Multi-million site investments yield positive results for Gelita’s CSR report

German-based ingredients solutions group Gelita has released its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report for 2019, which included a total of €36 million investment in its global plant production facilities last year.

The group, which includes a broad range of solutions for the food sector including gelatine for gummy confectionery, has released its latest review which  describes social initiatives and assesses the progress made.

As a globally active company, Gelita develops solutions at all levels to fulfil its social responsibility. Last year, the position of Global Coordinator for the areas of environment, energy and corporate social responsibility was created specifically for this task.

Samuel Najafi has headed the new staff team since May 2019 and, in this position, coordinates all the company’s sustainability activities worldwide. As an expert for biological processes in wastewater treatment, the environmental and process engineer devotes a major part of his work to the topic of water.

The recently published sustainability report documents the progress made by the business in implementing its sustainability strategy for 2019. Dr. Franz Josef Konert, CEO of the company, said: “2019 was another very successful year for us. In particular, we succeeded in increasing the production volume while simultaneously operating in a measurably more sustainable way.

The energy consumption was reduced by 16 percent over the last 3 years.” This was achieved by investing in modern, energy-efficient facilities, environmentally optimised processes, an increased awareness of sustainable action throughout the Group, and continuous communication within the company as well as with external influence groups.

Last year, its new multi-million, energy-efficient plant technology was taken into commission in Sweden, the US and Germany. The company also continues to expand its spray tower capacities in order to reduce energy consumption and the environmental impact of transportation. Other projects that were successfully implemented in 2019 included measures to avoid waste, reduce air pollution, cut water consumption and treat wastewater. Another milestone was the opening of the plant in Pingyang, China.

After years of conversion and expansion, the production facility for gelatine was inaugurated last year. Today it is the most modern in the Chinese gelatine industry and even sets standards within the company in some areas. Access to clean water is one of the greatest global challenges, and in response, the company uses state-of-the-art facilities to keep water consumption as low as possible in production.

In the last three years improvements lead to a reduction of 5.6% water use per kilogram product. On the other hand, the company is strongly committed to clean wastewater and makes targeted investments in its purification plants. “Thanks to the use of new technologies, the Eberbach plant, for example, has succeeded in increasing both the quality and energy efficiency of the water treatment process,” says Samuel Najafi.

Furthermore, for 2019, the business succeeded in improving all environmental performance indicators relating to a specific production volume in terms of sustainability. Despite this progress, the company is working intensively on further improvements – including improvements in work safety. As a manufacturing company, the health of all employees is a top priority for the company. Although the payroll increased slightly, the number of industrial accidents once again fell last year.

The producer of collagen proteins continues to drive innovation in all areas of business. This is particularly true for product development. Michael Teppner, Head of Marketing and Communication at Gelita, comments: “The best example is the world’s first vegan gelling agent in sheet form, which enjoyed outstanding market acceptance in 2019. In the future, too, we aim to maintain a high level of innovation in the area of sustainability, particularly through our new ‘Biotechnology’ initiative.”

Social responsibility

As the company noted, supporting people and ensuring their well-being is a major focus for its operations. To promote cooperation, it provides neighborhood assistance in the vicinity of its sites, helps people in need with cash and product donations, and supports selected institutions. In addition, GELITA is also involved in the education of young people and is active as a sponsor in recreational and professional sports. In 2019, the company supported more than 100 projects and initiatives worldwide. Many of these have been subsidised for several years.

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