Environmental stewardship is an ongoing priority for the sector. UNESDA members recognise that the sector has a role to play in taking up its responsibility to manage resources and reduce waste throughout its production processes and distribution activities. We focus on a handful of core areas:
Water management – water is a key ingredient for our industry, representing some 90% of a soft drink. Water efficiency, conservation and protection are a focus. Manufacturing operations aim to optimise water use and treat wastewater appropriately. In Europe, some companies have been able to reduce their water ratio all the way to 1.2 litres per litre of beverage produced. Furthermore, waste from production processes such as cooling and rinsing is then internally reused to clean trucks and floors.
Packaging – too is a key resource for the sector and we have taken a number of steps to introduce sustainable packaging policies as well as effective systems for reduction, recovery, recycling and reuse. UNESDA is a founding member of the PET Platform which gathers key players in the packaging chain and is committed to the use of 100% recycled plastic. The industry currently exceeds legal packaging recovery targets in a range of 50-80%. In addition, replacing glass bottles with PET plastics which are much lighter in weight, has allowed the industry to cut the amount of energy used for transportation in the food supply chain by half(25.4MJ/kg to 13.7MJ/kg).
Energy use – Across all of our industry energy is an important issue and we are focused on driving energy efficiency, conservation and reduction wherever possible. Our industry is part of a wider supply chain and we work closely with stakeholders and their partners to contribute jointly to a better environment. For example, truck sharing and the introduction of energy efficient and hybrid distribution vehicles has allowed us to reduce fleet emissions. At bottling plants, the energy use ratio is about 0.4-0.6MJ per litre of beverage produced and new technologies aim to reduce this figure by 50%.
Waste reduction – UNESDA members view environmental protection as a joint societal effort that requires a common, consistent and coordinated approach. We work to manage resources and reduce waste throughout our production processes and distribution activities. Ours is primarily a local industry. The majority of ingredients used in our beverages are sourced locally and production is situated relatively close to the markets and consumers it serves, resulting in low food miles.
Innovation and investment in the area of environmental sustainability will continue to be a key priority for the industry in the years ahead.