By the end of the year, across six countries, Arla is making 600 million fresh milk cartons renewable and 560 million yogurt pots recyclable, cutting 7,330 tonnes of carbon.
“We want to help people live a more sustainable life as well as feel good about what’s in their fridge. Fresh milk and yogurts are enjoyed on a daily basis in most households in our main markets and are also key to our retail customers. That’s why these items topped our list of packaging to improve from a sustainability perspective and our pan-European presence enables us to leverage our scale and impact several markets simultaneously,” says Arla’s head of Europe, Peter Giørtz-Carlsen.
It is the first big move in Arla’s new sustainable packaging strategy. It is targeting a CO2 reduction of 30 per cent by 2030, initially committing to reduce emissions from its packaging by approximately 8,000 tonnes of CO2 every year until then. The ultimate aim is for its entire portfolio to be carbon net zero by 2050, in line with its overall climate ambition to become carbon net zero by 2050, announced last month.
The new packaging will be available for consumers in Arla’s six main European markets - Sweden, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK.
The switch from fossil-based plastic to bio-based plastic derived from sugar cane or forest waste for the 600 million Arla milk cartons makes them 100 per cent renewable. They also contribute 25 per cent less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere compared to their fossil-based plastic predecessors.
For the yogurt pots, the move to recyclable plastic means that these can be given a second life if recycling systems in the markets enable this.
“We have a rich back catalogue of moves that have made our packaging better for the environment over the years. But no doubt, this year’s conversion of more than one billion packaging items is one of our biggest ever. Coupled with some other smaller initiatives, it means we will hit our CO2 savings target for packaging for 2019. But we have to deliver every year, so we are already developing plans for next year’s reduction,” says Peter Giørtz-Carlsen.