Elopak at the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit

Earlier this year Elopak joined the United Nations (UN) Global Compact as a participant to support our ongoing efforts to work collaboratively to advance sustainability.

Elopak’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is not something new but is something we have been working on for several years. It reflects our belief that business has a critical role to play in making progress towards the 2030 deadline.

Becoming a truly sustainable business is no easy task. Efforts need to encompass human rights, environmental and ethical considerations, and much more besides. All these parts must be pursued in unison and engrained in the very fundamentals of business planning and operations.

It is not only about the direct and immediate impact of a business, but a much wider consideration of the approach and reach across the value chain. Switching to renewable electricity, providing ethics training to employees and adopting a corporate policy on diversity and inclusion are all good initiatives, but it is not enough. A systematic approach with clear targets, transparent reporting and continuous improvement within all sustainability issues are needed. At Elopak, we do this through various initiatives including our Science Based Targets aiming to keep global warming below 1,5 degrees, our commitment to the UN Global Compact principles, our pledge against greenwashing and our GRI compliant sustainability report.

In the packaging industry we have seen how sometimes simple changes can make a big difference. For example, when it comes to environmental considerations studies have shown that by switching from disposable PET bottles to beverage cartons greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced by 83.6% in the case of fresh milk and 70.7% in the case of UHT milk . In many cases, however, progress is more gradual and requires an assortment of measures to achieve a significant outcome. Between 2014 and 2019 we reduced the carbon footprint of our cartons by 20% through a range of measures, covering everything from raw material inputs to delivery of the final product to the customer.

In either case innovation and collaboration are key. At Elopak we work with partners to produce cartons using less raw materials, while at the same time making sure those we do use are from certified renewable sources. Having transitioned to renewable electricity and becoming carbon neutral in 2016, there is still important work to be done in further improving our products with circularity in mind, considering both how they can help reduce food waste, which is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, and be even easier to recycle.

As sustainability rightly becomes an increasingly important driver of purchasing decisions, we have continued to focus on delivering more sustainable packaging solutions. These include the Pure-Pak® Imagine carton, which comes without a plastic screw cap, and the recently launched tethered cap solution Pure-TwistFlip™, which offers a lightweight tethered cap designed to reduce the use of plastics and reduce the risk of littering. More exciting innovations are already in the pipeline.

Another central tenet in our efforts to become a more sustainable company is taking good care of people, both in our company and outside. This is an area in which we are looking to do more so that we can live up to our sustainability ambitions. Our main focus areas are within health and safety, employability, diversity and inclusion, and ethics and compliance. We are also investing in community-based initiatives that work to educate children on sustainability related issues.

The 2021 UN Global Compact Leaders Summit was another exciting opportunity for us to learn from others, consider how we can push ourselves further and work collaboratively in pursuit of the SDGs. As countries and companies look to rebuild following the Covid-19 pandemic there is an opportunity for us to drive a green recovery that delivers a sustainable future for all.