More sustainability goals from CPGs

My article about sustainable consumer packaging on ICIS Chemical Business is now free to access and this led me in noticing several consumer packaged goods (CPG) as well as food and beverage companies really becoming more intent in their sustainability goals of using renewable-based materials as well as reducing waste/material usage.

Interestingly enough, I also received three phone calls in two months inquiring about renewable-based surfactants particularly second generation feedstock (biomass, algae, non-food based oils/fats). These inquiries mentioned ongoing research for CPG companies.

As previously mentioned by the blog, there were public announcements of CPG companies such as P&G and Unilever working with start-up companies on the use of renewable-based chemicals. P&G is now working with LS9 and Amyris while Unilever is working with Solazyme. Henkel did not mention names but the company is working on the use of biotech-based surfactants with partners. Amyris is now also working with flavors and fragrance company Firmenich and cosmetic company Soliance.

In my article, I mentioned P&G aiming to replace 25% of all of its petroleum-based materials with sustainably sourced renewable materials by 2020. The company also expects to eliminate all uses of PVC in their packaging within the next few years as well as to have all of their waste  (both from company and their products) to end up in a valued waste stream such as via recycling, composting, and converting waste to energy without toxic emissions). 

The article also mentioned sustainability goals from Clorox, ConAgra and Walmart.

Meanwhile, Unilever announced this Monday its new sustainability goals and some of them include the following:

  • Source 75% of the paper and board for packaging from certified sustainably managed forests or from recycled material by 2015, and to reach 100% by 2020.
  • Purchase all palm oil from certified sustainable sources by 2015. Source sustainably all soy beans by 2014 and all soy oils by 2020.

  • Reduce 1/3 of packaging weight by 2020; eliminate PVC from all packaging by 2012-2013; make packaging more recyclable (and use more recycled materials)
  • Concentrate liquid detergents and compact powder detergents; reformulate washing products to reduce GHG emissions by 15% by 2012.

Unilever also made a statement about renewable materials:

“The hard truth is that much more work needs to be done to develop truly sustainable renewables before we can commit to 100% renewable materials in our packaging.

Bio-plastics, for example, are derived from renewable resources. But this does not mean that they are sustainable when all the environmental impacts and issues around their growth, production and subsequent disposal, are taken into consideration.

As one of the largest purchasers of packaging materials, we are making our expectations clear to suppliers and working with industry groups on viable solutions.”

Some of my ICIS news articles based on CPG company interviews and recent presentations (requires subscription):

US Procter & Gamble to stop using PVC in packaging

Volatile chemical costs a challenge for Procter & Gamble – CEO

Feedstock increases tough to pass on to customers – Henkel

Detergent industry lacks presence in emerging markets – Unilever

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