Verallia’s commitment to corporate social responsibility

International glass container producer Verallia recently strengthened its environmental strategy and partnered with PUR Projet in a carbon offset programme to plant more than 500,000 trees in Latin America. The following report identifies the key aspects of this programme and how it fits within Verallia’s broader corporate social responsibility strategy. The full version of this article appears in the September/October issue *.

Verallia’s commitment to corporate social responsibility

“Committed for several years to reducing its environmental footprint, the Verallia Group - a world leader in glass packaging for food and beverages - has signed a partnership agreement with PUR Projet to set up a carbon offset programme. It is based on two distinct mechanisms: A climate programme in Latin America and a programme for the environmental integration of Verallia’s production sites. The climate programme will offset 1% of the group’s emissions each year and plant more than 100,000 trees per year for five years.

This carbon offsetting of 1% of CO2 emissions complements but does not replace the objective of reducing Verallia’s CO2 emissions by 1% per year. Compensation is based on the purchase of ex-ante carbon credits, validated by third party auditors who are accredited by the Verified Carbon Standard/Gold Standard. The official withdrawal of carbon credits from the official Markit register is planned between 2020 and 2030. The volume offset in 2019 corresponds to 1% of the direct and indirect carbon footprint in 2018.

This initiative reinforces a broader corporate social responsibility (CSR) policy that Verallia has been pursuing for several years and which is structured around three main areas: Helping to preserve the environment, acting for the safety and development of teams and contributing to the development of communities. In particular, Verallia has set itself a target of reducing its emissions by 1% per year by improving the energy performance of its production facilities and increasing its use of cullet. To reduce the carbon footprint of its bottles and jars, customers are offered an eco-designed range that is lightweight and has been developed to maximise the number of items per pallet.

Sustainable development goals
Verallia is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of glass containers for food and beverages, with approximately 10,000 employees, 32 glass production facilities in 11 different countries and five technical centres. Some 16 billion glass bottles and jars were produced in 2018, with revenues of €2.4 billion reported.

In 2018, the group’s sustainable development achievements were assessed on the Ecovadis platform, receiving ‘gold medal’ certification, with a score of 63/100. Ecovadis is a platform for rating the social and environmental performance of global supply chains.

Verallia’s CSR commitments are structured around four focal areas (care for customers; respect for people, laws and the environment; empowerment and accountability; and teamwork). As a member of United Nations Global Compact, the group has identified five sustainable development goals (SDGs) to which it contributes in particular:

  • Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

  • Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

  • Protect, restore and promote the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

  • Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

  • Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development.

“Actions to reduce our environmental impact are intensifying and we will associate a carbon offsetting project with PUR Projet over the long term” commented Laëtitia Fabre, Verallia’s Head of CSR. “We are enthusiastic about this project for its crosscutting environmental and societal impacts. We are making progress every year and our ambition is to participate in real environmental change!”

Carbon offsetting

The carbon offset programme designed by Verallia and PUR Projet includes:

  • A reforestation and agro forestry project in Latin America (Peru, Honduras, Colombia and Brazil) to which Verallia has committed for an initial five year period and which will offset 1% of the group’s total emissions each year and plant more than 100,000 trees per year. This project also promotes the socio-economic development of disadvantaged communities, while preserving local ecosystems.

  • A project to integrate the Verallia group’s production sites into their environment and territory, through concrete initiatives such as reforestation of sites, market gardening, support for producers and support for local initiatives.

Founded in 2008 by Tristan Lecomte, creator of the Alter Eco fair trade brand and Pierric Jammes, PUR Projet helps companies restore and preserve the ecosystems on which they depend, while enabling local communities to improve their living conditions as part of long-term projects. As a social enterprise, PUR Projet reinvests its profits in the development of these innovative projects, encouraging local entrepreneurial initiatives for a responsible, positive and virtuous economy. PUR Projet is active in about 50 different countries.

Driving force in cullet use
Another important Verallia objective is to use all available cullet and to contribute to increasing collection, while respecting national specifications. In 2018, all material collected and made available to the group was recycled in Verallia’s furnaces.

In order to improve the cullet treatment process and increase recycling, the group is investing long-term in its seven treatment centres. The 32 Verallia glass factories are also developing various initiatives to integrate all fractions from cullet processing.

According to the group, Verallia has the industrial capacity to integrate larger volumes of cullet. Today, however, the limitation lies in its availability.

Improve energy efficiency
Improving energy efficiency and reducing CO2 are priorities for Verallia. As energy is consumed mainly during glass melting, each new furnace construction is considered an opportunity to improve the group’s performance in these areas.

Throughout their campaign life, furnaces are also the subject of improvements to reduce their consumption. This includes sealing and thermal insulation, optimisation of glass temperature, combustion adjustments and adjustment of combustion air volumes.

Commenting on the recent signing of the partnership with PUR Projet, Michel Giannuzzi, Chairman and CEO of Verallia, said: “We are pleased to partner with PUR Projet, a company renowned for its expertise in climate issues and its approach based on creating shared value. Our priority at Verallia remains the reduction of emissions from our installations, for which we are constantly striving but with this carbon offsetting programme, we wish to go further in our contribution to the fight against climate change, while supporting the socio-economic development of local communities.”

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* The full version of this article appears in the September/October issue, alongside a series of exclusive interviews with industry figureheads, topical market reports and technology updates. Subscribe now to receive the full paper and digital versions (subscribers receive a free copy of the Who’s Who / Annual Review yearbook!).

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