Amcor works in partnership with some of the world’s biggest consumer brands, providing them with innovative packaging solutions. One of the reasons our customers choose to work with us is our design and innovation expertise, along with our LCA tools, which allow us to design and produce more tailored sustainable packaging solutions. A LCA is a data-based technique used to measure the environmental impacts associated with the product life cycle – from raw material extraction to materials processing, manufacture, distribution, use and disposal or recovery and recycling. We use our proprietary LCA software, the Advanced Sustainability Stewardship Evaluation Tool (ASSET™) and other software tools, such as the Packaging Impact Quick Evaluation Tool (PIQET), to generate the life cycle data that allows the comparison of different packaging options. Our customers can then make data-based decisions that consider sustainable impacts across a product’s life cycle. For example, we might compare two completely different packaging formats, such as a multi layer pouch versus a rigid container made from a single material.
Consistent with last year, we conducted 599 LCA using ASSET™. This means that the number of packaging LCA in the ASSET™ database is now over 4,200. Now a valuable tool for our customers, the database allows them access to the collective insights of past LCA and findings. Furthermore, to ensure that sustainability remains a core part of product development, we are formally integrating life cycle considerations into our packaging development process in major areas of our business. Many of our customers have specific sustainability objectives for their packaging, such as carbon footprint reduction.
Our data-based approach gives them the information to achieve their objectives, while delivering the packaging solutions they need. Besides the ongoing focus on the sustainability performance of the packaging itself, customers are showing increased interest in the broader role we play in their value chain.
As part of our efforts to produce the most responsible packaging solutions for our customers we are active in a number of external consortiums. For example we are part of the REFLEX consortium, a UK industry body of packaging manufacturers and their customers that aims to create a recycling or repurposing process for flexible packaging to divert it from landfill.
Although flexible packaging is an efficient use of resources overall, materials such as plastic bags, sweets wrappers and frozen food bags currently have finite recycling options. New recyclable packaging features must be developed for all flexible packaging so that the packaging can be reprocessed together. The future packaging solutions would include more innovative inks, new barrier polymers, novel packaging designs and new automated sorting technologies. The consortium members include Axion Recycling, Amcor, Dow Chemical, Nestlé, Sita, Interflex, Tomra and Unilever.
We are also involved with the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI). Launched in 2012, the ASI is a not-for-profit initiative that works to mobilise a broad base of stakeholders to establish and promote industry leading responsible practices. This reaches across the aluminium value chain, into business ethics, environmental and social performance.
Promoting responsible packaging
As one of the world’s leading packaging companies, we understand the positive impact we can have by leveraging our expertise in responsible packaging solutions throughout the industry. To promote responsible packaging, we:
>> collaborate on the development of processes, standards, metrics and tools for a consistent approach to sustainability across the packaged product life cycle and throughout our value chains;
>> promote the role and benefits of responsible packaging by presenting at conferences and seminars around the world;
>> contribute to government and NGO policy formulation on topics such as recycling, waste reduction and use and disposal of packaging; and
>> participate in industry forums and groups.
We belong to many industry bodies around the world and often hold leadership positions within these forums. Our most significant memberships include:
>> Aluminium Stewardship Initiative;
>> American Institute for Packaging and the Environment;
>> Australian Food & Grocery Council;
>> European Aluminium Foil Association/ Flexible Packaging Europe;
>> European Organisation for Packaging and the Environment;
>> Flexible Packaging Association (North America);
>> National Association for PET Container Resources;
>> SAVE FOOD Initiative; and
>> Sustainable Packaging Coalition.
In collaboration with these associations, we have seen meaningful sustainability achievements. For example, this year we joined The Recycling Partnership, where companies and industry groups aim to combine industry resources to fund curbside recycling programs for communities in the southeastern United States.
Conferences and seminars
Our sustainability leaders presented at nine conferences and seminars around the world this year. Presenters spoke on key sustainability issues and trends in the packaging industry and shared their knowledge to promote industry best practices.
Responsible and ethical sourcing and procurement
We take a ‘whole of value chain’ approach to packaging sustainability, working with our partners throughout the entire value chain to identify social, environmental and economic opportunities in a product’s full life cycle.
As suppliers in the value chain
With growing emphasis on ethics and sustainability, customers and other key stakeholders will continue to require information about our performance. To ensure that this information is easily available to our customers, we are a member of a number of organisations that have central databases where companies submit their sustainability performance data for suppliers to access. The largest one being the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (SEDEX), one of the largest global databases measuring the sustainability performance of companies. Our ‘AB’ membership means that we can provide our customers with access to our ethical performance data. We can also request this information from suppliers with SEDEX membership. We also belong to AIM-PROGRESS, a forum of consumer goods manufacturers and suppliers that promote responsible sourcing practices and sustainable production systems.
As customers in the value chain
With an annual spend on materials and services of approximately $6 billion, it is important that we consider our own suppliers’ approach to sustainability. Amcor’s procurement function is responsible for the control and assessment of our suppliers. As part of our global Procure Plus program, we are
consolidating information into a single database to better track our suppliers’ ethical and sustainability credentials. We also have a Supplier Code of Conduct that specifies the principles with which suppliers must comply. The code includes principles for business integrity, labour standards, occupation health and safety, consumer health and safety and environmental management.
As suppliers in the value chain
Of our 173 registered sites, 133 (77%) have completed the questions in the SEDEX Self Assessment Questionnaires, covering labour standards, health and safety, business integrity and environmental performance. Our SEDEX profile is linked to 58 customers, which provides them with access to information about our sites. As shown in the graph, this figure has more than doubled since FY2011/12, demonstrating the increasing interest in ethical performance in the supply chain.
EcoVadis is another organisation that provides platforms for evaluating the social and environmental performance of businesses. Within this platform, we were awarded a Gold Rating for our performance this year. In the category of Manufacturers of Plastic Products, we were in the top 5% of all companies assessed and in the top 10% of all companies from all categories in the system.
As customers in the value chain
We have made progress integrating the Supplier Code of Conduct into our procurement processes, with 52% of our direct purchases now with code compliant suppliers. This year we also began a trial with 44 of our suppliers using the EcoVadis platform to evaluate their social, ethical and environmental performances. The suppliers complete the EcoVadis questionnaire to help us identify and manage risks in our supply chain.