To compete successfully, companies must change



VERNON HILLS, Ill. -- Michael Zacka, the CEO of Tetra Pak North America, warned that for businesses to stay competitive, they need to change the way they do business, and they must change fast.

In his nationally recognized blog on Huffington Post, he stressed business leaders must focus on Sustainable Profit Growth -- a new concept that gives corporations the measures needed to sustain and boost their growth trajectory over time.

He said that CEOs, as their company's team captains, must assure that the roots of Sustainable Profit Growth are deeply established within their companies and incapable of being compromised.

Zacka shared this strategy in response to concerns that America has lost its competitive edge.

As America looks for solutions amid the heightened concern for Europe's rising debt crisis, its own sluggish GDP growth and forecasted prolonged high levels of unemployment, Zacka offered a compelling answer based on the business model in place at Tetra Pak, the world's largest and leading food processing and packaging solutions company.

'Innovation, sustainability and corporate responsibility are mission-driven and at the core of our culture at Tetra Pak. These concepts prompt us to think about our actions differently, especially as they relate to growth and profitability in the immediate future, and long-term,' explains Zacka.

'The solution for us has been to embrace a number of practices that have been institutionalized and understood as Sustainable Profit Growth,' he added.

'This focus alone is quite innovative. I haven't heard of any other company that looks at profit through the same lens or defines profit in the same way. It's much like cholesterol; there is the good type and bad type. The same can be said about profitable growth; there is the type that can be sustained for the long term, and the type that cannot.'

The practices Zacka has identified under the aegis of Sustainable Profit Growth have been proven over time at Tetra Pak, which conducts business in 170 countries worldwide and is a pioneer in its industry, a point substantiated when it won the Thomson Reuters Top 100 Global Innovator Award In 2011.

In awarding this honor, Thomson Reuters noted, 'This designation proves that companies that invest in innovation, and protect and enforce their intellectual assets, are significantly more likely to contribute to economic growth, both within their organizations and the nations in which they reside.'

Zacka and Tetra Pak's corporate focus on Sustainable Profit Growth has yielded the company's successes. The concept involves five points, which can be seen as a blueprint for American business to follow.

These five points call for the following:

  • A high tech product or high tech processes;
  • A culture of innovation;
  • A globally centric culture as opposed to a country centric one;
  • A cost competitive platform with an informed global sourcing strategy; and
  • A bottom-up and a top-down concern for the environment and sustainability.

In his February 6 blog on Huffington Post, Zacka gave examples of these concepts to illustrate how they work, and said that sustainable profit growth companies like Tetra Pak believe in responsible industry leadership and a sustainable approach to business.

In order to compete and succeed in today's complex and globally interconnected economy, American companies need to practice Sustainable Profit Growth. Taken together, its five components create a 'whole' that is far more effective than each of its 'parts.'

Tetra Pak is the world's leading food processing and packaging solutions company. Tetra Pak believes that all companies have to their role to play as far running their business in an environmentally sustainable way.

Based on the United Nation's definition which states that sustainability is to 'meet present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs', Tetra Pak's goals are designed to enhance our operations running in an environmentally sound manner.

This ranges from energy reduction in its plants, to manufacturing equipment that runs on less water and energy, to the development of new recycling technologies.

More information about Tetra Pak is available at

For a more thorough discussion of Michael Zacka's Sustainable Profit Growth strategy, visit the Huffington Post blog.

Elisabeth Comere, Director, Environment & Government Affairs, Tetra Pak Inc., USA, will be one of the business leaders discussing Product Stewardship and Innovative Packaging: Striving for Zero Waste at GLOBE 2012, March 14-16, in Vancouver.

Product stewardship programs such as Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) are encouraging organizations to be increasingly accountable for products at the end of their lifecycle in order to minimize waste and reduce toxins entering into the environment. What is the role for the retail sector in this more holistic approach? How are these companies striving to minimize waste?

This session at GLOBE 2012 will discuss how leading organizations are addressing environmental concerns through innovative packaging and stewardship practices that are designed to cut costs and reduce waste.

Confirmed Participants:

Eric Olson, Senior Vice President, Advisory Services, BSR, USA (Moderator)

Elisabeth Comere, Director, Environment & Government Affairs, Tetra Pak Inc., USA

Heidi Sanborn, Executive Director, California Product Stewardship Council, USA

Amy Skoczlas-Cole, Director, eBay Green & Sustainability, eBay Inc., USA

Charlene Wall-Warren, Sustainability Leader, BASF North America, USA

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