How supply chain and sustainability became the cornerstones of GPA Global’s success
The hybrid supply chain is a term GPA Global established in order to strengthen relations between its partners and its team. As a result, the business has successfully instilled a passion for relationships and unity across its operation and vendor network. The international packaging expert has built its name on greener practices in the manufacturing industry, as well as durable and dependable packaging, as we hear from Adam Melton, the Group CEO. “We have a broad network of suppliers, and acquired a number of factories, which subsequently led to the creation of our hybrid model, of which we are so proud.” The hybrid model is a strategy that has allowed the company to incorporate a unit of businesses to fulfil its packaging operation. According to Adam, this approach has proven to be globally robust, and also allows the company to expand its reach even further.
GPA Global, also known as Green Packaging Asia, began in 2007 with a vision to remove clamshell packaging and toxic plastics from the waste stream. Over the years, the company acquired a handful of businesses to help expand its packaging and printing solutions. “Now, we are strategically placed across the world to mitigate supply chain issues, and to fulfil customer needs as quickly and efficiently as possible, while minimizing our carbon manufacturing footprint.
“In Europe, for example, we introduced folding cartons and specialty rigid packaging to our catalog, and so we started to acquire more asset heavy businesses, while still building our vendor network. Our mission is to be nimble for our clients so that as we design our sustainable solutions, we can provide them with an accessible transition from less sustainable materials, such as thermo-form plastic clamshell usage to molded paper pulp, which is more environmentally friendly.”
The goal to be the number-one sustainable packaging provider is the driving force behind GPA Global’s purpose, and it has also served as the motivation for the company’s expansion. “We have already acquired seven businesses in the last five years, and those businesses are hybrid in nature. Some of them are design entities that design and develop packaging, and then outsource the manufacturing in different regions, and some of them are manufacturers who retain the manufacturing capabilities in the specific regions. This model of connectivity is what we strive for. We keep a very delicate balance of our assets because it affects our ability to grow, which is why we invest strategically in acquisitions.” The reason why GPA Global is determined to expand its operation is simple: client support. “We have no limit to what we can design for our customers, and as their packaging evolves, we want to be there to support them,” shares Adam.
While GPA’s supply chain approach is critical to its operation, another pillar of the company’s success is sustainability. “We have always been determined to support the environment. We have seen how our customers’ priorities have changed according to market turbulence. For example, in 2008, most folks were not interested in the environment. As time went on, it became clear that we were in the right place, at the right time, because we stayed true to our sustainability practices, which helped them achieve their cost goals and understand what sustainability in packaging means for them.”
Although sustainability has only recently become a buzzword within the mainstream media as a tool to combat global warming, GPA Global has been an advocate for greener packaging since its inception. “We have spent a lot of time and effort helping our customers build a sustainability road map. We provide Life Cycle Analysis reports, to provide brands with the data they need to make informed decisions around changing components to more sustainable alternatives. This holistic view also takes into consideration the logistics and end-of-life impacts. Tying in with this, we are strategically investing in our locations to support them with near-shoring opportunities,” Adam says, which is why the company is taking an aggressive approach to its acquisitions. “It is all aligned with the sustainability goals of our customers, and those of our retailers to be able to manufacture regionally rather than in Asia, as was the tradition.”
When it comes to GPA Global’s own green goals, Adam shares that GPA is determined to maintain its momentum. “We are taking a very realistic and pragmatic approach. We want to achieve a reduction of 20 percent of our scope one and scope two emissions by 2030, and then by 2040, we want to see a 50 percent reduction. We must look at wastewater, the different materials we use, and the electricity required to produce each of our products, rather than purchasing carbon offsets simply to make our numbers look good.”
While Adam recognizes that these plans are ambitious, he does not want the company to fall prey to utilizing monetary solutions as quick fixes. Instead, he is a committed to empowering his team and refining the overall operation. “We want to have the right people in place to execute our strategies, and we want to educate our clients on how to achieve their goals. As I mentioned earlier, we know that our customers want to be environmentally friendly, and we want that to happen in the most cost-effective way possible.”
Going forward, the future looks exciting for GPA Global. Adam shares his gratitude for his team, and how it has overcome the challenges of the pandemic with agility and patience. “This has resulted in greater support for our customers, and enabled us to be more diverse so that we can continue to support brands around the world in every product category.
“In addition, we are investing significantly in automation, and we have some exciting developments to announce later on in 2022 that will put us in the right position to help global brands to achieve their sustainability goals for the next decade,” Adam expresses.
Continuing with his reflections on his team, Adam takes a moment to reiterate how invaluable his team has been throughout GPA Global’s tenure. “We are a people business and the team here is incredible. I am in awe of who I work with, and the talent they bring. What we do here isn’t easy and to have a team that is able to balance the needs of our customers with the needs of the business is an admirable skill. As a packaging supply chain partner, we must be nimble in terms of the materials we use, and I am immensely proud of the folks here who understand how to make that possible.”
For Adam, the most rewarding aspect of his work is being able to share what he does with his children. He shares that the moment he sees GPA Global packaging in a customer’s store, and points it out to his children, is one that will never lose its novelty. “It’s beautiful, I still love it. Being able to create a sustainable solution that can be used universally is fun and exciting, and when you work with people who are passionate about the same mission, well, that just makes the entire process so worth it,” Adam concludes.