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Berry takes 'multifaceted' approach to sustainability

Berry Global Group Inc. is continuing to raise the company's profile when it comes to environmental issues.

The Evansville, Ind.-based plastics packaging company is out with a sustainability strategy for the first time ever, addressing areas including design, material sourcing, climate change and resin loss.

Berry's new strategy is approaching sustainability through three key areas: products, performance and partners.

"We don't want to be reactive. We want to be proactive and set the strategy of where we are going and what are our priorities and make that clear," said Rob Flores, director of sustainability for Berry. "We really want to focus the strategy with clear priorities."

CEO Tom Salmon, in an email interview, indicated each area of the sustainability strategy is equally important.

"Sustainability is multifaceted and such is our strategy. Ultimately, we're focused on making a positive impact through our products, performance and partners, and in order to succeed, we must consider all three prongs of the strategy," he said.

For products, the goal is to minimize impacts through optimizing design and using sustainable raw materials.

This includes lightweighting as well as designing all packaging to be reusable, recyclable, or compostable.

On the sourcing side, Berry also wants to increase recycled content of packaging and encourage the development of renewable materials.

"Incorporating more recycled content is not only a key component of Impact 2025, it is a critical step in the transition to a circular economy. A key driver in the increased use of recycled content will be determined by the expansion and modernization of recycling infrastructure. We are working closely with customers to support their recycled content needs, which will ultimately determine how much recycled content we are able to incorporate," Salmon said.

For performance, the company seeks to minimize operational impacts. This includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2025. The company will use a 2016 baseline.

Berry also seeks to reduce waste sent to landfills by 5 percent each year and reduce energy and water consumption by 1 percent each year.

Berry Global Group Inc. Berry Global Group's Entour film for flexible packaging is a recyclable option, the company says. Preventing resin spillsThe company will work to prevent resin pellet loss through Operation Clean Sweep. The program emphasizes preventing resin spills and using containment so pellets do not enter the environment.

Any new acquisition sites will implement Operation Clean Sweep within a year.

Berry will work with its partners to end plastic waste and limit global warming, according to the company. These efforts will include projects to "expand and modernize waste infrastructure to increase recovery and prevent loss of plastic into the environment."

The company's strategy also will increase use of renewable energy, "expand the use of plastic in place of alternative materials," and "promote science-based targets."

Introduction of the new sustainability strategy comes after Berry joined the nonprofit Alliance to End Plastic Waste earlier this year.

The alliance, funded by companies, pledges $1.5 billion for efforts to tackle the plastic waste pollution problem around the world.

Berry recently unveiled a line of packaging products called Verdant that uses 100 percent recycled resin.

"I think this is complementary to all the initiatives you have been seeing from us," Berry spokeswoman Amy Waterman said.

"We see that this is a multifaceted approach. No single entity or group has created the issues that we're facing with sustainability today, so no single group or entity is going to solve it by themselves. This is our contribution of trying to do our part," Waterman said.

The company decided on a 2025 goal time fame for practical matters, Flores said.

Next year is 2020, and that's too soon, he said. And people like to see goals in five-year increments, so focusing on 2025 provides a short-term plan to make changes.

Going out longer than that, to 2040 for example, becomes difficult because "so many things are going to change," he said. "One of the things with goal setting is you want to be aggressive, but achievable," Flores said.

"We are seeing a tremendous demand for sustainability, especially in the plastics and packaging industries." Salmon said. "We wanted to launch this strategy to provide a concise message to the market as well as to our people about our priorities and the steps we are taking to drive sustainability."

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Publication date: 18/04/2019

Plastics News

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Last update: 2019-05-09