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BPMA – Writing the future

A household name, BIC became synonymous with quality and reliability in 1950 with the launch of the BIC Cristal, the first high-quality ballpoint pen at an affordable price. BIC took its first step in the promotional sector 50 years ago in 1969, the same year Neil Armstrong took his first step on the moon. In the 1970s it launched the iconic BIC Lighter and BIC Shaver, and today sells 32 million BIC products every day worldwide, 20.2 million of which are stationery products. BIC is known for pens but sees itself as selling solutions.

To modernise and future proof the company, BIC has invested heavily in new systems that enable it to process orders straight from the web to print. Launched in March, the technology eradicates the need for manual intervention. The investment ensures clients receive a seamless service as the demands for online solutions increase and lead times shorten. After 50 years of specialising in printing and customisation techniques, including pioneering digital printing in the European merchandise sector, BGE remains committed to innovation. In 2018 it invested heavily in a new

factory layout designed to improve its production process, and new offices designed to give employees the best working atmosphere while facilitating teamwork from quote to delivery. In May this year, BGE implemented new digital printing capabilities, through the Britepix Digital process to enable well-known products such as 4Colours and Media Clic to feature greater customisation through vivid and rich digital printing. As far back as 2003 BIC also recognised the importance of environmental responsibility and set up its sustainable development program.

This consisted of three main principles, the first of which was to minimise the use of raw materials and transition to new eco-friendly materials. Secondly, to reduce environmental impact by measuring and monitoring the impact of its products, factories, and logistics. Finally, it focussed on building day-to-day relationships based on trust through employee engagement and promoting initiatives that support local communities. Looking to the future, BIC’s vision of ‘Writing the Future,

Together’ involves five key commitments for 2025:

● Fostering sustainable innovation, improving the footprint of BIC products.

● Acting against climate change, using 80% renewable electricity across the group.

● Committing to a safe working environment, with zero accidents across all operations.

● Proactively involving suppliers, for the most secure, innovative and efficient sourcing.

● Improving lives through education, improving learning conditions for 250 million children.

BIC Graphic Europe’s facility in Spain already uses 100% renewable energy, along with the French factories and headquarters, and a facility in Brazil. It is refreshing to see BIC recognising the importance of the environmental impact from the entire product life cycle, from raw materials and production methods through to packaging and distribution. Once delivered to the final end-user, BIC has considered the durability of the products and the end of life of the item. Particularly impressive is the Ubicuity initiative that enables BIC pens to be collected and recycled into a range of outdoor furniture.

Since 2011, BIC’s recycling branch partner TerraCycle has collected 33 million writing instruments in Europe. A bench is made from 4,800 pens, while a table uses 16,300 With a list of memberships and certifications, including SEDEX, BSCI, ISO9001, ISO14001, Ecovadis Gold recognition and PSI Sustainability Award winners, BIC’s progress to it 2025 target looks promising. It is pleasing to see them taking the lead on such important topics.

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