A little bit longer, please

OPEN END

Longevity is the key. It substantially improves the acceptance and effectiveness of a branded ballpoint. It ensures that it remains in use, goes from hand to hand among users multiple times and sometimes ends up in collections. Manfred Dreher, Managing Director of the German Prodir branch office, on the sustainability of pens which not only write but also communicate.

Mr Dreher, how important is sustainability at Prodir?
Manfred Dreher:Very important indeed. However, it must be said that every provider would claim the same. Given its strong significance, the term has become a commonplace.

What sets Prodir apart from the others?
Manfred Dreher: We offer a convincing concept, and also include products made of biodegradable or recycled materials in the portfolio. But what is more important is that all our products embody key sustainability features.

What is this concept exactly?
Manfred Dreher: Our approach, our way of thinking always starts with the product benefits. High acceptance, perfect functionality and long lifespans not only make a ballpoint an effective advertising medium, but also an environmentally-friendly one. These factors belong together. We develop pens which people like and which they can use to write comfortably for a long period of time. For us, good design is not a question of good taste. Aesthetics, ergonomics and functionality also play decisive roles in deciding how long ballpoint pens are used for. The longevity of designs and materials is an important principle for Prodir – you only have to think of classic models like the DS3, which we have been producing since the 1980s and which is still as contemporary today as it was then. An icon.

Is longevity the same as sustainability?
Manfred Dreher: Without longevity there is no sustainability – that is our message. It flows into every one of our products without us feeling the need to print it on its side. Another aspect also plays a key role: the quality of the writing system. To ensure that people use and enjoy writing with our pens for a long time, we fit them with excellent refill technology. We are often innovative in this respect – take our Floating Ball refills, for instance. If the refill cartridge runs out, it can always be replaced in all models. This makes a key contribution to sustainability. But to ensure that this really works out this way, people have to appreciate the ballpoint. They must want to continue to use it after the refill runs out, and that brings us back to what I just said. Sustainability is always connected to the acceptance of the product from the user’s point of view.

Is longevity the same as sustainability?
Manfred Dreher: Without longevity there is no sustainability – that is our message. It flows into every one of our products without us feeling the need to print it on its side. Another aspect also plays a key role: the quality of the writing system. To ensure that people use and enjoy writing with our pens for a long time, we fit them with excellent refill technology. We are often innovative in this respect – take our Floating Ball refills, for instance. If the refill cartridge runs out, it can always be replaced in all models. This makes a key contribution to sustainability. But to ensure that this really works out this way, people have to appreciate the ballpoint. They must want to continue to use it after the refill runs out, and that brings us back to what I just said. Sustainability is always connected to the acceptance of the product from the user’s point of view.

But production cannot be excluded.
Manfred Dreher: I agree. Part of our concept is that we produce at two locations in Switzerland – in Lamone and Novazzano. We produce in a vertically-integrated way. This has become a very rare approach nowadays, with most manufacturing now partly or completely migrated to Asia. We have made a conscious decision not to do this, because our approach is the only way which allows us control over all production steps. For the company’s goal of sustainability, this means that we produce in line with one of the world’s most demanding environmental legal frameworks. When we talk about corporate social responsibility, there can be no misunderstandings at Prodir due to our location. We have exemplary working and social standards. And don’t forget the logistics. As we produce in the heart of Europe, we have no need to send containers half way around the globe to transport our goods. We are located where our customers are. This, again, reduces our carbon footprint. “Swiss Made” is credible proof of sustainability and socially-responsible conditions.

Manfred-Dreher

Thank you for your time,
Mr Dreher.

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