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As all departments of Essex Furukawa work to make progress on the Vision 2030 roadmap one area that has pushed forward by embracing product innovation and creating a Circular Economy is packaging.
The progress being made for Green Production—one of the three core values of the program—has led Greg Davis, Senior Strategic Sourcing Manager, and his department to take a three-prong approach that helps guide what is being done to promote sustainability.
“We look at achieving Vision 2030 from the perspective of it being a two-way street for success,” Davis said. “All three of these things have to happen from both our side as well as our supply chain for it to be successful. We have to ask, ‘Is the change we are making economically viable, is it environmentally sustainable, will it be secure and reliable.’ If all three of those things can happen from both perspectives, then we are on the right course.
“We can reduce emissions, reduce plastic to landfill, and use evolution to pioneer and incentivize positive changes. It is how we can ensure successful results.”
All three of those aspects, according to Davis, are being given careful consideration from specific angles.
Being economically viable is one of the hardest to quantify across the board. The internal ramifications are simple: is this a packaging decision that can be cost-conscious. It is a decision that doesn’t mean reduction of cost, simply that it cannot be something that increases cost to an untenable situation. From the client perspective, it cannot be cost prohibitive to participate, meaning passing cost down the value chain, or too expensive to consider—specifically some of the reel and pallet return programs that have evolved from past efforts.
Environmental sustainability may be the easiest of the three to achieve as it the simplest to explain. The changes that are being made from a packaging and production standpoint can be measured in positive changes in the reduction of plastics, reduction of carbon emissions, and increases in reuse opportunities.
Security and reliability are, perhaps, the most important to the foundation of the program. Creating packaging that fails is simply a non-starter. Using packaging that is not easily damaged or insecure is something that takes precedent over the ability to be reused as the safety ramifications would far outweigh other considerations.
The combined effect of all three, factored in with an evolved understanding of a complete life cycle, leads to better decision making in creating a Circular Economy.
Davis said that the recycling mentality of the late-90s, and early-2000s has become extremely outdated and that a more comprehensive program is needed.
“Recycling was all the rage, but it was flawed,” he said. “It created so much volume that so much ended up in landfills anyways. The whole cycle has been improved and it requires more participation from buyers.
“That means, we cannot just recycle plastics, we have to be part of repurposing and purchasing the reprocessed plastics and not creating new plastic products. It is a marketplace that brings those plastics back in and doesn’t just rely on sending them out. We have found that we do not have to step too far out of the box to find reprocessed plastics that are more environmentally conscious, cost effective, and secure. There is not as much awareness on that as there should be but creating that Circular Economy can have a very positive impact on Green Production.”
The positive impact, no matter the size, is moving in the right direction. Especially when it comes to accomplishing Vision 2030 goals.
“We have really, really big customers to think about and we have smaller rewind shops,” Davis explained. “We have to make decisions that do right by all of them and even the smallest of victories can stack up to an important outcome.”
About Essex Furukawa
Essex Furukawa Magnet Wire LLC is the leading, global provider of magnet wire that is used by most major OEMs, Tier 1 suppliers, and industry leaders in the automotive, energy, industrial, and commercial & residential sectors. The Atlanta-based company is a global joint venture formed in 2020 between Essex Magnet Wire and Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd., both leaders in magnet wire product development, and custom solutions. The combined entity, relying on the strengths of both Essex Magnet Wire and Furukawa Electric, draws on more than two centuries of combined experience and knowledge to push forward innovation while also remaining focused on delivering manufacturing excellence and outstanding customer service. essexfurukawa.com