HARTSVILLE, S.C. (News release) -- Sonoco released its 2018-19 Corporate Responsibility Report highlighting the Company's ongoing efforts to achieve greater packaging sustainability and recycling and included an update on the ongoing efforts to improve environmental, governance and social measures. The Corporate Responsibility Report, Committed to a Better World for 120 Years, is available on the Company's website at www.sonoco.com.
The report highlighted several key environmental milestones accomplished over the past year, including reducing normalized greenhouse gas emissions by 3.2 percent and water usage by 1.7 percent. Since 2009, the Company has reduced normalized greenhouse gas emissions by 27 percent and water use by 40.3 percent.
Sonoco is one of the largest recyclers in the U.S., annually collecting nearly 3 million tons of materials, much of which it uses as raw materials to make new sustainable packaging. As an example, the Company uses recovered fiber to produce more than 2 million tons annually of uncoated recycled paperboard, much of which is converted into industrial and consumer packaging. In 2018, Sonoco utilized 26 percent recycled content in its plastics supply chain of which 23 percent was post-consumer material. As a further example of its commitment to increase recycled content in its plastic packaging, one in five PET bottles recycled in California are used by Sonoco to manufacture packaging for fresh produce.
Announced in 2018, Sonoco's commitments for sustainable use and increased recyclability of packaging by 2025 include:
- Sonoco will increase the equivalent by weight, the amount it recycles, or causes to be recycled, from 65 percent to 85 percent, relative to the volume of packaging it places into to the global market place.
- Sonoco is committed to increasing the use of post-consumer recycled resins in its plastic packaging from 19 percent to 25 percent.
- Sonoco will ensure that approximately 75 percent of its rigid plastic packaging can carry the relevant on-package recyclable claim.
Also, as part of its 2025 commitments, Sonoco has implemented Operation Clean Sweep (OCS), an international campaign dedicated to eliminating resin loss within the supply chain. Sonoco's OCS campaign is in place in all 25 of its plastic packaging facilities and is focused on implementing good housekeeping and pellet, flake, and powder resin containment practices working towards achieving zero losses, further protecting the environment and producing savings by reducing resource losses.
While Sonoco remains committed to reducing its environmental impact and improving the use of recycled materials in its packaging, the Company is focusing on developing initiatives to reduce the nearly $1 trillion global food waste issue, according to Rob Tiede, Sonoco President and CEO.
"Globally, 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted each year or about one-third of all food produced for human consumption. In addition to being a tragic waste of resources, food waste continues to be one of the largest drivers of climate change, accounting for 8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, giving it the third largest carbon footprint behind only China and the U.S.," Tiede said. "We believe sustainable packaging provides a key resource in helping achieve the U.N.'s Sustainable Development Goal 12.3, which is targeting to halve food waste by 2030."
Sonoco is partnering with Clemson University for the Sonoco FRESH (Food Research Excellence for Safety and Health) initiative. The program, which recently named Dustin Wills as its Director, is working to solve the food waste challenge by utilizing collective intellectual capital and collaboration of industry experts in food service, agriculture, horticulture, packaging, logistics and material science. Solving the food waste issue will also be a significant topic of discussion at the 2019 Sustainability and Food Waste Summit - FRESH Thinking for the Future of Packaging and Food, September 17-18, at Sonoco's global headquarters in Hartsville, S.C.
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