Kraft Heinz expands environmental goals to reduce carbon emissions, packaging waste

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

Kraft Heinz expands environmental goals to reduce carbon emissions, packaging waste
With the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming at risk, the Kraft Heinz Company is stepping up its commitment to reduce its carbon emissions, and in doing so likely will draft many of its suppliers along with it.

“If we don’t make some drastic changes in the way we are emitting carbon,”​ our planet could exceed the global warming threshold of an increase of 2 degrees Celsius or less during the century set by the Paris Agreement in 2015, Caroline Krajewski, head of global corporate reputation at Kraft Heinz, told FoodNavigator-USA.

She explained that Kraft Heinz wants to help avoid this outcome, which is why it has pledged to work with the Science Based Targets Initiative to set science-based greenhouse gas emission reduction goals in its supply chain over the next one and half to two years.

“Our current goal to reduce carbon emissions is associated just with our factories and our offices. But by signing on with the Science Based Targets initiative we are extending our effort to our supply chain,”​ she explained. “Any carbon that is emanated associated with our products … will be included in this reduction goal.”

This means Kraft Heinz will be “working hand in hand with the industry and our peers and our suppliers to make sure their operations are reducing carbon in a significant way as well,”​ she added, noting that “this is a huge undertaking for anybody … and we are excited to get going on this.”

Through its work with the initiative so far, Kraft Heinz already has learned “the vast majority of the carbon emissions associated with Kraft Heinz happens in our supply chain. So, it is not coming from our factories and not coming from our offices, but actually coming from our massive global supply chain … whether it is carbon that is emitted from animals on farms or the carbon being emitted from transportation and logistics or carbon that is emitted when the packaging of our products is created from a specific supplier,”​ Krajewski said.

She added that by working with the initiative over the next year and a half to two years to set emission reduction goals, Kraft Heinz hopes to identify where it can make the biggest impact. Once the goals are established, the company will work closely with its supply chain partners to meet them, she added.

“We have really great suppliers, and we have really collaborative suppliers, and I don’t anticipate any issues on that front,”​ Krajewski said.

In fact, she noted, “a lot of our peers, not all, but a lot, have pledged to make science-based goals as well … and a lot of us share a lot of the same suppliers. So, the reality is this is a collective industry effort to work with our suppliers, and some of the work is already happening and Kraft Heinz is simply joining the conversation and helping to push a little bit more.”

Kraft Heinz aims for 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging

The company also announced today an ambitious goal to make all of its packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025 as a complement to its current Growing a Better World strategy, which was outlined in Kraft Heinz’s Corporate Social Responsibility Report last year.

“The issue around sustainable packaging and the very broad recycling issue that we are facing in the US and globally today is one that is bubbling up to the top”​ and increasingly important to Kraft Heinz’s stakeholders, which is one reason why the company is making this commitment now, Krajewski said.

While the company doesn’t know all the details of how it will meet this goal, it is working with packaging experts, organizations and coalitions, including the Environmental Packaging International, to identify solutions, Krajewski said.

“The end goal in all of this is to make a more circular economy with less ending up in the landfill. And as part of that, we are very focused on the technical aspects and making our packaging recyclable and reusable, but we also understand and appreciate … the need to improve recycling rates and build recycling infrastructure that does not already exist”​ to help further reduce the risk that recyclable and reusable products still end up in the landfill, she said.

More details on how the company will pursue this goal in the next seven years will be laid out in Kraft Heinz’s next CSR report, which Krajewski said will be published in mid-2019.

“We don’t have all the answers yet, and we are still looking for technical solutions, but … we will disclose our baseline in terms of where we are today with recyclable and reusable packaging and we hope to have that validated by external party, and then we will go from there,”​ she said.

“Clearly, there is more to come on this issue,”​ said Krajewski, noting that Kraft Heinz’s CSR commitments are constantly evolving to meet the changing needs and demands of stakeholders.

Ultimately, though, she added: “we are just really excited to make these commitments and to be able to learn all about the best ways to achieve them and how to bring our stakeholders and business partners along with us on this journey.”

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