ROBERT DACKESKOG, CEO
Duni Group is a leading supplier of attractive and functional table setting and take-away products. The Group markets and sells two brands, Duni and BioPak, which are represented in over 40 markets. Duni Group has employees in 24 countries. Duni Group conducts proprietary manufacturing, predominantly at its wholly owned paper mill, Rexcell, in Dalsland, Sweden. Manufacturing also takes place in Germany, Poland, Thailand and New Zealand.
Duni Group has been an associated company in the Mellby Gård portfolio since 2007. Mellby Gård’s representatives on the Board of Directors are Thomas Gustafsson (Chairman) and Sven Knutsson.
- Headquarters: Malmö
- Sales 2021: SEK 5,061 million
- Employees (FTE): 2,300
- Chairman: Thomas Gustafsson
“WE SHOULD BE THE INDUSTRY’S SUSTAINABILITY LEADER BY 2030”
The Duni Group has a presence anywhere where people meet and enjoy life, and selling products for that purpose has presented a challenge over the past couple of years. The pandemic has gone on for longer and been more widespread than either Duni or anyone else imagined at the start of 2021.
“The restrictions in 2021 came and went, and it’s been a doubleedged sword for us. The BioPak business area with its ecofriendly takeaway packaging has benefited from the pandemic as the market chose other ways to offer and consume food and drink. But the Duni business area has been affected badly and directly by the restrictions, which generally targeted what’s known as the HoReCa segment (hotels, restaurants, cafés). We have seen an immediate link between restrictions and our sales.”
FINDING NEW WAYS TO ADOPT CIRCULARITY
The longer-term question for the Duni Group is how the market as a whole views the Group’s products; disposable items. Discussions on regulations are ongoing in a number of countries, and within the EU. In France, for example, the amount of waste, including food waste permissible at restaurants will be capped as early as 2024.
“Our business faces challenges, and we need to find new ways to adopt a circular approach with regard to our products, something we have been and are working hard on. Our aim is to be able to offer all our customers the most sustainable solutions based on their own circumstances – disposable products, reusable products, or something else entirely.”
Inspired by the UN Decade of Action and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the Duni Group updated its strategy during the year under the slogan “Our Decade of Action”, its overall goal being to be the industry leader in sustainability by 2030.
“This is going to be a tough challenge, but we believe setting ourselves this kind of ambitious goal is what we need for our long-term success. This is something I’m very passionate about on a personal level, and it’s very important for our employees to know what the Group stands for, what we want to achieve and where we’re heading.”
DUNI TO ACHIEVE FULL CIRCULARITY BY 2030
“We’ve updated our purpose to say we should ‘Inspire the world to give more than we take so that everyone can enjoy good food, well-being and a sense of community, both now and in the future’. We should have achieved full circularity by 2030, leading our industry towards a world in which we give more than we take and where we create safe, easy-to-use solutions for everyone while caring for our planet and nurturing our well-being.
“We’re already doing lots of positive things within the Group. Our Skåpafors production plant became the world’s first paper mill to start using biogas as fuel during the year, and Skåpafors will have zero emissions from 2027 onwards. We’ve also worked intensively on developing our important Airlaid and Dunicel materials for premium napkins and tablecloths. These are now being produced using wholly fossil-free binding agents, made from food waste and plant-based raw materials – without compromising on quality.
“In fact, two employees at our production facility in Bramsche in Germany developed the binding agent for the Dunicel range. They started off testing in the kitchen at home, and when that turned out to work, they carried on with development at the production facility. All in all, this has been an exciting and successful innovation process.”
OTHER CIRCULAR BUSINESS MODELS
Other circular business models have emerged in the industry lateley, and there’s a lot of talk about reuse. New companies in this market have been formed in Europe – and the Duni Group has become committed to the cause.
“We’ve invested in two companies and also entered into a partnership with a third in line with our strategy to be fully circular by 2030. That’s because we want to be part of the rapid evolution and lead the way for the industry towards more sustainable and functional solutions.
“The companies we’ve invested in are working on innovative digital solutions for the creation of circular, reusable systems for takeaway products. Different applications require either disposable or multipleuse options or a combination of both, so that’s why it’s important to offer a varied range that meets the future needs of our customers.
“All in all, we’re looking forward to next year with restrictions lifted, so we’re planning for normalised demand. We’re expecting to see our takeaway packaging, napkins, tablecloths and candles become an obvious and natural part of things.”
SIGNIFICANT EVENTS 2021
The pandemic has continued to affect operations, with a number of countries seeing extensive restrictions and rapid changes. Price increases on supplies have also created pressure in respect of costs and inflation.
Duni Group made a decision to apply an updated strategy with the aim of being the industry leader in sustainability by 2030.
A number of sustainability initiatives such as fossil-free Airlaid and Dunicel products, a biogas plant for production in Skåpafors and investment in European companies with re-use products. Duni Group have also joined the UN Global Compact.