Say moshi moshi to Helio Ito, Senior Sales Manager at Iggesund Paperboard in Tokyo.

“When it comes to packaging, Japan is very inspiring. One of the biggest surprises I got when I first arrived in Japan was the over-packing of some items. Back then, you could find several items which were individually wrapped to the extreme. But nowadays it seems that this over-packing has been reduced to some extent.

“I have lived in Japan for more than 22 years and began working in the country after completing my master’s degree at Okayama University. I worked for L’Oreal in packaging innovation for almost eight years. My last position was Packaging Open Innovation Manager for North Asia, with the main responsibility of bringing in packaging innovations from external sources (suppliers, educational institutions, inventors, etc.)

“The first time I heard about Iggesund and Invercote I was really impressed with the company’s commitment to sustainability. Having had experience with different types of materials ranging from rubber to steel and plastics, I find it amazing that not only the raw material for our paperboard comes from trees but also the renewable biofuel that generates electricity to power the production equipment.

“My job as a senior sales manager is to spend the most time possible meeting existing and new potential customers and identifying new ones. We also regularly carry out Invercote and sustainability training, which most customers gladly accept and encourage us to continue. Currently we are two senior sales managers in Japan: my colleague, Koji Hashimoto, and myself.

“I was born in Brazil and grew up in a southern city called Curitiba, well known for its advanced environmental policies. I have a mechanical engineering background and have had the opportunity to work in or visit a wide range of manufacturing industries in Brazil, the USA, Europe and Asia, ranging from very rudimentary facilities to the most modern airplane, automobile and semiconductor factories. Hands-on manufacturing experience gave me an insight not only into the most common manufacturing processes but also the adverse effects that they incur and the need to make improvements that prevent further environmental damage.

“The fact that Iggesund has defied the norm and invested so much in sustainability to the point of being regularly recognised as one of the world’s top sustainable companies speaks volumes. In fact, we can safely say that Iggesund is committed not only to what we make but more importantly also to why we make what we make and why we make it the way we make it. The ‘why’ reflects the urgent need for the packaging industry to utilise one of the most sustainable and renewable materials, produced with a sustainable and renewable energy source that helps to prevent pollution of the world’s oceans with plastic litter and to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. It is really exciting to be part of the team and have our customers embrace this movement!”