Bormioli Luigi’s Simone Baratta: “We have a proactive role to play in the market’s recovery”
Simone Baratta, Beauty Business Unit Director at Italian glassmaker Bormioli Luigi, spoke with Luxe Packaging Insight in the run-up to the 2021 edition of LUXE PACK Monaco. He addresses the impact of the crisis, and how the Monaco show is an integral part of the company’s strategy to bounce back.
For the last 18 months, our industry has faced an unprecedented crisis. What have you done to adapt?
Like other companies, Bormioli Luigi has, of course, been affected by the pandemic. Our revenue fell more than 20% last year. It’s important to remember that even before the health crisis, our industry was experiencing difficulty and grappling with lower overall profitability. That being said, we’re in a strong enough position to be able to take action. We began by doing what was necessary to keep our teams safe. Then we shut down one of our furnaces for about 10 months to prepare for a drastic decrease in demand and a total lack of visibility.
Instead of impeding our strategic vision, the crisis confirmed the relevance of the priorities and objectives we had set ourselves prior to the pandemic: our experience over the last few months has affirmed our conviction that we needed to shift things up a gear, especially regarding sustainability, which is undeniably a driver in today’s beauty sector. And that’s exactly what we did: 2020 ultimately became a standby period that allowed us to finalize several ongoing eco-projects related to process and product innovation.
What can you tell us about these innovations?
Regarding process, in addition to our choice to use electric fusion welding, our efforts to generate less waste, as well as reduce the amount of water and energy that we use, have paid off: Bormioli Luigi was awarded Platinum EcoVadis status. With a score of 75/100, the factories in our beauty division in Parma and Abbiategrasso are among the 1% most sustainable manufacturing sites in the world.
In terms of product innovation, we buckled down on four approaches: reduction (by strengthening our ecoLine collection), refills, glass alternatives to plastic, and PCR integration. We now offer 15% PCR for high-end perfumery and up to 40% for masstige cosmetics and perfumery. And in 2022, we intend to dedicate a furnace specifically for the second option. Brands, of course, will be able to combine options to increase the “sustainable” added-value of their containers.
To put it simply, we will continue to expand our ranges of eco-designed products while improving their ecological performance. For example, at Luxe Pack Monaco, in addition to our new offers in recyclable decoration using water-based varnish free of heavy metals, we will present the Rechargeable Bormioli, a glass jar with a removeable, refillable, 50ml glass cup equipped with a patented insert system, designed in house. We’ll also introduce three new references for make-up, including a direct-to-market mascara and lip-gloss featuring glass tubes as well as a reloadable lipstick tube. Not to mention our anti-UV glass, which incorporates filtering agents into the glass body itself. We developed the solution in response to a need to provide specific protection for the preservative-free clean formulas that are growing in popularity.
What role will Luxe Pack Monaco play this year in your recovery strategy?
I’ve been with Bormioli Luigi for 20 years, and I don’t think I’ve ever missed Luxe Pack Monaco. The show has always been an important event, but this year is particularly significant: as we emerge from this extremely difficult period, one that has demanded a new approach to the client relationship, it will be the first occasion we’ve had to reconnect with our partners face to face. And of course we’ll finally have the possibility to present our innovations which, because of the pandemic, have not been given much visibility.
I’ll say it again: despite the difficulties we have been through, we are strong, optimistic about the future, and determined to participate in what we hope will be a robust recovery. Although visibility remains limited, it’s clear that the market is bouncing back, with cosmetics and skincare leading the charge. We don’t know to what degree demand is being driven by stock replenishment and how much reflects demand from the end consumer. Nor do we know when demand will return to pre-pandemic levels, but it’s clear that recovery will have to meet expectations for sustainability. And from this perspective, we are convinced that eco-designed products will prove to be the best performers. In this sense, we have a key role to play in supporting the recovery—a proactive one.