Continuation: Ten developments in Moonen's sixty-year history

From service to self-service
'Sixty years ago, most shops served each of their customers themselves,' says Bèr Moonen 'This meant lots of different bags, rolls, and papers. That situation has changed drastically over the years; and we changed with it.' Gé Moonen adds: 'Supermarkets in particular have moved from service to self-service in the past few years. They no longer supply family packs, but things for smaller households. Everything is pre-packed and ready for purchase, with the amount of packaging quadrupling since when we first started. Whereas then we tried to sell more each year, our approach nowadays is to make clients aware of the benefits of using less and better-quality packaging.'

From paper to plastic
Bèr continues: 'I have vivid memories of getting on the delivery bicycle with the first plastic bags. It was a true innovation in terms of what the product was made of and how it was used, and people were really surprised at its airtight and watertight qualities.' Gé adds, 'Nowadays, half of all household waste produced consists of plastic packaging material. 'This can be reduced considerably if we look purely at technical needs. Around 30% of products are "overpackaged". This happens for a variety of reasons, one of them being that products wrapped in more packaging look better protected and more luxurious. The packaging is the first impression the customer has of a product. Its role has changed; it's now become an advertising medium.'

From packaging to marketing
'It was a different story in 1960,' says Bèr. 'The volumes were too low to have your own printed cakebox. However, we were very active in marketing. We were trendsetters – as were our clients. Our contribution really spurred the development of packaging for alcoholic gifts. Another noticeable trend was that we increasingly became responsible for our clients' house style, which we considered to be the ultimate sign of customer loyalty. That said, from a practical point of view this was the best option, because it meant we could keep an overview of all statements from each client. This enabled our clients to focus on their core business.'

From cautious to sustainable
Both Bèr and Gé have always been very conscientious with the business. As a family company, they were both aware of their responsibility for the well-being of employees and their families. This responsibility acquired an additional dimension when Gé went abroad with the purchasing team. It was during these overseas trips that Gé became aware of the interesting opportunities of green packaging, which Moonen and its clients could use to benefit the whole planet. The range of packaging made from renewable raw materials grew following this visit. It then became high time to focus all the company's activities on green developments. For example, the company integrated more and more sustainable technology, ranging from logistics to energy and mobility. To give the impact of the switch to green extra impetus, Moonen looked for ways to inspire other companies to do the same. It was almost an automatic process, as many employees became ambassadors of the 'green' policy both in dealings with clients as well as with suppliers and other partners in the chain. Once every two years, all that inspiration meets under one roof during Brainpack, the event for sustainable business and packaging.

From the first coffee cup to the greenest company
This 'green' direction became much more concrete thanks to the different awards Moonen received in terms of sustainable business. 'Since selling our first sustainable coffee cup, we've been presented with lots of prestigious awards – awards which demonstrate to the outside world that Moonen's way is the right way. Moonen has achieved all standards, certifications, and levels; and always has the ambition to strive for more. We believe the level-four certification on the Dutch certification scheme for Corporate Social Responsibility (MVO-Prestatieladder) and the Lean & Green Star award are a means of challenging ourselves. We want to be challenged. From the moment we were officially the greenest company in the Netherlands, we took certain steps to ensure we kept our title. We are still the greenest company and continue to improve ourselves. Our ambition is to sell 50% green packaging in 2020. This year we're at 21.7%, next year we want to reach 25%.