February 2, 2023

Is it all talk? Or can commitments lead to real, sustainable change?

Along with more than 100 players in the food and beverage industry, Tetra Pak has signed up to the EU Code of Conduct on Responsible Food Business and Marketing (CoC): a common aspirational path towards sustainable food systems. This is one of several joint commitments and initiatives that bring industry leaders together as they work for more sustainable food processing, packaging and distribution.

But what purpose do these commitments and initiatives truly serve? And what value do they bring to our customers’ businesses? Katie Carson, Tetra Pak’s Director of Corporate Affairs for Food and Climate Policy, explains it all.

“The transformation of food systems is underway, and in Europe, this Code of Conduct provides the framework for the food and beverage industry to collectively commit to more sustainable practices and drive measurable change,” Katie explains. “Our customers are working hard to deliver on their sustainability targets. As a world leader in food processing technology and packaging, one of the best ways we can support them is by signing on to the same commitments and working towards our common targets."

The industry pulls together to build more sustainable food value chains

The EU CoC sets out the actions that players ‘between the farm and the fork’ can voluntarily commit to in order to improve their sustainability performance. More than 450 commitments have been made by upwards of 60 companies, including manufacturers, retailers, caterers and suppliers, and more than 50 industry trade associations and collaborators within the food sector.

“Our customers are working hard to deliver on their sustainability targets. One of the best ways we can support them is by signing on to the same commitments and working towards our common targets.”

Tetra Pak has signed up with five commitments, including to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions across the value chain by 2050 and to reduce the carbon footprint, water usage and food loss and waste of our best practice processing lines by 50% by 2030 (compared to 2019).

“As part of our commitments, we are developing processing and packaging equipment that saves energy, water and waste in our customers’ operations – that helps them on their way to reaching their own targets,” says Katie. “And we work closely with them both on the factory floor and on a policy level to ensure our targets are aligned and that we are moving in the right direction.”

Tools for streamlining systemic progress

Other initiatives we have signed up to include: the Science Based Targets, which are meant to provide companies with a clearly-defined path to reduce emissions in line with the Paris Agreement goals, and RE100, a global initiative bringing together the world’s most influential businesses committed to 100% renewable energy. We have also signed up to the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE) 2030 Roadmap, an ambition that outlines 10 commitments across a broad scope of sustainability aspects material to beverage cartons.

“The commitments ensure our progress is measured, documented and aligned with overarching targets – which is crucial to achieving systemic change.” 

The general purpose of all these initiatives is to ensure that companies work together towards common goals. They also provide transparency on our ambitions and accountability that we are delivering against the targets we have committed to.

“In the wake of several global and regional agreements like the Paris Agreement, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the European Green Deal, lots of high-level objectives have been created for companies to adhere to. However, without specific commitments or guidance to follow, companies and entire industries could be going in their own direction, and little would be achieved on a systemic level,” Katie adds.

The commitments also offer tools and methodologies for measuring progress, which is a key component of streamlining sustainability efforts.

“Beyond supporting our customers and encouraging collaboration, signing on to these initiatives helps us demonstrate credibility,” Katie explains. “The commitments ensure our progress is measured and documented transparently and aligned with overarching targets – all of which is crucial to achieving systemic change.” 

See how we work with our commitments and initiatives

Go behind the scenes to see how we collaborate with third-party organisations on our commitments and initiatives. Climate Manager in our Biodiversity and Climate team, Oliver Edberg, explains how we work with science-based targets. 

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