Saturday, 27 November 2021

Sustainability goals at the APAC food industry, an innovative approach

14 July 2021 | Opinion

Comprehensive sustainability program consisting of four pillars that provide the foundation for our sustainable future: People, Products & Innovation, Governance and Environment

Photo Credit: Azelis

Photo Credit: Azelis

While the impact of COVID-19 on the growth of the specialty chemicals sector can be seen throughout Asia Pacific, Azelis - a leading innovative services provider of specialty chemicals and food ingredients is continuing its expansion and investment in Asia Pacific via organic growth and strategic acquisitions. 

In 2020, Azelis completed 5 acquisitions and established significant partnerships with key principals across Asia Pacific. Azelis is now present in 12 countries in the region; Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea and Vietnam. Azelis’ efforts seek to strengthen its regional footprint in food and health, personal care, CASE (coatings, adhesives, sealants, elastomers) and specialty agri/horti market segments. Speaking to NuffoodsspectrumAsia, Mr Vikash Raj, Azelis Asia Pacific Innovation Director shared more insights on sustainability goals at the APAC food industry.

How does Azelis view ‘sustainability’ and what innovative approaches are adopted towards SDGs?

To Azelis, sustainability is about the responsibility we have as a company and as a community to contribute to a sustainable future, for the benefit of the world. We are part of an industry that plays a significant role in the global economy and we have an obligation to utilize the world's resources in a sustainable manner. Aligned with our promise ‘Innovation through formulation’, it is our aspiration to contribute to a more sustainable future and principals to work on the development of sustainable chemical solutions through innovation.

Sustainable organic growth has been at the core of Azelis’ business model from the beginning. Our sustainability ambitions have been captured in a more formalized way since the creation of our sustainability program back in 2015 and have now entered a new phase as we launched our 2025 sustainability strategy, Action 2025.

Azelis supports 13 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and soon after the creation of our sustainability program, we also committed to gathering our CSR indicators yearly to measure our progress. Azelis’ sustainable business practices are being assessed by EcoVadis annually. Azelis focuses on sustainable organic growth and is rewarded by "Platinum rating from EcoVadis". Having the EcoVadis Gold rating was an important prerequisite to join Together for Sustainability (TfS) in 2020, a truly sustainable initiative for the chemical industry, which includes the evaluation and creation of global standards for the environmental, social and governance performance of chemical supply chains.

We have a comprehensive sustainability program consisting of four pillars that provide the foundation for our sustainable future: People, Products & Innovation, Governance and Environment.

Azelis firmly believe in ‘Innovation through formulation’ and invests on advanced application laboratories. Innovative formulations that come out of our laboratories have received more than 20 innovation awards from independent industry bodies since 2015.

What are the strategic sustainability model platforms for future growth and development in the food industry?

Many studies show that embedding sustainability efforts into corporate strategies clearly result in a positive impact on business performance. In addition to the financial benefits that come from increased competitive advantage and innovation, companies are realizing significant cost savings through environmental sustainability-related operational efficiencies.

In our ongoing transition process to a more sustainable business model, we have recently set ambitious targets for how much we aim to reduce our environmental impact by 2025 and 2030. We will be announcing these in our Sustainability Report which is due to be released in the coming weeks.

One very important challenge is to identify sustainable products within our extensive product portfolio. We are performing this complex exercise as part of our goal to offer environmentally-friendly alternatives to our partners to help them formulate sustainable solutions as well.

Azelis complementary ingredients and concepts prefer health and sustainability including natural preservation & clean label solutions, sodium reduction, natural antioxidants, dairy alternatives, and ingredients for gluten-free and vegan foods. Another trend to keep in mind is the preferences of Gen Z, Y and so on. Azelis’ comprehensive product portfolio contains a variety of ingredients supported by innovative novel approaches.

The sustainable formulations from our extensive laboratory network comprise the development of several vegan products including a vegan brioche, a vegan burger, and a pea protein shake, as well as lactose-free applications as a sustainable solution. We are constantly working on developing formulations that also improve the overall nutritional profile of food products, in line with the growing demand for sustainable, healthier and cleaner products.

How do you foresee a sustainable journey with the evolving trends and needs in the industry amidst the pandemic?

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought disruption to many aspects of the supply chain cycle, which is why Azelis is also investing in digital solutions that will help our partners overcome these challenges. One such initiative is our e-labs digital platform which allows us to continue to foster innovation with digitally aid.

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