Tetra Pak cuts emissions during period of growth

Despite the number of packages sold rising by 16% over the last 12 months, Swedish food processing and packaging company Tetra Pak has revealed that emissions have tumbled as it closes in on its 2020 climate goals.

Announced in the company’s annual sustainability update, Tetra Pak revealed that the number of packages sold in 2015 reach 184 billion. But even with a growth in sales, improvements to energy management and renewable energy purchases have seen emissions fall by 15% against a 2010 baseline.

Tetra Pak’s president Dennis Jönsson said: “Sustainability goes hand in hand with the Tetra Pak brand promise – PROTECTS WHAT’S GOOD™ – and the three pillars on which it stands: food, people and futures. Our activities in all three areas over the past year show sustainability is ever more deeply embedded in our business, in our corporate culture and in the expectations of our customers and consumers.”

With a 2020 target to cap emissions at 2010 levels, Tetra Pak has invested in numerous energy management schemes and frameworks to identify improvements. To date, 63% if the identified savings have been introduced across factories.

Tetra targets

Another contributor to the fall in emissions is Tetra Pak’s purchase of renewable energy. Since 2005, the company has avoided emissions equal to 400,000 tonnes of carbon and has since strengthened this commitment by signing up to the RE100 initiative.  

Alongside the RE100 initiative, the company also became a member of the Circular Economy 100 (CE100) to promote closed-loop operational models. Of the 184 billion packages sold in 2015, 43 billion were Tetra Pack cartons which were subsequently recycled – creating approximately 600,000 tonnes of recycled material in new products.

The company recently announced ambitions to deliver more than 100 million packs of 100% recyclable, bio-based cartons to customers during 2016. One of the flagship products of this goal – the plant-based Tetra Rex package – has now been launched in the US.

The company has also strived to improve its Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification levels, with 29% of all packages sold now containing the FSC logo – a 4% increase from the year prior. As well as passing the 200 billion milestone for FSC labelled packages produced since 2007, 2015 also marked the first year the company reported to CDP’s forests programme. 

However, an improvement to company-wide data collection and management has seen recycling rates fall from 25.7% to 23.6%. Despite this, the company remains positive in reaching a 2020 target to double recycling rates to 40%.

Tetra Pak has also aligned some of its environmental goals to account for trends highlighted in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. No hunger, clean water and sanitation, clean energy and responsible consumption are just some of the goals that the company is hoping to impact.

Earlier this year edie travelled to Sweden, to see how Tetra Pak was embarking on an ambitious mission to drive a global circular economy.

Matt Mace

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