Kraft Heinz pledges 100 percent recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging globally by 2025
01 Aug 2018 --- Kraft Heinz has committed to making 100 percent of its packaging globally recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025, while setting science-based goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The move comes as the company looks to up its efforts to reduce natural resource dependency and create a more sustainable environmental footprint in line with the circular economy concept. The announcement was made as an addition to the Heinz’s “Growing a Better World” strategy which was released in last year’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report.
FoodIngredientsFirst speaks to Caroline Krajewski, Head of Global Corporate Reputation, Corporate Affairs and The Kraft Heinz Company Foundation about why packaging is being specifically targeted as a means to improve overall sustainability, and what can and is being done by the company: “We regularly run a materiality analysis that helps us identify, prioritize and rank the topics of greatest importance to both our stakeholders and our business. Packaging sustainability is one of our world’s biggest environmental concerns, and the topic continues to rise in importance to both our stakeholders and our business.”
Krajewski has admitted that Heinz “doesn’t have all the answers yet” when it comes to finding more sustainable packaging material choices but she says the company “looks forward to building and executing a successful strategy over the next seven years” to find the best solutions.
Heinz has explored and implemented lightweighting and sourced reduction initiatives to decrease the net environmental impact of its packaging: “One example is on our 8-count Kraft Easy Mac Cups, where an optimized carton design and production shift aims to reduce secondary packaging material by nearly two million pounds per year,” Krajewski explains to FoodIngredientsFirst.
“We also recently shortened the width of our ready-to-drink pouches (while keeping the volume of beverage in-tact), reducing total packaging by more than 1.8 billion square millimeters of film each year – the equivalent of almost 350 football fields worth of packaging material,” she adds.
Kraft Heinz recently exceeded its commitment to reduce the weight of its global packaging by 50,000 metric tons. Additionally, Kraft Heinz Europe is working to make the recyclable Heinz Tomato Ketchup PET plastic bottle fully circular by 2022, by using recycled material that can be made back into food-grade packaging.
A plastics circular economy
What are Heinz doing to facilitate the infrastructure needed for large-scale recycling and a circular economy? “To start, we will partner with packaging experts, organizations and coalitions to explore technical, end-of-life and infrastructure solutions. We are already collaborating with Environmental Packaging International (EPI) for consulting, tracking and other specialist services in the packaging space,” Krajewski says.
The circular economy is a regenerative system in which products are designed to be recycled or reused at end-of-life, thereby minimizing waste and negative environmental impacts. The concept was popularized by The Ellen MacArthur Foundation in The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the Future of Plastics.
“Our collective industry has a massive challenge ahead of us with respect to packaging recyclability, end-of-life recovery and single-use plastics,” says Bernardo Hees, CEO at Kraft Heinz. “Even though we don’t yet have all the answers, we owe it to current and future generations who call this planet ‘home’ to find better packaging solutions and actively progress efforts to improve recycling rates. That’s why Kraft Heinz is placing heightened focus on this important environmental issue.”
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions
In addition, Kraft Heinz is doing its part to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy by joining the Science-Based Targets Initiative and working to set science-based greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals in its supply chain. Adoption of these particularly aggressive targets is aimed at helping avoid a global temperature increase of more than two degrees Celsius.
Hees adds: “We found that most of our emissions are coming from areas outside our direct operations. To truly succeed as champions of sustainability, we will look at our full value chain and determine where we can make the greatest impact for our planet.”
Kraft Heinz will further outline its strategy and timeline for achieving the 100 percent recyclable, reusable or compostable commitment in its next CSR Report, expected to be issued in 2019. The Company plans to announce these new science-based goals when their current commitments expire in 2020.
By Joshua Poole
This feature is provided by FoodIngredientsFirst.com's sister website, PackagingInsights.
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