Fonterra assesses global packaging use

New Zealand dairy cooperative Fonterra is conducting a detailed assessment of the packaging materials it uses and, as part of its global sustainability strategy, is analysing how those materials are combined into finished goods.

“Given the tough year we had, it would’ve been easy to push sustainability to one side, whereas we have in fact continued to make progress,” said Fonterra’s chief executive, Miles Hurrell. “We’ve underlined our commitment to the importance of sustainability and firmed up plans to do more on climate change, coal, waste and sustainable packaging.”

Fonterra’s new 2019 Sustainability Report focuses on three categories: Healthy People, Healthy Environment and Healthy Business. As part of its Healthy Environment category, Fonterra has examined the issue of packaging waste.

This year, the cooperative set itself a target to make its packaging 100 per cent recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025. Progress so far has been good. In Australia – where there is an industry support tool that enables businesses to independently assess the recyclability of consumer packaging – Fonterra has determined that over 90 per cent of its finished goods packaging designed for the Australian market is considered recyclable.

For the rest of the world, Fonterra will conduct its own analysis and also look at the typical recycling infrastructure in the main markets where it sells its products. The dairy cooperative will track its packaging progress by the tonnes of finished goods packaging sold as it believes this better represents its impact on society.

Meanwhile, Fonterra’s research and development centre has created a programme to identify and evaluate alternative sustainable packaging materials and solutions.

“There’s still a lot more work to do, such as supporting our farmers in their response to climate change and doing more to bring greater gender and ethnic diversity into our business,” explained Carolyn Mortland, Fonterra’s global sustainability director. “We don’t shy away from the fact that we need to do more against some of our ambitious targets. What is clear is that we made some good progress in a tough year and have set ourselves up for the years ahead.”