Last week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its sixth assessment report which revealed further stark warnings and suggested that we will not be able to limit global warming unless there are immediate large-scale reductions in greenhouse emissions.
The report, which has been pulled together by over 200 authors from all over the world, states that:
- Human activity is causing climate change
- The target of 1.5 degrees temperature is looking more and more out of reach
- In 2019, CO2 reached its highest level in over 2 million years
- Natural CO2 absorption is becoming oversaturated
Over the years, the media has been reporting that we’re in a state of climate emergency and that action must be taken now, this report unequivocally confirms that. Consequently, we have seen the following progress within our industry:
- New technologies and equipment to help improve recycling rates
- Recycling schemes for difficult to recycle materials, such as the National Cup Recycling Scheme
- Ban on some single-use plastic products
- Businesses getting their Zero Waste to Landfill certification
- Legislation that discourages polluters and increase recycled content, such as Extended Producer Responsibility and Plastic Tax
- More UK infrastructure and investment into reuse and recycling
However, more work still needs to be done. It is critical that business leaders, governments and consumers join forces now and take positive action. During the pandemic it was reassuring to see Groups coming together and we hope this continues to happen.
Our Group carbon strategy
As part of the Reconomy Group, our carbon strategy within the Reconomy Environmental Action Plan (REAP) focuses on Zero Carbon by 2028 for our operations, our customers, and our suppliers. To achieve this, we aim to:
- Set Science based targets for Scope 1 direct and Scope 2 indirect emissions (685 CO2e tonnes 2019) as well as Scope 3 which includes upstream and downstream carbon plus customers’ waste (108,925 CO2e tonnes 2019)
- Reduce our energy use and move to a hybrid then fully electric fleet, with office charging points
- Ensure our procurement is sustainable and low carbon
- Protect and offset biodiversity
- Work with customers to design out and reduce unnecessary packaging and then focus on circular options for residual waste materials
- Implement the Supplier Sustainability Charter with suppliers and have preferred suppliers that are targeting carbon reduction in their operations
- Mitigate annual operational carbon emissions to 2028
It is time for those without a plan to put one together – and quickly!
Act Now – Because there is no time to waste
- The Valpak Insight Platform provides visibility of packaging performance across a range of environmental and ethical topics, allowing businesses to build an evidence base and highlight areas of potential risk. Our carbon module is included as standard, it shows the carbon impact of the manufacture of packaging, by tonnage and split by packaging layer, this is a great tool to track progress and include in wider carbon reporting.
- Ensure the packaging used is the most sustainable option, using full life cycle assessments, to incorporate end of life.
- Look at nature-based solutions – tree planting is a brilliant solution to tackle climate change and protect biodiversity. They provide a home to three-quarters of the world's plants and animals, soak up carbon dioxide, and provide food, fuels, and medicines. But they're fast disappearing; an area about the size of Denmark of pristine tropical forest is lost every year.
- Build these actions into a strategy that helps everyone in the business see where you are heading and how you are going to get there.
Valpak can help
Knowing where to start, understanding how much it costs and how it will impact your business are the biggest barriers. We believe data is key – understanding where you are will help you to see what you need to achieve.
Valpak has the most comprehensive set of packaging data in the UK. Our database contains over 33m SKUs, which enables us to generate insights to aid management decisions on the sustainability of business operations. It also supports more effective collaboration with supply chains to improve incoming products and packaging. Our experts have industry insight, which enables us to help businesses see the wood through the trees when it comes to complex environmental legislation. We urge you to be prepared – don’t leave it too late.
Valpak will be supporting Reconomy’s “5 Steps to Circularity Resources Playbook” - a user-friendly guide to achieving a circular economy. This simple approach will enable your business to flip the concept of waste disposal on its head, so you can manage the resources journey from start to finish. All you must do is:
Keep an eye on our LinkedIn page for its launch next week.
I work with various businesses and organisations in hope that together we can collaborate on projects that aim to create a sustainable, waste free world. Get in touch to talk about how we can work together and engage our world into action.