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Tetra Pak's Sustainability Update Highlights Its Progress on 'Protecting What's Good'

Tetra Pak‘s just-released 2014 Sustainability Update highlights the processing and packaging giant's 2013 progress in a variety of areas.

"The Tetra Pak brand is founded on a promise: PROTECT WHAT'S GOOD,” said Dennis Jonsson, president and CEO of Tetra Pak Group. “At its core, that's about protecting food ... which has long lain at the very heart of our business agenda. But it goes further. It is also about protecting people: our employees, the communities in which we operate, and society as a whole. And it is about protecting futures; by developing the products and services that will support the future business growth of our customers, and by acting and operating in ways that best protect the future of our planet. Tetra Pak produces the Sustainability Update on an annual basis to explain how we are delivering on that promise."

Among the highlights outlined in the report:

  • Increasing recycling: Tetra Pak is a founding member of the Carton Council, whose work helped raise the household access rate for carton recycling in the US from 41.5 percent to 48 percent during 2013. The company says carton recycling in the US reached 50 percent in June, taking the total number of US households able to recycle cartons above 58 million.
  • Renewable packaging: In 2013, 1.1 billion packages were delivered to customers worldwide featuring bio-based caps (made from plastic derived from sugarcane), nearly doubling the number sold in 2012. On average, Tetra Pak says its cartons were already made of 70 percent renewable resources, and bio-based caps increase the renewable content of those packages by approximately 4 percent.
  • Reducing food waste: The introduction of Tetra Alcross® RO Lite in 2013 provided small and medium-sized cheese producers with a filtration solution that extracts value from whey, a by-product of cheese manufacturing that was previously dumped as food waste.
  • Collecting climate data: Tetra Pak says it put considerable effort into developing robust systems and methods to reliably collect climate data. The 2013 results, which have been audited and validated by independent external consultants, showed that the company is making steady progress towards its 2020 targets — to cap climate impact across the value chain to 2010 levels, despite business growth.
  • Dairy Hubs: Tetra Pak and Tetra Laval Food for Development expanded joint activities on Dairy Hubs. In partnership with PRAN Dairy Ltd, two Dairy Hubs were set up in Bangladesh as collection stations with testing and cooling facilities, while at the same time serving as training centers for local farmers. Tetra Pak says this has enabled the average daily yield per cow to rise by 80 percent and the average monthly income of 2,000 smallholder farmers to more than double from October 2010 to December 2013.

Tetra Pak US and Canada recently launched "Moving To The Front," a campaign centered on a new white paper that highlights issues of resource scarcity and encourages suppliers, manufacturers, brand owners, NGOs and others to expand focus from the mid and end of the packaging life cycle to the beginning. Moving to the Front highlights the need for industry practices that focus on the importance of sustainable material sourcing and renewable resources in protecting our world's limited natural resources and how these practices can create long-term shared value for businesses and society.

A survey released in November by Research Data + Insights on behalf of the Carton Council revealed that consumers overwhelmingly believe that product companies and their brands play a crucial role in recycling: Of 1,000 adults surveyed across the U.S., 86 percent responded that they expect food and beverage brands to actively help increase the recycling of their packages.

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