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Sustainability - “the best single investment we can make as an industry” says Diversey Care's Kadri6th of December 2013
ECJ editor Michelle Marshall talks to Dr Ilham Kadri - president of the Diversey Care division of Sealed Air - about the company’s rebranding, her views on the professional cleaning sector, and sustainability.
Dr Ilham Kadri was appointed as president of the Diversey Care division of Sealed Air at the beginning of 2013 - a newcomer to the cleaning and hygiene industry. Kadri is a chemical engineer by training, with a masters degree in physics and chemistry, and a doctorate in reactive extrusion. During her 20-year career she has held a variety of global roles in business leadership, sales and marketing and research & development in public and private companies such as Huntsman, UCB-Cytec, Shell Chemicals-Basell and Dow.
Kadri now presides over a period of change in the Diversey business, as parent company Sealed Air restructures its operations into three divisions - food care, product care and Diversey Care. Diversey has therefore been renamed from its former institutional and laundry division.
Better way of life
“Diversey Care covers solutions in infection prevention, kitchen hygiene, fabric care, building care and consulting,” she explains, “and with those we aim to protect brands, deliver efficiency, and improve performance for our partners in health care, food service, retail, hospitality and facility services.”
The key message from Diversey then, is to ‘create a better way of life’. “We are seeking to re-imagine the industry we serve with the creation of the Diversey Care brand,” explains Kadri. What does this actually mean for the customer?
“All our customers are of course still interested in the price per litre of chemical, the cost of energy and saving water. I would like to talk to them more about the bigger picture - the total costs of ownership. Diversey Care offers a total package of chemicals, machines, tools etc, but it is not simply a one-stop concept – we are aiming to have a more ‘joined-up’ approach within
The company will focus heavily on system development over the next few years. “The customers want the best machines that dispense the right amount of chemical and water,” continues Kadri. “They are asking for more intelligent machines, more productive systems. We have tackled past inefficiencies, now we are approaching the science of machines, chemicals and tools.
“And I would like customers to make more informed decisions about our systems – the total cost of ownership or cost of whole life cycle.”
Having spent the first nine months in her new role travelling the world visiting customers, what messages is Kadri hearing from them? “Cost, performance and sustainability - those are the key words,” she replies. “And the larger customers want a global supplier while the smaller ones want us to be local. Fortunately we can do both because we offer that level of market penetration.
“Expectations go beyond products, however, because cleaning and hygiene is a professional industry space where technology, data and knowledge play a significant part,” she continues. “And in that respect we need opinion leaders because I believe what’s missing is a definition of sustainability.
“It would be ideal to have a sustainability definition decided on by the industry itself. All too often it’s regulation that forces industry to act, so I hope the different players in our sector can define it for themselves.”
Diversey itself has committed to cut greenhouse gases and subject itself to third party auditing by joining the WWF Climate Savers programme in 2008 under its previous name, JohnsonDiversey. Kadri believes: “Sustainability must be transparent, open to scrutiny. We must report and audit but it cannot be done effectively in isolation as individual companies. The industry as a whole must persevere and formulate a vision.”
In Kadri’s opinion the value of sustainability is something that absolutely should not be questioned. “Sustainability means profitability. It’s the best single investment we can make as an industry.”