SWITZERLAND – Multinational food packaging and processing company Tetra Pak has released its 22nd annual sustainability report highlighting the company progress in creating a better world than it found it.  

In the report, Tetra Pak noted that it had managed to achieve 70 percent greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) reduction in its own operations from 2010 to 2020, Scope 1 and 2. 

 The company, currently working on achieving net-zero GHG emissions in it own operations by 2030, also reported to have reduced total emissions by 19 percent within the same time frame. 

“While the COVID-19 pandemic threw up unprecedented challenges, it also served as an important catalyst for change in many ways,” Lisa Ryden, sustainable development director at Tetra Pak, said.  

“For Tetra Pak, the pandemic made our sustainability strategy even more important, because it demonstrated clearly how the planet, society and the economy cannot each survive in isolation.” 

As part of efforts to cut down its carbon emissions, tetra Pak extended the use of renewable electricity across its factories to 83 percent in 2020, up from 69 percent in 2019, which surpasses its target of 80 percent. 

Making packaging sustainable

To further cut its carbon emissions, Tetra Pak revealed that it made several adjustments to its packaging. 

Last year, it carried out a limited commercial launch of its first non-foil aseptic packaging solution, which replaces the aluminum layer with a polymer film applied with a Tetra Pak proprietary coating.    

Additionally, Tetra Pak sold 13.5 billion plant-based packages and 7.5 billion plant-based caps, made from segregated plant-based polymers, fully traceable to their sugarcane origins. 

For its contributions towards sustainable packaging, Tetra Pak was awarded the 2020 Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) Advanced Products certification.

The company now has a   portfolio of tethered cap solutions ready to deploy, ahead of the 2024 EU regulation requiring caps to be tethered to bottles.

Championing sustainable processing 

Throughout the past year, Tetra Pak also launched its first complete processing line for white cheese, designed to ensure high food safety standards while at the same time minimizing product loss. 

It also promoted the benefits of consuming milk in aseptic packages rather than loose milk in reused containers as part of its ongoing loose milk conversion initiative. 

Meanwhile, Tetra Pak launched a low-energy processing line for juice, nectar and still drinks to take beverage processing to “a new level of efficiency.”  

Instead of pasteurizing the whole volume of the product, the new production line separates out water and pasteurizes only the concentrate. 

Supporting a circular economy

In supporting a truly circular economy, Tetra Pak has made great efforts in making its carton packages widely recyclable. 

Moreover, the company increased its global carton package recycling rate of 27 percent, as well as its carton package recycling facilities to more than 170 worldwide. 

Last year, Tetra Pak also became a member of the Holy Grail 2.0 consortium to develop digital watermarking technology for enhanced packaging recycling. 

Ultimately, in Tetra Pak’s view, packaging recycling should be a responsibility shared by governments, local authorities, producers and citizens.  

“Our sustainability report reiterates the need for a comprehensive, holistic approach to sustainability – where we are protecting the food that is produced globally, the people that we work with, and the planet we live in,” Said Tetra Pak President and CEO Adolfo Orive.

 “The last year has seen significant progress across all these areas, as well as towards our future ambitions to achieve net zero emissions across the value chain by 2050 and to deliver the world’s most sustainable food package.”   

Looking ahead, Tetra Pak has set additional ambitious commitments, such as reaching 46% GHG reduction across its value chain by 2030, in line with a 1.5C pathway. 

The company also plans to launch a fully renewable aseptic package by 2023 and achieving a 70% recycling rate in Europe by 2025.  

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