The PSI 2020 is over and was a complete success. However, this year there were not just new products of the CHOICE sisters to be marvelled at, but the exhibition display also stood out with its new makeover.
Premiere at the PSI: the CHOICE Experience
At the PSI 2020, the sisters of the enterprise group CHOICE (SND, mbw®, Daiber, FARE® and HALFAR®) presented themselves on a new exhibition stand. Under the motto CHOICE Experience, it not only visualised the mutual understanding of brands, but also made it into an experience for the 16,367 visitors, who had travelled from 81 nations to this leading trade fair.
Connection meets independence
The new stand’s design is clear and straightforward. The colour white dominates outside. And so, the generously sized stand – around 650 square metres – gives five independent companies the opportunity to appear under one coherent framework. The signal: the CHOICE family operates under one roof -– and that not only symbolically, but also in wholly practical terms.
Each partner has their own space, shaping it individually with products and messages. However, links to the others are provided everywhere. Passages and views open up the stand. Each company’s area has a wide entry, inviting and welcoming the visitor to the trade exhibition. Themed islands and presenters are structured in one coherent, product-specific and stylistic language. They create display formats with light and graphics, which communicate the product variety and brand values to the customer.
Experiencing inner values – the CHOICE Lounge
As the customer enters the stand via the individual business worlds, he comes upon the inner core of the CHOICE group. Here, all positions of the otherwise diverse advertising media experts meet as one big community of values. The lounge in the middle of the stand is, therefore, purposely designed in a different way to the outside product areas. It is kept in warm colours and creates an ambience of well-being for breaks and discussions. Sustainability, quality, innovation, service, and partnership – these are some of the CHOICE values, which became apparent this year; also in the statements of the respective entrepreneurial key players and in product and image photographs.
Sustainable, useful, new for 2020 at HALFAR®
Sustainability is not a megatrend for us here at HALFAR®, but a subject that emerges from our fundamental position. Today, we work at the company headquarters Bielefeld in a CO2-neutral way and, in new engagements and initiatives, we demonstrate again and again that we are serious about future and customer-orientation. This is shown in practice as far as the bag innovations 2020 are concerned. With materials such as recycled PET (rPET) and pioneering concepts, we offer solutions for a consistently growing number of customers, who also hold this subject close to their hearts. The new bags of the HALFAR® stock range can be summarised into three categories as follows:
Re-growing and renewable materials
With the new COUNTRY and LOOM series, here at HALFAR®, we place emphasis on the re-growing raw material cotton and/or a cotton mix and show how versatile and fresh this material is when used. With a plus in sustainability thanks to organic cotton, our new re-usable bag – ORGANIC – scores; ideal for buying fruit and vegetables without using plastics. And, with the new PLANET series – made of “pre-recycled cotton” – we go one step further, as this cotton is derived from the cut-off remnants of bag production. For the CIRCLE range as well as for the drawstring bag CARE made of rPET, we also use a material that prevents waste and utilises existing resources: recycled PET bottles.
Durable, multifunctional and quick – thanks to new finishing processes
What lasts longer is used for longer. Also combining useful functions, it becomes a faithful and a sustainable companion in everyday life. The eight bags from the big new business range – FRAME – impress with their finish and high usage value. Apart from their durability, they are also fast, thanks to the award-winning finishing process – turbo finish HALFAR FAST LANE®. Equally new and particularly functional: the roller bag – HASHTAG as well as the notebook backpacks – EXPERT, TOP, LOFT and COMMUNITY.
Small and efficient bags
Minimalism and concentrating on what is essential contribute to the conservation of resources and therefore add to greater sustainability. With the TREND series, our HALFAR® range offers simple, reduced bags, which emphasise popular colours such as off-white, mint-green or antique pink. With the mono-strap backpacks – IMPULSE and HASHTAG – as well as the BodyBag – COMMUNITY – made of PV imitation leather, three small, smart bags for all pocket essentials are entering the market. As an addition, the uncomplicated FLOW series offers a CrossBag and a Thermo bag. Also, the two new bags from the tried and tested felt series – MODERNCLASSIC – certainly are a sign of the times: the felt cover for laptops and the organiser for the office relocation make New Work comfortable.
In all, we are pleased to present to you 40 new bags in six brand new series, as separate bags or as addition to existing bag families. By the way, all are PVC-free and available quickly from stock and around the clock in our online shop. Order your samples for review straight away and convince yourself.
You want to know more? Our colleagues in the sales teams are here to help you and will be happy to advise you. We look forward to continuing together with you on the path towards greater sustainability in 2020.
“Why exactly are your bags sustainable?”– We hear this question again and again and have realised that there isn’t just one answer. Apart from the materials, which are used to manufacture our bags, many other factors also play an important role. In this article we want to show you why we can call our bags sustainable and why you can look forward to 2020.
A sustainable basis
To ensure that you can hold a sustainably manufactured bag in your hands, we pull out all the stops. As early as in the design phase of our bags, we focus on functionality, efficiency and durability. After all, only when our bags and backpacks are used for a long time and are enjoyed, are they really sustainable in the end. This is the reason for placing so much emphasis on the materials for our products, and so we have the particularly durable and tough synthetic fibres, such as polyester or Nylon, tested for their constituents in accredited institutes like Bureau Veritas. Our “tested materials” labels are given only to products, which fulfil the REACH and LFGB guidelines for component substances.
We also constantly monitor natural fibres, such as cotton and jute. As these fibres are produced through agricultural methods, we offer products, where sustainability starts much earlier in the production chain. The Fairtrade cotton seal stands for fair cultivation and trade of raw cotton, which can be directly retraced along all steps of production and is processed separately from non-Fairtrade cotton. The GOTS label guarantees the strict observance of environmental and technical requirements along the entire production chain. GOTS is currently regarded as the highest standard worldwide for the processing of textiles from organically produced natural fibres. Halfar itself is also GOTS certified.
For the coming year, we have asked ourselves the following questions once again:
- Which materials can we use in the future?
- Which materials allow further steps to even greater sustainability?
This time we found new answers. Here, we can reveal something about the materials for the Newcomers 2020.
From bottle to bag
Recycling materials has always been a topic for us. As long as 15 years ago we produced bags from bicycle tyres, and bags made from airbags, coffee sacks and airplane seats followed.
From 2020, we will be offering entire series in the standard range, for example products from recycled PET bottles, utilising waste for something new. PET bottles are suitable for recycling thanks to the possibility of homogenous sorting. Bottles that have already been used are turned into granulates, which can be processed into new fibres. On average, you need about 24 PET bottles for a strong HALFAR® bag.
By the way, we only process rPET material with the GRS seal. The seal assures that the materials can be retraced. This is the only way of ascertaining – in the case of the same basic raw material – that the rPET fabric was produced with recycled PET bottles and had not been produced totally new.
We let cotton blossom once again
We love cotton – so much, that we want to give this natural material a second life. Therefore, we recycle cotton offcuts and produce the best that we can possibly imagine: “Bags”.
Join us in looking forward right now to an entirely new series of bags in the HALFAR® range 2020, made of pre-recycled cotton.
Pre-recycled cotton largely consists of cotton offcut remnants, which are left over in production. They are collected, sorted according to colour, shredded and newly spun. So that the fibres become durable despite the shredding process, a proportion of new fibres are added. Currently, a fibre mix of up to 70% recycled cotton offcuts is possible, with good load test characteristics.
By using this durable fibre, we ensure that not only the fabric production considers aspects of sustainability, but that the end product is also long lasting and continues to be used. This means:
- Less new cotton needs to be cultivated,
- Less water is needed and
- Fewer valuable raw materials are wasted.
This is further step in matters of sustainable production and sustainably strong bags.
Production under fair conditions
Yet it is not only the material that is important for a bag being sustainable in the end, as in all other steps in the value-added chain, ecological and social criteria play an important role too. For this reason, we obligate all our production sites contractually to comply with the ILO core labour standard. This social standard for humane working conditions and sufficient labour protection in production forms the basis for sustainable working conditions worldwide.
Furthermore, our Top Ten factories are audited according to amfori BSCI. Halfar itself has been part of the amfori BSCI network since 2009. We participate actively in order to observe the social standards in the international supply chains relevant to us and to develop them. For this, external quality inspectors and auditors, who inspect working conditions and production according to international standards, as well as Halfar employees, regularly travel to the factories. On site, they monitor, advise and provide support on all matters regarding bag production by contributing their know-how.
Sustainable finishing – sustainable effect
Ultimately, HALFAR® bags are the stage for many big and small brands. Therefore, we work constantly to make not only our bags, but also our finishing processes ever more sustainable. We have already managed to change the print inks for many of our bags from ones containing solvents to water-soluble inks.
Moreover, with HALFAR FAST LANE® we were recently able to offer an innovative finish that is particularly efficient, quick and sustainable. This means, in fact, that the print is especially energy-efficient thanks to the LED technology used. We also produce our electricity here in Bielefeld with our own photovoltaic system or use eco-power. We compensate for the CO2 emissions from transporting our products with our climate projects – allowing us to work in a completely CO2-neutral way. The highly pigmented print inks harden quickly and are free from heavy metals and solvents. The print uses high dynamic range imaging, and are robust and long lasting. Not least, the bags of the FRAME series, where advertising is applied, are free of UPVC and thus can do without the associated softeners – just like all our innovations, which await you in 2020.
Meet the innovations at the PSI – register now!
Have we made you curious? You have an opportunity to meet us and our NEWCOMERS in person at the PSI 2020 in Düsseldorf. Register now for the leading European trade show of the promotional products industry, which takes place from 7th to 9th January. We look forward to meeting you!
As part of our sustainability policy, we have gladly decided to support the “Bielefeld Community Foundation”. We have promised a “Bronze” sponsorship for three years.
Citizens and companies of the city for citizens: The intention of the sponsor model of the community foundation is to be able to regularly and reliably count on earmarked donations for the diverse, regional projects over a longer period. In so doing, as many participants as possible, each with moderate amounts, can achieve a great deal and enable the community foundation to undertake long-term projects.
The “Bielefeld Community Foundation” from Bielefeld
Why exactly this foundation? It supports a wide range of social projects, such as swimming lessons for children, youth or elderly people. The foundation also supports regional art and cultural projects. Above all, however, it is local and works for our fellow citizens. In addition, our Managing Director Kathrin Stühmeyer-Halfar is an honorary member of the foundation’s Board of Directors and is therefore familiar with the foundation’s projects.
As a company that is very connected to Bielefeld, we are happy to support regional projects. Therefore, we are happy that our donations benefit worthwhile projects.
It was that time again, on 6th September. Companies with the best sustainable practices were rewarded with the PSI Sustainability Awards in various categories. The PSI Sustainability award honours companies not only for their sustainable products but also for their entire CSR activities and sustainable projects. Having been able to claim the title of winner of the category “Social Excellence” last year, we hoped that we would once again make an impression with our measures and projects this year. Projects such as the planting of our company roof to compensate for unavoidable CO2 and to create habitats for insects or even switching over to electric vehicles for business trips speak for themselves. Furthermore our green board was launched and our “New Work“ space was inaugurated. For these reasons, we competed in various social and ecological categories this year.
The perfect place for an award ceremony
Of course, the right location could not be forgotten either. As in the previous year, the award ceremony took place in the Wiesbaden Kurhaus (assembly rooms). The building is one of the most magnificent buildings in the whole of Germany and gave the evening just the right flair. Moreover, before the award ceremony, experts from the advertising industry were able to share information on current sustainability issues at the annually held PSI Summit.
Awards were given in the following categories:
- Category 1: Economic Excellence
- Category 2: Environmental Excellence
- Category 3: Social Excellence
- Category 4: Environment Initiative
- Category 5: Social Initiative
- Category 6: Sustainable Product
- Category 7: Sustainable Campaign
- Category 8: Sustainable Company of the Year
And the Winner is…HALFAR®!
The nominations in five of six categories were something to be proud of alone. But the excitement was rising now: “Will we be winners once again?”
Yes, we are! HALFAR® wins the PSI Sustainability Award in the category Social Excellence. We ranked second and third in the categories Social Initiative und Economic Excellence respectively. A great result!
We also warmly congratulate all other winners of the PSI Sustainability Awards. We are proud to contribute with you to responsible work in the advertising industry.
At HALFAR®, we are very happy that we were able to convince the jury once again this year and are already looking forward to next time when they say, “And the winner is…“
Climate change is becoming an increasingly important topic in our daily lives. When it comes to meeting climate targets, each individual is called on to an equal extent. Therefore, it is particularly important for us to ensure that our actions are sustainable. We do this with a variety of projects. Here, for example, our work is already performed with a CO2-neutral balance, and we generate our own “green” electricity with photovoltaic systems on our buildings’ roofs. Yet, what else can we do to act more sustainably?
The answer is simple!
Our employees have had access to the electrically-powered BMW i3 for business trips since 28th March 2019.
The BMW i3 has a 170 hp engine, which is powered by a 94 amp-hour battery. It has a range of about 200 kilometres. This makes the nippy little car perfect for shorter trips to our customers.
Electric cars don’t have any transmission, which means they have no conventional gears. Thus, driving them is pleasant and easy as child’s play. Simply charge the battery, and you’re ready to go. And the icing on top: the BMW is hardly audible.
We can easily charge the e-car using our own green electricity. At a mileage of 200,000 km, an electric car charged with green electricity emits hardly any CO2. By contrast, an engine running on petrol weighs 32.48 tons. This means we save nearly 100% of CO2 emissions. What is more, the e-car is also really gentle on your wallet. On average, driving 100 km only costs €3.50.
We at Halfar are already very excited about our new colleague, because with it, we are able to act even more sustainably. This promise is also found in our products. If you would like to find out more about our sustainable products, take a look at related articles in our blog!
After just ten months, we will complete the construction work on our new satellite warehouse in August. The hall, located only seven kilometres from our headquarters in Oldentrup and with a surface area of 7,100m² will become our new logistics centre. In the future, all shipping processes for pallet goods that used to be carried out at the headquarters, at service providers and in rented warehouses in the surrounding area, will be centralised here. Since it was no longer possible to expand the company headquarters in Bielefeld Oldentrup, the Altenhagen location provided a good alternative. Apart from this, with the optimal location, the new building ensures a permanent supply availability with higher stock levels and a growing product range.
Storage of the future
The new 7100 m² warehouse offers cutting edge technology. Semi-autonomous forklift trucks are used for the 11,300 pallet spaces in the narrow aisle warehouse. They get the necessary information on their destination via high-speed Wi-Fi. What’s more, eight loading ramps for trucks rule out waiting times for the drivers. The drivers’ comfort is also ensured by a lounge area and showers.
To the largest extent, the warehouse construction in Bielefeld Altenhagen was done by regional craft businesses. Goldbeck built the hall in cooperation with Eda Saygili, the architect and site manager. Apart from this, the company cooperated with Bielefeld municipality and Interkomm OWL to accelerate the planning process. Another advantage of the location is that the forwarding agency is not far away. Cutting this distance reduces CO2 emissions considerably.
Large hall – low energy consumption
The new logistics centre in Bielefeld Altenhagen is dedicated to effectiveness and sustainability. The existing space is optimally used by installing a narrow aisle warehouse. In cooperation with Bielefeld municipality, we operate a 70 kWh photovoltaic system on the roof area for decentralised power supply. The electricity generated is used directly in the building or stored in batteries. This way, our electric car perfectly suited for trips between the company headquarters and the logistics centre. The building insulation is also particularly efficient and 20% higher than required under building law. Additional energy-saving measures include LED luminaires connected to presence detectors and an ecogas heating system.
Rough pasture for nature
To counterbalance the land consumption to the greatest possible extent, we will be planting indigenous bushes and shrubs on the open spaces that exceed the government-required greening surfaces. We will also be supplementing these surfaces with important, insect-friendly small structures such as piles of dead wood and stone. The site will have two areas that are laid out as rough pastures for nature, providing valuable habitats for rare plants and insects. We will report on this as soon as the first inhabitants move in!
The first products will be in stock in September. We’ll keep you posted!
Everyone knows the problem from their everyday work: After a few hours, concentration starts to flag. When the attention starts to wander and blood sugar begins to dip, it is time for a break. How to make this break useful and how to support our staff in doing so is what drives us.
For many people, the most popular method is coffee – a caffeine hit that Halfar has always provided free of charge. Since drinking large quantities of coffee over a long period is not healthy, however, we have put in place some more ideas to help our staff get through the day. Many of the ideas originated as suggestions on our notice board and from staff involvement measures.
Measure 1 – Sparkling, still or boiling hot – water for all
As we are made of 80% water, the element is essential for our wellbeing, our health and our ability to think. But we still often forget to drink enough during a hectic day – especially when no water is to hand. To counteract this, Halfar has now installed water dispensers at four central locations. Be it chilled, filtered or sparkling water or even boiling water for tea, it is all now available at the touch of a button, helping everyone to stay hydrated.
Measure 2 – Dry inside, green outside – fresh air and exercise
As well as the beautifully designed rooms and inviting canteen, our staff also have the option of using the terraces and green spaces around the building during their breaks or for meetings. Exercise in the fresh air stimulates the brain, provides the necessary distance from problems, or simply does us good, especially if the sun is shining. But our colleagues do not let a stiff breeze or the odd drop of rain put them off getting outdoors either.
Measure 3 – Help yourself – vitamins for all!
Since the end of March, we have been buying fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables from a local organic farm once a week. Filled to bursting, the baskets are then placed in the kitchens and the canteen where everyone can access them. Be it apples, bananas, pepper or other fruit and vegetables, they all have one thing in common: they are packed with vitamins and very popular.
As if that were not enough, the vitamins and minerals they contain are a real boost for concentration. It is scientifically proven that they influence our cell growth and that particularly vitamin C has a positive effect on our brains and thus our concentration.
It is a totally natural way for us to increase our concentration and thus perform better in everyday life. In turn, this enhances our emotional satisfaction and stimulates our creative potential. This “break business” really does have long-term benefits!
What? We won again?
Everyone waited eagerly for this day. There was great excitement after information was leaked through social media that Halfar was one of this year’s nominees. Did our sustainable activities over the last few months convince the jury? For example, our commitment to the “Insect Aid” project, through which we created more living spaces for insects. Or our goal to become a climate-neutral company. Perhaps our Sustainability Report as a whole left a positive impression?
Last Friday, it was finally time: The PSI Sustainability Awards were being presented for the 4th time. The most sustainable companies in the advertising industry gathered proudly with anticipation in the splendid Wiesbadener Kurhaus.
But first, the premiere of the PSI Sustainability Summit
For the first time, the PSI Sustainability Summit took place in the afternoon before the actual awards ceremony. The topic of the event was “Sustainable Supply Chain” and it served as a platform of exchange between the promotional goods industry and economic representatives. In their presentations, the latter answered questions about the development and orientation of supply chains in the promotional goods sector as well as the influence of sustainability. After all, in addition to highlighting positive examples the Sustainability Award is primarily about learning from one another, inspiring and motivating each other. It’s about continuing to work together to shift the promotional goods market towards sustainable business.
And finally: The presentation of the PSI Sustainability Awards
Like last year, the participating companies could apply in the following eight categories:
Together with all the other guests who travelled to the event, Armin Halfar and Kathrin Stühmeyer-Halfar, the General Managers of Halfar, waited with anticipation for the announcement of the winners in the listed categories.
…and the winners are:
Our General Managers were one of the 12 distinguished companies that had the privilege of receiving an award in the “Social Excellence” category. The jury gave the following reasons for their decision:
“Only few companies succeed in merging family-friendliness, inclusion and integration with their company DNA. Social Excellence is a task that never rests and is transparently shaped at every moment, and this year, it was documented most sustainably by Halfar’s submission.”
Download now the brochure about the winners and their campaigns.
“It is a great honour and pleasure to receive this award again this year. Above all else, the objective of successful cooperation is something we will continue to work on. We will continue to learn from each other and follow the objective of practising sustainable economics together with employees and partners”, said Armin Halfar, expressing his gratitude. “We also warmly congratulate the other winners! It is impressive to see the importance that sustainable issues now have in the promotional goods industry.” Kathrin Stühmeyer-Halfar added.
Thank you for the confirmation! We will continue!
Correspondingly, this award is a confirmation for all of us at Halfar on our path towards becoming a sustainable company. As described in our CSR report, we have undertaken various things and were able to achieve several milestones this year, such as the ISO 14001:2015 certification. However, there is still a lot to do, learn and undertake. In addition to gratitude for the appreciation of our work, there is nothing left but to quote the words of author Erich Kästner: “There is nothing good, unless you do it!”, and to promise that we will keep going!