In Thailand, Tetra Pak is working with local charity the Green Roof Project and the Thai Red Cross to turn recycled cartons into roofing sheets to provide emergency shelter for people in need.
The Green Roof Project was first launched in 2010, initially for a three-year period, but has proved so successful that it has been extended to run to 2016. In summer 2015, a new initiative – the Green Roof Special campaign – was launched to mark the 60th birthday of Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, the eldest daughter of the current king.
Green Roof Special encouraged consumers to deposit folded and flattened used beverage cartons for recycling, and was originally planned to run for a year. However it succeeded in reaching its target after just six months and 6000 roofing sheets, made from some 12 million recycled cartons, were handed over to the Thai Red Cross in March 2016. The sheets will now be used to help victims of natural disasters and disadvantaged people across the country.
The project was inspired by earlier recycling campaigns, which delivered classroom sets and notebooks made from cartons to schools across Thailand. It was clear from the response that there was potential for a more ambitious public participation recycling project – and so Green Roof was born.
Tetra Pak initiated the campaign and established partnerships with all the organizations involved. As well as the Red Cross, we work with hypermarket chain Big C Supercenter, which promotes the campaign in store and provides carton drop-off points for consumers at all its outlets. The campaign is endorsed by the Department of Environmental Quality Promotion, part of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
Tetra Pak Thailand Communications and Environment teams have supported and promoted the campaign by developing educational activities, generating media coverage, raising awareness through social media – the campaign currently has 30,000 followers on Facebook – and running roadshows. The teams also monitor and report on the carton collection rate and oversee the production of the roofs themselves.
In addition to providing shelter for thousands of people in times of need, the campaign has also succeeded on a number of other levels. It has increased public awareness of and participation in recycling, thereby significantly reducing CO2 emissions and the amount of refuse being sent to landfill, and it has also created opportunities for individuals, agencies and organizations to get involved, by taking on volunteer roles at community collection points. There are currently around 4,500 Green Roof volunteers.
Tetra Pak Thailand won the “Green Leadership” award at the Asia Responsible Entrepreneurship Awards in 2011 and the Green Roof Project won the prestigious Climate Change Adaptation award for 2013 from the Thai Government’s Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning. In 2014 Tetra Pak Thailand was awarded Green Company of the Year in recognition of its social and environmental initiatives – and particularly the Green Roof Project – and recognized as one of the Masterclass Sustainability Advocates at the Asia Corporate Excellence & Sustainability Awards (ACES).