Sustainably Savvy: Accredo Packaging’s Mission Supports its Growth
With a mission to manufacture and supply sustainable flexible packaging for the pre-packaged food and consumer products markets, Sugar Land, Texas-based Accredo Packaging is no stranger to viable, eco-friendly practices.
Since opening six years ago, Accredo has established itself as the largest purchaser of 100 percent wind generated energy in the U.S. flexible packaging market, the first company in the U.S. to extrude resin from renewable resources and the only flexible packaging company believed to be certified to LEED Silver certification standards.
Plus, as a vertically integrated company that supplies throughout North and Central America, Accredo is responsible for extruding and printing, laminating, pouch making, roll stocks, etc. all within its own facilities.
“We really are proud to be a newcomer on the block in this very competitive market against the companies that have been around for all these years,” says Malcom Cohn, director of sustainability at Accredo. “To break through to the customers has been difficult, and we believe that what has been able to get us across to these major brand owners is our sustainability story. Because of our belief in sustainability, and the way that the market is going for sustainability, it has opened up companies to meet with us and discuss these alternatives.”
The owners of Accredo came to the United States with a church group in 1975 after the Fall of Saigon, and they worked four jobs a day to provide for their families and fund their education, Cohn says. When plastic grocery bags began reaching new levels of popularity, they had an opportunity to build a factory in New Orleans to manufacture them.
However, anticipating that the market for grocery bags was likely to plateau, the owners eventually decided to also focus their efforts towards high-barrier flexible packaging.
“In a short span of time we have grown (from) no customers to a multi-million dollar company and (are) continuing to grow,” Cohn says. “We’ve made great strides, but there’s still a long way to go.”
The company offers four different sustainable product options: conventional, compostable renewable and recyclable. Most recently, Accredo partnered with Dow to create an all-PE recyclable standup pouch made from certified compostable components.
To create its products, the company uses 9-layer blown film lines with 3-layer and 5-layer extrusion capabilities, a stable of 10-color 67-inch-wide-web press, expanded color gamut process printing, an ink delivery system that facilitates up to 40 percent more productivity and more.
The Climate Change Conference and Sustainable Innovation Forum held last December in Paris drew government leaders, CEOs and senior executives, financiers and investors, and associations and industry experts from all over the world. For Accredo, which has already made sustainability a crucial part of its mission, these events and recent spotlight on sustainability puts the company in a position to continue to do what it does best: eco-friendly packaging solutions.
“You’ve got 130 countries or so participating in this climate change conference in Paris, and how we as a company participate in this program is we are able, through our offerings and our sustainable packaging product options, to offer packaging that takes into consideration the lowering of our (environmental) footprint,” Cohn says.
Moving forward, Accredo plans on expanding its offerings as well as its capabilities.
“(Accredo) was built with expansion in mind,” Cohn says. “Six years ago we started with two pieces of each equipment but now our factory is full. We’ve added extruders, printing presses and new pouch machines, and we are now at the point of actually planning and discussing our next production facility in the United States within two years. I think this has been as a result of our owners and the management and employees of our company being committed to achieving success within our mission.”