07 February 2017
Q&A with Mario Abreu, Vice President of Environment for Tetra Pak
As food and beverage manufacturers take on a greater role in mitigating climate change, measuring the progress we make toward sustainability goals becomes essential. In this Q&A with Mario Abreu, VP of Environment, we explore how Tetra Pak uses science based targets to set meaningful climate impact reduction goals.
What is the Science Based Target initiative? How does it work?

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBT) is a partnership between CDP, WRI, WWF and UN Global Compact that mobilizes companies to set emissions reduction targets in-line with climate science. Since its launch in 2015, 208 companies have committed to set science-based targets and 33 companies across different industries have had their targets approved by the initiative.
For companies to get their targets approved they need to meet a number of conditions, the details of which are all available online.
Why is it important to have a scientific approach to measure carbon emissions?

Tetra Pak is the first company in the food packaging industry to have its climate impact reduction targets approved by the SBT following a rigorous scientific methodology.

That is a logical step in the journey that we started when setting its climate goal in 2011. We are continually seeking ways to improve our performance, drive a sustainable business and deliver on our sustainability commitments.

As most of the global greenhouse gas emissions are either directly or indirectly influenced by the corporate sector, companies have a clear role to play in protecting our climate and ensuring that the transition to a low-carbon economy is smooth and prosperous. The science-based targets allow us to demonstrate how we’re contributing to a low carbon economy in an open and transparent way with customers and stakeholders.
Why did Tetra Pak decide to check if its climate target met the SBT criteria?

We are continually seeking ways to improve our performance and drive a sustainable business, and signing up to the SBT followed a series of actions we’ve taken. In 2011, Tetra Pak set a goal to cap carbon emissions across the value chain at 2010 levels by 2020.

In December 2015, we signed the Paris Pledge for Action at COP21, reinforcing our long-standing commitment to take the initiative in helping to tackle climate change. By joining the pledge, businesses and all other signatories promised to ensure that the ambition set out by the Paris Agreement is met or exceeded to limit global temperature rise to less than 2°Celsius (or 35.6° Fahrenheit).

These targets will act as a measurable external benchmark as we seek to grow our business without growing carbon emissions. They will also allow us to demonstrate our climate commitments to our customers and other stakeholders in a transparent way.
How will Tetra Pak achieve the carbon emission reduction targets?

We have committed to reducing operational greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 42% by 2030 and 58% by 2040, from a 2015 baseline.

To achieve these targets, we will focus on three areas:
  • Driving energy efficiency, aiming to reduce energy use by a further 12% by 2018;
  • Purchasing electricity from renewable sources, investing in renewable energy projects and    renewable electricity certificate schemes;
  • Installing onsite renewable energy systems such as solar panels. 
Also, we’ve committed to an ambitious target to reduce GHG emissions across the value chain 16% per unit of revenue by 2020 from a 2010 base-year.
Why does a company like Tetra Pak need to focus on reducing carbon emission across the entire value chain? Being only one of the players in the value chain, how can Tetra Pak influence change across the entire chain?

Being a responsible and sustainable company means recognizing that our responsibilities extend beyond our own operations to include suppliers and customers. This is why it is key to work to minimize environmental impact across the entire value chain, from our products’ sourcing and production to their use and disposal.

In Tetra Pak’s value chain, more than 80% of emissions originate from the production of raw materials and the use of our processing at packaging equipment at customers’ sites. Therefore, how Tetra Pak sources raw materials, develops products and equipment—and the way our products are treated at the end of life—have a great impact on our total GHG emissions.
Mario Abreu is Vice President of Environment for Tetra Pak.  Abreu leads the teams responsible for driving global recycling of post-consumer beverage cartons, reducing the environmental footprint of the Tetra Pak’s product portfolio, and development and roll-out of innovative and sustainable products made with renewable and credibly sourced materials. Abreu is a member of the Technical Advisory Group of Science-Based Target Initiative, an initiative by CDP, UN Global Compact, WWF and WRI to engage business in setting science based climate ambitions. In the past he has served on the board of The Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE), the board of directors of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC International) and acted as the Co-Chairman of the High Conservation Value Resource Network between 2006 and 2008.
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