Portrait of Joaquin Serrano
People Spotlight
If we can drive the industry towards greater sustainability and help educate people around it, it would go a long way to create greater awareness that will influence many other industries.

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Joaquin Serrano

Sustainability Manager

What inspires me:
The opportunity we have at RBIS to help move the needle towards a sustainable future is what inspires me the most. We have set some very ambitious goals for the future and are in the process of integrating these into everything we do. I am also excited about all the opportunities that a sustainable future holds, some of which are hard to envision today. But I believe that in 50 years we will look back at this period as the beginning of the sustainability revolution.

What sparks my interest in a project:
It’s the opportunity to reduce the company’s carbon footprint and to improve an individual site’s bottom line through great energy efficiency. Each new project helps me learn about the realities and challenges our people face around the world.

Why sustainability in the apparel and footwear industry is so critical:
The industry has had its fair share of social and environmental scandals and it is an industry with which people relate to personally. The brand and the clothes you wear are a form of expressing your identity and your personality. If we can drive the industry towards greater sustainability and help educate people around it, it would go a long way to create greater awareness that will influence many other industries.

Our work in GHG reduction in Panyu:
The Energy Efficiency Project in Panyu has been a fascinating challenge. We chose Panyu because it is the largest carbon emitter we have on the network. Of all our facilities, Panyu is responsible for almost 30% of RBIS’ carbon emissions and is by far the site that uses the most energy in the network. In early 2015, we installed a set of 51 wireless energy meters at the site that take minute-by-minute readings of each and every department. After collecting several months’ worth of data, we were able to identify energy savings opportunities through various projects in the HTL and Woven departments, as well as in the Air Conditioning, Compressed Air, and Lighting systems. The Panyu team is continuing to utilize the metering system to ensure the estimated savings are achieved and to track results throughout the year.

The biggest sustainability challenge I’ve faced at RBIS:
Reframing the way we think about sustainability as a company was enormous. Like many companies, we historically looked at sustainability as an added cost that had the potential to compromise our financial performance. We quickly learned if we apply sustainability as an afterthought, it might very well become more costly. However, if we incorporate sustainability into everything we do, it has a potential to unlock added value and reduce costs significantly.

The future of sustainability:
There will be progress around a low-carbon economy with renewable energy exploding as prices continue to decrease and efficiencies improve. Battery storage will be a key player in this transition helping to solve a lot of the issues we currently face with renewables.

Best career advice I’ve received:
Never be afraid of stepping outside of your comfort zone.

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