Tetra Pak’s 2022 Sustainability Report showcases the company’s progress and unveils its holistic strategy in the GCC region

This report not only highlights the progress made by Tetra Pak in aligning its operations with sustainable practices but also underscores the tremendous potential that exists within the region

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Published: Thu 31 Aug 2023, 5:35 PM

Addressing the intricate global challenges that our planet continues to face calls for the combination of innovative efforts and collaboration to effectively drive change. Tetra Pak considers this combination a cornerstone of its strategic framework. In the 24th edition of its sustainability report, Tetra Pak’s meaningful strides made across diverse sustainability facets take centre stage. The report delivers tangible outcomes to the company’s efforts to honour its unwavering commitment to sustainability and the future.

The year 2022 was characterised by substantial uncertainty and significant change in the economic landscape. During this year, Tetra Pak achieved significant milestones on a global scale. It successfully reduced operational greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 39 per cent. A notable 84 per cent of the energy used originated from renewable sources, aligning the company with its trajectory to achieve net zero emissions within its operational scope by the year 2030. Additionally, the sale of 8.8 billion plant-based packages and 11.9 billion plant-based caps translated into 131 kilotons of CO2 savings. Tetra Pak also invested nearly €30 million to accelerate the collection and recycling of beverage cartons. Concurrently, the company collaborated with food technology incubators and start-ups to explore the future of sustainable food.

On a regional scale, Tetra Pak embraced the vast potential the GCC offers by collaborating with different stakeholders to tackle the multifaceted and complex challenges related to climate change. Tetra Pak and its partners benefited from extensive expertise and different perspectives and successfully engaged in initiatives that contribute to making the region a hub for sustainability and innovation. Partnerships that allow the exchange of ideas and a broader sense of responsibility foster comprehensive problem-solving and conscious decision-making.

In Saudi Arabia, Tetra Pak formed partnerships with two leading recycling companies, Obeikan Paper Industries (OPI) and Saudi Top Plastic Factory (STP), with the aim of increasing carton package collection and recycling. With a joint investment of over €3 million, the partners are creating value for post-consumer carton packages. A recycling hub has been established to process cartons collected from KSA and neighbouring countries where OPI uses a pulping process to separate paper fibres from polymers and aluminium (PolyAl), which gets then recycled by STP. The paper fibres are then transformed into high-quality recycled duplex board, for applications in the packaging industry, such as tissue boxes and other folded carton packaging, while the PolyAl is turned into plastic granules which are sold to plastic recyclers and used as raw material for injection moulded products such as plastic pallets and crates. Both OPI and STP have initiated commercial operations of the new lines in 2022. This project has enabled the partners to contribute to the creation of a circular economy through collecting, recycling, and selling new products from potential waste.

Furthermore, Tetra Pak has been deeply involved in constructive dialogues with the Saudi government concerning the forthcoming regulations for waste management. The company holds a position as a board member within the Packaging Working Group whose primary objective is to address the progression of the circular economy pertaining to post-consumer packaging within Saudi Arabia. It has also demonstrated its proactive stance by formalising a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with local regulators, specifically MWAN (National Centre for Waste Management), which is committed to regulating and supervising waste management endeavours, under the purview of the local government. This collaborative initiative is aimed at co-developing regulations for waste management, with a dedicated emphasis on the concept of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).

Tetra Pak has been promoting recycling through investment in infrastructure and technology that enable the recycling of carton packages in the UAE as well. The company partnered with Union Paper Mills (UPM), the nation's pioneer and largest paper recycler, to create a viable process for collecting and recycling carton packages in the region. Tetra Pak supports UPM with carton package recycling capabilities, necessary technology, and technical knowledge, including shared investment, installation, and operation of a pulping line at UPM's facility in Dubai. Tetra Pak has also partnered with UAE-based Nuitree Food to set up a dedicated plant-based manufacturing facility in the country to provide a complete end-to-end processing and packaging solution.

Moreover, the packaging and processing solutions leader collaborates with local stakeholders, such as government agencies and NGOs, to drive environmental awareness and education. Tetra Pak is a board member of the UAE Circular Packaging Association and is a member of the Policy Committee of the Circular Economy Council, established last year by the UAE Government with the purpose of developing and implementing policies that enable a low-carbon circular economy. As Chair of the Sustainable Manufacturing working group, Tetra Pak focuses on providing policy recommendations for packaging waste management and regulations, highlighting the importance of the adoption of EPR for more efficient and functioning collection and recycling schemes. Tetra Pak firmly believes that forging a circular economy necessitates comprehensive engagement across the value chain, necessitating strategic partnerships between the public and private sectors. These alliances harmonise endeavours, fostering a concerted drive toward a sustainable future.

In conclusion, the unveiling of the Tetra Pak Sustainability Report FY 2022 marks a pivotal moment in the journey towards a more sustainable and responsible future in the GCC region. This report not only highlights the progress made by Tetra Pak in aligning its operations with sustainable practices but also underscores the tremendous potential that exists within the region to achieve unprecedented levels of sustainability. Given that numerous sustainability challenges transcend borders and industries, collaboration emerges as the linchpin, enabling initiatives to extend their reach and generate substantial positive effects on a global scale. Collaboration's influence extends to policy advocacy, uniting stakeholders like governments, businesses, NGOs, and communities in championing sustainability-driven policy shifts across various tiers. Thus, the road to sustainability in the GCC is a collective endeavour.

Tetra Pak, through its commitment to forging meaningful partnerships and collaborative initiatives aimed at building the essential infrastructure needed to support sustainable development, urges more companies and stakeholders to recognise that the journey towards a sustainable future is one that necessitates cooperation and shared resources. Through this holistic approach, the GCC region can overcome its unique challenges, and potentially contribute to making a positive global impact.

Take a look at the full report here.

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