Monthly Archives: December 2019

Inspiring women, inspired to give

Danièle Kapel-Marcovici, businesswomen and philanthropist

The history of the packaging company RAJA, is an empowering family story that spans over 60 years. One of courage, dexterity and determination.

The packaging industry is still regarded as a male dominated industry, and especially after World War II during the time of a male led society – the everyday struggles women encountered were overlooked and were socially accepted. Despite this, two women saw an opportunity and instead of letting the economies of post-war France and businessmen deter them, they persevered.

Danièle Kapel-Marcovici, the RAJA Group

Inspiring women

During the Second World War, Rosie the Riveter was the iconic feminist symbol (and still is) of the female wartime workforce which was the turning point for women. Although the typical gender roles meant that post war, women were expected to give up their industrious jobs and, naturally return to their housekeeping duties.

In 1954, Rachel Marcovici and her friend, Janine Rocher founded Cartons RAJA in France. The concept was simple, resell used cardboard boxes, not only was it cheaper but it meant reusing what materials were available. Rachel organised the business operations, sought meetings with buyers, negotiated and made the deals. She was a successful women in business and an established business owner that carved out a flourishing profession in the packaging supply and distribution chain.

Since then, a lot has changed but what has remained strong throughout the company are the ethics of a businesswomen and the key foundations which continue to this day.

Today, Danièle Kapel-Marcovici is the CEO of the company, now called RAJA Group (the headquarters is still in France). She is the daughter of Rachel Marcovici, and has successfully continue to grow the company with the same passion as her mother. Now RAJA has presence in 18 countries throughout Europe, with 21 subsidiaries of a turnover of more than €631 million in 2018. The RAJA Group has more than 1900 employees, and this year recently acquired Staples Solutions business units in France, Spain and Italy. The RAJA Group will have 3,000 employees and will have an expected turnover of €1 billion.

Danièle Kapel-Marcovici - the RAJA packaging headquarters

Inspired to give

In 1982, when Danièle’s parents entrusted her with the family firm, she not only continued her mother’s journey in the business world, but with the same beliefs to seek equal rights for women all over the world.

Influenced by her mother’s life, Danièle’s views came to realisation in 2006 when the RAJA-Danièle Marcovici Foundation (known as the RAJA Foundation) was founded. Dedicated to the empowerment of women around the world, the organisation has since supported over 440 female-centric charity projects in more than 50 countries. More than 90,000 women have benefited from the activities of the RAJA Foundation, and it has also dedicated over €9 million for its cause.

Danièle shares her opinion on why the feminist movement matters, the need for corporations to balance business with philanthropy, and her vision for the foundation.

As the CEO of a for-profit corporation, what inspired you to start a charity?

I have always been a committed woman to such causes and, since the 1970s, have led a personal and shared struggle for feminist awareness. Women should be free to choose, have the same rights, the same recognition and the same status as men in society.

I also believe that, in addition to their economic role, companies have a role to play in the society. That is why I created the RAJA-Danièle Marcovici Foundation in 2006, under the aegis of the Fondation de France (a French philanthropic network), to support organisations that work for the empowerment of women and the improvement of their living conditions.

The foundation supports projects throughout the world that contribute to women’s education, social action, abuse and violence against women, training and professional integration. The RAJA Foundation was one of the first in France to commit to this cause, and it’s funded by the RAJA Group.

Danièle Kapel-Marcovici

There are many groups in the world that need help. Why does the feminist movement in particular mean so much to you?

Women are the first victims of inequality in the world. They perform two-thirds of international work but earn only 10% of the income. 70% of people living on less than 76p (€0.89) per day in the world are women, and one in three women is a victim of violence during her lifetime.

It is essential to support actions that empower women and reduce the inequalities they face. Women need equal access to education and to professional opportunities; they deserve the same pay and the same freedoms as men. Investing in equality is the best investment for achieving global political stability and economic development.

How can a for-profit corporation uphold and support the values of its not-for-profit activities?

Since I took over the leadership of RAJA Group from my mother when I was 36, I have led the group with respect for professional and wage equality between women and men. The company refuses all forms of sexism and has strong values of solidarity and respect.

The social commitment of RAJA Group reinforces the purpose our employees feel in their professional lives. In 2013, I created the programme RAJApeople, which allows employees to get involved with the RAJA Foundation in different ways.

An employee can choose to have their salary rounded up to the nearest euro so that the difference between this and their actual salary becomes a monthly micro donation that goes to the foundation.

They can also volunteer with the foundation, sponsor a project, or take part in events that are organised throughout the year.

The company also organises events in France and in our European subsidiaries on 8th March, which is International Women’s Day, and November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

Most recently, we were a partner of the first feminist eco-festival in France.

Why is the fight for women’s rights still necessary in developed regions?

SOL - RAJA Foundation

Any progress made is still too slow and uneven, and political will and financial support remain inadequate. The movements launched in 2017, such as Me Too, have highlighted that the problem of violence against women remains a reality in many countries – even in France.

In 2017, one French woman was killed every 2.8 days by her partner or ex-partner, yet only a third of them were identified as victims by the police or those close to them.

In addition, the news constantly shows that many rights remain to be won and those that have been obtained are regularly challenged in an era marked by the rise of individualism, conservatism and obscurantism.

In authoritarian regimes, war and even any questioning of democracy, women are the first to be affected and their rights are the first to be ignored. In Europe, many countries are now questioning women’s right for abortion by limiting it or making access difficult. A few of those countries are Ireland, Poland and Spain.

Saveurs en partage - the RAJA Foundation

Even in France, where men and women are said to have equal rights under the law and its application, there is still a gap and the conditions for female emancipation are far from being fully acquired.

What aspects of the fight for women’s rights continue to require attention?

Women continue to suffer discrimination and violence regardless of their age, nationality or religion. There are still women who are not allowed to drive, who are excluded from inheritance or the right to own land. Girls are deprived of education simply because of their gender and, in some regions, are still being forced into arranged marriages.

Acting to improve the status of women around the world remains a priority for me. The RAJA Foundation will continue its mission to advance the rights of women in France and in all regions for the world for as long as inequalities persist.

GERES - the RAJA Foundation

In contrast, what are some of the changes that deserve to be lauded?

There has been some progress made and the status of women has improved in many respects in both developed and less developed countries. When my mother was young, she was not allowed to vote. When she founded RAJA Group in 1954, women were still not allowed to open a bank account or practise a profession without permission from their husbands. At the beginning of my career, there was no law that guaranteed equal pay for women and men for work of equal value. Now, all these have changed.

What are your goals for the foundation in the next five years?

My ambition is to make the RAJA Foundation a think tank for women’s rights. I have committed the foundation to three complementary missions – to financially support relevant projects, involve the employees of RAJA Group as well as to denounce, inform and contribute to advocacy to overcome inequalities. As part of the last mission, the foundation develops women’s rights awareness programs that it shares with different audiences.

I also launched the RAJA Women’s Awards in 2013 to promote and commend exemplary actions and projects taken and led by the organisations with whom the Foundation works. I aim to facilitate the exchange of experiences among all those involved in the feminist cause to improve the effectiveness of actions and to contribute to the development of everyone involved.

The Foundation will continue to support the organisations it works with and encourage our employees to get involved in its activities. I want its voice to be heard on different platforms where gender issues and women’s rights are discussed, at both national and international events.

Raising awareness of the Foundation is also a priority. It has a website (fondation-RAJA-marcovici.com) where we present the organisations and projects that we are supporting. RAJA Group also communicates regularly with its network of suppliers, customers and other stakeholders about the foundation’s activities.

What are some of your most memorable moments with the RAJA Foundation?

Every RAJA Women’s Awards ceremony, where more than 400 people gather to recognise exemplary projects carried out by different organisations supported by the foundation, is emotional for me.

My visit to Northern India in 2017 with an organisation that the foundation has supported for many years is also a highlight. I was able to meet local women as well as the renowned female Indian scholar and environmental activist Vandana Shiva.

Interview source: theceomagazine.com

2019 Christmas delivery times

Our Packaging Specialists will be available from 8.30am on 24th, 27th, 30th and 31st of December – our telephone lines will have reduced operating hours. Orders placed during this time will be delivered from the 3rd January 2020. Normal RAJA operating hours will resume from 8am 2nd January 2020.

2019 Christmas delivery times2019 Christmas delivery times

PLEASE NOTE
Orders must be received by 4:30pm for processing, we will aim for next working day services.

For more information on opening hours and delivery, see our delivery page, to contact our Packaging Specialists, you can email sales@rajapack.co.uk or call 0800 542 44 28.

Gifting Etiquette: Exploring Brits’ Gift-Giving Habits

Gifts. What’s not to love, right? From birthdays and anniversaries to holidays and baby arrivals, we’ll find any excuse to slip a gift into a special occasion. It’s a tradition that has shone for so long, because while gifts may be material, their overarching message is one of love. Yet, in the age of the conscious consumer, do we still care about traditional gifts?

We surveyed 2,000 Brits to find out more about their gifting etiquette.

Are you someone that loves a special occasion, partly for the purpose of giving and/or receiving gifts? Or, are you someone that would be happy to see this tradition go?

For some, it’s the holy grail of special occasions. Picking out presents and choosing pretty gift boxes, complemented by cards that perfectly represent your nearest and dearest (perhaps with an in-joke or two!?). And of course, on the other side – being the recipient of said gifts.

For others however, these gifts are overrated. Perhaps you’d rather be surrounded by loved ones; lead a ‘greener’ lifestyle with less consumption; or make memories through experiences, rather than give or receive material things.

What’s your stance? It’s time to find out where we stand as a nation on ‘gift-iquette’ in Britain.

What gifts do we want as a nation?

Receiving gifts

We asked Brits what types of gifts they most wanted to receive on a special occasion.

Turns out, cold hard cash was the gift recipients wanted to receive most. Over a quarter of Brits (26%) chose money over anything else. In expensive times with more costs to cover than ever before, are financial pressures causing us to pick the practical choice? Though this was a top pick to receive, it’s often an unpopular one to give – namely because deciding on an amount can be a delicate subject.

Lucky for gift-givers, then, that 74% (almost three quarters) of votes went towards ‘traditional’ gifts, with clothing, technology and beauty products the most popular choices. This means there’s a whole lot of people that still appreciate something picked specially for them, and presumably the act of opening something on their special day. If you’re struggling for

something to buy, take note: out of the above, women preferred to receive clothes (21%) and beauty products (12%), while men preferred to receive technology (23%) and clothes (19%).

We hear a lot of talk about the ‘experiential generation’ but not even 2 in 10 people chose an experiential gift. This could include the likes of a dinner date, a concert ticket or a flying lesson. Finally, only 5% of people chose a gift that goes towards a charitable cause – which, could be anything from donating to a charity on your behalf to sponsoring an endangered animal in your name. Only 13% of Brits wanted nothing at all.

The act of giving and receiving a ‘tangible’ gift still matters

Not only did we clarify that Brits still love a gift, but their gift preferences are still geared towards tangible items, too. Of those that had a preference, we found that 64% of Brits would prefer to receive a physical gift, versus only 17% of those that would opt for something digital.

Interestingly, 43% of Gen Z-ers and Millennials had no preference between a physical or a digital gift, showing they’re not so tied into traditions as the older generation. So, unsurprisingly, 9 in 10 Brits that are 45+ year-old said that they would actively prefer a physical gift over that of a digital one.

When it comes to ‘gift-iquette’, we also found that over a third (36%) of gift givers said they’d possibly feel guilty about not giving a tangible gift – but why?

Gift-giving

When we asked those that said they would feel this way, over half (53%) said it was because they viewed tangible gifts as more thoughtful and personal. This was followed by 37% who stated, “it’s important that the recipient has something tangible to unwrap”, and 28% who said they just do, “because it’s proper social etiquette”. Of course, almost 2 in 10 (18%) said they had to return the gesture when someone has gifted them something tangible, too.

Is a greener way of life changing our ‘gift-iquette’?

Almost 2 in 10 Brits said that they have considered the environmental impact of gifts prior to purchase and have chosen not to buy a gift because of this.

For most however, the perfect gift takes priority: almost half (47%) say that whether they’ve considered the environmental impact or not, this would not deter them from their chosen gifts for a friend, family member or other. This could include anything from a single-serving product to something with excess packaging, or anything that requires batteries that could corrode in our landfills.

This means that when it comes to the gifting process, 30% of us never think about the fact that our gift might be unwanted or wasted. Additionally, we never think about the environmental impact of making and sending greeting cards (38%), wrapping paper (32%) and product packaging (28%).

How to gift sustainably

Sustainable gifting

For those that want to follow traditional ‘gift-iquette’ while still taking steps towards a greener world – here are some handy tips to reduce your carbon footprint, without giving up the joy of gift-giving!

  • Wrapping: When you’re choosing wrapping paper, it’s the shiny ones that are often unrecyclable. This is the same for any paper with metallic, glitter or textured outers, so try to choose recyclable gift paper for wrapping presents.
  • Gift boxes: Many gift boxes are not recyclable due to the materials that they are made of. By having eco gift boxes and bags to hand, you can say no to excess gift packaging pushed by stores, and make sure the gifts you give are packaged in a greener way.
  • Sticky tape: If you want to go all-out green, pick up some eco-responsible tape. It’s made with natural rubber adhesives that can be recycled at the same time as your eco-wrapping paper and gift boxes.
  • Re-using gift bags and boxes: Each year, whether it’s for the holidays, birthdays or other occasions, we’re given a handful of gift bags, gift tags, wrapping paper and more that we can store away. What better way to stay green and save money, by keeping their life cycle going and regifting to someone else?

RAJA offer sustainable alternatives across an extensive range of wrapping and packaging, ensuring to incorporate eco-responsible practices at every step. Take a look at our range of gift boxes, which make for a great option for all your gifting needs.

What is a bag heat sealer?

A bag heat sealer is a packaging machine used to help form a bag, using heat to melt the sides together. Sealing things in their packaging is not only vital to protecting them and keeping them safe in transit, but also makes packaging. Particularly, clear poly bags. And to make that happen, you can use a simple bag heat sealer to close up the open end of a bag – you can even trim the ‘spare’ off to make for an even more professional job.

In this post we shall take a look at how a bag heat sealer works, the different kinds of heat sealers available and what kinds of bags they work on. As well as looking at heat sealing machines that can automate the process for you.

What is a bag heat sealer?

A plastic bag heat sealer is a simple heater that, when pressed and applied to a thermoplastic bag, seals the bag together using a combination of pressure and melting. The two plastic parts are brought together and pressed against one another and heated. This melts the plastic, which co-mingles and, as it cools, sets into a single plastic seam.

A plastic bag heat sealer essentially welds plastic togethe

It is akin to welding, but with plastic. Once cooled the join is essentially one piece of solid, even plastic, contiguous to the rest of the two pieces joined together. In short, it is a water-tight sealed weld between the two.

It can be used to join together two pieces of the same or two similar thermoplastics, such as Polythene of different grades. It Is most commonly found in packaging where it can form a water and dust-tight seal on a bag of pretty much any size.

They typically use a heated element or bar, often covered by a protective Teflon guard, so that the melting plastic doesn’t stick to the element which is pressed onto the plastic at the point where the joint is needed. It takes only a few seconds to seal, but it is a precise process. Too little time and the joint won’t form, too much and the plastic will burn. So most heat sealers feature a light that comes on when the seal is done, or, on more sophisticated heat sealing machines – as we shall see – they lift off when ready.

There are different heat sealing bag devices available . Small, portable/desktop devices for smaller items at low volume; automated devices for sealing many individual items; and continuous heat sealers that seal continually as the item/items run through them.

Some also come with cutters, so that once sealed any excess plastic can be simply trimmed off, or, in the case of continuous sealers, a continuous row of items can be cut individually once sealed.

That’s how they work, but what can they seal?

Can you use a heat sealer on polythene bags?

50 micron layflat tubing, lay-flat tubing is ideal for heat-sealing

You can use a heat sealer on a polythene bag. Most polythene bag heat sealers are used to seal poly bags. The polythene for heat-sealed packaging comes in several forms: it can be supplied as bags, which need just one end sealed; or it can come as a layflat tube, which is like an open ended bag that covers the items and needs then to be heat-sealed shut at both ends.

Low density polyethylene, from which most bags and layflat tubing are made, is ideal for heat sealing as it melts at around 160C. This is hot enough to melt together the two sides and cool enough for it to cool and seal quickly when the heat and pressure is removed.

An added benefit is that, as it cools, the polythene contracts and pulls the seal even tighter. This is one of the key advantages of heat sealers for poly bags.Layflat tubing and dispenser kit

Layflat tubing is available on rolls so that you can continuously package up goods at an industrial scale if needed. It allows the user to create the size of package they need, with the goods simply put inside, the tubing cut to length, then heat sealed. This is ideal if you have a variety of sized objects in your warehouse that need packaging.

125 micron black layflat tubing

It also comes in black, as well as clear and recycled polythene options, with black packaging being ideal for keeping goods not only protected from light when in storage or transit, but also keeping them confidential when sent through the post.

Are there machines for heat sealing plastic bags?

Machines are available for heat sealing plastic bags. One of the easiest ways to package and seal goods using layflat tubing or plastic bags is with a bag heat sealer machine. A heat sealer machine for sealing plastic bags allows you to handle medium to high volumes of goods, making for better and more efficient sealing.

A plastic bag heat sealer machine, such as the Opti-seal industrial heat sealers, offers a simple yet versatile operation with adjustable sealing and cooling times. The compact design of such machines means they can be conveniently placed within reach of workstations, or they can be mounted on an optional stand that also includes a film holder, and afoot pedal for hands free operation.

Opti-sealer heat sealers also has a cutter

Opti-seal industrial heat sealers are impulse sealers, which means the heat is applied via the element wire for only a few seconds to seal the material together. The Opti-seal has a wide range of applications. It can seal a range of films including polythene, polypropylene and PVC with a durable 5mm seal, making this bag sealer the perfect choice for producing and sealing bags, sacks and pouches. Features a safety trimming cutter.

Other heat sealer machines, such as the RAJA Impulse Sealer, offer reliable performance and are ideal for low volume bag sealing. Suitable for layflat tubing or bag widths up to 400 mm wide, these are also impulse sealers that apply heat via the element wire for only a second before the mechanism begins to cool the seal.

Impulse sealer with lay-flat tube roll makes easy work of packagingMost heat sealers have an adjustable timer and a cutter on the sealing arm for leaving a neat finish to your bagged product. There are three sizes of heat sealer available: 200, 300 and 400mm sealing widths which produce a 2mm wide seal. Recommended for two layers of polythene film (PE film), each up to 150 micron (600 gauge) thick.

There are also a broad range of spare Teflon coated heating elements and cutters to make sure that your heat sealing machine stays in tip-top working condition.

Want to know more about our wide range of heat sealers, heat sealer machines, heat sealing bags and layflat tubing?

For additional advice on heat sealers, heat sealer machines, heat sealing bags and layflat tubing, our Packaging Experts are here to help you find the right solutions and arrange next day delivery. Simply contact 0800 542 44 28 or visit www.rajapack.co.uk.