‘Sustainability isn’t an end in itself’

A coffee with the CEO

My half-year interview with Martin Krengel, 
CEO of the WEPA Group

May 2024

by Tim Vormweg | Director Group Communications

Highly motivated and full of energy, we have made a strong start in 2024 at WEPA. In the interview below, read how our CEO, Martin Krengel, has experienced the year so far and what topics are on his mind. 

‘Leadership & Culture Day’ was recently held for the WEPA Group’s European leadership team. Diversity at WEPA was a central topic. What important insights did you gain from the event?

On the basis of respect, one of WEPA’s fundamental values, diversity has developed in our corporate culture from the beginning, step by step. And today it plays a very important role. I felt that the event really reaffirmed its relevance. We live diversity at WEPA. We now employ people from over 50 nations. In addition to that, the close collaboration of younger and more experienced employees gives rise to ideas and results that have proven to be better. In the future, we will continue to ensure that our teams are as diverse as possible, so that we can learn from and grow with one another.

More and more of them want to visit our mills. You were recently present during one of these visits yourself. Why do you see it as important to cultivate this personal exchange?

It was great to be able to experience again how our customers rely on us and perceive WEPA today as a European family business with the special competence of a concept supplier with a focus on sustainability. Our visitors responded very positively to the presentation at the mill. They were excited about our sustainability strategy and the chance to see it in action. They showed real enthusiasm for our recycled products and for the chance to see our products made from recycled cardboard first-hand. I think this exchange with customers is very important. It allows us to identify common goals and decide how to achieve them.

We see that consumers still have certain reservations with regard to recycled products. What’s your assessment of that? How can we help to shape the transformation?

That can only be done on a step-by-step basis, with good communication to and with the consumers. Our hygiene papers from recycled material are a great example of how shoppers can make a sustainable choice – without compromising on quality or price. We’re firmly convinced that our products from recycled cardboard in particular will lead the market in the future. 

What sustainable action do you take personally with regard to the environment?

I make a contribution by changing my consumption habits wherever I think it makes sense – for example, by switching to sustainable products. But also by exercising more discipline in certain areas. And I try to calculate and minimise my own carbon footprint in as fact-based a way as possible, for example by using particular apps. 

In closing, let’s take a look ahead – to the EU election in June. What are your thoughts on that? 

We’re a European family business and share the values that the European Union stands for. A lot of EU citizens may not necessarily be very aware that the European election is coming up in June. But this election is so important! It’s going to set the course for our future in Europe in crucial ways. I hope that all people who are eligible will in fact vote in the election to make their democratic voice heard. 

Martin, thank you for speaking with me! 

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