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PG Paper wraps up COP26

COP26 provided world leaders with a unique opportunity to discuss the climate crisis at a crucial time, but how can businesses adapt to help meet vital targets? For business owners, the story of Scottish firm PG Paper offers valuable insights that can be applied to their own journey.

The COP26 commitments will have a significant impact on businesses across Scotland, as everyone must play their part and become more sustainable to secure a greener and brighter future for all. Businesses across the country must therefore react, transform, and develop their business operations to reach net-zero targets.

PG Paper, a leading UK-based international paper company and one of the country’s best-known businesses, made the strategic decision to increase its focus on sustainability, which has always been the core of its operations.

PG Paper is focused on delivering continual improvements to its processes to reach environmental targets, and ensures its core concept of reducing, reusing and recycling remains paramount. It is already working in an industry that's playing a key role in sustainability. The paper industry is continually working on environmental improvements, with significant investment in water usage, reinvention through development and investment in key innovations, such as the use of new raw products, like bamboo and sugar beet, as an alternative to wood. Innovations in paper also offer far more sustainable alternatives to plastic packaging, and it is something PG Paper actively promotes.

Poonam Gupta's journey to creating a successful international paper company began when she arrived in Scotland in 2002. She started her own business from her kitchen in Kilmacolm, trading redundant waste materials destined for landfill, and discovered there is always a market for goods when you buy at the right price - the fundamental pillar of PG Paper's subsequent success.

Now she is one of the most recognised entrepreneurs in the UK and beyond, committed to further building PG Paper worldwide, expanding into new fields of business while also passing on her knowledge and experience to a new generation of entrepreneurs.

Her portfolio of companies now has an annual turnover of circa £80 million, operating in over 60 countries, with offices in India, the US, China, Sweden, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

She said, “As a serial entrepreneur, I understand the importance of ambition when faced with challenges. Climate change is no different and as we look to the agenda after COP26, it’s clear that this will be key if we are to produce the far-reaching solutions required to tackle climate change.”

“PG Paper was built on this premise, taking paper otherwise headed to landfill and reselling to emerging markets and like most businesses, PG Paper’s journey to net zero has been a transition. It has involved many decisions about where and how to start, identifying ways to measure progress, managing the complexity of implementing effective carbon-reduction strategies. We wanted to make changes, but we lacked the expertise to do so.”

Fortunately, support is out there across Scotland for businesses to start this journey – however it does require an innovative spirit and a willingness to take on the challenges.

She said: “Challenge drives business innovation and the need to become more sustainable presents the technology industry with an enormous opportunity to work with academia, and to develop tools and processes that will support the world’s shift to net zero.”

Find advice & resources to help your business become more sustainable at findbusinesssupport.gov.scot

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