2022 has been a year of resilience; with no doubt that it was a challenging year due to rising raw material prices, the instability caused by the war in Ukraine, tensions in the transportation system, and higher energy costs. At the same time, it was also a year of learning as we sought to find the best way forward, whilst continuing steadfast on our path towards being a regenerative business. I am convinced that this approach gives us a solid foundation to face the future, to increase our positive impact on industry, people, society, and the environment.
Despite all the above-mentioned challenges, we continued our commitment with our suppliers and clients, to consistently deliver high quality and sustainable packaging solutions, with a regenerative approach. Thanks to this commitment, we managed to grow our business by increasing our overall turnover to over Є255M euros, and also increased our customer base to more than 910 clients currently being served in 26 countries.
We also continue to include sustainability and circularity at the centre of our strategy. During 2022, despite difficulties to access post-consumer recycled material, we managed to increase the recycled content incorporation in our films up to 35% - bringing us closer to meet our 50% recycled content target. By leveraging our group capabilities as an integrated recycler, resin and film producer, we are implementing technologies that favour the circularity of PET trays. Our goal is to close the loop for trays; producing films from post-consumer recycled material which is recycled into new food grade trays of the same quality, for the same applications and markets, again and again.
The tensions in energy costs reaffirm our decision to commit to renewable energies while also becoming more energy efficient through equipment and process innovation. The start-up of our first solar park was completed in November 2022, now providing 16% of the electricity consumed at our biggest industrial site in Portalegre, Portugal. A second phase is planned for 2023 in Portalegre, as well as rolling out the same strategy to our other industrial sites, in the near future.
All this great success could not be achieved without our greatest asset - our employees. We have now 569 employees, thanks to our working culture, values, and social benefits. We are also committed to the safety and wellbeing of our employees, carrying out awareness campaigns on occupational health and safety, and empowering employees across different positions to being involved in safety conversations. In addition, this year we prepared our ISO 45001 certification, further strengthening safetyand improving employee wellbeing at work.
In 2022 we also set up an Ethical Reporting Channel for employees and external stakeholders. This channel guarantees anonymity and is available in seven languages. Ethical concerns are studied by our Ethics Committee, set up as part of our commitment towards being an ethical, transparent, and responsible company.
Ensuring a better education for children, as well as fostering environmental and recycling practices is a front we’ve been working on for several years. In 2022 we added to our ongoing activities, collaborations with a selection of schools in Brazil, Portugal and Mexico. Through our community partnerships, we support environmental education to raise awareness among children, and their families, about the importance of waste collection and recycling, community collaborative workshops on topics such as permaculture, bio-construction, waste pick-up at beaches, reconstruction of schools, and improvement of their infrastructure and equipment.
Additionally, to further support employees, their families, and society in the current socioeconomic context, we continue to develop programs for the wellbeing of people and communities, such as financial aid for families with babies, scholarships for indigenous university students, and cooperation with associations that fight against domestic violence in the countries within which we operate.
Our commitment to regeneration and the Sustainable Development Goals is firm, as is our goal to create a positive impact on all our stakeholders.
Manuel Matos Gil