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5 Sustainable Packaging Solutions Implemented by Leading MNCs [Part 2]

The need for sustainable packaging comes from the fact that only 14% of the plastic packaging used globally is recycled. Whereas, more than 40% of packaging ends up in a landfill. [Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF)]

In the previous series, we spoke of companies like Puma, Lego, KFC, Dell, and Frito-Lay who are opting for sustainable packaging solutions for their products. We now bring the environment-friendly packaging and sustainable approaches of P&G, HUL, H&M, Apple, and Philips.

#6 P&G

Procter & Gamble Co. popularly known with its acronym P&G is the United States multinational consumer goods manufacturing company. P&G was founded in the year 1837 and specializes in hygiene and personal care products.

Sustainability Philosophy

Our aspiration is to positively impact all our stakeholders in each area of our Citizenship work: Ethics & Corporate Responsibility, Community Impact, Diversity & Inclusion, Gender Equality, and Environmental Sustainability.

- David S. Taylor, Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer

Head & Shoulders- Rethinking Plastic Packaging

P&G has launched the world’s first completely recyclable shampoo bottle for its product Head & Shoulders. Teaming with the recycling experts- TerraCycle and SUEZ, P&G made this bottle with 25% recycled beach plastic.

P&G Packaging- sustainable packaging
The Sustainable packaging process employed at P&G for Head & Shoulders shampoo Packaging (Image)

The company aims to make more than half a billion Hair Care bottles with 25% PCR plastic (Post-Consumer Recycled Plastic).

Here is the video shared by the company to demonstrate the Head & Shoulders shampoo bottle packaging.



 

Initiatives Towards Sustainable Packaging

  • P&G has invented PureCycle Technologies (PCT) to recycle polypropylene into almost new condition.
  • P&G is a founding member of the Plant PET Technology Collaborative, which aims at promoting plant-based PET for packaging.
  • For product and packaging manufacturing, the company is striving to use renewable sources of energy like solar and wind.
  • P&G uses the elemental chlorine-free pulp for company’s all paper products and packaging.

Sustainability Outcome

P&G is the pioneer in using Life Cycle Assessment to design Municipal Solid Waste Management. The company is also one of the 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World. Following are the milestones achieved in P&G’s sustainability efforts.

  • P&G won the National Inventor of the Year award in 2006 for the design and development of PūR purification sachets.
  • In the year 2017, the company reduced its packaging by 13%.
  • Today, the company has used more than 34,400 metric tons of PCR (Post-Consumer Recycled Plastic) in its packaging.
  • The company has collected 500,000 waste pieces equal to 13 tons of waste.

P&G’s sustainable packaging goals:

  • To ensure 20% less packaging per consumer use
  • Double the recycled resin in plastic packaging
  • Making 90% of P&G product packaging recyclable and launching programs to develop an ability to recycle packaging.
P&G infographic- sustainable packaging
P&G: Ambition 2030 Infographic (Image)

#7 HUL 

Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) is a subsidiary of British-Dutch Unilever company. They have committed to 100% recyclable packaging by 2025.

Sustainability Philosophy

Our plastic packaging plays a critical role in making our products appealing, safe, and enjoyable for our consumers. Yet it is clear that if we want to continue to reap the benefits of this versatile material, we need to do much more as an industry to help ensure it is managed responsibly and efficiently post consumer-use.

- Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever

r-PET Packaging

HUL is keen on using innovative packaging designs for its product to reduce the use of plastic.

  • The company’s products like Pepsodent toothbrush and Fair & Lovely use blister packaging made from r-PET (80% recycled PET).
  • HUL is also incorporating smaller packaging for its products like Axe, Lipton, Knorr, and Dove.
  • The company introduced Surf Excel Matic Liquid in refill packaging pouch format.
HUL Pepsodent- sustainable packaging
HUL's Pepsodent toothbrush use blister packaging made from r-PET (80% recycled PET). (Image)

Initiatives Towards Sustainable Packaging

  • Refill packs for dishwashing liquid, detergents, cooking oil, etc. are successful in the Indian market.
  • Energy generated from waste for its manufacturing plants with the help of IL&FS.
  • HUL also partners with NGOs for waste collection and segregation at source.

Sustainability Outcome

  • By switching to performance-based polymers from commodity polymers, HUL is able to reduce 1,700 tonnes of polymer waste in 2017.
  • With its redesigned packaging, the company saved 1300 tonnes of paper and 95 tonnes of glass.
  • Since 2010, the company is able to save one-third of its plastic packaging across the globe.
HUL Packaging outcome- sustainable packaging
The outcomes of HUL's sustainable packaging efforts. (Image)

#8 H&M

Hennes & Mauritz AB, popular as H&M is a multinational clothing retail company from Sweden. In their 2018 annual report, they mentioned that the brand will transition to 100% sustainable cotton by 2020.

Sustainability Philosophy

Sustainability is not a task that we can manage on our own; collaboration, new ways of working and joint industry goals are key to accelerating the changes and results needed. Our continued commitment to the United Nations Global Compact and our ongoing collaborative work with stakeholders, including local and global experts and NGOs, are a few examples of how we work to achieve positive change through shared responsibility.

-Karl-Johan Persson, CEO, H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB

Ecocentric Packaging

The packaging at H&M is 100% circular and renewable. The company is also careful towards using organic chemicals for printing and labelling.

For its cosmetic product and packaging, H&M is using Ecocert certified ingredients.

H&M beauty - sustainable packaging
H&M's Beauty Box Packaging series

Initiatives Towards Sustainable Packaging

100% of the company’s commercial business partners have signed a sustainability commitment.

  • Since 2014, H&M is partners with Zara and other apparel companies in changing their supply chain to save endangered forests.
  • Plastic carry bags are completely replaced with sustainably sourced paper bags.
  • H&M Foundation awards advanced recycling technology and techniques every year.
  • To encourage people to recycle, H&M invites the used textiles and beauty containers and presents 10% Thank-You-Treat.
H&M recycle- sustainable packaging
H&M encouraging customers to donate textiles and packaging for recycling (Image)

Sustainability Outcome

  • The company has reduced 35% of emissions from its manufacturing, supply chain, and packaging operations.
  • 64% of companies stores across the world have a recycling system for store waste.
  • In 2017, H&M collected more than 17K tonnes of textiles and beauty containers through its garment collecting initiative for reuse and recycling.

#9 Apple

Apple Inc. is a multinational technology company, and also torchbearer when it comes to innovative technology. They revolutionised packaging when they changed it from iPhone 6s to 7. It resulted in 84% less usage in terms of usage of plastic in packaging.

Sustainability Philosophy

Some people see innovation as change, but we have never really seen it like that. It’s making things better.

-Tim Cook, CEO, Apple Inc.

Apple aims at eliminating toxins at each stage of its process- from design and development to reach out to the end-user. The brand’s green initiative includes eco-friendly packaging as well.

  1. Using paper efficiently and wherever possible, prefer using recycled paper.
  2. Sourcing paper responsibly.
  3. Protecting forests and planting trees for creating sustainable working forests.

Eco-Friendly Packaging

Apple takes responsibility for the energy used to ship and recycle its products. The company reflects this ideology in its packaging. The salient features of packaging at Apple are-

  • The iMac Pro packaging contains 78% less plastic and 85% recycled content.
  • The company has replaced polystyrene padding with 100% recycled paper padding (for shipping perusal).
iMac Pro - sustainable packaging
The sleek, reduced packaging for iMac Pro (Image)

Initiatives Towards Sustainable Packaging

The company has formed Green Chemistry Advisory Board with the world’s leading toxicologists, researchers, and academics. 

  • Since 2015, Apple is partners with WWF (World Wildlife Federation) for responsible forest management.
  • Apple provides the necessary tools and guidance to its suppliers for sustainable waste management.

Sustainability Outcome

  • According to 2016 data, Apple has reduced the amount of plastics in its packaging by almost 30%.
  • Apple has protected and created responsibly managed forests to cover the 51,000 metric tons of virgin paper they used for packaging in 2017.
  • Apple has successfully created a closed-loop supply chain for the paper. It means that 100% of the wood-fibres used in Apple products packaging is either recycled or comes from sustainably managed forests.

#10 Philips

Koninklijke Philips N.V., stylized as PHILIPS, is one of the world’s largest electronics companies in the world. The company is committed to carbon neutrality for its global operations by 2020.

Sustainability Philosophy

At Philips, we fully embrace sustainability because of the benefits for societies, and because we believe that it is a driver for economic growth. That’s why we have sustainability incorporated in our company strategy.

-Frans van Houten, CEO, Koninklijke Philips N.V.

Philips Packaging

The salient features of packaging at Philips are-

  • Lightweight packaging
  • Maximizing the use of recycled content
Philips oneblade - sustainable packaging
Philips Oneblade packaging made from recycled material (Image)

Although the combined packaging, transport, and end-of-life phases represent only about a percentage of the company’s total environmental impact, Philips is keen at making that impact a positive one.

Initiatives Towards Sustainable Packaging

In its sustainability drive, Philips is trying to compensate emissions via carbon credits. For attaining sustainability in the complete lifecycle of its products, Philips is collaborating with business partners, NGOs, and stakeholders.

Philips Circular economy- sustainable packaging
Philips Circular economy flow-diagram (Image)

Sustainability Outcome

  • Philips has successfully employed EcoDesign and circular economy principles in designing products and packaging. 
  • Philips is able to recycle 90% of its operational waste (a considerable portion from packaging and supply chain). 
  • The company is also able to minimize the waste going to the landfill.
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Where Do You Stand?

Sustainable packaging’s responsibility doesn’t only fall upon big-name brands and companies. There are a plethora of such organizations who are doing their bit in order to help out the environment. 

The crux time has arrived when it comes to changing our practices for the sake of this planet. It is our due diligence to look out for future generations.

The question is, when will you be doing the same? The ball is in your court.

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