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Packaging & design

“Innovation drives our development”, Hélène Marchand, Verescence

The world leader of glass bottling for perfumes & cosmetics ended in 2016 a restructuration phase launched in 2010 with the arrival of the funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management. It resulted in the separation of the pharmacy and beauty entities of the SGD group, as well as in the rebranding of the beauty activity under the name “Verescence”. With four glass production sites in France, Spain, the United States, and Brazil, and five sites dedicated to finishing (two in France, one in Spain, one in the US, and another in Brazil), Verescence now aims to consolidate their position as a world leader, in particular thanks to the excellent quality of their goods and services. To support this plan, which involves significant investments amounting to 100 million euros over the next three years, including half in France, Verescence has just raised 45 million euros. Here are a few explanations with Hélène Marchand, General Manager France.

Hélène Marchand

Hélène Marchand

Premium Beauty News - Verescence is pursuing a transformation policy involving a new investment plan over three years. How is it taking shape?

Hélène Marchand - This year, we rebuilt furnace number 6 on our glassmaking site of Mers-les-Bains, in the north of France. With a capacity of 130 tonnes of glass a day, it is our most important furnace. It is used on six production lines with a capacity of 700,000 bottles per day. This 11-million-euro investment required two months of work and helped us both reduce our energy consumption by 15% and make our CO2 emissions fall by more than 40%. This new furnace also makes it possible for us to keep improving quality, since we now have three furnaces able to produce extra-white glass. This reconstruction was also an opportunity to modernize the whole production area.

Also in Mers-les-Bains, thanks to the space available after the pharmacy activity was moved elsewhere, we will be able to completely reorganize the site and enhance both working conditions and efficiency, in particular by bringing production services and engineering departments closer together.

The other major investment area concerns our two finishing sites in France, in Abbeville and Écouché, both in northern France. All in all, about 20 million euros will be invested over the period 2016-2019, in particular in the creation of a new gluing line on the Écouché site, as well as in lacquering, screen printing, and more generally speaking, digital printing technologies.

Premium Beauty News - It seems CSR is also at the core of Verescence’s transformation strategy.

Hélène Marchand - It is a central element. Our CSR policy is based on three lines of action. We aim to integrate our business to the local ecosystem, improve our products through eco-design, and give people priority.

As for ecosystems, we are trying to build up relationships with near companies. 98% of our purchases are already made in France and 50% are even made within 300 kilometres from our sites.

As regards our people, our first action is focused on our employees’ security and on the prevention of industrial accidents. In addition, we are investing in training and know-how preservation. For example, we are partners with the Grand Musée du Parfum, which we have been supporting since the project was launched.

On top of this, to promote diversity, we have created the Verescence au Féminin network for technical trades and women’s leadership. We have recently organized an event with our women employees and customers that provided much richness and energy.

As for the eco-design line of action, it focuses on product development and manufacturing from the angle of sustainability. Among others, the idea is to make glass lighter, recycle as much as possible, and use non-polluting products or techniques that prevent waste as part our different finishing processes.

Lastly, and that is perfectly in line with our will to support customers and provide services of excellence, we have developed – in partnership with EVEA – a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) tool to help our customers compare the advantages and drawbacks of different development projects from an environmental standpoint. We present this impact analysis during the technical study phase.

Premium Beauty News - In practice, how is this conveyed in terms of innovations?

Hélène Marchand - Our policy has always involved highlighting innovations in line with market trends. At the 2017 Luxe Pack show, we will put forward our unbreakable glass technology to mirror the boom of glass in the makeup category. Also for makeup, we will showcase our bottle featuring an integrated glass squeegee – ideal for nail varnish and gloss. In addition, we will put the spotlight on the latest evolutions of our SCULPT’In technology, which makes it possible to create sophisticated shapes inside the bottles.

As for sustainable development, we mainly focus on making glass lighter. Our challenge is to make perfect glass with very thin walls, while preserving solidity. We are launching a 50 ml jar that weighs 60 g (compared to usually 100 g for this capacity).

Lastly, as far as finishing is concerned, we will showcase new COLOR’In decorations compatible with most juices (gold, stone, magma…), as well as very popular iridescent and metal effects for which we offer a great variety of techniques (holography, lacquering, hot stamping…). For high perfumery, we will expose a collection of exceptional glasses: a Verre Haute Joaillerie (High Jewellery Glass) obtained with a patented technique that consists in inlaying precious stones during the glass-forming phase, and a Verre Minéral (Mineral Glass) inspired from Murano glass, which offers coloured, unique volutes on the glass.

And of course, we will showcase the emblematic new developments we contributed to, in particular Y, the new YSL Beauté men’s perfume, the new Goldea The Roman Night women’s fragrance by Bvlgari, the Dior Hydralife jar, and the YSL Beauté Encre de Peau foundation.

We are creators. Innovation drives our development, whether in terms of products or processes and organization. Our ambitious development plan should help us consolidate this advantage to sublimate our customers’ projects, always pushing the limits further with them.

Interview by Vincent Gallon

Portfolio

  • Verescence has rebuilt furnace number 6 on its glassmaking site of (...)
  • To promote diversity, the French glass maker has created the Verescence au (...)
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