SGD Pharma: An Interview With Olivier Rousseau

SGD Pharma has been a leader in the moulded glass packaging market for a significant number of years. Central to their vision and plan is a persistent striving for excellence that runs through the company from top to bottom. To better understand the company and their plans for the future, we at EPM HQ sat down with Olivier Rousseau, CEO of SGD Pharma, for a quick discussion…

Jai: Can you outline the strategy for SGD Pharma?

Olivier: Our vision is to become the global market leader in primary pharmaceutical glass packaging, not just for moulded glass which we currently are. Put simply, we want to significantly grow the size of the company at a consistent and sustainable rate. We plan on improving our performance, by ensuring we continue our processes striving towards commercial excellence and operational excellence – excellence is central to our business philosophy. In the pharma industry, quality and service needs to be at the highest possible standard. We try to do everything possible to provide the right product at the highest quality, whilst ensuring we manage our customers to an outstanding level. We do this with a long-term goal of building strong relationships predicated on quality. For me, and for the company, striving for excellence year-on-year is the main goal. 

We will also develop adjacent businesses and continue to provide high levels of quality and service to our customers; this involves continuous investment into improvement. This year we announced our joint venture (JV) with Corning to produce tubes to help us further grow our continuing business. We hope to continue forming partnerships that will support our growth and ability to provide innovative and game-changing solutions to our customers. 

Jai: In which markets do you see the most potential for growth?

Olivier: We will defend, grow and consolidate our position on moulded as well as supporting the growth of tubular vials on a global scope. There is also room for growth in cosmetic and beauty packaging which we currently manufacture at our Zhanjiang plant in China. We have extended our ranges available globally, introducing sampler sizes to take advantage of the market opportunity for glass packaging in cosmetics packaging with the embrace of green and reusable values.

Jai: How have your sustainability and CSR goals impacted your company strategy?

Olivier: ESG is at the heart of our strategy. One of our key priorities is decarbonisation and we intend to lead the glass pharma industry with our decarbonisation efforts. We have set ourselves the goal of reducing CO2 emissions from 2020 by 35% in 2030 (Scope 1 and 2) and by 65% in 2040 (compared with 2020 baseline: scope 1 & 2) – these public commitments are one of the ways we are showing that, at the core of what we do, is maintaining excellence whilst adapting to the needs of the planet. We are also dedicated to improving our facilities and the health and safety of our sites so that we can minimise any potential risk of accidents and improve the working environment for our employees.

Four of our plants, including Saint-Quentin-Lamotte which is our global centre of excellence, are already certified with ISO 50001 & no 15001 for the design, implementation and maintenance of an energy management system. We also have a number of projects to reduce our carbon footprint and water consumption across all geographies. In January 2023 we were awarded a gold EcoVadis rating in recognition of our sustainability efforts. SGD Pharma is also in the top 1% of companies rated by EcoVadis in the manufacture of glass and glass products for sustainable procurement and in the top 2% for labour and human rights. This leading position outlines our intentions to ensure a sustainable transition within our industry. 

SGD Pharma is SBTI committed and currently working on 1,5°C scenario decarbonation pathway validation including our scope 3 emissions.

Jai: After a difficult few years of rising energy and material costs due to external global factors, how do you plan to minimise or prevent further cost increases being passed onto customers?

Olivier: We have a very clear energy hedging strategy, and as a consequence of that we have a clear visibility of our future energy costs. We will continue to be transparent with customers about our energy costs and present the benefits of our energy hedging strategy. Unfortunately, this was not sufficient to cover all cost increases given the high inflation that was experienced. We will also continue preserving energy at our manufacturing sites.

SGD Pharma secured its supply of energy by being considered a priority manufacturer by local governments and by implementing initiatives to reduce our plants’ dependency on natural gas and electricity. We also have a strong network of partner suppliers with long term contracts in place meaning that we have security of raw materials. To avoid further cost increases and demand of supply impacting our business, we have taken a few steps to accelerate the optimisation of energy and raw materials at our sites. This includes increasing efficiency of production and leveraging historic data from our ERP system to forecast usage. The increasing CAPEX investment into reduction of our plants’ carbon footprint is more urgent in light of needing to ensure production costs are minimised for the benefit of our customers.

Jai: What actions have you taken to keep high-quality production going at your global manufacturing sites?

Olivier: We have already made significant investment at our sites to fit state-of-the art glass manufacturing equipment, with our SQLM plant in France being a centre of excellence for moulded glass. Additionally, in Vemula, India, we have invested into a new tubing facility to expand pharmaceutical manufacturing in India and allow us to adopt Corning’s Velocity Vial technology platform which will help pharma companies respond to increasingly complex capacity and quality issues while meeting global demand for critical medicines. We broke ground on the €60M site in June and expect Velocity Vial production to begin in Q1 2024.

We also will continue our high standards of quality control, as I have mentioned, a constant pursuit of excellence is key to us as a company. We will also continue to innovate and develop our offerings to ensure that our customers have exceptional quality glass packaging. 


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