Rexam’s ‘can-do’ attitude prompts positive progress on green goals

Global beverage can maker Rexam has achieved 16 out of 20 sustainability commitments set in 2010, with an ongoing pledge to deliver "a thriving circular economy" for the sector by championing product and project innovation.

Rexam’s sustainability report for 2015 details progress on 20 three-year green commitments that were set in 2010, along with 12 individual green commitments and 15 measures set by the company last year – just two of which they aren’t on track to be met by 2020. 

The company is currently on course to meet all of its product-related commitments by 2020. This includes a goal of pushing five innovative product projects out of the ‘gate stage’ each year – last year, Rexam pushed through 12 projects.

Chief executive Graham Chipcase said: “Rexam set itself three-year sustainability goals in 2010 and I am pleased to report that we have achieved 16 out of the 20 and made good progress on the others despite challenging business conditions. In 2014, we undertook a materiality study to validate our framework and set ourselves updated measures and targets through to 2020. Notable additions are ambitious targets to reduce the carbon footprint of a can by 25% and to reduce water intensity by 10%.

“I am delighted to report that in 2015 we have retained our position in DJSI Europe. This external recognition is vital to show us, and our stakeholders, that we’re on the right track and recognises how far we have embedded sustainability across the business.”

Over the past three years, Rexam saved £44m on efficiency savings, reducing carbon emissions by 5,000 metric tonnes in the process by implementing heat pumps and LED lighting.

By 2020, the company estimates it will reduce carbon emissions from production by a further 7% and reduce waste produce by a further 25%. Currently, the company aims to reduce the six million cubic metres of water it uses per year by 10%. Despite reductions in water use, Rexam is not on course to meet this goal.

The only other goal Rexam is currently behind progress on its getting its employees to engage with local authorities and facilities to promote new initiatives. A list of Rexam’s 2020 goals can be found here.

Global schemes

Rexam’s global recycling rate for beverage cans is currently around 70%, thanks in large to Brazil where 98% of cans a recycled. Rexam has launched a number of region specific schemes to help implement recycling habits into its sector and consumers.

The Every Can Counts (ECC) programme, which Rexam funds and helps manage, has continued to expand in Europe and now operates in eight countries. The company’s own Community Can Challenge, running since 2011 saw 200,000 cans equal to over 30 metric tonnes of CO2 collected in 2014. In America, Rexam’s plants collected a total of 1,836 metric tonnes of aluminium cans.

Recycling forms just one part of Rexam’s push for introducing a circular economy into the beverage can sector. Last year, a comprehensive materiality study carried out by the company sparked the development of the 12 new sustainability commitments. And earlier this year, edie reported on the company’s alliance with Carlsberg as one of the founding partners of the Carlsberg Circular Economy.

2015 Rexam Sustainability Report Final


Matt Mace

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