Soft drinks group draws up roadmap for sustainability

By Paul Gander

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Soft drinks industry, Coca-cola, Soft drinks

Gavin Partington is mapping the route to sustainability
Gavin Partington is mapping the route to sustainability
The British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA) and Packaging Federation are leading a Sustainability Roadmap for the soft drinks industry following the example pursued by the dairy industry.

Packaging topics such as materials optimisation and recycling (especially on-the-go initiatives) will play a prominent role, but so too will water efficiency, raw materials sourcing and wider carbon reduction.

“The initial conversations were hosted by DEFRA​ [the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs],” BSDA director general Gavin Partington explained. “Then in October last year, the BSDA took over the running of the Roadmap. What we’re trying to do is galvanise the wider supply chain.”

The aim is to extend the best practice of BSDA members such as Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE), PepsiCo, AG Barr and Britvic to smaller businesses in the sector.

Delivered results

“The packaging focus has just started with the working group’s first meeting, chaired by Dick Searle of the Packaging Federation,​” said Partington. “Part of this is to map work that is already underway, looking at where best practice has already delivered results and how we can replicate this.”

With regard to packaging, he cites the examples of CCE’s recycling joint venture with ECO Plastics, Britvic’s 2012 initiative to establish on-the-go recycling in public places such as hospitals, and AG Barr’s partnership with Zero Waste Scotland in supporting the Every Can Counts campaign.

He added that the soft drinks industry already accounts for 12% of signatories to the voluntary Courtauld Commitment 3, which sets targets for packaging and food waste in the grocery sector.

To date, there are 36 signatories to the Roadmap. This does not include all BSDA members, but does include non-member fillers such as Cott Beverages and packaging sector firms such as Ball Packaging, Rexam and Incpen.

“It’s important that the Roadmap draws in others, so having other associations and groups involved is very important,”​ said Partington.

Innovation

For packaging, the Dairy Industry Roadmap has so far delivered 15% recycled content nationally in milk polybottles, with a target of 30% for 2015. The Roadmap has also inspired specific innovation such as Nampak’s infini bottle, designed to be 20% lighter than alternatives. Other Dairy Roadmap 2015 targets include 80% Forest Stewardship Council certified content in paper-based cartons and zero factory waste to landfill.

“There was a logic to doing something along the lines of the Dairy Industry Roadmap,” ​said Partington. “But the sectors differ. Dairy is predominantly a UK business, while soft drinks involves international supply chains.”

Non-packaging initiatives for the soft drinks industry are likely to include carbon reduction in areas such as refrigeration. According to Partington, DEFRA has already commissioned research in this area, with a report due this month.

Related topics: Drinks, Dairy

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