Industry says creativity key to ensuring soft drink-sustainability

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Soft drink Carbon dioxide Greenhouse gas

Representatives of the UK soft drink industry claim that ‘creative’ innovation across the industry is keeping manufacturers on track to meet their sustainability goals, though more must be done in the future.

The comments, made by the British Soft Drink Association (BSDA), come as part of the group’s first annual review into industry efforts to adopt more sustainable attitudes to waste and packaging, water use and transportation.

As manufacturers across the food and drink industry face increasing scrutiny at both government and consumer level in regards to their environmental impacts, BSDA president Paul Moody claims that innovative new ideas remain at the heart of soft drink sustainability.

“Design and invention are the heart of what we do,”​ he states. “This relentless focus on innovation over the recent history of the industry has been instrumental in modernising the category and providing substantial choice for our consumers.”

Report claims

Though the trade group is not providing any statistical information on how the industry was meeting sustainable targets through the report, it has detailed the type of commitments being taken by individual members.

The commitments outlined in the report include initiatives by GlaxoSmithKline to design and install a ‘tri-generation’ heat and power plant at its Gloucestershire factory for manufacturing its Ribena juice brand. The report claims the system will allow the company to make use of both electrical and gas energy to power and heat its plants.

Another of the various examples of industry green attempts given in the report includes a collaboration between manufacturer Princes and retailer Tesco to produce lighter, more portable bottles that both companies claim can cut road haulage requirements.

According to the report, the launch of double concentrated squash brands has allowed the manufacturer to replace 3l bottles with 1.5 l replacements.

WRAP it up

The report also identifies six of its member currently operating in the country that are signed up to the Courtauld Commitment devised by the government-backed Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

WRAP says the voluntary commitment is open to all food manufacturers and targets providing innovative new packaging formats and absolute reductions in left over containers by March 2010.

Innocent, Danone Waters, Britvic, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Greencore and Nestle are all signed up to the scheme, says the report.

Work ahead

Jill Ardagh, director general of the BSDA, says the report overall highlights the general progress being made by drink makers in various different ways to find greener solutions to production and distribution of their brands. Ardagh claims more actions will be required in the future to maintain the momentum needed to meet its targets.

“As an industry there is more to be done to ensure we live up to the ambitions set out in the sustainability strategy,” she states. “Encouragingly this report shows the steps already taken to meet the four key industry ambitions and provides a positive path forward for continued progress.”

The BSDA suggests it is looking to take a more holistic stance on issues such as carbon footprints in the future, through more detailed focuses in areas where greenhouse gas emissions can be cut across the entire food chain.

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