Waste & Packaging
Aimed at increasing operational efficiency, and driven by our continuous improvement mindset, we are always looking for ways to reduce, repurpose, and divert waste from landfills.
In FY20, we pledged to accelerate our global waste performance and made a formal commitment to make significant and sustainable progress by 2025.
More specifically, we are committed to:
- Reducing our total waste by 25%.
- Increasing our diversion rate to 75%.
- Reducing our food waste by 50%.
- Reducing our material use by 15%.
- Ensuring 100% of our packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable.
- Ensuring our packaging includes at least 15% of recycled or renewable content.
Operational and Food Waste
From a food waste perspective, dairy is a highly efficient product as many of its by-products can be processed into a variety of ingredients. Leveraging these opportunities, and in support of our Global Strategic Plan to accelerate organic growth, we are always looking at ways to increase the value of our ingredients portfolio and reduce waste.
In support of these efforts, we have begun materializing our ingredients strategy to enhance our portfolio, leveraging the facility's manufacturing capabilities for value-added ingredients such as goat whey, organic lactose, and other dairy powders.
Above this, we have been mapping out our different waste streams and identifying additional ways to reduce and divert waste. Since the start of this process, we have implemented a series of initiatives, including:
- Redirecting organics to animal feeds
- Progressing on the completion of a biodigester in Argentina to process organics into biogas
- Diverting our waste from landfills to energy suppliers
We continued our efforts to redistribute food surplus in communities where we operate, donating more than 1.8 million kilos of products to food banks across our operations, which resulted in an estimated reduction of 8,900 tonnes of CO2e in FY23.
While packaging is vital to ensuring the integrity and safety of our products, we recognize that it can also pose significant environmental impacts. This is why sustainable packaging is a key part of our 2025 Environmental Pledges, which draw on the circular economy and New Plastics Economy principles.
To help achieve this, our divisions are currently developing roadmaps to identify opportunities to help us achieve our 2025 targets.
To keep us accountable, we have an internal Sustainable Packaging Group in place to accelerate our progress and ensure we leverage our global capabilities. We also joined the Sustainable Packaging Coalition®, which brings together businesses, educational institutions, and government agencies to collectively advance the business case for more sustainable packaging.
Some recent highlights:
- In our Dairy Division (USA), we introduced 30% PCR in our shrink film used at some of our plants with a plan to roll it out as part of our new standard for all shrink wrap specs in FY24.
- We increased the recycled content of our sliced cheese trays in our Dairy Division (UK).
- We continued to pursue testing and development around recyclable flexible film, which remains a challenging material to replace in many of our divisions.
- We continue to leverage our internal Sustainable Packaging Group to accelerate our progress and ensure we leverage our global capabilities. This group—composed of packaging engineers, packaging procurement specialists, and sustainability experts from all our divisions—works together to share best practices, learn from one another, and identify synergies wherever possible.
- We are also a member of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition®, which brings together businesses, educational institutions, and government agencies to collectively advance the business case for more sustainable packaging.
Our packaging targets remain our most aspirational as they are highly dependent on external factors. These include the availability of recycling infrastructures and high-quality recycled material at competitive prices—both of which are challenging. Despite these challenges and the fact that meeting our targets by 2025 is now unlikely, we are staying the course, maintaining our efforts to progress against our commitments and deliver sustainable packaging initiatives across our operations.