Source via We Dream Business Blog
POCHECO is a French company that manufactures and distributes all types of ecological envelopes or, how they call them, ecovelops. Their main objective is to produce paper envelops in the most ecological, ethical and environmental-friendly way. In order to achieve that their whole business is organized following the concept of: “nothing is lost and everything is transformed.”
In this company the ethics are present in all the processes. Starting with the paper, its principal raw material, they are greatly aware that to obtain it trees have to be cut. Consequently, and in order to compensate for the negative impact of its activities in the forest, they plant 4 trees for every 1 tree the cut down. If at some point there is an amount of paper which hasn’t been used, it is obviously recycled.
When considering the packaging, they used to put the envelopes by hand in boxes. In order to change this system, they decided to put them on coils instead. In one coil there is space for 38.000 envelops so they have reduced by ⅓ their cardboard consumption.
Regarding the ink they use, in 1998 the company changed to an ink that was completely water based and made from natural pigments and the glue that the envelopes have contains no volatile organic compounds. The fact that the ink is water-based is very useful because they don’t have to clean the machines with chemical products. In the cleaning machine, it is only water from the rain and Marseille’s soap.
By following the nothing is lost and everything is transformed idea, they are changing the way to do business. They have created a complete new concept of business and basically consists on reusing every single resource they use, therefore not creating any waste. By doing so, they are addressing many ethical challenges; the first of all is serving as an example for the rest of not just businesses but society on how to behave respectfully with nature.
Concretely, despite being paper its main raw material, they are addressing deforestation problem: they plant 4 trees per 1 tree cut down. With that simple action they are helping to reduce the environmental impact the business activity usually has. Therefore, this company is creating a positive impact by reducing their footprint as their volume grows.
Pocheco invented a new method of packaging envelopes that not just reduced the impact on the environment but also improved productivity. It is all around reels, which means just like the paper they received to make their envelopes arrives on reels, the company and its customers reuse the trolleys and cores to send the envelopes. This fact avoided to use over 2milion boxes over the past 10 years.
The company is also really concerned about the environmental impact and risk of pollution of its infrastructures. For this reason, Pocheco mainly uses bambu for heating and also the pallets and the branches go to the wood boiler. From there is coming the whole heating in the factory. Also they have a roof which is provided with solar panels and soon wind turbine in order to use all the good environmental things. From the roof they also filter the rainwater for all the factory needs.
Pocheco reinvented itself in a very difficult context. Too many competitors meant their product – envelopes – they have little economic value and the industry had been dying for years then. New technologies were threatening, the time for change had come; they had to reinvent their way out of danger.
“Producing in destruction” was no longer an option they were shuffling. They gave a 360º spin to their business, from the raw materials, through the product transformation and till the reusing of the waste. They were able to create a new concept of business and sustainability –ecolonomie-, developing a new environmental-friendly product consistent with nature ethics and values from the very beginning.
The envelope, - or ecovelope as they named it – is a pretty common product to which they are adding value through being responsible at their company. Being this item such a common one, we can trust they do not just want to “greenwash” their image, but to give support to nature and serve as a role model to the industry and community. Money is not a goal by itself.
Following the principle “Less is more”, Pocheco is able to exponentially reduce their ecological footprint as they increase their production. Preserving the planet and giving their services to humanity are what made their business flourish and which will help them keep growing. It is possible to develop a successful business without damaging our most precious source, the planet.
They not only are consistent with their premises, but want to share their knowledge and expertise with others. They offer many committees and associations (Pocheco Canopée Conseil, La Maison de l’Ecolonomie and Pocheco Canopée Reforestation) to help others to get in the “sustainability train”. Pocheco is investing in the 21st century citizenship, building an alternative and evolutive economic business model at the service of humanity and nature.
We can distinguish many challenges that the company may be facing in the following decade. Probably the most obvious one is the ephemeral effect of its product. The use of envelopes has decreased considerably since the digitalization of the communication ways. So, the company might be facing financial challenges, and might need to diversify its production in the future.
Following with the previous idea, in terms of its current situation, Pocheco has achieved to create a bubble in Northern France where nature interacts with industry in an almost perfect harmony. But is this activity sustainable at a global level? The main challenge international companies are facing is the production at a worldwide level.
Would Pocheco be able to produce eco-friendly envelopes dividing the manufacturing process? All along the course we have been focusing on the difficulties to keep prices as low as possible, and ensuring a sustainable production. This is mainly due to the obligation to subcontract other parties that act on their own.
The other issue that we have to highlight is the possible link between Pocheco’s practices and the simplicity of the product it offers. Actually the envelopes have only 2 raw materials, wood and natural pigment. We are, thus, far to implement this kind of business models in the car industry, for instance.
Pocheco has an inspiring and promising activity based on ecolonomy. As we have said previously, it is difficult to find eco-solutions for all the materials we “need”. However, this kind of business models is still applicable to many products we use on a everyday basis. Pocheco produces envelopes for the majority of France, yet we had no idea the company neither existed nor used this king of practices. Pocheco should try to expand its habits, starting by alerting its customers.