Desafío 10X | Interview with Eliana Moreno from Unibag


A sustainable revolution called Unibag: 10X Company leads the reusable bag market in Chile reusable bags in Chile

Eliana Moreno, Unibag’s Innovation and Sustainability Manager, told us how they have laid the foundations of a business model that has made them pioneers in the laid the foundations of a business model that has made them pioneers in the circular economy and whose products are now present in different countries. economy and whose products are now present in several Latin American countries. Latin America.

“We want to be the best company for the planet” is a phrase at the heart of Unibag’s purpose.
is a phrase that lies at the heart of Unibag’s purpose.

But before becoming the company it is today, it all started with an innovative idea that materialized in 2013.

“I am Argentinean, my husband is Chilean, and when we started to shape this project we decided to have the factory here in Chile because, at the time, there were no manufacturers of reusable bags,” said Eliana Moreno, co-founder of Unibag and manager of Innovation and Sustainability.

In addition, the country’s progress in environmental and sustainability issues represented an opportunity that could not be missed.

“The quality left much to be desired, there was no variety and there were few design alternatives […] We knew that this was a product that we could not afford to buy […].

that, as the country continued to advance in sustainability issues, it would have a greater boom”, Eliana said in a conversation in which she detailed the path taken by Unibag during the last decade and emphasized the important role of the private sector in society and in reducing wage gaps.


The road to success

Unibag’s start, as with many companies, was not easy, but they were confident in the potential of their products and the positive impact they could generate.

“Our first customers were in the public sector and we also made bags for companies that used them for marketing or advertising campaigns. Generally they were small orders and we spent almost three years working with orders of 2,000 or 5,000 bags, sometimes 10,000 at the most. It was all uphill,” Eliana confessed.

However, the boom in reusable bags coincided with Unibag’s entry into retail and something she considers key: the inclination of companies and individuals towards reuse.

“Reusable bags were no longer just a marketing tool; the trade realized that they had to make changes to their packaging and bags, offering the alternative to customers to buy reusable ones […] At that time, being the only local reusable bag factory, the retail saw that it was faster to buy from Unibag because we could have their orders in 15 days with a customized and personalized development,” he said.

Since then, Unibag has experienced a series of milestones in its trajectory that have translated into a success that has made it a pioneer in its field: from developing a catalog of products and solutions based on sustainability, to crossing borders and establishing itself in countries such as Peru, Mexico and, soon, the United States.


Lessons from the pandemic

The consolidation of the business model through retail companies marked a before and after for Unibag and was the gateway to explore international markets. “We were growing in the Chilean market and we saw that we could make bags of excellent quality, increase production capacity and continue to specialize in manufacturing and design processes. It was time to take the leap: Our main customers were also based in other countries, so why not serve them in those places that were turning to reuse and sustainability?” said Eliana.

However, in the midst of this process that took them first to Peru and then to Mexico, the pandemic occurred, an event that was a turning point for the business world.

“We began to notice a lower demand, something we were already experiencing since the social explosion, but we knew we had the possibility to innovate and create a new product. Taking advantage of the filtration capacity of our fabrics, and in view of the scarcity of masks, we started to sell this fabric for the manufacture of homemade masks. At one point we said ‘let’s do it ourselves’, i.e., we retrofit our machines for

We were able to respond quickly to that demand, we had the personnel, the material and so we were able to we develop antibacterial face masks with all the certifications and under our own standardsThat time was an enormous learning experience, even in the most adverse times we were able to move forward with innovation and it gave us the opportunity to keep all our workers and hire more people”, he emphasized.


The role of companies in society

From Eliana’s point of view, the business model of companies can be a powerful tool to generate change, and that is something they have in mind at Unibag.

That is why throughout these ten years they have always looked for ways to improve and generate a positive impact from what they do, a path that led them to to be certified as Company Bto implement a system that allows them to operate with solar energy (reducing CO2 emissions by almost 250 tons per year) and committing to reduce the wage gap by be part of Desafío 10X.

“Challenge 10X is a concrete way to make visible the intention that all companies have to really be more empathetic with workers […] People often don’t have the best vision about entrepreneurs and 10X is an opportunity to demonstrate that it is possible to work in a different way“, said Unibag’s co-founder.

He also stressed that the main resource of organizations is not raw materials or machinery, but the people who are part of the work team.

“Achieving our goals depends on uniting the strength of our workers, and Desafio 10X offers us the possibility of infecting more companies so that they can do the same. That is why we invite more organizations to be part of the initiative, because Chile needs to be a country with more opportunities for all,” he said.


Do you have a company and want to be part of Desafío 10X? It is very simple. Whether you already you meet the requirements or want to commit to meeting them within a maximum period of 2 years. years,
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This post is also available in: Spanish