Student Plastics Challenge: Greiner challenged students

Greiner AG

How can the sustainable procurement of plastics and awareness of sustainability be promoted among suppliers? Greiner posed this question to students at the "Student Plastics Challenge" at JKU Linz.

On 17 January, Greiner was part of the creative event "Student Plastics Challenge" organised by Teach For Austria and the LIT Open Innovation Center at JKU in Linz. Stephan Laske, Global Director R&D of Greiner Packaging, assigned the students with a challenge dealing with the sustainable procurement of plastics – more precisely, the purchase of recycled materials and the raising of awareness among suppliers. The students presented a "Global Support Team" as a solution for this, to which both buyers and suppliers would have access.

Keynote on sustainable transformation at Greiner

In the keynote address that followed, Stefan Grafenhorst, Global Head of Sustainability and Corporate Affairs at Greiner AG, gave insights into his work at Greiner, the world's leading plastics producer. He sees two main areas of action for the further development of a sustainable company: The development of even more sustainable products and a general, company-wide transformation process. When it comes to product development, sustainability aspects concern the process along the entire value chain. However, sustainability also goes far beyond the products, because: "This is much more about the DNA of our company. Evaluation according to ESG criteria, i.e. in the areas of environmental, social and governance, is ultimately becoming more and more important – also when it comes to future financing opportunities. If we want to be innovative and successful as a company, we have no choice but to act on the basis of our sustainability goals," says Grafenhorst.

Working together on sustainable solutions

By getting involved in events like this, Greiner wants to benefit from the students' ideas and therefore always seeks exchange with the university sector. Other corporate partners of the "Student Plastics Challenge" were Erema, Engel and NGR. They gave the students questions in the field of corporate social responsibility. In the end, the winner of the challenge was the group of students who dealt with the problem posed by the company NGR. This team presented an innovative solution to evaluate and present plastics holistically from a social perspective.

The Student Plastics Challenge was initiated by Teach For Austria and the LIT Open Innovation Center at Johannes Kepler University (JKU) in Linz. Greiner has been a partner of Teach For Austria for many years and has actively helped with the expansion of the programme to Upper Austria. The educational initiative "Teach For Austria" primarily aims to promote the potential of children from low-income families. Greiner also cooperates with the LIT Open Innovation Center at JKU. Starting in the winter semester of 2023/24, three new plastics technology degree programmes will be launched at JKU Linz, which are supported by Greiner.