Leaders in the environmental community and among the world’s largest corporations are setting their goals high. They are looking at issues of sustainability across supply chains and discovering what advantages might come their way if they follow the principles of a circular economy. To these leaders, the days of just promoting recycling and holding up these efforts as examples of environmental leadership are long gone.
The fact is, recycling, which addresses the back end of packaging life cycle, has gone beyond ‘the accepted’ to ‘the expected’ across the world. Still, the world’s migration to recycling practices is a story of unprecedented partnership and leadership, and Tetra Pak has been proud to be an industry leader in the recycling movement.
But those of us in business fully understand that there are finite physical materials and natural resources available to produce our products. We understand, and are always reliant upon these ecosystems for our business success.
Any actor within the supply chain who directly or indirectly relates to packaging, needs to ensure the stability and sustainability of these natural resources in order to help secure business growth, better manage and mitigate against geopolitical threats to supply and build brand equity and more. We want to lead a new industry commitment to what we call renewability – protecting natural resources and rewarding best practices and innovations that focus on the front end of the packaging life cycle; practices and innovations that will keep the consumer packaged goods industry strong and viable in an increasingly volatile economy. Renewability, as we see it, is about using a resource that can be re-grown or replenished naturally over time, so that there is enough for all, forever. And we think renewability is critical to help offset the environmental and economic strain caused by more of us using scare natural resources to make more.
Traditionally, sustainable packaging solutions and innovations have focused on the mid and end part of the life cycle—weight reduction and disposal. That’s why recycling has received important attention from us and from others. While recycling is important to reducing our impact, alone, it’s not enough.
Without losing an inch of ground around recycling and other commitments to reduce our environmental impact, we must now turn our attention to the front end of the life cycle and how materials are sourced. That’s why Tetra Pak is launching Moving To The Front - a campaign inviting suppliers, manufacturers, brand owners, NGOs and others to expand attention from the mid and end of the packaging life cycle to the beginning.
Moving To The Front highlights the need for broader embrace and acceptance of industry practices that focus on the importance of material sourcing in protecting our world’s limited natural resources and how these practices can create long-term shared value for businesses and society.
For our company, Moving To The Front isn’t just an aspirational ideal. We walk the walk. Our cartons, on average, are made of 70 percent paperboard, a renewable resource from responsibly managed forests; we have launched bio- based plastic caps and packaging coating made from polyethylene from sugar cane; and our goal is to offer packages made from 100 percent renewable materials.
Businesses that adopt renewability practices:
- Realize business growth because long term supply resources will be secured and retailer preference and consumer demand for packaging made with renewable materials will grow;
- Manage and mitigate risks caused by geopolitical threats to sourcing more effectively, leading to a more reliable supply chain with less business disruption around supply of resources and better ability to manage costs and experience less price volatility.
- Build brand equity, differentiation and emotional connections with consumers because as consumer knowledge around resource scarcity grows, so too will their demand for packaging with renewable content, as it did around recycling.
Embracing use of renewable resources is the next logical step in leadership from the packaging and consumer goods industries, which have been playing -and will continue to play- a significant role in making recycling a mainstream business practice.
We need to do more. And soon our customers and consumers will expect more too. Join us:
- Educate our industry, customers and consumers around the importance of renewability
- Challenge everyone to deploy and/or help develop a new order of best practices and standards that is worthy of industry leaders in the renewability space.
- Advocate for broad acceptance of the use of renewable materials and practices that ensure the security of our industry and the sustainability of natural resources that we – and everyone in the world – must protect for future generations.
In conjunction with the launch of our new campaign, we have authored a white paper, What is Renewability In Packaging, And Why Should We Care?, which articulates our point of view in detail. You can download and read the paper here.
Please join us in the renewability conversation and take part in this important dialogue. Explore this site to learn more about Moving To The Front, follow us on Twitter @TetraPak_USCAN and TetraPak_NA_Eco, and visit our website at www.tetrapakusa.com.