Former employees invited to visit Celbi

In the year that Celbi celebrates five decades, a day was dedicated to those who contributed to the success of what is one of the most efficient companies in its sector worldwide. On 10th July, the former employees were thus able to remember an important part of their lives, reconnect with friends and colleagues and (re) visit the factory facilities, staying informed of the new investments, a day that was highlighted with an animated social lunch. "Relive Good Times" was the motto launched and accepted by 200 people who have dedicated part of their lives to Celbi.

Gratitude and pride

The welcome was given by Nogueira dos Santos, administrator of Celbi, who thanked the presence of so many former employees, also reserving a friendly word and of recognition to all those who, by the law of life or health reasons, were unable to attend the event.

The "50 years of sucess" of Celbi were recalled by the company administrator, who reminded that the “Exame magazine” considered it the best company in the sector of the last 25 years. "It is always good to know that we are not the only ones who consider our company capable of great things, others too," he said. "We have a culture of discipline and a strong orientation for results that justifies being the most efficient company in the world in the production of bleached eucalyptus pulp" he considered.

"Each of you had, during your time, the responsibility of maintaining the culture and values of the company, and transmit them to the next generation. And it is our job to accept the great responsibility of, having collected this testimony, dignify it and pass it on to those who will come after us, "he added. Times change, the shareholders have changed, but the company maintains its identity. "We were once a small company in a large group, when the shareholder was a Swedish giant, and now we are a big company in a small Portuguese group, but Celbi continues to develop itself, to grow and earn the trust of shareholders, who thereby continue to invest and maintain the greatness of the company, to which all of you here have already been part of and certainly did your part, and should be proud of it. Celbi is grateful to all" he concluded.

Souvenirs in the first person

Carlos Guerra is 80 years old. He joined Celbi when he was "very young", and there he worked "nearly for 30 years" during which he accumulated "fond memories, of bosses and colleagues," some of who, he confessed, he had "trouble in recognizing them, after a lot of time”. Visibly touched, he said he was "very pleased" to see the company "so modernized and developed." Francisco Moura has also fond memories of the 34 years he worked in Celbi, and it was with great pleasure that he reunited with old friends and visited the facilities.

"Some things are very different, but others I still know well," he guaranteed. Licínia Gonçalves worked 24 years in Celbi. She began on farms planting eucalyptus, and she was very pleased when she saw a photograph of herself of that time highlighted in the commemorative exhibition of the 50th anniversary of the company. "I was so young ..." she recalled. She was not yet married when she started working for the company in the area of cleanings. "I'm really touched to find so many people I worked with. The factory is enormous, I think I no longer recognize anything. I had not come here for 21 years," she said. Beatriz Maia was one of her closest friends. She joined Celbi when she was 19 years old, "being pregnant of her first child," and it was there that she worked her "entire life". She raised her children, made friends, built memories.

"It's really great to meet these people again, colleagues, bosses, all good people," she said. "I will not visit all because my legs no longer let me walk long distances, but I will definitely go where I can get," she concluded enthusiastically. Martins da Silva knows by heart the date on which he started working in Celbi, "10th February, 1975, when he was 29 years old." He would work in the same company more than that: 37 years, until May 2012. He began in the manufacturing sector, passed for maintenance and ended his career in the IT department. "I think the strength of Celbi is its philosophy. It is a company that began as being Swedish, then it belonged to a Swedish-Finnish group and is now Portuguese, but it has always retained its philosophy: a future vision based on good teams, not only in management but also at the operational level, and a focus on the development, which allowed it to enter and remain in the forefront of the companies in its sector, without neglecting environmental issues and sustainability in general, " the former employee summed up. Alice Mano was 18 when she started working in Celbi. It was in 1966 and the young woman still watched the final stage of the construction of the company.

"We worked in some pre-fabricated buildings, within what would become the warehouse of the paper pulp," she recalled. A new millennium would still arrive with Alice Mano in Celbi. Then, still at the service of the company, she went to work to the head office, at the time StoraEnso, in London, for five years. "My 39 years as a worker were very good. For me it was a school of life," she guaranteed. "I have always had a lot of good relationships in Celbi with people from all departments, I made good friends and it is with great pleasure that I am reunited with them now," she added. The reasons that lead a company to grow over 50 years, she has no doubts. "A management always very rigorous and planned. Even in troubled times like the 25th of April, we should have been one of the few companies in Portugal that managed to cross those revolutionary times with some stability, "she recalled.”We were considered the 'crown jewel'," she concluded, recognizing "the proud" to be part of the History of Celbi. Concluding the gathering, Carlos Van Zeller, CEO of Celbi, assured former employees that the company wants to honor its History, continuing to build it daily. Referring to the "impressive transformations in the last six years," with investments of over 400 million euros in the factory demanding a lot "of the entire organization," Carlos Van Zeller praised the entire team that made possible the aim of the whole project: double the production of Celbi. "We had the concern to renew the team, to get more skills, all for the benefit of the company to continue to focus on efficiency, sustainability and growth that makes Celbi not the largest, but one of the best pulp production factories in Europe" he said.

"In the early 90's, Celbi was producing in the order of 250,000 tonnes, this year it will produce 700 000 and next year, even more," he exemplified. "We were spending 70 m3 of water per ton of pulp produced, today we are at 18 and our goal is to reach briefly at 15," he added. "This is the philosophy of Celbi: use more and better the resources," he added. With regard to energy, as well as being self-sustainable, Celbi also contributes in the national electric grid with "enough energy to power a city of the size of Coimbra". "We will continue to grow, but above all to improve. We want to be the best factory in Europe and one of the best in the world, because we believe that it is possible, with the team we have and we will continue to build, by investing in innovation and, of course, in people, especially in the area of Figueira da Foz, and an increasingly strong relationship with the community, "he concluded. The celebrations of the 50th anniversary of Celbi started off with an exhibition and the launch of the book “A Indústria da pasta de celulose na História da Figueira da Foz – A Celbi 1960 a 1967”, (The Pulp Industry in the History of Figueira da Foz - Celbi 1960-1967), by Manuel Saraiva Santos on 10th March at CAE (Centro de Artes e Espetáculos da Figueira da Foz - Arts and Entertainment Center of Figueira da Foz). This was followed by an Open Day on 30th May for wood suppliers from all over the country; one educational-environmental action to clean Leirosa Beach, in partnership with local institutions, on 13th June, and the commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the placement of the foundation stone of what was then called Celulose Billerud SARL, on 19th June, shared with current employees and perpetuated in a commemorative newspaper, "Primeira Pedra".