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Global Sustainability Report: Tetra Pak Drives Sustainability with the Motto ‘Protect What’s Good’

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Tetra Pak is a world-leading food processing and packaging solutions company. Since its inception 70 years ago, sustainability has been at the heart of the Company’s business.
Tetra Pak focuses on increasing food availability and food safety, reducing food waste, and improving resource and logistics efficiency whilst protecting the planet and society. Since 1999, the Company has collected data and reported on energy use and GHG emissions from across the organisation on an annual basis, with its GHG accounts audited by an independent third party since 2013.
Today, as part of our series on Global Sustainability Reports, we are covering the highlights of the recently released Sustainability Report of Tetra Pak.

1. Tetra Pak for Nature Conservation

The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have determined human activity, including unsustainable sourcing and mismanagement of environmental resources, to be accelerating the impacts of climate change, the loss of biodiversity, and the depletion of raw materials – eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food and water security, health, and quality of life, worldwide.
Taking this into consideration, Tetra Pak has committed to safeguard the natural resources across its value chain to contribute to the world’s growing population access to safe and nutritious food.

1.1 Restoration of Ecosystems

According to the UN’s second Global Land Outlook, conserving, restoring, and using our land resources sustainably is a global imperative. Land is the operative link between biodiversity loss and climate change. Thus, restoring land is a priority to meaningfully tackle these intertwined global challenges. In response to the Global Land Outlook’s findings and the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, in 2022 Tetra Pak launched the carton packaging industry’s first “nature-based” restoration project – the Araucaria Conservation Programme, a pioneering land restoration initiative in the Atlantic Forest in Brazil, one of the richest biomes and the second most endangered in the world.
The Programme was developed in collaboration with Apremavi, a Brazilian NGO specialising in conservation and restoration projects since 1987 and is intended to restore at least 7,000 hectares – equivalent to 9,800 football pitches – by 2030, to protect biodiversity in the region and generate other positive economic and social benefits for local communities.
In addition to a pilot restoring 80 hectares, the project’s first year will focus on mapping potential areas for restoration. After the validation of this initial phase, the model will be replicated on other rural properties over ten years across 7,000 hectares of the Atlantic Forest. The Company will also certify a much broader territory under international voluntary carbon and biodiversity standards. The certification will measure carbon sequestration, meaning the project will play a key role in balancing residual, last mile, emissions and help Tetra Pak’s commitment to achieve net-zero GHG emissions in its operations by 2030. The aim is for this territory to reach up to 13.7 million hectares and encourage other organisations to join the initiative.
Julian Fox, Director Nature Programmes, Tetra Pak has said, “This initiative is our response to the United Nations challenge to make this the decade of ecosystem restoration. We are thrilled to be a lead partner of such a pioneering project, connecting a range of stakeholders and merging environmental restoration with carbon capture to help mitigate climate change and recover biodiversity.”

2. Impacting the Community Positively

The world is currently behind on meeting the 17 UN SDGs, many of which have been exacerbated by COVID-19. The pandemic resulted in an additional 119 to 124 million people being driven back into poverty and a total of 255 million full-time jobs lost. With an aim to create a positive impact in the communities that the Company engages with, it has initiated School Feeding Programmes under which 61 million children in 41 countries received milk or other nutritious beverages in Tetra Pak packages intermittently during the school year despite shutdowns and food delivery disruptions caused by COVID-19.

2.1 “Chile Comparte Vivienda” Campaign with TECHO

Tetra Pak has collaborated with TECHO, in Chile to support the organisation in their “Chile Comparte Vivienda” campaign which uses sheets made with post consumption carton packages as the interior lining for social housing construction. This provides housing with a better finish and improved thermal-acoustic conditions.
During 2020 and 2021, more than 1,700 sheets were used, equivalent to about 2 million locally recycled containers. In these two years, 150 houses were built, benefiting more than 600 people. This project demonstrates that recycling not only has an impact on the environment, but also contributes to the economy by creating jobs, driving industrial innovations, and generating a social contribution by improving the quality of life of people in need.

2.2 Waste Pickers Support, Brazil

Tetra Pak Brazil developed a pioneering initiative in collaboration with Cataki connecting waste pickers to recycling cooperatives in the city of São Paulo.
The “Cataki + Longa Vida” project facilitates a bonus system for waste pickers in the country, providing a subsidy that increases the value of waste material and, consequently, provides a new source of income. The pickers participating in the programme get paid per kilo of packaging collected and delivered to a cooperative. The cooperatives, in turn, receive an identical bonus for the service.
Through the initiative more than 2 million carton packages have been collected and properly destined for recycling, representing 50 tonnes of recycled carton packaging that might otherwise end up in a landfill. Due to the positive results, the initiative is expected to expand to other cities in the future.

2.3 Kraftsamla Project, India

Tetra Pak offered trainings in non-traditional female job roles to 30 women in India to build capacity and capabilities, remove barriers, create job opportunities, and integrate these women into the workforce, for instance as fork-lift drivers, technicians, and machine operators.
This is part of the Kraftsamla project, a collaborative programme with Swedish companies like IKEA and Sandvik under the umbrella of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in India, exploring and developing models for sustainable development in the context of community- based collaboration.
The program also set up a Task Force on gender sensitisation where 29 leaders, both women and men, from 20 different Swedish companies in India are currently engaged in an assignment on the theme of building a gender sensitive culture at the workplace, leading seminars for close to 400 senior representatives from more than 50 Swedish companies. The project is now looking to expand to other countries in Asia.

Conclusion

Tetra Pak aims to work towards creating a positive social impact by providing a safe and inclusive work environment and securing responsible business practices.