In 2019 the UK became the first major economy in the world to pass laws to end its contribution to global warming by 2050.

The target will require the UK to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, compared with the previous target of at least 80% reduction from 1990 levels.

The UK’s 2050 net zero target – one of the most ambitious in the world – was recommended by the Committee on Climate Change, the UK’s independent climate advisory body.

Net zero means any emissions would be balanced by schemes to offset an equivalent amount of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, such as planting trees or using technology like carbon capture and storage. JTI has pledged to become Net Zero in its UK operations by 2030 – 20 years ahead of the Government’s current deadline (2050).

This includes committing to reducing emissions by 80%, as well as transitioning its sales fleet to electric vehicles, which will save 776 tonnes of CO2e emissions each year – the equivalent to 155 hot air balloons. JTI UK will be using 100% renewable energy by 2025 – saving 675 tonnes of CO2e per year – and reducing energy consumption by 20% by 2030.

The company is also committed to increasing recycling rates of general waste to 75% and reducing general waste overall by 20%. By 2030, this will help save 22.8 tonnes of waste being generated and recycle an additional 21.2 tonnes each year.

“As the UK’s leading total tobacco company, we’re committed to fostering a sustainable environment for future generations. Last year we launched our UK Environmental Plan 2030, which is designed to help us do loads more with tonnes less and includes several ambitious sustainability targets across five key focus areas: emissions, energy, waste, water, and stakeholder engagement,” comments Ruth Forbes, Head of Responsible Business Projects at JTI UK.

“Reducing its environmental impact is a journey JTI shares with its employees, suppliers and customers, only together can targets be achieved. To support employee engagement with the sustainability agenda, we have created a new UK Environmental Task Force and UK Sales Sustainability working group to drive improvements forward across the wider business. JTI has also created new ESG criteria which have been embedded in all UK procurement tenders from this year, and is working with suppliers to source goods and services with increased sustainability credentials.”

IRN-BRU maker AG Barr is also accelerating its journey towards carbon neutrality and has announced its latest step – all of its soft drinks consumer multipacks will be wrapped in 100% recycled shrink wrap by the end of 2021. This move alone will save 400 tonnes of virgin plastic a year – that’s the weight of about 250 cars.

IRN-BRU is the first AG Barr brand to make the switch to 100% recycled wrap across its can multipacks, with the new sustainable pack set to hit shelves across the country from May.

All of AG Barr’s soft drinks packaging is already 100% recyclable and now BRU fans can feel even better knowing the new 100% recycled wrap is less resource thirsty than the current packing, which is great news for the environment. But AG Barr isn’t stopping with IRN-BRU – all its soft drinks printed film will be 100% recycled by the end of 2021, so IRN-BRU will be joined by AG Barr’s other much loved brands including Barr Flavours and Rubicon.

Roger White, AG Barr’s Chief Executive said: “We’re always looking for ways to make our products more sustainable and we’re delighted to introduce this new 100% recycled film which has half the carbon footprint of its virgin plastic equivalent. This is just one step towards our longer term carbon neutral ambition, ensuring we play our part in reducing the effects of climate change on our planet.”

Heineken is taking part in ground-breaking research producing glass bottles using up to 100% recycled glass and low carbon biofuel, replacing high carbon natural gas. The trial, which is in its early stages, will see 1.4 million bottles of Heineken produced with the intent of hitting supermarket shelves in the UK with this revolutionary glass. If successful, the trial could set the path for a radical reduction in the use of carbon in glass manufacturing.

Heineken is working in partnership with global glass manufacturer and filler, Encirc (a Vidrala company), and not-for-profit industry research and development organisation, Glass Futures, to trial bottles made from up to 100% recycled glass, using only the energy from burning ultra-low-carbon sustainable biofuels. The pilot scheme, funded by the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, will assess the relative resilience of the new bottles throughout the entire supply chain.

The low carbon bottle trial is part of a global partnership working on sustainable glass solutions to advance the reduction of carbon in the industry. With 1.4m bottles entering the market, the findings will contribute to continuing work to find a scalable sustainable solution for the long-term, as the glass sector moves away from fossil fuels, and towards low-carbon alternatives.

Made from waste organic materials, biofuels are a renewable and much more sustainable fuel source than those traditionally used by the glass sector, and can reduce the production carbon footprint of each bottle by up to 90%. Additionally, by using up to 100% recycled glass to produce the new bottles, the trial has been able to minimise even further the environmental impact of these products.

Matt Callan, Brewing and Operations Director, Heineken UK, says: “The trial is a huge step forward in finding a scalable solution to reducing carbon from glass manufacturing. This is a great example of working together with different suppliers to advance sustainable practices. Testing 1.4m bottles in the market will provide much needed insight into the practicalities of introducing an ultra-low carbon option with glass, and the results will inform further development with the eventual goal of introducing low carbon bottles at scale.

“As part of our Brewing a Better World sustainability strategy, we have a continued focus on reducing CO2 from our entire supply chain. Collaboration is key – innovation, testing and trial will be at the heart of our continuous efforts to ‘Drop the C’. We welcome this industry wide initiative that connects drink producers, glass suppliers, policy makers and research institutes to advance the decarbonisation of their sectors. And with consumers recycling wherever possible, together we can reduce the impact on our planet.”

KP Snacks has announced large-scale packaging reductions as it strives to meet its sustainability goals via the company’s Taste for Good responsible business programme. As one of the UK’s leading snacks manufacturers, KP Snacks is constantly looking for ways to innovate the packaging of its products to reduce its environmental impact.

Packaging for Hula Hoops has been cut by 23% – equal to 11 tonnes of plastic – whilst popchips and Tyrrells packaging are both down by 14%, or the equivalent of 23 and 43 tonnes respectively.

KP’s move to cut plastic usage includes further plans for packaging reductions across a number of the brands in the KP Snacks stable this year. Investment in new equipment that packs the products in a more efficient way has resulted in the ability to cut around 142 tonnes of packaging across Nik Naks, Space Raiders and Skips. Meanwhile, a further 144 tonnes will be saved thanks to packaging reductions in popchips sharing bags, Hula Hoops six-packs, Butterkist, and Hula Hoops Puft.

The reduction in packaging also has a knock-on effect for KP Snacks’ wider environmental impact; it allows the business to handle 33,000 fewer pallets per year and significantly reduce the number of journeys made by its lorries.

Mark Duffy, manufacturing director at KP Snacks, commented: “We’re always looking for new ways to reduce our impact on the environment, and sustainability is one of the four key pillars of our Taste for Good programme. Our pacKPromise is our three-stage plan to reduce our packaging impact on the environment. In addition to reducing the amount of packaging we use, we’ve also introduced a partnership with TerraCycle, so that all of our snacks packs can be recycled at any of 500 drop off locations across the UK. Our ultimate aim is to make all of our plastic film packaging 100% recyclable by 2025 and we’re well on our way to achieving this. While our packaging has reduced, people can rest assured that the same great tasting snacks are inside.”

All KP factories have been zero waste to landfill since 2012 and KP Snacks is committed to reducing its total waste by at least 5% each year.

Absolut has launched its latest limited-edition bottle made of 60% recycled glass, making it Absolut’s most sustainable glass bottle yet.

The launch showcases a continuation of the brand’s mission to use its creativity to inspire positive change, as it pushes forward with its sustainability agenda.

The 2021 edition has been inspired by different walks of life coming together to celebrate the spirit of mixing and connectivity to create better together. The design is blue in colour and made of 60% recycled glass, highlighting the importance of sustainability and circular packaging.

The limited-edition bottle follows news of Absolut rolling out its prototype Paper Bottles, a collaboration with the Paboco® pioneer community to create a sustainable alternative to traditional packaging methods. Made of recyclable content – 57% paper and 43% recycled plastic – the prototype is the brand’s first step to achieving a fully bio-based bottle. It also reinforces Pernod Ricard’s commitment to Circular Making as part of its ‘Good Times from a Good Place’ Sustainability & Responsibility roadmap.

Chris Shead, Off Trade Channel Director for Pernod Ricard UK, comments: “We know sustainability is important to shoppers, with data showing that 83% of consumers globally select brands that have a better record of sustainability. We also know that the Absolut limited-edition bottle is a collectible item for those loyal to the brand and we can’t wait to give our consumers the chance to be a part of our sustainability journey.”

pladis has announced new initiatives to reduce its environmental impact, including the total removal of problematic-to-recycle black plastic from its product portfolio, which will support pladis UK&I’s long-term strategy to tackle plastic waste and reduce the environmental impact of packaging across the business.

The new measures, which come just over two years since its landmark commitment to the UK Plastics Pact, include: the removal of all non-recyclable black plastic from the pladis UK&I on-shelf product portfolio by June 2021; the elimination of all PVDC film by June 2021; and a continued commitment to prioritising the development of sustainable packaging solutions across bestselling lines, reducing CO2 emissions from transportation.

“As part of our commitment to the UK Plastics Pact, we’ve been working hard to transition our rigid plastic trays from black to recyclable cloudy rPET, which contain a minimum of 30% recycled content,” explains Sylvain Cuperlier, Head of Sustainability at pladis.

“We’re pleased to announce that the last black trays were produced in late December and we will complete this transition by the summer, after which there will be no more pladis-produced black plastic in the market. This will save 80 million plastic trays from landfill every year.”

In addition to the eradication of black plastic from its supply chain, pladis has increased the amount of ‘Recycle Ready’ monopolymer film used across the business – it now represents 64% of all packaging film – and removed 35% of PVDC film, cited by the UK Plastics Pact as a ‘problematic plastic’, with the remaining 65% due to be eliminated by June 2021.

What’s more, as part of its drive to prioritise sustainable packaging solutions, pladis has overhauled the packaging for many of its bestselling lines.

“Shoppers will have noticed the changes we’ve been making as they purchased their favourite festive biscuits in the lead up to Christmas,” continues Cuperlier. “Last year we made some important adjustments to our bestselling McVitie’s Victoria assortment, including downsizing the card outer and incorporating a fully-recyclable cloudy plastic tray.

“By swapping the traditional black tray for a recyclable alternative, we were able to save over 60 tonnes of plastic from landfill over the festive period. These changes reflect our commitment to tackling plastic waste in response to the British public’s justifiable concerns about packaging and sustainability.”

The snacking company also has several projects underway to enhance the recyclability of products across its portfolio and minimise its environmental impact.

“Across our product range we are actively identifying improvements that can be made to our packaging,” adds Cuperlier. “From opportunities to reduce non-recyclable plastic, to design updates which mean we can swap out components which make certain types of packaging harder for shoppers to recycle.

“As part of this we’ve reduced height and board grade on outer packaging for our Jacob’s Mini Cheddars brand, meaning during transportation, we can fit more boxes on every truck. By removing trucks from the road, we’ve been able to reduce our CO2 emissions by 127 tonnes per year. Similarly, through making changes to the cases which package our McVitie’s Nibbles and Flipz products, we’ll be removing 84 tonnes of CO2 from our supply chain annually.

“We’ve also redesigned our Jacob’s caddies and our new, fully-recyclable caddies will be in store later this year.

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