AIMPLAS closed 2020 with revenue of €14.6 million (a 10% increase) after opening new facilities for research on polymer synthesis, recycling and health. The technology centre’s management was awarded the Sello EFQM 500+ (EFQM Excellence Recognition 5 Stars) for 2020 and AIMPLAS was included in the GPTW ranking of the best companies to work for. Social return on AIMPLAS investments in 2020 amounted to €10.5 for every euro invested, according to the SROI calculations by an independent consulting firm.
The 2020 financial year was marked by the health, economic and social effects of the COVID-19 health crisis. In this context, AIMPLAS, the Plastics Technology Centre, made all its resources and knowledge available to society. The centre did not stop its activity a single day and immediately got to work on short-term solutions, such as 3D printing and manufacture of face shields supplied to healthcare workers in hospitals and nursing homes, as well as long-term solutions, which involved carrying out several R&D projects to prevent and fight against COVID-19. This was the case of the development of rapid tests for antibody detection that resulted in a product with a sensitivity of over 98% that was also valid for the Alpha variant, as tested on patients.
AIMPLAS improved in all financial categories in the year of its thirtieth anniversary and the tenth anniversary of the AIMPLAS-UPV Chair. The technology centre closed the 2020 financial year with more than €14.6 million in revenue, a 10% increase over the previous year. 73% of this revenue was generated by 218 R&D&I projects (159 national and 59 international), which generated €40.1 million in direct aid for companies. Another 21% of this revenue came from more than 5,000 technology services provided, while 4% came from 150 training actions for a total of 3,800 hours with 4,400 attendees. The other 2% corresponded to membership fees.
In terms of technological services, AIMPLAS remained the top centre in Spain for the number of ENAC-accredited tests for plastics it performs in accordance with standard UNE-EN ISO/IEC 17025. In 2020, it was accredited as a test laboratory by the Entidad Mexicana de Acreditación (Mexican accreditation body, EMA) under the NMX-EC-17025-IMNC-2018 (ISO/IEC 17025:2017) standard for tests on plastic materials in composting conditions, biodegradation in soil and disintegration in composting. EMA is recognized internationally by both the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC), which bolsters international recognition of AIMPLAS’ accredited tests in Spain.
New sustainable facilities
To keep up with this increase in activity, AIMPLAS has regularly expanded its facilities. In 2020, a new 1,500 m2 unit was designed and built based entirely on environmental sustainability criteria. This unit become the first laboratory building in Spain to obtain BREEAM certification. This new facility houses a pilot plant for chemical processes involving polymer synthesis. Research is also performed here on using CO2 as a renewable raw material, as well as developing new chemical recycling processes and carrying out healthcare research. These and other investments in the year were made possible thanks to the support of the Valencian Community’s Ministry of Sustainable Economy through the Valencian Institute of Business Competitiveness (IVACE), whose cooperation not only helped fund specific projects, but was also key for advancing and consolidating the innovation model implemented by both institutions.
Excellent management recognized by the Sello EFQM 500+
In 2020, AIMPLAS management was also certified as excellent through the Sello EFQM 500+ (EFQM Excellence Recognition 5 Stars) from Club Excelencia en Gestión. This is the highest category it could achieve, which is of note because AIMPLAS had never applied for EFQM recognition before.
The centre has therefore displayed its excellent financial management through its results and EFQM recognition, as well as its people management, given AIMPLAS’ entry for the first time in the Best Workplaces Ranking in Spain, which is released each year by the consulting firm Great Place To Work®. The centre appeared on this prestigious ranking after staff members were consulted about their working conditions.
People were also the focus of the release of the centre’s Third Plan for Equality, an area in which AIMPLAS has always been a pioneer in the industry. At AIMPLAS, 62% of current staff members are women and women are in the majority in all levels of the organization.
Fostering sustainability in all areas
In terms of corporate social responsibility (CSR), AIMPLAS made progress by verifying its 2019 sustainability report and calculating its social return on investment (SROI) for the first time with Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). According to the calculation made by an independent body, for every euro invested in 2020, €10.5 were generated to benefit society. In addition, a total impact of €135 million was generated in Social Development Goals (SDGs) and a total of €30.5 million was generated in terms of the circular economy