The packaging leader had set an ambitious target to reduce the relative total fossil CO2 emissions in its mill system by 25%. In the report, the packaging leader confirmed that it had surpassed the target, which had a 2020 deadline, at the end of 2017.
While Smurfit Kappa’s paper-based packaging is renewable and recyclable, the paper production process itself is energy intensive. Reaching the climate change goal reinforces the company’s ongoing commitment to reduce its carbon footprint by focusing on energy efficiency and the use of renewable sources of fuel such as biomass, where feasible.
Climate change is one of Smurfit Kappa’s five strategic areas of focus for sustainability along with Forest, Water, Waste and People. The 2017 Sustainable Development Report announces several other key achievements including reaching two other targets in 2017. The first was a reduction in the chemical oxygen demand in its water, also reached three years early, and the second was in the area of health and safety with a 9% reduction year-on-year in lost time accident frequency rate over the five-year period of 2013-2017, exceeding the targeted decrease of 5% year-on-year for the same period.
Other highlights include Smurfit Kappa’s ranking in the top 1% of the EcoVadis Sustainability ratings and its listing on the FTSE4Good, Euronext Vigeo Europe 120, Ethibel and STOXX Global ESG Leaders investor rating systems.
Smurfit Kappa’s commitment to investing in social and scientific projects to benefit the communities in which the company operates amounted to approximately €5 million, with an emphasis on the area of childhood education.
“2017 was yet another year with a strong performance on sustainability metrics for Smurfit Kappa and I am confident this will continue into the future,” Tony Smurfit, Group CEO, said. “In the next five years we plan to allocate significant capital to projects that will contribute further towards lowering our environmental footprint and we will continue to invest significant resources in the development, safety and wellbeing of our people.
“For Smurfit Kappa, sustainability is not only about mitigating climate change and reducing inefficiency,” Steven Stoffer, Group VP development at Smurfit Kappa, added. “For packaging to be truly sustainable, it must be produced and designed in a sustainable fashion and be biodegradable within a relatively short time after multiple usages. This results in minimal impact on the planet.
“Paper-based packaging is uniquely positioned to do this, and we strongly support the growing concern and efforts to put an end to the increasing mass of non-biodegradable, primarily plastic packaging floating in our oceans,” Stoffer said. “This is why we believe that paper is the future of packaging.”