Interview with Mr. Toni Shterev, CEO of PaperMade, made by DarikNews
Today in the city of Varna started a very interesting initiative combining both humanity and ecology. The joint campaign “Generous to people, caring for the environment” of the Bulgarian Red Cross and Company PaperMade with charity for those in need, also pursues formation of environmental awareness and behavior among youngsters. Within the event students from the city of Varna create thousands of original Christmas cards. The works of young artists are made on artistic, recycled paper, and that way the authors want to show their commitment not only to their peers with disabilities, but also to our common home – the Earth.
All cards will be included in the charity bazaar to raise funds on the national program “Hot Lunch”, which provides year-round food for the poorest students in Bulgaria. The bazaar this year is held on 14th and 15th December in Grand Mall Varna.
The general sponsor of the green initiative – Company PaperMade – is specialized in producing household products for the European market and traditionally supports “green” events. This is the second joint humanitarian campaign of the Red Cross, that PaperMade funds in Bulgaria, and especially for the official start of the initiative in Varna the Executive Director of the company arrived – Mr. Toni Shterev. At the press conference in the building of the Bulgarian Red Cross – Varna, Mr. Shterev, visibly excited by the enthusiasm of students and volunteers of the organization, announced additional sponsorship for traditional charity concert “Together for Christmas”, which was held in Varna Opera Theatre. Here is what the young entrepreneur said:
Mr. Shterev why do you search for a relationship between ecology and human care?
The relationship is available and there is no need to search. Caring for the environment is also care for all people. The cleaner the nature is, the healthier we will be, and health is a fundamental criterion for the quality of life.
At the same time, the lack of livelihood could push anyone to unreasonable extremes. For example, in countries in crisis it is very difficult to talk about ecology, because every person, every parent first thinks about the livelihoods and then everything else. There are dozens of examples of “dirty” industries built on this logic. The bad thing is that crises come and go, but a disastrous imprint might weigh upon nature a hundred years. Therefore, human care and care for the environment must go hand in hand.
Isn’t it more normal to speak about ecology in the context of pristine natural places – wild beaches, untouched mountains, etc.?
Yes – prima facie. But today the majority of the population is concentrated in cities, and here we should focus our efforts. Otherwise we will increasingly accept nature as something abstract of documentary films. At the same time we all yearn for more greenery around us in our daily routine.
Regarding this, our company has been developing the initiative “Ecology in an urban environment’ for several years, which is dedicated to planting of appropriate spaces in urban areas. I.e. we want to bring the green idea to the people as a way of everyday life. Not just ecology but eco-logic in everything we do. Soon, as a part of this concept, we plan to do something that will appeal to many local people of the city of Varna, but I will keep it a secret for now.
What is your personal motivation to support such initiatives?
My company has a successful international trading and manufacturing of household products in two product lines – sanitary materials of paper and stretch films. Both products are related to the environment and its resources. That made me in 2010 to redirect 80% of the production of paper products to a production that uses recycled materials. Similar challenge is ahead to stretch film, but one thing is certain – separate collection is the right way of economic and environmental perspective.
I deeply realize that we can not deny the conveniences of modern times and I am not an enemy of progress, but we can certainly be more reasonable in our actions. This is what can I do, but it is important what each one of us can do.
Why in Varna?
Because I’m from Varna. I was born here and although I emigrated to Germany with my family at the age of 13, to this day I have friends and roots here. I often try get back and I registered the company in Varna, although my main activities are in Poland and Germany. I speak 5 languages, but Bulgaria is my motherland.