On 5 June, Avantium announced that it had closed a financing round of €36 million ($50 million) from a consortium of iconic strategic players: Swire Pacific, The Coca-Cola Company, Danone, ALPLA, and existing shareholders. Avantium is a leading technology company specialising in advanced catalytic research, which develops plant-based bioplastics such as PEF. As the company explains on their website: “PEF is a novel 100% biobased polyester with superior barrier, thermal and mechanical properties compared with existing packaging materials.” And it is of great interest for companies like Danone, which seek to minimise the environmental impacts of their activity.
A shared vision
Jean-Yves Krummenacher, VP Sourcing and Suppliers Development for Danone’s Water Division, says: “At Danone, we believe that healthy food begins with healthy nature, and so we have committed to four main strategic areas where we can make the biggest difference. The first two areas address the issue of climate change by reducing our footprint and promoting agriculture that produces healthy food, generates economic and social value, and respects natural ecosystems. The second two areas are particularly relevant for our Water Division, as we will continue to protect water resources and develop sustainable packaging.” Danone has in fact established a roadmap to develop a bottle made with 100% renewable materials. The partnership with Avantium is an important part of this roadmap, as Frederic Jouin, Director of Danone Research Packaging Centre, explains: “We are participating in this venture as we believe in the future of bio-based plastics for our packaging, with a potential significant reduction in our carbon footprint and enhanced barrier properties compared to PET. With this investment, we re-affirm our objective to launch a 100% bio-based bottle, not in direct competition with food, and 100% recyclable, and our wish to accelerate this launch on the market.”
The proceeds from the financing round will in fact be used to make PEF a commercial success. The funds will be used to complete the industrial validation of the material, and to finalise the engineering and design of the first commercial scale plant. Jean-Yves Krummenacher stressed the philosophy behind the ambition: “Avantium and Danone share the same vision: to promote innovative biobased solutions, moving away from fossil resources and together, actively contribute to the emergence of more sustainable alternatives. (…) It is not only about techniques… It involves a shared vision.”
To learn more about Danone’s commitment to bioplastics, read our article on its participation in the Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance.
Photo © Shutterstock / Marquicio Pagola