Product, Service & Design Innovation
Sunny Delight Celebrates 5 Years of Zero Waste to Landfill, Further Sustainability Progress

On Thursday, Sunny Delight Beverages Co. (SDBC) released its fifth annual Sustainability Report, detailing its sustainability goals and progress — including an $85 million investment in new production equipment to improve efficiency, a significant reduction in the calorie count for its beverages, and sustaining zero waste to landfill for the fifth consecutive year.

"Achieving zero waste to landfill was difficult, but even more challenging is maintaining zero waste to landfill," said Ellen Iobst, chief sustainability officer and SVP of supply chain. "This accomplishment requires creativity, innovation and tenacity from people who are passionate about environmental stewardship. We are proud of our workforce's efforts to maximize our impact while minimizing our footprint."

The report highlights achievements such as a 3 percent reduction in water use per unit, a 17 percent reduction in energy use, and a 10 percent reduction in carbon footprint per unit. And the company says the investment in improving production efficiency helped boost company revenue 3 percent.

In addition, Iobst says the company is also pleased to have reduced the calorie count in its beverages 50 percent, from an average of 92 in 2007 to 48 today.

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“Socially, we need to be taking care of the communities where we do business and our employees,” she says. “This is a way to help alleviate the obesity epidemic.”

Other environmental improvements include reducing packaging material by 24 million pounds, improving shipping efficiency by shipping loads on trucks more than 90 percent full, and using fuel-efficient and natural gas-burning carriers. A redesign of its gallon-sized bottles to a more square shape also improved shipping efficiency by packing more tightly and eliminating wasted space. The company achieved zero-waste manufacturing three years ago and has a goal of a zero-waste headquarters by 2015.

Also as part of its environmental efforts, the company has teamed with its bottle makers to bring the bottle manufacturing process to its juice manufacturing plants or within a short distance to help eliminate the need to transport the bottles to its plants.

Its economic achievements include maintaining its position as one of the fastest-growing beverage companies in the world while introducing drinks that are nearly 50 percent lower in calories. This initiative has also lowered sugar in 99 percent of the company’s beverages and includes smaller portion sizes with fortified nutrition for school children. In its efforts to help consumers understand calories and nutrition, the company was one of the first to list calorie and nutrition information on the front of packaging.

Sunny Delight still has some lofty goals on its list for the future, including reducing water and energy use and its overall carbon footprint by 25 percent by the year 2015, according to its report.

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