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FMCG, the Environment and the Planet: What are FMCG Brands Doing to Help the Environment?

14 February 2020

With global warming, climate change, the plastic crisis and water waste now at the forefront of society, it’s clear that things can’t go on. According to NASA, global climate change has already had observable effects on the environment, with ice glaciers shrinking, plant and animal ranges shifting and trees flowering sooner than before. The increased temperate of the climate has already resulted in a loss of sea ice, an acceleration in the rise of sea levels and longer and more intensive heatwaves. The plastic pollution crisis is impacting marine life causing marine animals to become entangled in, and to ingest plastic waste.

FMCG brands are making some BIG changes to make their products more sustainable and environmentally friendly. We've selected a few of our fave brands with some brilliant sustainability plans...

1.      Nestle

Environmental sustainability is high up on this brand’s agenda. As part of their Life Cycle plan, Nestle pledge to care for water, act on climate change and safeguard the environment. They currently have plans to reduce the environmental impact of their packaging and products and since 1991, have reduced the weight of their packaging by over 500 million kg. They also use recycled materials where possible and choose materials that have a low impact on the environment. Nestle are aware of their carbon footprint, water usage, non-renewable energy waste and solid waste generation. Back in 2018, Nestle announced its ambition to make 100% of its packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025 in a bid to help minimise the impact of its packaging on the environment. What a goal!

2.      Starbucks

Our fave coffee gurus Starbucks are currently establishing themselves as an eco-friendly bunch! They’re working on solving cup recycling and reducing waste inside and outside their stores. They reward customers who bring a reusable tumbler or cup with 25p discount on any drink purchased, encouraging their customers to get involved in helping their brand become more sustainable. You can get your hands on a reusable tumbler at Starbucks for just £1!! They are building greener stores and are looking for new ways to help preserve water. Partnering with businesses like Conservational International, and the Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP) they’re 100% bound to reach their goals with their expert guidance.

3.      Coca Cola

According to this business, packaging is essential in helping customers enjoy their drinks. With packaging counting for half of their carbon footprint, they’re reducing the amount of materials in their bottles and cans and have decreased the weight of their packaging by 27% since 2007. By using less materials in their packaging it reduces the quantity of natural resources needed and the energy that is needed to manufacture it. 100% of Coca Cola’s packaging is now recyclable after years of hard work by the brand, right down to the glue that is used to stick down the label. Coca cola is using more recycled and renewable materials in their packaging that ever before, with more change still to come!

4.      Lush

The candy-coloured cosmetics company Lush have been aware of their environmental impact right from the word GO! According to Lush, the environment are at the heart of this business and impact the decisions they make daily. According to their website, they like to support environmental groups that take part in creative change. They’re committed to becoming more sustainable and believe that the environment is EVERYONE’s responsibility. When it comes to packaging, they use as little as possible. Half of their products can even be taken home without packaging, and the creation of their shampoo bars means that they save nearly 6 MILLION plastic bottles. Where products do need packaging, they like to use recycled materials and 90% of their packaging is currently recycled, with plans to extend this to 100%. This store rewards customers who return packaging and take care when buying raw materials to make sure that they only use materials that are produced in a sustainable way. They recycle 89% of their packaging, and work to reduce the amount of overall energy they use.

5.      Carlsberg

The boozy beer brand Carlsberg are working ‘together towards ZERO’. This ambitious sustainability plan is their vision for a better tomorrow at a time of serious challenges such as climate change, water scarcity and public health concerns. Their plan has four main pillars: ZERO carbon footprint, ZERO water waste, ZERO irresponsible drinking and a ZERO accidents culture. Their sustainability plan is even underpinned by measurable targets leading up to 2030. They are embarking on a plan to reduce their carbon emissions. By 2030 they plan to reduce carbon emissions to zero at their breweries and end 2030 with a 30% reduction in beer-in-hand carbon footprint. Their zero water waste plan includes a 50% water usage reduction by 2030, alongside partnering to safeguard shared water resources in high-risk areas.

6.     The Body shop

In 2016, the Body Shop released their Enrich not Exploit Commitment campaign with a strategy to deliver 14 targets to enrich people, their products and the planet. These targets are underpinned by an ambition to become a truly sustainable business. They worked with the Future-Fit Foundation, building on best-available science to define seven long-term goals that they would strive to meet to fulfil their sustainability goals. Their goals include meeting business needs whilst reducing their carbon footprint and working towards having no negative impact on the environment.

7.      P&G

P&G are reducing their footprint one step at a time. As we approached 2020, this business stated that they had made significant progress against the goals they set in 2010 around climate, water and waste. They’re raising the bar with even bolder commitments called Ambition 2030. Their new goals that were set in 2018 have ONE purpose: to enable and inspire positive impact on our environment and society while creating value for us as a company and you as a consumer. Inspiring right? They’re making social and environmental responsibility an integral component of every brand in their portfolio. They’re reducing their supply chain footprint by reducing the footprint of their suppliers, buyers and manufacturing sites. When it comes to water, they know that they can’t do it alone, so in solving one of the biggest challenges we face, they’re focused on creating partnerships that will enable people, the planet, and their business to thrive. They also plan on integrating sustainability into their workplaces to help keep their people equipped and engaged with their HUGE sustainability plans.

It is clear that brands are doing their bit to help prevent any further climate change and global warming, and to help reduce waste by ensuring that more packaging is recyclable. We can only hope that this sets the tone for the next decade, and that we will see more brands developing sustainability plans. However it's important to remember that it is our shared responsibility to help protect the environment and planet by recycling waste, using water and electricity sensibly, eating sustainably and travelling responsibly because the choice is ours.

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