Interview with Anna Schreil

Interview with Anna Schreil, Director Product Development, Realization and R&D The Absolut Company and one of the people behind Creative Space. 

What are the greatest challenges regarding sustainable product design? 

Over the years we have worked on a step by step process where we have been able to make changes regarding our own production and with our suppliers. We have become good at minimizing everything from energy consumption to increase the use of sustainable materials when working with ECO-design. But now we need to look at what happens with the bottles after they have left our production. Most of the bottles we produce are shipped abroad and what impact does that have for other markets and environments? Regarding choice of materials I like to challenge myself to think in the terms of, what would a bottle of vodka without packaging material look like? Look at the cucumber as an example, when you have consumed it there is no waste left.

Could you describe a bit more what it means to be working with ECO-design?

We start by asking the tough questions early, already at the conceptual level, in order to be able make the best available sustainable choices later on. It comes down to everything from the choice of materials to new production techniques. For example, when we launched the project to re-design the Absolut bottle we also decided to find a solution for reducing the amount of glass to make it lighter but without risking product quality. The result is a beautiful looking bottle that weighs less than before, which is good regarding to transportation and logistics.

What would you say are the greatest challenges globally that we need to find solutions for?

Recycling of our bottles is a challenge from a global perspective. As a Swede it is easy to say that recycling is not a problem for us as we recycle more than 90% of our glass, but that is not the case for many other countries. There is a demand for recycled glass in Sweden and we have a system that makes it easy for us as citizens to recycle. We need to see how we can increase demand and make it easier for our consumers in all parts of the world to recycle.

Where do you stand on the issue of reusing the bottle and finding a second life for it?

Like with recycling, this is a very exciting area where I think we can get great input from all the participants. The best solutions comes from co-creating and co-operating and as I usually get very technical and detailed when it comes to these sort of things I have a great feeling that we will see many new creative perspectives on this. I will be there in person Saturday the 13th and Sunday the 14th and then follow the work closely online as it unfolds over the coming weeks during the summer.