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Another company owned by Rapala is Sufix, which is the producer of the innovation Sufix Recycline Monofilament. Sufix’s Recycline is unique since it is the first fishing line made from recycled materials. With this product, Sufix wants to show competitors and fishermen that sustainability is a topic to consider also in this business area. The innovation can be linked to solving (at least) three SDGs: climate action, life below water, and good wealth and well-being.
Sufix Recycline Monofilament is the first of its kind. The fishing line is made from 100 % recycled materials retrieved from industry and post-consumer waste found in the ocean. More specifically, the fishing line consists of 75% post-consumer waste and 25% from harvested fishnets. An Italian company named Aquafil found a way to harvest such waste and purify it into regenerated nylon, which has gotten the name Econyl. Sufix is currently exclusively using the Econyl provided by Aquafil.
Not only is the innovation produced from recycled materials, but its packaging is also sustainable. The spool around which the Recycline Monofilament is wrapped is made from 100% recycled plastic, and its packaging is entirely made from 100% recycled paperboard. This supports SDGs such as climate action and life below water.
As mentioned above, Sufix aims to introduce sustainability within recreational fishing. The Monofilament fishing line, intended for every fisherman, is only the start of a long journey.
Connecting Sufix Recycline Monofilament to the UN’s 17 SDGs, one can easily see that the innovation supports some SDGs at its core. As stated by Väisänen in the interview, Sufix Recycline not only endorses the environmental SDGs but also considers the social perspective of sustainability and excellent health and well-being. He mentions that few companies within the field focus on the social philosophy of sustainability, even though research has shown that fishing has positive effects on human well-being.
Although fishermen are known for their respect towards nature, the inspiration for Sufix Recycline doesn't lie in the needs or requirements of Rapala's customers. Instead, the inspiration for the innovation comes from the company's overall business environment and internal values, that is, sustainability. During the interview, it became clear that Rapala intends to become a leader in sustainability within the fishing industry. Exemplified by the Sufix Recycline, which Väisänen says is not the most economically beneficial innovation, Rapala intends to focus on sustaining their business alongside our environment long-term instead of focusing solely on short-term economic profitability. In addition to the long-term strategy of Rapala, another inspiration for the innovation is the amount of harmful plastic floating in our seas. Although Sufix Recycline doesn't solve the plastic problem entirely, reusing plastic waste is undoubtedly a part of the solution. Likewise, the plastic problem also inspired Rapala to opt for non-plastic packaging regardless of the fact that plastic packaging is more affordable. As stated by Väisänen, ' we at Rapala believe that plastic packaging will become a much more expensive option in the future, so we want to work hard to get rid of them in time.'
The overall impact of Sufix Recycline includes substantial environmental benefits in the fishing tackle manufacturing industry because it contributes to cleaner oceans and the conservation of natural resources. From a broader societal perspective, Sufix Recycline is also essential in creating meaningful fishing experiences in anglers’ lives; they get to explore the nature around them and be active outdoors. Therefore, recreational fishing is a great way to improve anglers' mental and physical well-being. Additionally, recreational fishing with Sufix Recycline can help manage and naturally balance fish stocks.
Rapala has demonstrated its eagerness to achieve positive environmental impact in its sustainability strategy as it aims to become one of the leading fish tackle manufacturers in sustainability by 2024. Rapala’s sustainability strategy includes several sub-goals, such as running their lure production units with 100 % renewable energy, which they succeeded in during 2021. This indicates clearly that a positive environmental impact has occurred due to the innovation. Rapala has also taken other forms of a concrete initiative to achieve its ambitious sustainability goals; they joined forces with Keep the Archipelago Tidy Association in their Catch & Recycle campaign that encouraged anglers to pick up the litter found in their favorite fishing spots. All in all, Rapala’s Sufix Recycline is tackling both short- and long-term environmental challenges successfully.
Rapala aims to create new products for a better future in the fishing industry, with the mission to contribute to a cleaner tomorrow. Seeing that the Sufix Recycline was created as a result of an internal wish to contribute to the sustainability of the future, it directly supports Rapala’s mission. Although the product isn’t the most significant revenue enhancer, it is part of long-term strategic investments to eliminate plastic, which Rapala believes will become more expensive. Besides creating an economic advantage by removing inappropriate materials, the innovation could also be described as a kick starter for sustainability within the fishing field. Rapala believes that being the first company to provide 100% sustainable fishing gear is a way to distinguish itself from competitors, and Sufix Recycline marks the start of that competitive advantage.
With the help of Sufix Recycline, Rapala aims to continue as a trendsetter in their field. They aim to make sustainable products with considerate care, leading the customer to prefer the sustainable option as it performs better than the original less-sustainable product. From a business point of view, Sufix Recycline, therefore, supports Rapala’s mission and creates a competitive advantage. In addition, it enables sustainable growth while continuing to innovate sustainable solutions under Rapala VMC.
This innovation also has a lasting impact on society because it communicates the real worry about the environment to the customers. Due to the shared global fear, Rapala can speak about sustainability targets related to the environment with the customers. The core lies in providing concrete action and products that positively impact the environment, leading to tangible, measurable change. As the company provides sustainable solutions, it also makes it possible to achieve a lasting difference in customer habits as buyers.
Sufix Recycline's environmental benefits are clear. They use reproduced materials harvested from the ocean and make sustainable new products in durable ways. Rapala and Sufix are reminding us that the social benefits are often overlooked. Rapala VMC and Sufix have launched ECOCHOICE, a commitment to change for social benefits. As a company operating in the water, they have many reasons to keep it clean. Therefore, Rapala is trying to join, support, and give to diverse groups joined by water. Rapala helps young anglers in multiple ways, for example, financially, teaching, and by arranging events. Rapala is endorsing learning and becoming comfortable with water and nature by supporting diverse communities, such as young anglers. Being a part of a community operating in nature raises individuals' awareness of the well-being of their surroundings. Hopefully, they will lead a new generation with an innovative mindset for a sustainable way of living. Väisänen continues to highlight the social benefits of being outdoors. As it has a significant positive impact on humans both mentally and physically, and due to this, we should aim to take good care of nature.
Taneli Väisänen, Sustainability Manager
Rapala is best known as a fishing company, providing various kinds of products to customers in recreational fishing. Besides fishing gear, Rapala owns several companies in different fields, such as the skiing company Peltonen and a company producing high-quality knives called Marttiini.