Mari Saario appointed Director of Sustainability – “Sulapac can make a real difference by replacing traditional plastic”
Sulapac welcomes experienced Director of Sustainability, Mari Saario. Saario’s vision and vast environmental expertise combined with strong business know-how bring a competitive edge to Sulapac’s mission of saving the planet from plastic waste.
Mari Saario has a master’s degree in biochemistry, communications and environmental protection from The University of Turku. Saario started her environmental career by learning the ropes of strict quality assurance at the pharmaceutical company Leiras. After a short period in the public sector, she has worked as business director and partner at Gaia Consulting, a Finnish forerunner that operates globally in sustainable business development. Projects in both the public sector and private enterprises have made Saario an expert in sustainable innovations, legislation and compliance as well as corporate responsibility and stakeholder communication.
Sulapac’s ambition catalyst for systemic change
With the volume of plastic production steadily rising , our planet direly needs plastic alternatives that both minimize carbon footprint and leave no permanent microplastics behind. For organizations, doing the absolute minimum and developing nice-to-have goodwill solutions will be replaced by systemic change required by major investors and private funding. EU taxonomy, the rising prices of carbon emissions along with other emerging issues are also transforming markets.
Saario will work closely with the development of circularity and end-of-life for Sulapac’s materials. In a world that is still developing the indicators for the environmental and health hazards created by plastics, Saario was very impressed with Sulapac’s ambition:
“I want to find answers to big questions. Recycling conventional plastic doesn’t solve the plastics problem alone, as the microplastic particles released during the use of fossil-based plastics still spread around the world. Sulapac has the guts to take on a problem as big as plastic waste. I truly believe that Sulapac’s bio-based products have the potential to replace a large share of traditional plastics as well as raise awareness of less known risks of microplastics accumulation.”
The next step: deep partnerships across the value chain
In Saario’s mind, Sulapac already has great products, but she also has a vision for how the company could grow and serve customers even better: “I think the next step for Sulapac is to deepen our partnerships with our customers. Expanding from materials to more wide-ranging, long-term partnerships where we can provide value throughout the value chain requires us to combine solid, scientific R&D with strong business know-how. On a practical level, I think Sulapac could start to upcycle recycled biomaterials in the production process. Upcycling is a desirable element in circularity, as it increases the value of waste materials.”
Attracting early adopters to endorse sustainable products would also be a jackpot according to Saario: “Early adopters have been behind the success of many technological innovations. What we are doing at Sulapac is groundbreaking and cool. Thus, I think our goals suit brands that are, for example, setting new standards for diversity and serving customer segments that have often been overlooked, such as cosmetics designed for POC or other minorities. That’s the message we should be sending to people who are interested in new solutions.”
Saario’s versatility brings a competitive edge
Sulapac’s co-founder Suvi Haimi couldn’t be happier about getting Saario on board: “Sulapac’s innovations are based on finding the perfect balance between bold new solutions and adhering to international regulation. Mari Saario’s expertise in biochemistry, regulation and business are the perfect combination for us. She will be a key part in Sulapac delivering added value to our partners.”
Saario accepts the enormous challenge in fighting the plastic waste problem with open arms: “Sulapac has a good foundation to build on. We must keep our identity of being the most innovative player on the market but also have a keen eye for new developments in the field of plastic and packaging.”
Welcome to Sulapac, Mari! We’re delighted to pave the way for a brighter world without microplastics with you.