Deputy First Minister John Swinney toured Lockerbie packaging company DS Smith last week and praised the company's focus on innovation and workforce development.
Mr Swinney, who is also Finance and Economy Secretary, was invited to visit the plant by the SNP Candidate for Dumfriesshire, Joan McAlpine.
Ms McAlpine has toured the Lockerbie facility as an MSP and was impressed with new general manager Andrew Pearson's commitment to community engagement as well as the sophistication of the design and manufacturing on site.
After the visit Ms McAlpine said:
"DS Smith are the biggest employer inside Lockerbie town and the vast majority of workers are local. The plant meets all the criteria for the Scottish Government's business pledge, which recognises companies which pay the living wage, invest in training, promote gender equality and workforce participation. So I was keen that John got to visit it and he was impressed too."
She continued: "This plant is highly innovative - designing and manufacturing sophisticated packing systems for top end clients like Mars and Nestle - and looking for more customers all the time. D S Smith is a Europe wide company and the Lockerbie site is at the top end of their production capability - which really fits with the SNP government's "Innovation Nation" focus."
The Deputy First Minister shook hands and spoke to everybody he met on the factory floor and offices. He learned about the high standards of printing and importance of colour consistency and viewed the lines which cut, fold and glue the cartons.
Mr Pearson explained that DS Smith has its own recycling plants and very little is wasted. Ms McAlpine said she was keen to spread the word about the environmentally friendly nature of the business.
"Good packaging can actually REDUCE waste and not enough people know that. Poorly packaged products are highly likely to get damaged and then contribute to more landfill. The vast majority of D S Smith products are made from recycled paper/card and the wastage created in cutting, moulding and quality control is all recycled in the company's own plants. When paper is recycled several times over it turns to dust - and at DS Smith that is then used to create energy. It fits very well with our SNP ambition to create a zero waste Scotland"
Mr Swinney used his visit to the region to announce a number of commitments to Dumfries and Galloway should the SNP be returned to government. These include exploring ways to better connect Dumfries to the M74, further upgrades to the A75 and investment in tourism and rural housing.
Pictured: Joan McAlpine, Andrew Pearson, John Swinney, Stuart Pickerill.