2020 will be remembered as a very different year. With different challenges and different objectives. But to Elopak, our focus on sustainability remains and has been even further strengthened and embodied throughout the company.
Sustainability lies at the very core of our company, also reflected in the products we are offering, which continuously prove to be the most environmentally friendly packages on the market. Our sustainability report 2020 gives an update on our progress and goals regarding people, planet and profit.
The way we work:
As a global corporation, Elopak is committed to work systematically with all aspects of sustainability, from the well-being of our employees, initiatives to mitigate climate change, responsible sourcing of raw materials, to responsible business conduct, upholding the highest ethical standards in all our business operations.
Being sustainable means finding the balance between what is good for the people, the planet and the profit.
Elopak offers a top-quartile motivating workplace by 2025
85% of employees have individual targets and documented competence development plans
Target the same distribution in gender diversity across all hierarchical levels
“2020 marks the beginning of the climate decade. A decade that is key in terms of turning the tide on global temperature increase. This is the time to move from doing less harm to doing more good. Elopak aims to go Net Zero as a natural continuation of our carbon neutral approach. It’s the natural thing to do.”
Marianne Groven, Director Sustainability
- By ensuring renewability throughout our operations we can contribute to a more balanced and sustainable future.
- Renewable raw materials naturally grow back and hence ensure resource availability for future generations.
- In addition, these materials lead to significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil or other finite resources.
Naturally renewable – maintaining living and viable forests
Since Elopak secured certification in 2010, the annual sales of FSC-certified cartons have steadily increased. In 2020, 100% of Elopak’s sales volume came from verified and controlled sources, of which 54% was FSC-certified (74% of the sales volume in Europe).
Fossil-free – with certified renewable polymers
Elopak strives to reduce the plastic content of cartons. And, our customers can already go ‘fossil-free’ with forest-based polymers.
We offer certified renewable plastics based on tall oil which is a residue from paper production. The tall oil-based feedstock is sourced mainly from Nordic forests which enbles us to offer a carton based entirely on wood.
With the first cartons based on 100% renewable raw materials launched back in 2014, it has since continued to be a success with several large brand owners launching products in fully renewable cartons.
In 2020, more than 18% of fresh milk sales in Europe was in fully renewable cartons (working towards our goal of 50% by 2025).
- Elopak has worked systematically to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions since 2008, and we have reported on our progress every year.
- Since 2016, we have been a carbon neutral company, offering carbon neutral packaging to our customers.
- In 2019 we formally pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions with the goal to keep global warming below 1.5°C, in line with the criteria set by Science Based Targets initiative.
Elopak has been a carbon neutral company since 2016. Through carbon neutrality, we compensate for all emissions from our own manufacturing processes, our transport and our business travels. By expanding the scope, we can offer carbon neutral packaging to our customers. We were the first to offer CarbonNeutral® Packaging for beverages and liquid foods.
Elopak supports projects outside of the value chain, that can provide third-party verified carbon emission reduction credits. In doing so, we are contributing not only to reduced emissions but also facilitating positive effects on local livelihoods and the environment.
Building the road to 2030 with Science Based Targets
Elopak has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions in line with the strictest criteria set by the Science Based Target Initiative (SBT), and has by that committed to keep global warming below 1.5°C.
Recycling & recycled content
- Made of materials ready for countless new applications, our Pure-Pak® cartons live on after use. We are working to increase the possibilities for recycling the plastic and aluminum mix.
- Elopak is an active member of dedicated beverage carton associations in many countries, and a founding member of EXTR:ACT, an organisation dedicated to increasing the collection of recycling of beverage cartons in Europe.
- The beverage carton industry in Europe has set a joint target of 70% recycling by 2030.
Our cartons contain fibres of very high quality that can be recycled up to seven times. The challenge is to continue to make national collection and recycling facilities more widely available and easily accessible, so more people can recycle. Therefore, Elopak works together with industry peers to increase and strengthen the collection and recycling of cartons across our markets.
Showcase Recon Polymers
The Dutch company Recon Polymers, located in Roosendaal, has developed a new innovative technology to process the plastic and aluminum mix from beverage cartons. In September 2020, they started commercial production with a capacity of about 6,000 tons of PolyAl per year.
“This is a significant step for our industry and represents a game-changer for beverage carton recycling. Other countries have shown interest in this process, and the installation is a showcase for the future of recycling across all industry sectors and will hopefully lead to further investments across Europe and beyond.”
Inge Eggermont, Specialist Manager Sustainability
In April, the Palurec recycling plant on the site of the Knapsack Chemical Park near Cologne was officially opened, heralding the dawn of a new era in beverage carton recycling. That’s because the commissioning of this state-of-the-art plant, which separates and recycles the foil mixture of polyethylene (PE) and aluminium (Al) as well as the plastic closures after the detaching of the paper fibres, has increased the recyclability of our packaging to well over 90%!
“We have a long experience in beverage carton recycling. Already since the 1990 years we are recycling the fibres of our carton. Palurec is a further landmark, increasing the carton recyclability up to more than 90%.”
Stephen Naumann, Vice President Europe North/CIS
Recycled content – further supporting circular economy
One of the key topics raised by stakeholders these days is circular economy. No doubt there is a push in the market to replace virgin materials with recycled ones in an attempt to move from the linear “take-make-dispose” culture to the infinitely circular society where no new materials are needed.
Elopak will look into introducing recycled content in our cartons provided food safety regulations and technical feasibility allow. The goal is to start by focusing on introducing recycled content in the barrier layers.