Andrew Toon, Head of Retail at Thames Technology
Consumers are increasingly conscious of their environmental impact and this extends to the brands, products and services they choose to engage with. Indeed, nearly 60% of customers are willing to pay more for brands that are committed to maintaining a positive environmental impact.
Retailers have reacted to this by using their environmental values to differentiate (just look at the hype caused by PG Tips’ recent announcement), but it’s imperative that they can justify these claims to today’s clued-up consumers. For this reason, gift and loyalty schemes – that grow revenues for brands all over the world – have caused some ‘green’ businesses to hesitate and ask “We need to build loyalty, but does a plastic card align with our values?”
In today’s competitive marketplace, this pause for thought can be costly. Take gift as an example, UK GCVA research found that one in three people spend more on a gift card than they would on a physical gift. When you compound this with the redemption data – 72% of consumers spend more than the value on the card, averaging 55% on top of the card’s original value – the potential missed opportunity is striking.
Thankfully, ecologically minded brands now have a wealth of eco-friendly card material options available to them and the right choice will serve as a simple, convenient reminder to consumers that green values run through every area of their business.
- 740 micron uncoated board – a sustainable alternative to plastic that is created from replenished raw materials. It is a popular choice for businesses seeking to launch a sustainable printed product that reduces their plastic consumption. Ginkgo board is 100% Forrest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified, 100% bio-degradable and 100% compostable, but these impressive green credentials do not compromise its excellent quality, rigidity and durability.
- eCard also provides an attractive green alternative to 100% plastic cards. Cards produced with eCard look and feel virtually identical to PVC cards, but are made from 60% chalk and 40% HDPE (High Density Polyethylene). This completely non-toxic material boasts an environmentally sound production process and can be manufactured using exactly the same machinery used to produce PVC cards. Same brand advocate, just using chalk!
- 740 micron coated board 100% paper-based cards provide another environmentally conscious alternative to traditional plastic gift cards, while grabbing attention with a plethora of printing possibilities that are unmatched by plastic. The exceptional rigidness offers a plastic-like feel, while reducing use of natural resources and waste, notably by 59% in grid electric energy waste.
Don’t underestimate the eco-revolution
Environmental issues are set to remain high on the agenda. Today’s discerning consumers align themselves with brands whose values match their own. Brands that have previously shied away from gift and loyalty cards because of PVC now have a wide range of options that both deliver on durability and perform just as well, if not better, than plastic as striking brand ambassadors. In a market where 76% of brands are seeking to combine gift and loyalty programmes, these materials are already enabling eco-conscious brands to compete on a level playing field, building loyalty and revenues.
At Thames Technology we always strive to be a ‘green’ manufacturer and successfully achieved ISO 14001 accreditation in July 2010. Contact our team to find out more about eco-friendly cards.
Siemens Healthineers gains EU nod for $16.4 billion Varian buy
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – EU antitrust regulators on Friday cleared with conditions Siemens Healthineers’ $16.4 billion acquisition of U.S. peer Varian, paving the way for the German health group to become a world leader in cancer care therapy.
The European Commission said Siemens Healthineers pledged to ensure that its medical imaging and radiotherapy equipment will work with rivals in return for its approval, confirming a Reuters story. The pledge is valid for 10 years.
“High quality medical imaging and radiotherapy solutions are crucial to diagnose and treat cancer. The efficiency and safety of treatment relies on the ability of these products to work together,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.
Varian is the leader in radiation therapy with a market share of more than 50%. The deal received the U.S. antitrust green light in October last year.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee)
Battling Covid collateral damage, Renault says 2021 will be volatile
By Gilles Guillaume
PARIS (Reuters) – Renault said on Friday it is still fighting the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including a shortage of semiconductor chips, that could make for another rough year for the French carmaker.
Renault reported an 8 billion euro ($9.7 billion) loss for 2020 which, combined with gloomy take on the market, sent its shares down more than 5% in late morning trading.
“We are in the midst of a battle to try to manage a difficult year in terms of supply chains, of components,” Chief Executive Luca de Meo told reporters. “This is all the collateral damage of the Covid pandemic… we will have a fairly volatile year.”
De Meo, who took over last July, is looking at ways to boost profitability and sales at Renault while pushing ahead with cost cuts. There were early signs of improving momentum as margins inched up in the second half of 2020.
The group gave no financial guidance for this year, although it said it might reach a target of achieving 2 billion euros in costs cuts by 2023 ahead of time, possibly by December.
Executives said they were confident the carmaker could be profitable in the second half of 2021, but that they lacked sufficient market visibility to provide a forecast.
Renault struck a cautious note, saying it was focused on its recovery but warned orders had faltered in early 2021 as pandemic restrictions continued in some countries.
The group is facing new challenges as the European Union tightens emissions regulations and after rivals PSA and Fiat Chrysler joined forces to create Stellantis, the world’s fourth-biggest automaker.
The auto industry endured a tough 2020 but a swift rebound in premium car sales in China helped companies such as Volkswagen and Daimler to weather the storm.
Auto companies globally have since been hit by a shortage of semiconductors that has forced production cuts worldwide.
“The beginning of the year has shown some signs of weakness,” De Meo told analysts, but added the chip shortage should be resolved by the second half of 2021. “We have taken the necessary measures to anticipate and overcome challenges.”
Renault estimated the chip shortage could reduce its production by about 100,000 vehicles this year.
The group was already loss-making in 2019, but took a sharp hit in 2020 during lockdowns to fight the pandemic, which also hurt its Japanese partner Nissan.
Analysts polled by Refinitiv had expected a 7.4 billion euro loss for 2020. The group posted negative free cash flow for 2020.
The 2018 arrest of Carlos Ghosn, who formerly lead the alliance between Renault and Nissan, plunged the automakers into turmoil.
In a further sign that the companies have been working to repair the alliance, De Meo told journalists that Renault and Nissan will announce new joint products together in the coming weeks or months.
Renault has begun to raise prices on some car models, and group operating profit, which was negative for 2020 as a whole, improved in the last six months of the year, reaching 866 million euros or 3.5% of revenue.
Analysts at Jefferies said the operating performance was better than expected. Sales were still falling in the second half, but less sharply.
Renault is slashing jobs and trimming its range of cars, allowing it to slice spending in areas like research and development as it focuses on redressing its finances. It is also pivoting more towards electric cars as part of its revamp.
It was already struggling more than some rivals with sliding sales before the pandemic, after years of a vast expansion drive it is now trying to rein in, focusing on profitable markets.
De Meo told journalists on Friday that the French carmaker will make three new higher-margin models at its Palencia plant in Spain, where manufacturing costs are lower, between 2022 and 2024.
($1 = 0.8269 euros)
(Reporting by Gilles Guillaume and Sarah White in Paris, Nick Carey in London; Editing by Christopher Cushing, David Evans and Jan Harvey)
UK delays review of business rates tax until autumn
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s finance ministry said it would delay publication of its review of business rates – a tax paid by companies based on the value of the property they occupy – until the autumn when the economic outlook should be clearer.
Many companies are demanding reductions in their business rates to help them compete with online retailers.
“Due to the ongoing and wide-ranging impacts of the pandemic and economic uncertainty, the government said the review’s final report would be released later in the year when there is more clarity on the long-term state of the economy and the public finances,” the ministry said.
Finance minister Rishi Sunak has granted a temporary business rates exemption to companies in the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors, costing over 10 billion pounds ($14 billion). Sunak is due to announce his next round of support measures for the economy on March 3.
($1 = 0.7152 pounds)
(Writing by William Schomberg, editing by David Milliken)
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