Ensuring a successful transition to the circular economy

Reciclad’OR launches this month the consulting service specialised in circular economy. The chief executive officer of the company, Diana Cîtu, says that the new service would help producers and importers.

NewMoney: Describe your company’s business model and highlight what will differentiate it mainly from the competition?

Diana Cîtu: Founded in 2017, Reciclad’OR S.A. is an organisation specialised in the implementation of extended producer responsibility obligations. Under the contract, the company takes over from manufacturers, importers and retailers their responsibility to recycle the packaging they place on the domestic market.

Reciclad’OR has taken over the responsibility of packaging recycling for over 700 companies that introduce packaged products on the national market. In order to meet the recycling objectives, we have concluded national partnerships with over 240 waste collectors and 7 sanitation operators. From its inception until now, Reciclad’OR has successfully fulfilled all its legal obligations. This is also certified by the last control of the Administration of the Environment Fund, control that ended in September 2020.

From the very beginning, Reciclad’OR’s strategic objectives have been related to the long-term development and continuous improvement of operational performance. Simultaneously with the increase in the number of customers and suppliers, Reciclad’OR has developed a vast portfolio of resources and skills and hence the high degree of differentiation between us and other players in the market.

Some of the superior resources held by Reciclad’OR can be easily identified by the general public: tripling the number of employees in the last two years, opening offices in Bucharest, Cluj, Iasi and Constanta, etc.

But the major difference between us and our competitors comes from the superior skills that Reciclad’OR has developed over time. And as an example I will present the following situation:

In order to understand the degree of robustness of the company’s exceptional evolution, at the beginning of October, we analysed the degree of satisfaction of our customers and their needs in the context of the requirements of the circular economy. The recorded results were a real delight for us. Not only from the perspective of the current degree of satisfaction, but especially from the perspective of future needs, needs for which, in advance, Reciclad’OR has developed a complete package of consulting services in the circular economy.

In this way, we announce for the first time the launch in November 2020 of the consulting service specialised in circular economy, a unique service on the market of responsibility transfer. This service will help Romanian producers and importers to successfully manage the impact of the transition to the circular economy on recycling costs, packaging solutions, consumer behavior, etc.

Another major differentiator is Reciclad’OR’s concern for the community in which it operates. Understanding the importance of citizen involvement in the process of collecting packaging waste, we have developed over 60 social responsibility campaigns (CSR). The common objective of these campaigns was to develop an appropriate daily behavior of the citizen towards the separate collection of packaging waste.

In conclusion, I could say that the success of Reciclad’OR is the result of a complex configuration composed of strategy, resources and skills developed, leadership, speed of reaction and adaptability to changing economic and legal conditions.

– How was the activity of the COVID-19 pandemic company influenced?

– The experience of recent months has been a negative one for the vast majority of sectors of activity. However, some of them have suffered much more and give the HoReCa sector as an example.

We do not have general data, but from the data recorded at the operational level, we estimate that the total quantities of packaging introduced on the national market this year will be lower by 15% -20% compared to the previous year.

Regarding the impact of COVID-19 on our business, I could say that it is small and easy to manage. This is due to the fact that on the one hand the sales of customers in the Reciclad’OR portfolio did not register significant decreases, and on the other hand the portfolio of new customers increased considerably during the first nine months of the year.

We do not see a difficulty in achieving the objectives, especially by the fact that in the last two years we have managed to cover the entire country at the collection level, through contracts signed with specialised companies, as well as with ADIs / ATUs in the country.

As the market has become increasingly turbulent and unpredictable, increased response speed and operational flexibility have become an important source of competitive advantage for Reciclad’OR.

But the first requirement for developing a rapid response capability is access to information and its quality. In the context in which the economic forecasts are no longer so efficient and the essential market information is contradictory, we had to develop internally a high-performance early warning system.

However, we fully felt the effects of the pandemic by reducing personal meetings with our customers. Even if through online systems we manage to maintain the quality of services provided, we feel the lack of personal meetings with our customers. After all, we are human, and our customers have always been a source of inspiration and innovation for us.

– Who are the main customers?

– Reciclad’OR’s customer portfolio is constantly evolving. Of the 700 partners, I will mention only a few companies, but without diminishing the respect and importance we give to all our customers, regardless of market share or field of activity: Maspex Romania, PepsiCo Romania, La Fântana, Bergenbier, Ursus, Heineken, Carlsberg, Tuborg, Alexandrion Grup, Cotnari, Vinarte, Jidvei, Altex, eMAG, Carrefour, Profi, Decathlon, Romstal, Farmec, Avon, Oriflame, Yves Rocher, Mars, Mondelez, Kandia, Sony, Bosch, Siemens, Canpack Romania , Ficosota, Henkel, OMV Petrom, Rompetrol, Cris-Tim, Wienerberger, Catena, Zentiva, Zara. In the spirit of transparency, on the company’s website: www.reciclador.green, you will find the entire Reciclad’OR customer portfolio.

– What income do you expect to achieve this year and what is the increase / decrease compared to 2019?

– Since last year, Reciclad’OR has positioned itself as a leader in the transfer of responsibility market. At the level of 2019, the company registered a turnover of 113.4 million lei and had a market share of 16%.

The process of consolidating the market leader position continued in 2020. Based on the data recorded for the first nine months of the year, we estimate a 30% increase in turnover (147 million lei) and a market share of approximately 21%.

The quality of the service portfolio, the transparency and predictability of the tariffs applied, the response to customer requests, CSR programs and the brand reputation generated a high degree of customer portfolio retention (99.8%) and the continuous increase in the number of new customers.

– How dependent is your business on changing the legislative framework?

– In general, the vision of Reciclad’OR is one closely correlated with the activity, the plans, even the vision of our customers, those for whom we fulfil the obligations of recycling packaging, according to the legislative norms in force.

From the perspective of the analysis of macroeconomic factors we can say, without any doubt, that the biggest impact on the activity of responsibility transfer is the one generated by the legislative changes. Changing economic market conditions play only a secondary role.

Clearly, legislative changes have affected not only the transfer of responsibility market, but also the competitive strategies of packaged product manufacturers and importers and their approaches to packaging and packaging waste management.

Unfortunately, the frequency of legislative changes (and their lack of coherence) has not allowed the industry to develop a long-term strategy for packaging recycling.

Following the requirements of the Circular Economy Directive and the European Green Pact, the market for the transfer of responsibility throughout Europe will enter, starting in 2021, a profound process of transformation.

In this context, any changes to specific national legislation must be made in such a way as to create the conditions for:

increasing the degree of predictability and credibility of the packaging recycling activity;
simplifying the way of working and streamlining the costs of recycling;
ensuring a successful transition to the circular economy.
From the position of market leader, we believe that Reciclad’OR has the obligation, at least morally, to draw the new vision regarding the role of the transfer of responsibility in the activity of packaging recycling in Romania.

– Reciclad’OR is a Platinum member of the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA). What responsibilities does this quality imply and what actions have you taken in this regard?

– For over 50 years, ISWA has been promoting resource efficiency through sustainable production and consumption, promoting the best available technologies and practices worldwide, and developing a range of scientific, economic and social tools.

Through our colleague Marius Brînzea (Strategy Director), Reciclad’OR is permanently involved in the technical activity of the Working Group on European Issues (legislation, technical, communication). We transfer all the European expertise we accumulate in the working group to our clients free of charge. However, I would like to point out that the activity of Reciclad’OR at international level is not limited to ISWA. Reciclad’OR is also the only company in Romania that is a member of the Prevent Waste Alliance.

Prevent Waste Alliance is a multi-stakeholder partnership that brings together the most important actors in the private sector, academia, civil society and public institutions and aims to minimise waste, eliminate pollutants and maximise the reuse of resources in the global economy.

In the working groups, we will develop together with the other members a series of projects to prevent the generation of waste, the collection and recycling of packaging waste and increase the reuse of secondary raw materials. The focus of Reciclad’OR is generally on plastic packaging and disposable packaging. And we offer this expertise for free to our customers.

This article was taken from the New Money website, https://www.newmoney.ro/p-asigurarea-unei-tranzitii-de-succes-catre-economia-circulara/.

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