The biodegradable Sulapac® material aims to challenge plastic
Case - Published 25.4.2017
The Sulapac® innovation, developed by Finns Suvi Haimi and Laura Kyllönen, combines wood and Nordic design in biodegradable packaging. The Sulapac® material has already got the attention of the world packaging markets as a potential challenger for plastics.
Sulapac® innovation is based on Suvi and Laura’s years of study of medical applications and biomaterials. In the research world, they realized that as entrepreneurs they could have a stronger impact on the future of the environment. When the doctoral duo’s biomaterial research was combined with the wood composite expertise of Petro Lahtinen and Antti Pärssinen, Sulapac® material innovation was born.
The business idea was found surprisingly close as both Suvi and Laura had several creams and cosmetic packs in daily use. Cosmetics felt like a natural starting point for the world conquest with new, fully biodegradable packing.
Biodegradable material challenges plastic
The basis of Sulapac® innovation is simple – it replaces the traditional fossil based plastic material with one that doesn’t pollute the environment.
Sulapac® products are made of a combination of wood chips and biodegradable natural binders. The material has plastic-like properties. It is water- and oil resistant and doesn’t penetrate oxygen. Sulapac® products combine ecology, luxury and unlimited design possibilities. Sulapac® is also able to compete with the cost of plastic and can be mass-produced with the same equipment as plastic.
The founders have spent a lot of time developing both the production technology and the brand, researching the target market and drafting their main message. The packaging production required special attention since the wood material must flow smoothly and evenly through the mass without blocking the manufacture equipment. They also sought and discovered the right technology and the best possible ecological dyes for dyeing the wood chips. Nordic design gives the packaging concept its finishing touch. At present, the founders are focusing on increasing the awareness of Sulapac® innovation and increasing sales.
The global markets are reached through global brands. Co-operation with the first customer, Niki Newd®, a luxury cosmetic brand, was published in March 2017.
€800 billion market and a global environmental act
Laura and Suvi’s strategy is to make Sulapac® innovation a dominant material in the world’s packaging markets that are worth €800 billion. At the same time, they want to create a completely new standard for the production of environmentally friendly products. As Sulapac® innovation becomes more prevalent in the market they hope it will force the oil and plastics industry to find more ecological packaging material alternatives. The Sulapac founders are expecting this plan of action to result in the next great breakthrough for bio-revolution.
The company’s seed funding tour showed that the investors are behind the revolution. Sulapac gathered a seed funding of €1 million thanks to several famous Finnish investors such as Ilkka Herlin and Saara Kankaanrinta, Eerik Paasikivi and the venture capital company Lifeline Ventures as well as a Dutch venture capital company Ardent Venture BV.
However, in addition to proper funding resources, future success requires constant pioneering attitude, raw work, and endless faith in the project. But with Suvi and Laura’s team possessing all of this and a touch of everyday humour, what felt impossible before is already a great leap nearer. The change made by Sulapac is not executed with only words. They want to do it through action. The shared motto quickly became “Every package makes a difference”.
The author of the article, Suvi Haimi, is the CEO and one of the founders of Sulapac Oy.
Contact: phone 044 029 1203, email suvi.haimi (@) sulapac.com.
Published (in Finnish) on Apr 25, 2017.