Number two; selection of materials – is the horizon 2, and will take some time to implement and change current solutions where possible.
Number 3; business models – Is where we have great opportunities. For example; refurbishment – keeping the product in use over multiple life cycles, subscription models (with try and buy), recycle programs for FMCG and disposables, etc. We offer people the choice of renting selected products instead of buying, which can be returned after use – for reuse or refurbishment – like the Lumea Try and Buy. Again, going back to the consumer demand and what makes sense for our end users.
Lefteri: Yes, that's common in places like Korea – where you lease products, and after time you give it back, so the manufacturer is responsible for repair, maintenance, re-claiming.
Sandberg: Yes, in some cultures that's the norm, and is going to change a lot in the western world looking ahead to the coming couple of years. We already have quite a few products on subscription, for example the IPL hair removal device and also products like breast pumps, which you will only need for a shorter period of time.
Lefteri: If I understand your responsibilities, you're managing a team of product designers, digital, CMF, engineers, and maybe marketing is part of this mix somewhere: how do you do that, because there are so many opportunities for materials not to reach product, and reach the market, because of engineering problems, marketing not being able to say something, design not being able to manufacture something or achieve the right finish, how do you manage all these problems that are really obstacles for you to realise these goals of health and sustainability with plastics?
Sandberg: My direct responsibility is the design team that is working on the end-to-end solution. My 'stake holders' are the marketing, engineering teams and research and development teams. To drive opportunity for material change, as a Sustainability Ambassador, we are both working with advocating sustainability internally and have to drive this systematically in any opportunity that we see. It can be when deciding what material that is possible for a product, it can be in value creation proposition work, or when creating our color and material library. You basically have to look for opportunity where-ever you can, and have a bit of an entrepreneurial mindset to drive change.
It is also about education. Sustainability is a very important topic but not always easy to implement. I don't have all the answers. I'm in it because I want to learn and understand about how we can be better, it truly is a journey.
Lefteri: So my last question is: what would you want to see at an event like the K show from the plastics industry?
Sandberg: It's very relevant to our business, I would love to see more high quality medical grade plastics and materials that are also inspiring from a desirability point of view: in terms of the excitement plastics can bring.
Lefteri: Yes, desirability is very important, particularly now.
Sandberg: Absolutely. Especially for more high-end products, desirability is very important. That can happen through excitement, what materials and plastics can actually bring, in the touch and feel and when you're using it as well.
Lefteri: Yes, great point to end on. If you expect consumers to buy into this kind of product that will incur a higher cost, the least you can do is make it more desirable?
Sandberg: Yes for sure. The material can also bring other benefits to the consumer such as ease of use, how easy it is to clean and how do you maintain a product for a long time, the longevity of it?
Lefteri: Yes, exactly, bringing added value to the product. Yes. That was great. I really enjoyed the conversation.
Sandberg: Likewise. It was super nice to connect again.