Aiming for a sustainable future

Niels Hougaard, Managing Director, Tetra Pak Arabia Area on promoting planet-friendly services

By Muhammad Ali Bandial

Published: Tue 26 Oct 2021, 3:40 PM

The concept of sustainability and innovation has evolved in this region. How has it evolved with a global brand like Tetra Pak?

At Tetra Pak, we help our customers reduce their own environmental impact and meet their carbon reduction goals by continuously optimising our processing and packaging offering.

Our innovative technologies focus on delivering low-waste processes and packaging that prolongs shelf-life. This ensures food availability for a growing population while helping to address the food waste problem.

Through continuous investment in innovation, we offer processing solutions that enable water consumption, carbon footprint and food waste reductions. We also offer environmental benchmarking and improvement services to help our customers significantly reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This way, food and beverage manufacturers are able to reduce their operational costs.

Consumer behaviour – What is the biggest shift that you have observed lately among Middle East consumers?

Our latest Tetra Pak Index indicates that since the pandemic, consumers are increasingly aware of the dilemma between the need for greater food consumption and the impact on our planet – both in terms of packaging waste and food waste. They are also preoccupied with food safety: Over two-thirds of respondents globally consider food safety a major issue for society, putting it jointly with Covid-19 as a 'real threat'. At the same time, the concern about food waste and availability is also growing.

With an eye towards the future, what needs to be done to facilitate a fully circular economy in the food and beverage industry?

As mentioned before, the pandemic has highlighted the fact that our world needs high-performance packaging and at Tetra Pak, we are already on this journey. We believe that the industry needs to step up towards the twin goals of protecting our planet’s ecosystem and meeting the people’s need for food. Only then can we be a part of building a sustainable future for upcoming generations, especially after Covid-19.

We are excited to hear about your ‘Go nature. Go carton.’ campaign – Can you shed some light on this?

With the 'Go nature. Go carton.' campaign, we are announcing our ambition to deliver the world’s most sustainable food package – a fully recyclable and carbon-neutral carton package that is made solely from responsibly sourced renewable or recycled materials. Surely, this will not happen overnight. But, we remain fully committed towards this goal.

And we’re not alone on this journey. We have started collaborating with our customers, suppliers and other stakeholders across the value chain to take an industry-wide view which includes not just looking at the environmental impact of our products, but also the processes of production, manufacturing and distribution, and beyond.

Let’s dive back into this region. How is Tetra Pak preparing itself for the upcoming Expo 2020 Dubai?

We are an official partner to the Sweden Pavilion aka 'The Forest' at Expo 2020 Dubai. Located in the Sustainability District, it focuses on such topics as technology, next-generation transport, Industry 4.0, new materials and circular bio-based economies. As a company with strong sustainability focus, we are providing water in Tetra Pak® cartons with a dedicated design to the Sweden Pavilion, as well as furniture made of recycled paper-based packages. In addition, our actions towards a carbon neutral circular economy are displayed through QR codes on tree trunks, and we are engaging the visitors through connected packages.

As Tetra Pak, we are calling our visitors to take action and make a promise for a sustainable future through a video featured on our website, dedicated to Expo 2020 Dubai. Moreover, with our fun and engaging sustainability board game, we aim to educate kids and increase their awareness of this topic.

Let us fast forward. What's Tetra Pak’s vision of the future? Where do you want to be in the next 10 years?

As part of our vision for the future, we want to ensure the decarbonisation and circularity of materials and address the need for sustainable food packaging. To this end, we are focusing on an innovation pathway driven by renewability and recyclability.

We believe that the future of packaging needs to be about sustainable end-to-end solutions that allow manufacturers to achieve their essential ambitions regarding food safety, food waste, and the environment.

As a global brand committed to protecting what’s good with a focus on sustainability, we are aiming to create a future where safe and nutritious food is available everywhere. We hope to reach a point where all packages are collected, recycled, and never become litter.

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