Food and Beverage Companies Go Green

Consumers are making choices based on sustainability efforts; here’s what the top food and beverage companies are doing. Includes bonus online content.

By Diane Toops, News & Trends Editor

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Hybrids                                      2 
Life on Mars                              1

Source: Nielsen BuzzMetrics blog (http://nielsen-online.com/blog/)
messages between 3-15-06 and 3-15-07

Closer to home, Kraft has partnered with TerraCycle, (www.terracycle.net) an upstart Trenton, N.J., firm, which takes packages and materials that are challenging to recycle and turns them into handbags, umbrellas and other products.

Schools, community groups and other non-profits collect specific used packages. TerraCycle then “upcycles” each material into an eco-friendly product. One program collects used energy bar wrappers and donates two cents each to the collecting organization. Wrappers are braided into durable purses and backpacks. Another uses Nabisco cookie wrappers, which are fused together into sheets of waterproof fabric, which are then made into umbrellas, shower curtains, backpacks, placemats and other products. The third program reuses drink pouches, which are sewn into tote bags, handbags and other durable items.

Several Kraft brands, including Balance bars and South Beach Living bars, Capri Sun beverages and Chips Ahoy! and Oreo cookies, are now the lead sponsors of TerraCycle Brigades.

Stonyfield: Pioneering greenie

As far back as 1983, Stonyfield Farm (www.stonyfield.com) co-founders Samuel Kaymen and president/CEO Gary Hirshberg created a mission statement “to serve as a model that environmentally and socially responsible businesses can also be profitable.”

The Londonderry, N.H.-based yogurt maker was among America’s first companies to go carbon neutral, in the 1990s. Stonyfield also gives 10 percent of its profits to organizations that “help protect and restore the environment.”

From 1995 to 2005 it reduced facility energy use and the associated CO2 emissions per pound of product by one-third, saving some $1.7 million and 46 million kWh – enough energy to power 4,500 homes for a year. It also prevented more than 14,000 tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere, Hirshberg told Industry Week.

The company’s 50 kW solar photovoltaic array on its yogurt making facility is the largest in New Hampshire. It is in the vanguard of wind energy, reforestation, methane recovery and energy efficiency projects, and it created the first “how-to guide” showing other companies how to offset emissions. Its award-winning program to minimize solid waste has prevented over 16 million lbs. of materials from going to landfills or incinerators (equal to taking more than 1,400 cars off the road for one year).

Coca-Cola Enterprises: Reducing its carbon footprint

 

It may not be a Coach, but this handbag, created by TerraCycle, says a lot about recycling.
Red Bull bought a fleet of diesel hybrid delivery trucks from Navistar International. The trucks achieve 30-40 percent better fuel efficiency and emit up to 33 percent less hydrocarbon emissions and 35 percent less nitrogen oxide emissions than standard diesel trucks.

(www.cokecce.com), the biggest bottler of Coca-Cola, won the 2007 Golden Peacock Award for Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting by the World Council for Corporate Governance and the Centre for Sustainability and Excellence. It focuses on three environmental goals: sustainable packaging, water stewardship and climate and energy protection. Coca-Cola Enterprises

With 1.3 billion products sold each day, reusable packaging is key to CCE’s sustainability efforts. The company spent some $60 in recycling initiatives in 2007 and created Coca-Cola Recycling LLC to recover and recycle the packaging materials used by the system (plastic, aluminum, cardboard and plastic film). Its goal is to recycle or reuse 100 percent of its PET plastic bottles and aluminum cans it sells in the U.S. Reusing the cans would require 95 percent less energy than creating aluminum from raw materials and reduces carbon emissions by 95 percent.

CCE also plans to build the world's largest plastic bottle-to-bottle recycling plant in Spartanburg, S.C., and establish a water stewardship plan, which calls for using just one liter of water for every liter of product produced -- what the company calls water neutrality.

In 2004, the company joined forces with Unilever and McDonald’s to launch “Refrigerants Naturally!” Other companies have joined, including Coca-Cola's biggest competitor PepsiCo, to work together to test commercially viable refrigeration technologies free of hydrofluoric carbons.

PepsiCo: Harnessing the power of the sun

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Green Power Partnership was established in 2001 to encourage U.S. companies to voluntarily purchase green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with conventional electricity generation. Green sources of electricity include solar/photovoltaic, wind, geothermal, low-impact hydropower and other forms of renewable power generation.

Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo (www.pepsico.com) recently topped the EPA Green Power Partnership list of the top 25 largest purchasers of renewable energy by purchasing renewable energy certificates (RECs) to match the company’s annual 1.1 billion kWh of purchased electricity. PepsiCo’s REC purchase will match the electricity used at all of its U.S.-based manufacturing facilities, headquarters, distribution centers and regional offices for three years, computing to the same amount of electricity needed to power nearly 90,000 American homes annually.

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