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UK soft-drinks maker accelerates emissions cut as it targets Net Zero

UK soft-drinks maker accelerates emissions cut as it targets Net Zero

Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I

4 min read Partner content

Suntory Beverage and Food GB&I (SBF GB&I) has announced its commitment to halve its emissions by 2030, as part of ambitious plans to reach net zero across its entire value chain by 2050.

The company, which makes brands including Ribena and Lucozade, will cut greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 50% from direct operations and by 30% across its entire value chain within the next 10 years.

Director of External Affairs and Sustainability Michelle Norman said: “Minimising our environmental impact is a key part of our ‘Growing For Good’ vision and what our customers and consumers expect from us.

“To achieve this reduction, we will be examining every aspect of our supply chain operations and wider value chain from ingredients in our drinks and materials in manufacturing to fuel in our vehicles and fertiliser on our farms.”

Since 2015, SBF GB&I has already cut its carbon footprint by 25%, citing a new energy and water efficient bottling line as a key part to this sizeable reduction in GHGs.

It is also continuing to invest in improving efficiencies across both its operations and warehousing processes, with a growing impetus on utilising recycled plastics (rPET) for its primary packaging.

Last year Ribena became the largest UK soft drink brand to use 100% recycled and 100% recyclable plastic bottles. Research suggests shifting from using virgin plastic made from fossil fuels to rPET reduces CO2 emissions by approximately 79%. And it also recorded its first year of using 100% purchased renewable energy at its sites in Gloucestershire and London.

These efforts are making early waves, with CO2 output dropping by 8% between 2019 and 2020. Even factoring in the impact of the pandemic, Ms Norman suggested this indicates a “relative reduction” per kilolitre of drinks produced.

Ms Norman said: “Improving sustainability of both packaging and processes is vital if we’re going to do our bit to achieve net zero, and we’re well on our way.”

Member of Parliament for the Forest of Dean, Mark Harper, praised the company’s efforts to reduce plastic consumption and waste: “Suntory is an innovative company that has not only shown a vote of confidence in the UK with investments in my constituency and elsewhere in the country, but has played a leading role in reducing the carbon footprint of industry, showing they are conscious of the vital need to protect our planet and resources.

“I’m particularly proud that a new bottling line in their Coleford factory in my Forest of Dean constituency has been part of these efforts.

“I am confident that Suntory will continue showing industry how to continue being successful while reducing their carbon footprint.”

Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Environment Anthony Browne echoed his thoughts: “I’m delighted to see SBF GB&I make this commitment – if we are to meet the challenge of the climate crisis, it’s vital that businesses across the UK set bold targets of this kind.

“It’s clearer than ever that tackling climate change goes hand-in-hand with economic opportunities – by taking these steps, businesses such as SBF GB&I can help generate thousands of jobs in the low-carbon economy, deliver savings for their customers, and save the planet, all at the same time.

“That’s not to say we don’t have a huge challenge in front of us, but with action of this kind, I’m confident we’ll overcome it.”

All companies within the Suntory Group share the ambitious target and Suntory Holdings recently signed up to the Business Ambition for 1.5C campaign.

Led by The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), the UN Global Compact and We Mean Business coalition, the campaign aims to hold temperature increases at 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

CEO of Suntory Holdings Tak Niinami was quoted in the company’s press release as saying:: “As a company with products that rely on the blessings of nature and with a mission ‘To Create Harmony with People and Nature,’ it’s a business imperative for us to step change our actions to address climate change.

“Since our inception more than 120 years ago, Suntory has been committed to sustainability across our entire business under the founding spirit of ‘Giving Back to the Society’.”

The company is due to publish its Sustainability Report in the summer, as part of its long-standing commitment to reporting back on performance against sustainability commitments and targets.


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