Today, Sealed Air, the packaging solutions company that brought you Bubble Wrap®, released its latest sustainability report. The report outlines new goals for 2020, including reducing operations intensity by 25 percent.
Based on a 2012 baseline, Sealed Air aims to achieve 25 percent reductions in water intensity (liter/$), energy intensity (kWh/$), and greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity (kg CO2 equivalent/$) by 2020. So far, it has achieved reductions of 6.1 percent, 2.9 percent, and 7.8 percent, respectively. Diverting 100 percent of product and process waste from landfills is the fourth environmental operations target. The company has already reduced waste intensity (kg/$) by 26 percent since 2012.
Sealed Air’s final four goals are intended for wider societal benefit, and do not seem to have quantifiable milestones for 2020. These vague targets include expanding food security, creating healthy clean environments, promoting resource conservation, and improving lives around the globe by addressing pressing needs. It is unclear what measures the company will take to achieve these goals, however, its food security initiatives will consider access, safety, and waste, and leverage its packaging technologies to extend food shelf life. Sealed Air worked with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the China Chainstore and Franchise Association (CCFA) to improve the safety and efficiency of China’s poultry supply. One of Sealed Air’s most successful hygiene improvement initiatives is Soap for HopeTM, a program that operates in 10 countries. Soap for Hope teaches at-risk communities to salvage soap slivers from hotels and turn them into new soap bars. The soap is distributed to communities in need. For a typical 400-room hotel, Sealed Air estimates that Soap for Hope can save 3.5 tons of solid soap waste each year.
Sealed Air’s new report includes results from a survey of U.S. customers that confirm food waste is a persistent problem, and not many recognize packaging’s role in helping to minimize it: 78 percent of respondents said they had wasted food, 77 percent says food waste impacts their household budget, and 81 percent would think more highly of food stores that sell products that help consumers avoid wasting purchased food. Only 34 percent of respondents believed that the amount of packaging used represents a retailer’s environmental policies and commitments, nearly 50 percent of Americans think that packaging represents the value of the shipment, and 66 percent believe the packaging of a shipment shows how much the retailer cares about the customer and their order.
Sealed Air’s goals echo those recently made by fellow packaging company Avery Dennison. Earlier this month, Avery Dennison released its goals for 2025, which include an emissions reduction target of at least 26 percent.