Cadbury Schweppes Announces "Absolute" Commitment To Climate Action

Food/Bev giant unveils aggressive manufacturing process change both in-house and throughout supply chain

Cadbury Schweppes recently unveiled a new environmental strategy designed to transform the company's manufacturing processes and assets, minimising the use of energy, packaging and water in response to the challenge of climate change.

Central to the strategy is the adoption of absolute (rather than relative) targets for carbon emission reductions -- a fundamental shift and a first for the UK food manufacturing industry. This reinforces the recent moves by a number of retail and service sector companies and adds considerable momentum to the growing consensus for "absolute" measures.

Cadbury Schweppes has pledged a 50% reduction of net absolute carbon emissions by 2020 aiming to reduce not just the "relative" energy intensity of its global operations but also its' absolute carbon emissions through a balanced program of "saving, switching and, as a last resort, off-setting."

In order to focus its strategy, Cadbury Schweppes has set the following targets:

  • 50% reduction of net absolute carbon emissions by 2020 -- with a minimum of 30% from in-company actions
  • 10% reduction in packaging used per tonne of product and 25% in the more highly packaged seasonal and gifting items
  • Use more environmentally sustainable forms of packaging -- aim for 60% biodegradable, with 100% of secondary packaging being recyclable
  • All "water-scarce" sites to have water reduction programs in place

In addition to making its own commitments, the company will be looking to forge alliances and positively influence others within its value chain to put climate change onto the agenda. Starting with its own people, Cadbury Schweppes will be encouraging "green activism" within the company, with employees empowered to take action, press for change and create a culture of environmental consciousness. "Purple goes Green" start-up packs including environmental information and tips about how to 'take action today' are being made available to employees to help make a difference.

Having launched its environmental commitments, Cadbury Schweppes hopes to unite the industry by joining forces with peers and partners throughout the supply chain to reduce the carbon footprint of the food manufacturing sector.

Working with government, as well as a range of environmental specialists including Forum for the Future, the Carbon Trust and the Courtauld Commitment has already practically demonstrated its values in action across energy, packaging and water in a number of ways. Examples include:

Energy-Related Efforts

  • Save: In 2005 Cadbury Schweppes switched from coal-fired boilers to natural gas boilers in Bournville, UK. This project reduced the company's global emissions of greenhouse gases by 1%.
  • Save: Invested in new technologies, such as a combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Nagoya (Japan).
  • Switch: In India, the Induri plant uses "bagasse" or sugar cane, a renewable fuel to provide steam for manufacturing.
  • Switch: Some electricity is already supplied from renewable sources - such as the hydro-power that supplies the site at Claremont in Tasmania, solar heating in Karachi (Pakistan) and renewable power in Yonge Street (Canada).

Packaging Waste Reduction

  • Save: Cadbury Buttons Easter Chick -- A new line for Easter 2007 that uses only 3.6% of the packaging by weight of a standard Buttons Easter Egg. Unlike most offerings in this category, the Chick is not sold in a carton or box, but is foil-wrapped and sold in a shelf-ready pack.
  • Save: Cadbury Snaps -- A major configuration change of this product in 2006 achieved a reduction of 20% in packaging materials usage per-pack and an increase of 41% in the number of consumer units capable of being packed into a shipping container.
  • Save: Gum Blister-packs -- A program is currently underway to reduce the amount of aluminum foil usage in Cadbury gum packaging by 12.5%.

Water Stewardship Efforts

  • Save: The water saving program at Cadbury Schweppes beverages plant in Australia replacing eight conveyor lines, exchanging water-based lines with new water free conveyor belt technology has contributed to the State of Victoria's water reduction target of 15% by 2010. This will save up to 21,620 kilolitres of water a year. In addition, at the Australian confectionery factory the company recently installed rain water harvesting infrastructure for toilet flushing, cooling towers, boilers and gardens which has saved 4 million liters per year.
  • Save: The company's factory in Pakistan is in an area of low rainfall rates, so conserving water is especially important locally. Cadbury Schweppes has reduced usage by investing in water supply systems, including meters and training employees. This program achieved a 58% reduction in water use per ton from 2000 to mid-2005.
  • Switch: Cadbury India is aiming for zero water discharge. The factory at Bangalore has implemented two forms of capturing this water for recovery and re-use from the 60 hectare site. The storm water from the roof of the factory is collected and is re-used directly into cooling towers and boilers. Overflow from this system together with the water runoff is used to replenish the ground water table as well as for the nearby borehole wells used by the community.

Interested in information related to sustainable manufacturing best practices? Bookmark our Making Green page, and check back daily for updated content.
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