Ferrero unveils fresh commitments to sustainable packaging ahead of Christmas
After being criticised by green groups last year for producing heavy and hard-to-recycle plastic packaging, Fererro has joined new industry commitments aimed at reducing plastic use and improving recyclability.
The confectionary giant received unwanted media attention in 2019, after the packaging for its namesake chocolates was found to be among the least recyclable on the UK market in a study by consumer group Which?. As of Christmas 2018, 89% of the packaging, by weight, used to house 359g Ferrero Rocher Collection boxes was not considered recyclable at kerbside.
Ferrero then pledged to invest more in its R&D and Open Innovation departments to improve recyclability and remove “unnecessary” plastic packaging components in the short-term. It also outlined a longer-term vision to source plastic-free alternative materials, including marine compostable solutions.
This week, the firm has become a member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. It had already signed the Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, which binds signatories to reach 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging by 2025. By joining the Foundation, it will be able to collaborate with businesses across the packaging value chain to design and implement new solutions. Other members include SC Johnson and The Lego Group.
Ferrero has also joined the 4evergreen alliance – an initiative bringing together European companies across the fibre-based packaging space. It has not yet announced any time-bound, numerical targets to reduce plastic, but the move to join the alliance points to a desire to explore alternative materials.
“As one of the world’s leading confectionery companies, we’re committed to finding long-term sustainable solutions for packaging and playing our role in tackling this global issue, as we know it is not a simple matter of being plastic or plastic-free,” Ferrero UK’s customer development director Levi Boorer said.
“Each product we make requires a specific packaging approach and a careful selection of materials with the dual aim of maintaining product quality and food safety while minimising the environmental carbon impact.”
European Plastics Pact
In related news, UK-based charity WRAP has been asked to act as secretariat and technical support for the European Plastics Pact, building on its successes with the UK Plastics Pact.
The European Plastics Pact has been signed by 15 national governments, 82 businesses, three regional governments and 43 other organisations including NGOs, trade associations and investors.
It consists of commitments to ensure that all plastics packaging is reusable or recyclable; to reduce virgin plastic use by 20%; to increase recycling capacity by 25% and to increase recycled plastic content to at least 30% of packaging by weight. All commitments have a 2025 deadline.
The pact is being overseen by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which this week published a roadmap outlining steps signatories should be taking through to 2025. Produced with support from WRAP, the roadmap is based around three pillars – “eliminate”, “innovate” and “circulate”.
“The European Plastics Pact Roadmap will mobilise signatories to act, and focus on key outcomes that deliver these ambitious targets," WRAP's chief executive Marcus Gover said. "It will transform our use of plastics across Europe, just as we’re doing in the UK through the first Plastic Pact. Let ours be the generation that hands those who follow the solution to the problem of plastic pollution.”