SIG – Reaching 100% ASI-certified aluminium supply
Udo Felten, Manager, Product Related Global Environmental Sustainability & Affairs at SIG, talks about their sustainability pillars, curbing food waste and achieving their target for 100% ASI-Certified aluminium supply.
15 June 2023
Achieving 100% ASI supply
As part of our sustainability strategy, we set a target to create the most sustainable packaging solution on the market. To help us achieve this, we agreed with our suppliers to receive 100% ASI-Certified aluminium foil next to our commitment to use more pre-consumer recycled content. We set the target because we wanted the best packaging and we wanted to have 100% of our materials in the beverage carton certified to an independent certification scheme with credible standards.
ASI-certification is in sync with our sustainability strategy
Though we are engaged in several schemes including ECOVADIS, we see a high value in being part of Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI) because it is a complementary certification to the Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC™) for paperboard and the other standards we adhere to for bioplastics. Being ASI Certified demonstrates our robust and credible sustainability approach, addressing climate change, water, biodiversity, and responsible mining.
Our ASI Certification matters to us because it is consistent with our strategy and ambition to create the most sustainable packaging solution on the market for food, dairy and non-carbonated soft drinks. Before joining ASI, we had established a corporate sustainability strategy which is our roadmap for better. The strategy addressed responsible sourcing, production, and responsible packaging. One key element of the strategy was to have our raw materials certified under schemes that are audited independently with a high level of trust and broad stakeholder acceptance. We are very proud to have been the first company in the aseptic packaging sector to gain ASI Chain of Custody (CoC) certification and we were the world’s first company to use the ASI Responsible Aluminium Sourcing On-Product logo on a product. Being able to use the ASI Responsible Aluminium Sourcing On-Product logo on products provides an added value to our customers as a point-of-sale reference for consumers who ultimately buy the packaging and make the choice for a more sustainable product. By communicating about ASI in this way, we continue to improve the understanding of ASI with consumers and bring a similar level of visibility to ASI as FSC has.
Enhanced supplier engagement through implementing ASI standards
Before joining ASI, we were involved in other schemes like SMETA, FSC (FSCTM trademark license code: FSCTM C020428), etc. which had ESG elements. With ASI, we increased our supplier engagement and demanded a lot of action from them. We gave our suppliers a comprehensive understanding of ASI including an explanation of why it was important for us to achieve ASI-Certification. Even before the Chain of Custody (CoC) Standard was published in 2017, we started working on the draft consultation version with one of our key aluminium foil suppliers to make a test case on the certification to be prepared and quick in the implementation when the standard would be finalised and published. We were successful in our endeavours and are pleased to say that since the beginning of 2023 our supply has been 100% ASI-Certified. This again is a world’s first in our sector and we are honoured to be part of those who pushed for it.
Packaging that gives more to people and the planet than it takes out
In 2020, we restructured our sustainability strategy and moved from responsible sourcing and production to the following pillars: Resource Positive, Climate Positive, Food Positive and Forest Positive. These four positives address our overall ambition to become net positive by doing good for people and planet, giving back more than we take out of the earth, enhancing circularity and recycling and engaging with technological innovations to curb food waste.
One example of how we’re implementing the strategy is a programme we run under our Food+ pillar through a collaboration with an NGO. As a first pilot project, we sent a unique filling system that uses boil-down technology to cook and preserve food in SIG packages to Bangladesh in overseas mobile containers. The products can be stored at room temperature without refrigeration. Nutrients and vitamins of the food are perfectly preserved. The mobile units were strategically placed at farm sites where surplus harvest was used to make traditional meals, preserving them and storing them without cooling. The food cartons were then donated to schools as ready-made lunch packs for the children. This project had a significant impact on the wellbeing of the school children.
Our future outlook
Since January 2023, SIG is purchasing 100% of the aluminium for SIG aseptic carton packs with certification to the ASI Standards globally.
As part of our technological advancements, we have already launched aseptic carton packs without an aluminium foil layer. We understand that from a circularity Life Cycle Assessment or carbon footprint perspective, it makes sense to take out the aluminium foil and use forest-based materials instead, but a majority of SIG packaging materials still have an aluminium layer. So, our position is, if we use aluminium foil, it must be ASI-Certified.
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