What does carbon neutral mean and how is it achieved?
To be carbon neutral (or net zero CO2 emissions) means that we will reduce our carbon emissions as much as possible and offset those which cannot be eliminated. When we ask people what they think the majority of a packaging company's carbon footprint consists of, most people believe it is in transport or in the end-of-life. In fact, our footprint is made up of only 7% for transportation, 12% energy usage in factories, and 81% raw materials, which are still majority crude oil-based. The energy aspect is easy to change – we will run all our factories on renewable energy in the near future. The trickier task for us has been reducing our raw material footprint, meaning reducing the footprint of what our packaging is made from.
We understand the need to retain plastics in the supply chain, while preventing it from entering oceans and contaminating the food chain. Though studies have shown that plastics have lower GHG emissions within their life-cycle than other materials, we are not encouraging the use of virgin plastics. Instead, we aim to increase the efficient use of post-consumer materials and produce fully recyclable products, eventually working our way towards bio-based packaging.
Wipak will achieve a raw material footprint of zero over time, but thanks to our current sustainable solutions, we are on the right path. This includes films that are made from recycled or recyclable materials, renewable materials, or are downgauged (made thinner without compromising on quality, barrier properties or puncture resistance). Thanks to innovative ProDirect® carbon-neutral products, we can also offer our customers fully carbon-neutral packaging to significantly reduce their footprint.
With innovative technologies like Digimarc® barcodes to improve recycling accuracy and efficiency in Europe, we implement a Circular Economy approach in our business.
We need this cooperation along the value chain.
The future must reward and incentivize recyclability and lowering CO2 emissions. Customers must invest and believe in sustainable solutions as the only way forward. In turn, we must provide end customers with the products and the information they need to be as environmentally-friendly as possible. Only then can we achieve a Circular Economy and truly realize our goal.
In case you missed it, read about why this is a challenge we are addressing in our last post.
Want to know more about how we will achieve carbon neutrality in the next 4 years? Watch THIS video.