OCTAL Oman’s social investments, professional development programmes and innovative technologies are aimed at spurring socio-economic development, says Ahmed Al Najjar, Director of Government Affairs
Since its inception, OCTAL Oman has worked tirelessly to provide local communities with sustainable benefits through job creation and essential skills training. The company believes that its role as an Omani company is to create local supply chains and encourage the growth of the national workforce. In a short span of 10 years, the company has grown into the world’s leading clear rigid packaging material supplier, exporting one million tonnes of its products to 75 countries and subsequently cemented Oman’s position at the forefront of the global packaging industry.
Says Ahmed Al Najjar, director of government affairs, “Our goal of spurring socio-economic development by building human capacities is reflected in the numerous social investments and professional development programmes we have launched over the years. Our annual internship programme has given hundreds of ambitious Omani students, expert training and practical experience in real working environments, providing them with a window into the world of OCTAL, empowering them with new skillsets and inspiring them with our world-leading operations”.
He adds, “As a socially responsible company, we pride ourselves on giving back and working with governmental entities to help improve the welfare of the Omani people. We believe that reaching out is a key aspect of promoting social growth, and as a result of that long-held belief, have continuously explored ways to enrich the communities we serve, such as supporting hundreds of families in the Governorate of Dhofar during the month of Ramadan.”
At its unique location in the Salalah Freezone, OCTAL Oman employs hundreds of talented Omanis in a variety of positions, allowing them to grow their careers in manufacturing and leveraging their expertise on an international scale.
Referring to the socially impactful initiatives taken by OCTAL Oman, Ahmed says, “We have consistently worked with governmental institutions and openly engaged local communities to identify how and where we can provide support. Through that approach, we have been able to provide vocational training to women in partnership with the Omani Women’s Association, support hundreds of low income families during Ramadan, launch an annual 18-month petrochemical engineer training program, and develop a variety of community centric initiatives.”
Reduced carbon footprint
OCTAL’s innovative technology has also had a major impact on the environment by significantly reducing its carbon footprint. “We use 67 per cent less electricity to manufacture our trademark DPET™ sheet and 38 per cent less energy for resin when compared to traditional production methods,” says Ahed. Additionally, 80 per cent of the water utilizsed in OCTAL’s production facility is reused and all of its energy needs are derived from clean burning natural gas with on-site high efficiency burners consuming up to 20 per cent less gas than traditional PET plants. As a direct result of their environmentally-friendliness, the products it exports have revolutionised the industry and helped reduce the carbon footprint of the customers all over the world.
OCTAL Oman has a long track record of supporting the progress of the Sultanate’s business sectors by prioritising the growth of sustainable and locally-sourced goods and services. Abdullah avers, “Since our inception, we have continuously worked to strategically empower local businesses and SMEs, establishing networks of local suppliers that provide us with a large amount of all the materials we require.”
Additionally, being the number one exporter from the Port of Salalah, OCTAL’s in-country-value strategy has brought benefits to the governorate of Dhofar and created new vistas for local companies in freight and other supporting sectors to benefit at every stage of the supply chain.
Talking about the major innovations the company introduced in the industry, Ahmed says, “From the outset, innovation and technology has been a major part of our identity, shaping every product we have developed and every aspect of our operations. Innovation has been the key to our success, spurring demand from some of the titans of the food and consumer product industries such as Coca-Cola, Nestle, P&G, Walmart and Al Marai among others. Our high performance DPET™ sheet and resin products offer improved waste and cost reduction benefits, increased productivity for thermoformers and unmatched environmental advantages. To fully understand the key to our state-of-the art manufacturing process, we have to start at the beginning of the production phase.”
The conventional manufacturing process for PET sheet involves nine steps from beginning to end, while the conventional manufacturing process for PET resin depends on up to five reactors for production. OCTAL’s PET production however relies on only two reactors whereas its trademarked DPET™ sheet process utilises only three manufacturing steps instead of nine. The company also produces DPET™ sheets directly from PET melt resin, which has resulted in a final product of superior quality and higher consistency with a significantly lower carbon footprint.
Ahmed explains that third party experts have proven that OCTAL’s DPET™ sheet has the lowest carbon footprint compared to other polymers. “As a result of their environmentally friendliness and higher quality, our unique solutions have had an unprecedented impact on reducing the carbon footprint of our customers and have set global industry benchmarks in energy and natural resource efficiency.”
The remarkable success of OCTAL’s sustainable products has led to critical acclaim, with independent organisations such as the world-renowned sustainability consortium at the University of Arkansas, US, acknowledging OCTAL for its contributions to building a more sustainable future.
Talking about how OCTAL’s CSR efforts helped the company from a business point of view, Ahmed says, “Without a doubt, our commitment to social responsibility and sustainability has been strongly aligned with our vision of being a leader in PET packaging. We believe that the more you give, the more you get, and the success OCTAL has enjoyed over the years is directly tied to our determined efforts to benefit society and the environment.”
“CSR reflects the ethical beliefs of our company, differentiated us from competitors, positioned us as an employer of choice, and helped us develop important relationships with local communities, suppliers and networks,” Ahmed adds.
CSR is not just a way of growing business reputation. “Giving back is an essential component of who we are, what we represent, and hope to continue bringing to Oman for generations to come,” concludes Ahmed.