By Cath Isabedra
In an ever-evolving food and beverage industry haunted by various challenges, is end-to-end sustainability a reality we soon shall have?
End-to-end sustainability is a concept that involves the entire supply chain, from production to consumption. It focuses on the environmental, social, and economic aspects of sustainability in order to create a holistic approach to green business practices.
The food and beverage industry has been increasingly adopting this concept as it helps them reduce their environmental footprint, improve their social responsibility and increase their economic efficiency. By taking into account all stages of production, from sourcing ingredients to packaging and distribution, end-to-end sustainability helps the F&B industry create sustainable production processes that are beneficial for both the environment and society.
Where are we now?
The food and beverage industry is at the forefront of sustainability and circular economy efforts, as it is one of the most influential industries in adopting these practices. However, the industry is still facing some bottlenecks when it comes to creating a comprehensive, closed-loop system to encompass the entire value chain.
The F&B industry is challenged by the need to design a circular approach to the food system from farm to fork to achieve true sustainability. Furthermore, the industry currently faces a lack of resources to bring the circular economy to fruition, as well as difficulty in transitioning current business models to a more sustainable one.
There is a lack of consumer awareness and education in the circular economy, which makes it difficult for businesses to implement the transition successfully.
John Jose, Marketing Director at Tetra Pak Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, and Indonesia, shares, “The sustainability environment has become a big issue. Even if brand owners don’t have sustainability as part of their agenda, they need to look into it. However, one plausible reason why it isn’t part of their commitment is they don’t have a starting point because this is something new to them.”
Laying the ground
But hope is not lost. Multinational companies are now taking the helm and providing end-to-end support. Tetra Pak, for one, offers end-to-end solutions to its partners, from processing to packaging. They can also be a critical starting point for product innovation.
Jose explains, “A customer can come to us. They want to address a customer’s need but don’t know how to address it. We can discuss, organize a workshop, and collaborate on research.” He adds, “Our work is proactive. We’ve done a lot of work on sustainability. So, we can help brand owners to see how they can start on sustainability. It can be as simple as putting messages on one-liter packaging. If brand owners want to increase potential with consumers, they can work with Tetra Pak on the side panel of the packaging.”
In a sense, this strategy can be a brand’s way to increase their consumers’ sustainability awareness. It’s also an excellent way for brands to convey their social responsibility, which is big among consumers.
Jose continues, “Now, one liter of milk sits on the breakfast table with a lot of consumers. The family sees the message they can associate it with the brand. In a way, it might help increase the credential. From a consumer perspective, there is a brand that cares for the environment because we put tips on how you can take care of the environment.”
But Tetra Pak’s work is more than just plastering sustainability commitment messaging on the packaging. They are also working with partners in recycling the products–bridging the gap between brands and partners.
End-to-end sustainability should include both the production of the product as well as its use and disposal.
To ensure sustainable production, it is important to consider the entire lifecycle of the product. This includes sourcing the right materials, minimizing waste, and utilizing environmentally friendly production processes. The packaging materials should be optimized to reduce waste and promote recyclability.
To ensure sustainable use of the product, the focus should be on educating consumers about the product’s environmental impact. This includes providing facts, figures, and data regarding the product’s environmental footprint.
Proper disposal of the packaging is paramount. This can be done using eco-friendly disposal methods, such as recycling and composting.
“We can collaborate with brands, and refer them to our collection and recycling partners. For example, in the Philippines, we’ve been running the Care and Share program. It’s a program that we do in schools. And we’ve been doing this for a number of years, with the aim of educating kids about how you dispose of carton packs.”
He adds, “Aside from education, we collect these used beverage cartons, and then we transplant those to our recyclers. At any point of the journey, whether it’s actually taking care of post-consumer waste or using beverage cartons, we can come in and support the customer.
Riding the wave
Evaluating your food and beverage business for sustainable practices is essential for success in the modern world. With the increasing demand for an eco-friendlier approach to production, it is important to assess how your business can contribute to this goal. Fortunately, there are many opportunities to help companies evaluate their F&B business and develop a sustainable model that meets the needs of both customers and the environment.
Tetra Pak emphasizes its commitment to providing integrated solutions to their partners. Jose shares, “Manufacturers can come to us, and we can offer full solutions, end-to-end. We can connect all the machinery in the factory to make sure customers are able to see how the machines are running in real time. See the efficiency and know where the bottlenecks are or where the issues are coming from.”
“With all the data, they can address and predict which areas that they should be focusing on, especially when it comes to sustainability,” Jose concludes.
With insights from John Jose, Marketing Director at Tetra Pak. John has over 26 years of work experience with Tetra Pak in local, regional, and global roles across marketing, sales and product management. Currently leading the Marketing Function in Tetra Pak Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, and Indonesia; John is responsible for the overall direction of Tetra Pak in MSPI, providing strategic insights and leading expansion efforts. John was Tetra Pak’s Cluster Portfolio Manager from 2008 to 2010 and was based in Malaysia. During his tenure as portfolio manager, John supported the new packaging portfolio development for Southeast Asia and South Asia. He also ensured the smooth introduction of Tetra Pak’s new products and innovations to local markets. From 2005 to 2008, he was Tetra Pak’s Global Product Manager and was based in Lund, Sweden. As a global product manager, John was focused on the worldwide deployment of Tetra Wedge Aseptic portfolio. John graduated from De La Salle University with a degree in Marketing Management.