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Transcend Packaging Secures Strategic Partnership and Investment from ITOCHU Corporation to Accelerate Growth and Drive Sustainable Innovation

  • The partnership will align capabilities between the UK-based sustainable packaging leader and ITOCHU Corporation’s global reach and leading European fibre business.
  • ITOCHU is a Fortune Global 500 company headquartered in Japan with revenues over $100 billion annually.

London and Ystrad Mynach, May  2023: UK-based sustainable packaging leader, Transcend Packaging, is strategically joining forces with ITOCHU Corporation, one of Japan’s largest companies and a leading global provider of pulp and paper products.

ITOCHU and Transcend have reached an investment agreement and strategic partnership to deliver a broad range of paper and fibre-based sustainable packaging products to markets across the UK, Europe and beyond. ITOCHU is one of the largest Japanese sōgō shōsha (diversified industrials) and was ranked 78th on the 2022 list of Fortune Global 500 companies, with an annual trading revenue of US $100 billion.
As part of the deal, ITOCHU has invested $10 million and will join forces to drive innovation in sustainable packaging, unlocking new product categories for paper and moulded fibre evolution on a global basis. This investment launches a phase of strategic expansion for Transcend as it looks to extend its reach into new markets from Asia to North America with plans to secure additional investment to support this effort.

Together, Transcend and ITOCHU have the ambition to save billions of pieces of single-use plastic from landfill annually, aiming to make an impact globally as brands move to enhance how their packaging performs at the end of its useful life. The partnership is also a significant milestone as ITOCHU increases its focus on the eco-friendly, wood-fibre-based material business to accelerate the development of a more sustainable society.

ITOCHU’s fibre division, ITOCHU Fibre Limited, has the best-in-class expertise in the trading and distribution of pulp and paper products in Europe and has a strategic investment in Metsa Fibre in Finland. Through this investment, together with other projects, ITOCHU Fibre is well positioned to deliver significant volumes of both softwood and hardwood pulp, having secured its position as a leading pulp trader and providing top-end quality as well as volume.

The strategic partnership with ITOCHU will dramatically enhance Transcend’s capabilities with its existing products and is a key component in the implementation of its previously announced strategy to develop one of the largest moulded fibre production facilities in Europe. Strengthened through this partnership, Transcend is committed to producing moulded fibre packaging that can be made without compromising on performance or price while at the same time offering speed and customisation that is truly category leading. Under the partnership, Transcend Packaging and ITOCHU Corporation will be able to further unlock the potential of ITOCHU’s global business reach to collaboratively work to drive innovation in sustainable packaging.

With the closing of ITOCHU’s cornerstone investment, Transcend looks forward to completing its capitalisation plan which will allow it to accelerate its pursuit of the market opportunity presented by the shift to fibre and paper products from plastic. The company has developed a strategy to build its geographic presence through existing partnerships and strategic investment globally.

Tighter legislation on single-use plastic 
As brands look to align their packaging portfolios with emerging legislative and regulatory trends, including the Single-use Plastics Directive, Extended Producer Responsibility and revisions to the EU’s Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation, there is an industry-wide focus on innovation in sustainable single-use packaging that can be widely recycled. Founded in 2017, Transcend Packaging (whose extensive client list includes McDonald’s, Starbucks, Ferrero and many other leading brands) uses state of the art paper and fibre-based solutions combined with innovative barrier coatings to create fully recyclable paper and fibre-based alternatives to plastic packaging. Key products in this portfolio include paper straws, cups, lids and other packaging for the food service and shelf-life product categories.

Moulded fibre holds the key 

Moulded fibre is the natural alternative to plastic in multiple applications and is well positioned to meet both brand preferences and emerging legislative and regulatory requirements. Set to significantly impact the packaging space as brands look to reduce the overall amount of plastic in their portfolios, the collaboration between Transcend and ITOCHU will allow the business to become a major innovator in this category.
Transcend Packaging was founded to deliver on the promise of bringing enhanced sustainability and innovation to the packaging space and is closely aligned with ITOCHU’s corporate focus on delivering the realisation of a decarbonised society, sustainable local communities, and a reduced impact on the global environment.

In addition to supplying paper and pulp materials, ITOCHU will play a crucial role as a strategic partner in supply chain management for Transcend Packaging as part of this capital business alliance. The company also aims to expand its environmentally friendly packaging business in Japan through its collaboration with Transcend Packaging.

Lorenzo Angelucci, CEO of Transcend Packaging, said:
“Sustainable innovation and an evolving regulatory landscape are continuing to shift priorities in packaging, and we are working with a wide range of leading brands to enhance the sustainability of their packaging portfolios. ITOCHU is one of the largest and most successful companies in the world and an industry leader in the paper and pulp market, so their support will be instrumental in enabling us to continue delivering innovative solutions to our customers. We see moulded fibre as the leading alternative to single-use plastic in a broad range of applications, both to replicate required performance objectives and achieve the potential to be recycled at scale. Our partnership with ITOCHU will allow us to progress from strength to strength as we look to accelerate the pace of sustainable innovation we can provide the market.”

Jin Asada, Group Director of ITOCHU Europe Plc, said: 
“ITOCHU is pleased to announce our strategic investment and partnership with Transcend Packaging. As one of Japan’s largest companies, we are committed to supporting the global shift towards sustainability and the realisation of a decarbonised society. Our investment will help Transcend Packaging expand its reach into new markets and develop one of the largest moulded fibre production facilities in Europe. Together, we aim to save billions of pieces of single-use plastic from landfills annually, while unlocking new product categories for paper and fibre-based sustainable packaging products. We are excited to collaborate with Transcend Packaging to drive innovation in sustainable packaging, utilising our expertise in the trading and distribution of pulp and paper products in Europe, and our strategic investment in Metsa Fibre in Finland. With our global business reach, we are confident that our partnership will make a significant impact in the packaging industry and contribute to a more sustainable future.”

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About Transcend Packaging: Established in 2017, Transcend provides sustainable packaging solutions to customers in the food service, food and beverage and health and beauty industries. Transcend’s manufacturing facility in South Wales began production in 2018 and was the first major producer of paper straws in the Europe and is joined by two additional production facilities in Italy and Eastern Europe as part of the Transcend Group. Transcend aspires to be a different kind of packaging company. With a leadership team boasting extensive experience in the international packaging industry, our objective is to deliver the highest quality sustainable packaging for clients, employees, and the environment. Transcend works everyday with major international brands to enhance the sustainability of their packaging products and is the European leader in paper straw production. For more information visit: About ITOCHU Corporation: ITOCHU Corporation was founded in 1858 when the Company’s founder Chubei Itoh commenced linen trading operations. Since then, ITOCHU has evolved and grown over 160 years. With approximately 100 bases in 62 countries, ITOCHU, one of the leading sogo shosha, is engaging in domestic trading, import/export, and overseas trading of various products such as textile, machinery, metals, minerals, energy, chemicals, food, general products, realty, information and communications technology, and finance, as well as business investment in Japan and overseas. For more information visit: ITOCHU Corporation

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