Features, Industry News

Accomplishing sustainability goals through collaboration

As consumer and investor demand for sustainable packaging rises, companies within the global food and drink sector must co-create solutions to resource efficiency and recycling infrastructure challenges with their competitors, consumers and supply chains.

Due to this, Kellogg’s have been making steps toward ‘greening’ its own facilities by actively working with its suppliers to identify packaging design that minimise waste, while ensuring the quality and safety of its foods.

“If you go back and look at the history of Kellogg’s and when it was set up, it was done so with a purpose at its core, which was all about operating the business in a way that doesn’t have a negative impact on the environment as much as possible,” said Alicia Doherty, senior manager – corporate communications Australia and New Zealand.

“That is in our DNA and ingrained to the business. There are a lot of people in the business that work across this. We have continuous improvement projects and continuous improvement teams who are always looking at ways to further drive efficiency and reduce waste, which makes it really great from a company perspective.”

In April 2018, the company announced the transition to compostable and paper food service products in all of its plants and offices globally by the end of 2018, fully eliminating all remaining single-use foam and plastic serviceware, plastic straws and plastic water bottles.

Kellogg’s also recently announced its expansion of its Global Sustainability Commitments to include a goal of working towards 100 per cent reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging by the end of the 2025, to continue to ensure 100 per cent of all timber-based packaging is either recycled or certified as sustainably-sourced.

“Our global sustainability commitments, which takes us through to 2020, covers two key pillars. One we refer to as responsible sourcing, which relates to how we source our ingredients and materials, ensuring that we are getting those as sustainably and responsibly as possibly,” Doherty said.

“The other pillar is around conserving natural resources, which is what we do through our complete value-chain and within our own four walls as well. That covers reducing any form of waste within our business operations.

“We have commitments around reducing energy across our plants by 50 per cent, reducing the greenhouse gas emissions in plants by 15 per cent, and we have worked on our packaging already. All of our packaging is made with 100 per cent recyclable materials.”

Doherty added that when it comes to our soft plastics, all of that is now able to be recycled through their partnership with REDcycle.

“We have been a member of REDcycle since it started. Some of our packaging wasn’t originally recyclable through REDcycle, so we have made some changes over the years. Now, 100 per cent of that can be recycled through REDcycle,” Doherty continued.

“We have also just recently gone through the process of updating all of our packaging to include the REDcycle logo on that, along with the APCO Australasian Recycling Labelling Scheme as well. So, you’ll see both of those on all of our boxes now.

“With food waste, we have very little food waste, we are very efficient with how we use it in the factory. We send any excess food to food relief organisations like Foodbank or OzHarvest to feed those in need.”

All of these actions contribute towards Kellogg’s support of UN SDG #12 – Sustainable Consumption and Production, including 12.5 – to substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse.

It also contributes to Kellogg’s commitment against SDG #12.3 – to halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer level, and to reduce food losses along the production and supply-chains including post-harvest losses by 2030.

“There’s a lot of work happening at an Australian level in this space and I think there will be more innovation in how we look at our packaging,” Doherty said.

“We will be looking to try and increase the level of recyclable or material we can use. At the moment, there isn’t one for soft plastics in the food industry, but that is something that we have been working with APCO to find a solution to.

“It is all about reducing any negative impact that we might have on the environment. It makes perfect business sense – it’s good for the environment and it’s good for our business. It makes great sense because we can have positive impact, as well as continue to ensure our business operates for long into the future.”