The spring with the coronavirus has been a busy time with high demand for Kiilto, a company with roots in Tampere, Finland. Demand for hand sanitisers and other disinfectants has grown so much that production capacity has been ramped up significantly. In addition, the supply chain has gone to great lengths to ensure access to ingredients, and R&D has done the same to adjust recipes.
Kiilto’s Research, Development and Innovation Director Oili Kallatsa graciously acknowledges the facts when congratulated for increased demand. Indicating the coronavirus pandemic, she says: “This is not quite the way hoped to achieve growth, though.” This comment is well in line with this interview’s theme, Kiilto’s responsibility policy.
Responsibility is an issue where Kiilto is truly a pioneer in its field. Environmental issues have always been prominent at Kiilto. A significant portion of the company’s products have long displayed the Swan Label, and the share of certified products is growing. Kiilto phased out the use of microplastics in personal hygiene products as early as 2016, and the portion of renewable raw materials is steadily rising. Kiilto has also long invested in renewable energy. At the Lempäälä plant, some of the energy has been produced with solar panels since 2008, and last year panels were also installed at the Hankasalmi plant and Varisto warehouse. Other significant measures include the hybrid system utilizing residual and geothermal heat at the Lempäälä plant, introduced in 2018 and expanded in 2019. Taking the environment into account is not something new here.
Kiilto’s Promise to the Environment
Although Kiilto’s operations have long been responsible, the company wanted to significantly ramp up its investments in the area. This was why the company wanted to gather all responsibility work under one umbrella. Background work started in 2018, and at the end of that year, Kiilto made its Promise to the Environment. It consists of promises made under four themes: Green energy, Green packaging and logistics, Green services and Green material choices. With a systematic plan, Kiilto is better equipped to monitor the realisation of goals and find partners for their implementation.
In terms of Green energy, Kiilto is committed to the goal of being carbon neutral by 2028. The company could be carbon neutral today by offsetting its emissions, but rather than taking a shortcut, it is genuinely reducing its carbon emissions by using fully renewable energy and further increasing its use of solar energy and geothermal heat, for example.
Woodly and Kiilto work together
Under the Green packaging and logistics theme, Kiilto aims to have 70% of its packaging reusable, recyclable or renewable by 2025. The company is making progress towards this goal by multiple efforts, from reusable containers and recycled plastic packaging to completely new types of renewable packaging materials. This is where Woodly, the Finnish startup, enters the picture. It manufactures carbon-neutral and recyclable bioplastic from softwood pulp. Kiilto believes that novel innovations are needed to achieve its packaging goals.
Woodly and Kiilto started cooperation on packaging development in 2019. In the course of this cooperation, a lot of valuable knowledge has been gained on the compatibility of the new material with Kiilto’s products as well as on its adaptability.
First fruit of Kiilto and Woodly’s collaboration
The companies set the shared goal of making the first new product package available to consumers by the end of 2021.
The product will be first tested in the domestic market, but Oili Kallatsa is aware of opportunities and demand in other countries as well. “There is a hefty demand for materials like Woodly’s, especially in environmentally aware Scandinavia, but Russian companies are also taking the issue of responsible packaging forward with great enthusiasm,” Kallatsa asserts.
Kiilto wants to be the environmental leader in its sector. It is advancing towards this aim by setting goals that are more ambitious than the UN Sustainable Development Goals or competitors’ goals.
“We are doing as much as we can, and this is why we are moving forward with more ambition than the general goals mandate.” This is the path to environmental leadership, believes Oili Kallatsa.