publicado em 25/03/2022 10:00

Paper sector faces the uncertainties of 2022 with focus on sustainability and technology

Paper sector faces the uncertainties of 2022 with focus on sustainability and technology Ibema CEO Nilton Saraiva talks about the challenges in an unexpected year of 2022.

With the extremely uncertain scenario we live in, suddenly everything we predicted for 2022 needs to be revised. A war on European territory was unimaginable until these days- and now it is a violent and fearsome reality. More than ever, the term 'VUCA World' (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) applies to our daily lives - and will certainly affect us even more throughout the year, from high raw material costs to overhaul of markets and the effects of inflation.

 Faced with this challenge, more than ever Ibema wants to apply its creativity, adaptability and determination in the search for new solutions. And do you know the secret to that?

 In the book 'Good to Great - Companies made to grow', Jim Collins draws attention to the fact that the most successful companies have as their main characteristic the incessant search for the best talents, as they are the ones who will bring the solutions to new problems.  And we believe in this: the right people, with the right attitude, can solve increasingly unusual and even surprising issues.

 Despite all this, our paperboard segment continues on a positive long-term trend, given the need to change habits in the search for more sustainable products that adhere to the needs of a world that seeks solutions to climate change.

 My position is based on four macro trends. First, the global demand for paper remains heated, after a moment of shortage in 2021, which brought difficulties in packaging products. We make a point of prioritizing our Brazilian customers in this scenario, after all, we are committed to supplying the domestic market.

 Second, there are several investments in Brazilian industry through initiatives involving the circular economy. And those that anticipated and set the trend with the offer of recycled and recyclable papers came out ahead. The end user has the need to engage in these projects, either through legislation or pressure from the consumer himself.

 At Ibema, we have an advantage in the context of reverse logistics, as our two factories complement each other. In Embu das Artes (SP), we manufacture products with the largest amount of post-consumer waste on the market, in a very well positioned unit, both industrially and geographically. And in Turvo (PR), we have virgin fiber in our DNA, which supplies the chain with virgin paper that starts new recycling cycles. During 2020 and 2021, we structured our portfolio in order to enhance these two fronts.

 The third macrotrend is the adequacy to the ESG (environmental, social and governance, in free translation from English), which brought competitive advantages for those who were already aligned with the three requirements. Within this context, we are pioneers in environmental actions such as the good use of water and zero landfill, and we work a lot with and for people, whether in retaining talent, in our own internal alignment or in the relationship and development of the communities around us. It is good to remember that climate change jeopardizes all types of industry, and this is a challenge that we must face together.

 Something fundamental for us to make sense of this movement was the revelation of our purpose of packing the future. We changed the way we relate to each other, with the humility to admit what we don't know and open to the constant exchange of information.

 Finally, the fourth issue is the digital transformation of the industry, whether through the implementation of a more modern ERP such as SAP, which brought us state-of-the-art cloud solutions, the series of initiatives to simplify internal processes and improve customer experience or the adoption of digital tools that improve the relationship with the market.

The perception of our role in society, as an industry, economic agent, protagonists of the packaging sector, employers and generators of trends and innovation drives us towards the future and allows us to project the growth of the sector in 2022, even in an upside down world.