In its annual recap of corporate responsibility endeavours, food giant Mars confirmed that 100% of its factories around the world have now achieved zero-waste-to-landfill status, while Ford’s 2016 Sustainability Report reveals that that the group has achieved zero-waste-to-landfill at all of its manufacturing plants in Europe.

These zero-waste-to-landfill announcements follow a series of similar waste milestones hit by major companies such as Unilever, Nestle and RB as the corporate world gradually begins to discover the benefits of moving towards a resource efficient economy.

Circular thinking

Mars’ Principles in Action publication highlights how the company now eliminates, reuses or converts to energy all of the waste from its nine million tonnes of product annually – signifying a vast improvement on the 146,000 tonnes of waste sent to landfill in 2007.

Commenting on the achievement, Mars’s chief sustainability, health and wellbeing officer Barry Parkin said: “Our first step is to focus on our offices and factories, where we have direct control. For more than five years, we have worked to make our operations Sustainable in a Generation by aiming to eliminate fossil fuel use and reducing our water use and waste.”

Meanwhile, Ford’s own achievement has seen waste from the 1.2 million vehicles thatit produces in Europe each year reduced by 6,000 tonnes since 2011. Innovative measures employed to achieve zero waste-to-landfill include the briquetting of grinding sludge from Ford’s Dagenham engine plant in the UK, so that the oil can be re-used in the production process.

“We have introduced a range of measures that have not only significantly reduced our reliance on landfill for our manufacturing plants, but removed it entirely,” explained Ford’s environmental quality office Europe manager Andreas Reiss. “This achievement is a fantastic base to push on from and further improve in areas such as water and electricity usage reductions as Ford of Europe drives towards the company’s global sustainability ambitions.”

Carbon-neutral vision

Elsewhere in Mars’ sustainability report, which tracks progress using scientifically credible metrics, major highlights include a reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from its operations by 5% since 2007 and an impressive 86% of palm oil traceable back to the mill in 2015. The company failed to achieve its target in water use reductions, achieving only 16.9% as opposed to its goal of 25% compared to 2007.

Mars’ latest CSR report comes off the back of a flurry of sustainability commitments in the past year as part of the food giant’s vision to become carbon-neutral across its global operations by 2040. The company recently committed to purchasing 100% renewable electricity to power all 12 of its UK factories, while Mars’ global sustainability director told edie that the firm is considering adopting an internal price on carbon to help it prepare for future low-carbon policies.

Ford, meanwhile, notes reductions in global facility CO2 emissions per vehicle produced by 27% compared to a 2010 baseline; global water use per vehicle produced by 35% compared to 2009, and global waste sent to landfill by 54% percent per vehicle produced compared to a 2011 benchmark.

The automotive giant is placing an increasing focus on innovation as a way of driving sustainable business – in May, for instance, the group set itself a five-year window to introduce new foam and plastic components made from carbon dioxide feedstock, as the carmaker becomes the first in its industry to test the viability of CO2-based materials.

edie’s Resource Revolution Conference

Industrial applications of the circular economy is a central focus of the edie Resource Revolution Conference.

Taking place on 5 July, the edie Resource Revolution Conference provides resource management, sustainability, waste, product, supply chain and design professionals with tools they need to rethink their approach to resource use and waste outputs, drive organisational efficiencies, behaviour change and profitability, and effect a revolution in their company’s sustainability credentials.

You can view the agenda of the conference here at register to attend here.

George Ogleby

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