Sustainability is a necessity, not a choice

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) in the UK has set tough new environmental targets as part of a wider policy of embedding sustainable practice throughout the sector.

UK food and drink manufacturers have outlined their ambition to play a positive role in improving the sustainability of the overall supply chain.

Among the highlights are raising the 2020 CO2 reduction target from 30pc to 35pc, accelerating progress on the 2015 zero landfill waste target and contributing for the first time to a supply chain waste prevention target.

According to Christian Stegemann, marketing manager at Germany Innocent drinks, promoting sustainability in business practices is a positive step for companies. He will be a speaker at the marcus evans Sustainability in Packaging Conference on 27-28 January in Berlin.

“Tough new environmental regulations are a very good move. If you look at packaging and how it developed over time and how much less material companies are now using. It’s a very good move to put the pressure on companies to use more sustainable options. There are lots of initiatives happening in Europe which would be good to spread out further,” says Stegemann.

Sustainability in business needs to be a foremost concern even in difficult times, he adds.

“First of all sustainability is important in general to keep this planet working. They say in the western world we use so much material we would need to have three planets to support our levels of consumption. If you look to the developing countries they want the same things we have – and they are starting to use a lot of materials. If we don’t start being more sustainable there’s no future for all of us. The first overlying principal is that we can’t continue as we are now.

“If you start being sustainable you start using less material, less energy which actually saves money and costs for the business. It’s a very commercial thing even in difficult times. Sustainability is now more and more important to consumers. By doing this we actually increase our consumer satisfaction. It’s definitely necessary to be sustainable.”

Stegemann agrees it should be key to any business model and says there is no conflict between sustainable consumption and business growth. “By being sustainable you are actually looking to the future. We have a better business model for the future.”

The marcus evans Sustainability in Packaging Conference will take place on 27-28 January in Berlin.