In contrast to publicly traded companies, the company is not obligated to submit one but decided to do so anyway on its own initiative. In this first sustainability report, Koehler informs on the way in which it is aligning its services with a financially, environmentally, and socially responsible vision. In addition, this type of report covers the need for information on financial markets, customers, and other stakeholders while also ensuring both internal and external transparency.

Koehler makes a contribution to UN sustainable development goals

In 2015, the United Nations agreed on 17 global goals that are known as its Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs for short. Kai M Furler, chief executive officer of the Koehler, highlights, “At the Koehler Group, we firmly believe that it is also our responsibility as a company to help make the SDGs a reality. That’s why we’ve identified eleven of the seventeen UN goals as areas where we think we can make a contribution to sustainable development both today and in the future.”

The concept of sustainability has always been central to the decision-making process in the family-run enterprise. Accordingly, Koehler makes decisions based not on short-term shareholder value, but on sustainability and long-term prospects instead. Over the company’s 210-year history, acting sustainably has always been viewed as a responsibility towards future generations. And that is because the things that today’s generation does will always come with consequences for the generations that follow – both positive and negative.

Climate strategy derived from sustainability strategy

In order to ensure that it remains successful in the future, the Koehler Group tries to stay ahead of the times and take proactive measures. For example, the company started investing in renewable energy generation all the way back in 2002. Today, this business area is an essential pillar of the Koehler Group. On top of this, companies are experiencing an enormous challenge in the form of current carbon pricing and high gas and coal prices, and Koehler’s longstanding goal of producing more energy from renewable sources than is required for its paper production operations by 2030 is sure to help overcome that challenge.

Against this backdrop, the coal-fired power stations at the Koehler sites in Oberkirch and Greiz are set to be decarbonized with a view to moving away from coal and lignite, and towards renewable energy sources. This endeavor is costing the group around 70 million euros. However, the power plant conversions alone will cut around 174,000 metric tons of CO2 a year. And in addition to this, the company’s production facilities for paper are being switched over to the use of green energy as well. For example, the electricity provider for Production Line 8 in Kehl was changed at the end of 2021, cutting another 45,000 metric tons of CO2 annually.

A circular economy as the key to greater sustainability

Koehler’s product portfolio is also being continuously realigned towards greater sustainability. Accordingly, the company is strategically channeling its investments into sustainable products and business areas based on a long-term perspective.

With Koehler NexPlus, Koehler is already meeting the rapidly growing demand for sustainable packaging solutions. Customers such as Ritter Sport and Südzucker have been among the first to seize upon this shift in consumer behavior and switch to our Koehler NexPlus papers.

In addition, Koehler has revolutionized the receipt market with its pioneering Blue4est product. Most people across Europe have already encountered the blue receipt paper at Edeka, Lidl, or Kaufland. This paper is produced without using chemical color developers, and can be recycled with other waste paper.

Wood, which is ultimately the starting point for all our paper production, is a renewable raw material. Koehler Group Sustainability Manager Jens Kriete, says: “Koehler products are eminently reusable, as the waste paper is an important and highly sought-after secondary raw material. This is a truly circular economy in action and a key to sustainable development.”

Koehler sees its transformation as both a challenge and an opportunity

Given the importance of the company’s workforce in achieving the aforementioned transformation into an even more sustainable company, ‘people as the key to success’ is the central area of activity in the Koehler sustainability strategy. Furler adds, “Making the transformation to a sustainable company is an enormous challenge for me and my colleagues here in Baden, as well as those at all our sites in Germany and across the world. But at the same time, it represents an enormous opportunity, as we all want to leave a strong and successful Koehler Group to future generations.”

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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