Tetra Pak Discusses Sustainability And The Future

Stefan Fageräng, Managing Director of Tetra Pak Southern Africa.

Tetra Pak Southern Africa hosted a webinar on 18 August where the company outlined its role during the global pandemic, 2020 sustainability highlights and what the future holds, as well as the company’s regional collaborations.

Stefan Fageräng, Managing Director of Tetra Pak Southern Africa, spoke about the company’s values when it comes to sustainability, which encompass improvement of its sustainability performance, choosing the right material and reducing overall environmental impact.

Other values include the delivery of as much nutrition in a product as possible, starting with the right choice of packaging. In terms of sustainability goals, the company aims to become net impact neutral by 2030. This entails having renewable energy throughout all operations.

Fageräng also spoke about a donation of R1,5 million that was also recently made to the Covid-19 relief effort. R750,000 of this amount went to Food Forward SA (FFSA) and the other half went to Feed SA. ‘We believe it is important that we protect out people, our food and our future,’ he said.

FFSA recovers edible surplus food from farmers, manufacturers and retailers, then redistributes it to registered beneficiary organisations that serve the poor across the country. Feed SA is a non-profit organisation with 100% B-BBEE beneficiaries that feeds around 6500 people a day. It has also established 35 crèches in townships, feeding schemes, and classrooms, and helps to renovate existing facilities.

Rodney Reynders, Sustainability Cluster Leader for the Greater Middle East and Africa region at Tetra Pak outlined the company’s efforts towards sustainability, actions towards climate change and collaborations with industry partners.

Rodney Reynders, Tetra Pak.

‘Throughout the years we have achieved major milestones, but strive to do better,’ said Reynders. He spoke of how consumers expect companies to take more responsibility for the products they make, and how in response many retailers are looking at using plant-based materials for packaging to reduce climate change.

Reynders also discussed improvements throughout the entire value chain in terms of the suppliers, customers and recycling/collection elements. ‘As a manufacturer, we source responsibly, with climate goals in mind. Any waste generated is recycled.’ He elaborated by saying that brand owners must be responsible by ensuring that packaging can be recycled, and that the same applies to retailers.

He also emphasised on the importance of partnerships with recyclers: ‘As part of our 2030 strategy, we believe carton packaging will be made solely from renewable or recyclable materials, be fully recyclable and be fitting to a low carbon circular economy without ever compromising on food safety.’

Agripa Munyai, Sustainability Manager at Tetra Pak Southern Africa, discussed some of the things the company is doing to get closer to its goals. Beverage cartons are being broken down into paper fibre, as well as aluminium and plastic. Paper fibre can be used for paper cores, corrugated boxes and cereal boxes, while aluminium and plastic can be used for plastic pellets, plastic pallets and roof tiles.

Agripa Munyai, Tetra Pak.

The company’s ongoing activities to enable recycling include household awareness, visible drop-off points, sorting facilities and developing end-use-products. ‘Through recycling, we reduce the impact on climate change and advance the circular economy.’

During a Q&A session, Africa Print asked if Covid-19 has slowed down the process of alleviating the global plastic waste problem, and if so, what measures have been taken to keep plastic recycling on track.

Reynders said that according to his colleagues in other clusters, on a global basis, the company has definitely seen that in many countries, in particular developing countries, there has been a little bit less of a focus on litter right now. However, this is the livelihood of many collectives, and slowly but surely an increase in collections, locally and abroad, is starting to be seen.

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