Zürich, Switzerland: Emerald will serve as exclusive investment advisor for SIG, a major producer of food and beverage cartons and packaging. The landmark partnership will see SIG devote a significant sum over five years to deals with innovative startups meant to move the needle on its sustainability and transformation efforts.
Switzerland-based SIG manufactures containers for a wide range of foods, including milk, juice, soup and vegetables. It specializes in durable, easy-to-fill cartons with long-term storage potential. In tandem with the broader packaging sector, it is racing to keep up with fast-moving trends in circularity, digitization, changing dietary preferences, waste and emissions reductions, and business-model transformation.
By 2030, the company intends to slash by 60% and 25%—compared with 2016 levels—operational emissions and greenhouse gases emitted across its value chain per liter of food packed, respectively. By 2050 it aims to achieve net-zero emissions, including a 97% reduction of value chain emissions per liter of food packed relative to the 2016 baseline. It has also set ambitious targets for raw materials procurement, energy efficiency, recyclability and end-of-life, among other aims.
Reaching these goals while growing its competitive position will require tie-ups with small companies working on solutions in advanced materials, form-factor innovation, sealing and labelling technology, and more. While SIG has established processes for working with technology developers, it has not embarked on corporate venture capital (CVC) previously, with an eye toward investment and long-term partnership, rather than simply licensing deals.
Last year Emerald launched a fund devoted to sustainable packaging innovation and recently closed a deal with bioplastics innovator Genecis. The SIG partnership marks its first “CVC-as-a-service” mandate in the packaging space. Under this arrangement, Emerald handles all of SIG’s CVC activity and curates its entire deal flow. Emerald pioneered this model with Japan’s Nabtesco, a maker of motion control technology, and recently launched a CVC-as-a-service mandate with South African energy giant Sasol.