“Collective action, innovative products and operating models, and unconventional partnerships will be necessary to accelerate the current pace of change towards a more sustainable tomorrow,” says Adolfo Orive in his introduction to our Sustainability Report 2022.
As the world continued to experience the direct and indirect impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including global supply chain disruptions, resource shortages, employment challenges and inflation - these have not been easy times. Additionally, the start of 2022 brought the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which will have a further knock-on effect on the global economy. This tragic and terrible war, which we strongly condemn, unfortunately shows no signs of abating. And like many others, we hope that an immediate resolution can be found and peace can prevail.
These global events have a significant impact on global logistics and raw material prices. At Tetra Pak, we are doing our utmost to minimise the impact of these disruptions on our global supply chain. However, with demand being volatile, supply tight, and logistics unreliable, we need to think differently to secure supply while at the same time using these opportunities to set up more sustainable supply chains. This requires better planning and more collaboration with suppliers and food and beverage manufacturers to rethink existing setups and potential local sourcing. This reality is reflected in the industrial trend of moving linear supply chains toward autonomous ‘ecosystems’ that are far more agile in reacting to constantly changing market conditions.
Despite these challenges, we remain driven by our purpose, “We commit to making food safe and available, everywhere and we promise to protect what’s good: protecting food, people and the planet”, as we continued to deliver on our priorities to protect the health and wellbeing of our employees, consumers, and communities, while doing our part to help safeguard food security and protect the environment. This would not have been possible without the commitment of our teams across the globe, working around the clock to help secure food supplies. I am extremely proud of our employees, who inspire me every day.
We have a tall ambition to lead the sustainability transformation within our industry and I recognise that we can only achieve this by delivering concrete actions across our value chain. To do that, we need to address the interconnected nature of the environmental, social, and economic challenges we face, and leverage strong and system-wide partnerships, as collaboration is more instrumental than ever in overcoming challenges successfully.
We must ‘walk the talk’ by managing and maximising our positive impacts on nature and society, continuing to embed sustainability as a key business driver and decision-making criteria, promoting a culture of sustainability in our business and industry, and working with our value chain and food and beverage manufacturers to support their own sustainability efforts.
This Report highlights the efforts we have undertaken in 2021 to lead our industry through tangible actions.
In 2021, we engaged in the World Climate Summit at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) and the first global UN Food Systems Summit to explore avenues with other stakeholders towards transforming food systems to make them more secure and sustainable.
We continued to make progress on our ambition to deliver the world’s most sustainable food package1. Early in 2022, in partnership with Elvir, we became the first carton2 packaging company in the food and beverage industry to launch a cap using attributed recycled polymers3. We also successfully finalised a commercial technology validation of a polymer-based barrier replacing the aluminium foil layer which keeps perishable food safe in aseptic cartons involving several million packages in Japan. We are now progressing to the next level of development by testing a fibre-based barrier that is a first within food carton packages distributed under ambient conditions.
When it comes to our climate impact, we are on track to achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across our own operations by 2030, with the ambition to reach net zero GHG emissions across our value chain by 2050. Our revised target, approved by the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi), for Scopes 1, 2, and 34 means we are committed to reaching 46% GHG reduction across our operations and value chain by 2030, in line with a 1.5°C pathway. In 2021, we have reduced our combined Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 27%, driven by the work done to increase the use of renewable energy in our facilities. Our operational footprint (scopes 1, 2 and business travel) was reduced by 36% compared to our 2019 baseline. However, the overall GHG emissions reduction (scopes 1, 2, and 3) in 2021 was flat compared to 2019, signalling that we have more to do on our scope 3 GHG emissions to reach our ambition.
As a response to the United Nations’ call to make this the Decade of Ecosystem Restoration, we launched, in collaboration with the local NGO Apremavi, a pioneering nature-based land restoration initiative in Brazil in early 2022. The initiative connects a range of stakeholders to restore over 7,000 hectares of land for biodiversity recovery, carbon capture, and climate change mitigation, playing a key role in our net zero ambitions by balancing the residual, last mile emissions.
In 2021, 50 billion cartons, equivalent to more than 1.2 million tonnes5, were collected and sent for recycling. We are now intensifying our efforts, in collaboration with our suppliers and other partners, to increase the effective recycling rate.
As I reflect on our achievements of the past year and think ahead into the future, I am excited to be building upon our strong foundation to advance our sustainability ambitions. Having said that, I recognise the long journey ahead and the step change needed by the industry. Collective action, innovative products and operating models, and unconventional partnerships will be necessary to accelerate the current pace of change towards a more sustainable tomorrow.
As an industry leader, we remain committed to doing our part in driving fast, system-wide, holistic changes and doing what we can to support food and beverage manufacturers in achieving their own sustainability goals. I am confident that together with our customers, suppliers and partners, we will lead the sustainability transformation for the next decades and beyond.
President & CEO, Tetra Pak
1. A carton package made of renewable or recycled materials, that are responsibly sourced, therefore helping protect and restore our planet's climate, resources and biodiversity; contributing towards carbon-neutral production and distribution; are convenient and safe, therefore helping to enable a resilient food system; are fully recyclable.
2. Throughout this report, we refer to the packaging we convert as “cartons”, which is a contraction of “carton based packaging for liquid food”.
3. The attributed recycled polymers used in Tetra Pak carton packages are certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB), according to principles of attribution (RSB Advanced Products Category III).
4. Scope 1 covers direct emissions from owned or controlled sources. Scope 2 covers indirect emissions from the generation of purchased electricity, steam, heating, and cooling consumed by the reporting company. Scope 3 includes all other indirect emissions that occur in a company's value chain.
5. ‘Tonnes’ refers to metric tonnes.