As a matter of principle, we support the further utilisation of resources and their recovery through recycling. Our focus is on packaging and the use of conventional plastic. To reduce our environmental footprint, we strongly support closed-loop recycling management.
In everyday wholesale business, packaging is not only used for transporting, preserving and protecting goods. Product packaging also contains information and usage instructions for customers. But packaging foremost represents a major cross-industry challenge in terms of reducing quantity as well as defining the proper materials.
As wholesale specialist we need to ensure that we meet the high quality and hygiene standards our customers expect, while at the same time we aim to reduce the environmental impact of the packaging of our own-brand products during the entire life cycle. We work to develop innovative solutions to improve resource efficiency, for instance by reducing packaging material, increasing the proportion of recycled material used in our packaging, and designing our packaging to improve stacking on pallets while at the same time reducing the costs for our customers.
Packaging targets 2018 achieved and ambition for 2023
From September 2014 to September 2018, we aimed to
- Check the packaging of more than 10,000 own brand products regarding their impact on the environment and – if possible – improving it
- Switch 100% of our SIG Combibloc and Tetra Pak drinks cartons to FSC®-certified packaging (for globally sourced products and in participating countries)
Both targets weren't only reached, but even exceeded as until September 2018 even more than 11,000 own brand products were reviewed. Furthermore, changes that were made to the packaging of the reviewed products accumulated to an amount of 400 tons packaging material that could be saved for good.
In order to make further significant reductions in plastic volumes and therefore in plastic waste, and to use resources as efficiently as possible, in October 2018 we have set ourselves new targets:
From October 2018 to September 2023, we aim to
- Obtain FSC® or PEFC certification for all card, paper and wood content in primary, secondary and tertiary packaging
- Save an additional 300 tonnes of plastic waste in our own brand packagin
METRO Plastics Initiative
To underline our strong commitment to tackle the plastic waste challenge , in September 2018, as part of the METRO Plastics Initiative, we and our national subsidiaries committed ourselves to replacing conventional disposable plastics with reusable, recyclable or compostable alternatives by 2025, and to promoting the transition to closed-loop plastics recycling.
To this end, we have also joined the New Plastics Economy of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in October 2018. In this international network of more than 290 organizations companies, universities, academics and financial institutions work jointly to achieve, amongst other goals:
- Innovation to ensure that 100% of plastic packaging is easy and quick to handle and can be safely reused, recycled or composted by 2025
- Enabling transfer of produced plastics into closed material cycles and increasing the production of such plastics, which can be reused or recycled and processed into new packaging or products
In addition, the #METROPlasticFighters are an important pillar of the METRO Plastics Initiative, which is deeply rooted in the company, raises awareness, educates about plastic waste and creates a growing internal task force to drive change forward. The idea behind it is simple – with 150,000 employees worldwide, METRO has an enormous impact on the urgently needed change, starting from each individual employee and his or her relationships with our customers, suppliers, business partners, friends and family. In recent months, employees voluntarily met under the flag of #METROPlasticFighters to join or even organize e.g. clean-ups in Düsseldorf, the Ukraine or on the beach in Hong Kong. In addition, conventional plastic containers and single-use Coffee-To-Go cups were exchanged at METROs headquarters canteen and coffee bar. A sustainability fee for more sustainable alternatives e.g. reusable lunch boxes or 100% climate-neutral, reusable porcelain deposit cups are donated to the Pacific Garbage Screening project.