Tetra Pak to ensure Net-zero GHG emissions across the value chain by 2050

Prioritizing the minimization of the impact of its operations on the environment, innovating to produce planet-friendly products, and much more
Tetra Pak to ensure Net-zero GHG emissions across the value chain by 2050
Photo - Tetra Pak

The food industry is one of the most environmentally impactful industries in the world today. Food processing, packaging, and distribution constitute a huge supply chain from the raw material to the final dispatch stage. What cannot be ignored is that it generates waste and other by-products that have the potential to pollute the environment. This is driving food production and packaging companies around the globe to take measures to generate greener, more sustainable, and more eco-friendly products. One of the top players in this domain is Tetra Pak. 

A pioneer and world-leading food processing and packaging solutions company, Tetra Pak works closely with its customers and suppliers to provide safe, innovative, and environmentally sound products that each day meet the needs of hundreds of millions of people in more than 160 countries. 

Juhi Gupta, director - Sustainability at Tetra Pak South Asia
Juhi Gupta, director - Sustainability at Tetra Pak South Asia

Discussing the need for sustainability in the food packaging industry, Juhi Gupta, director - Sustainability at Tetra Pak South Asia, said, "The growing demand for safe, nutritious food in an ecosystem with the presence of scarce raw materials has made it imperative to build sustainable packaging solutions. For this, Tetra Pak looks at the complete life cycle of any package it builds - from sourcing to production, distribution, and end-of-life and tries to integrate recyclability during the design stage. We aim to build the world's most sustainable food package, which includes increasing the use of materials that reduce the impact on nature, thereby increasing the paper-based and plant-based content in Tetra Pak's packages."

Photo - Tetra Pak

Planet-friendly packages

Gupta believes that continuous investment in innovation is one way that helps Tetra Pak offer solutions that are not only consumer-friendly but also easier on the planet. Its carton packages, for example, are based primarily on paper board, a renewable resource that is also recyclable. However, some challenges need to be focused on. She elaborated, "The biggest hurdle in the efficient waste management in India is lack of segregation at source. This is up to each one of us because if recyclable waste needs to be recycled, it must first be recovered from mixed waste."

Conscious consumption also plays a big role in protecting the environment; as she described, "Every time you pick up a food or beverage package, you have the choice to buy a package made from fossil-fuel based materials, or a paper-based one."

The Net Zero target

As a company and in line with the Paris Accord, Tetra Pak has set a target to be Net Zero on GHG emissions in its operations by 2030; by 2030, it should have reduced emissions by 46% over 2019 and aims to be Net Zero across the entire value chain by 2050. 

According to Gupta, Tetra Pak focuses on four areas: acting for nature, acting for climate, acting for people/communities, and driving circular solutions.

  • Tetra Pak acts to mitigate climate change by decarbonizing its operations, products, and its value chain. 

  • In terms of circular solutions, Tetra Pak designs recyclable liquid food packaging using recycled and renewable materials and expands collection and recycling to keep materials in use and out of landfills. In 2021, it invested €40 million in collecting and recycling infrastructure contributing to 50 billion cartons being collected and sent to a recycler.

Describing the company's decarbonization strategy, she said, "It is centered around the four key elements of our value chain: sourcing and transportation of our raw materials, our operations, the equipment used by food and beverage manufacturers in their factories, and the end-of-life management of our packages."

She went on to tell us how in 2021, by accelerating the deployment of its plant-based portfolio, Tetra Pak saved 96 kilotonnes of CO2 compared to fossil-based plastic. Additionally, it went from 20% use of renewable electricity in 2014 to 80% in 2021. The journey includes doubling its renewable solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity from 2.7MW to 5.5MW in 2021.

Food.People.Planet- Tetra Pak's approach towards sustainability

Tetra Pak's approach to sustainability is driven by its purpose. The company commits to making food safe and available everywhere and promises to protect what's good, food, people, and the planet. Regarding the company's initiatives to protect the planet's future, Gupta said, "We consider impacts not only in our operations but in the systems that we operate and across our entire value chain, including our suppliers, customers' operations, and the recycling of our packages. From School Feeding Programmes to our circular economy commitments to our Diversity and Inclusion initiatives, we constantly strive towards safeguarding our employees and supporting local communities where we operate to help protect our planet's future and customers' long-term success."

Tetra Pak continues to make strides in being sustainable while providing customers with the best services. As part of its sustainability approach, the company undertakes a materiality assessment every two years by applying the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) principle of materiality. This ensures that it keeps up to date with the changing sustainability priorities. Commenting on the company's efforts in preventing the wastage of beverage cartons that are not recycled or recovered for energy, she said, "We are investing up to €40 million annually in the coming years to strengthen the collection and recycling of beverage cartons worldwide. In 2022, we invested nearly €30 million in different projects globally to support our strategic targets in this area."

"Our commitment is to ensure Net-zero GHG emissions across the value chain by 2050 and balance residual emissions by investing in nature-based land restoration program," she signed off.

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