Coffee & Tea Ecology Question 7

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Question

Does the brand (owner) report what percentage of its consumer packaging materials (which includes capsules and cups) are renewable or made from recycled materials, and does the brand implement best practices or concrete policies which have reduced the environmental impact of their packaging materials?

NL: Rapporteert het merk (bedrijf) welk percentage van de materialen voor zijn consumentenverpakkingen (inclusief capsules en bekers) hernieuwbaar zijn of gemaakt zijn van gerecyclede materialen, en implementeert het merk best’practices of concrete beleidsmaatregelen die de invloed van verpakkingsmaterialen op het milieu hebben verminderd?

DE:

Reference

Environmental impacts are created not only by products themselves, but also for a significant part by their packaging. This is true in particular when packaging materials are obtained in ways that disregard eco-systems, when they are made from non-recyclable, non-renewable, virgin material, and when they end up on a landfill, where they may contaminate the soil and groundwater, constitute fire hazards, etc.

The present question relates to standards 301-1 and 301-2 of the Global Reporting Initiative, which recommend, respectively, reporting the ratio of renewable vs non-renewable materials used for packaging, as well as reporting the ratio of recycled input materials for packaging. For now, we would like to see companies report at least one of either, but pertaining specifically to packaging.

Two particular challenges for sustainable packaging in the coffee sector are the use of coffee capsules and the use of sustainable paper and cardboard, including for coffee cups. While coffee capsules can be an efficient way to prepare coffee as they limit overuse of coffee ground and energy, they may be made of aluminium and disposed of after a single use. Thus, billions of capsules end up on landfills every year, where they take 150 to 500 years to breakdown, which highlights the importance of recycling coffee capsules or even using biodegradable ones. For similar reasons, paper coffee cups and cardboard packaging should preferably be made from recycled material or be made from sustainably sourced wood, as indicated by the following certifications and standards:

  • FSC: which can be either FSC 100%, FSC Mix or FSC Recycled
  • PEFC
  • Blauer Engel
  • European Eco-label
  • In case you find other eligible paper certifications, contact verifier@rankabrand.com before giving the point.

Brands are also encouraged to show an annual reduction of their amount of packaging materials.

Ranking Guidelines

A 'Yes' is applicable when the brand reports either:

  • The amount of recycled input materials used for its packaging materials as a percentage of its total input materials for packaging.
  • The brand reports the total amount of packaging materials used, broken down in volumes/weights of renewable vs. non-renewable materials. Brands may also break down total packaging materials in volumes/weights per material type (e.g., cardboard, aluminium), because it is clear that cardboard is a renewable material, whereas aluminium is not.

AND the brand reports either:

  • Annual reductions of packaging volume/weight (absolute, or relative to the volumes/weights of sold products). Reporting annual reductions of packaging material in terms of reduced CO2 emissions is also acceptable.
  • Using only bio-degradable or even compostable coffee capsules, or recycling at least 80% of used aluminium coffee capsules.
  • Using only certified (e.g., FSC, PEFC) cardboard and paper.

A ‘?’ is applicable when:

  • The company / brand publishes neither the percentage of recycled input materials for packaging nor the amount of renewables and non-renewables for packaging.

AND/OR

  • The company brand publish neither concrete annual reductions of consumer packaging, nor best practices regarding cardboard and paper, or coffee capsules.

A ‘No’ is applicable when: The brand/company explicitly and clearly has no policy to reduce packaging materials.

Answering Guidelines

Answer 'Yes':

  • [Brand] reports that […]% of its packaging materials are [recycled/renewable*] , as well as [an annual reduction of […]% of its packaging materials / recycling […]% of its coffee capsules / using only biodegradable coffee capsules / sourcing only [e.g., FSC / PEFC] certified paper*]
  • [Brand] breaks down all of its packaging materials by whether they are [recycled/renewable*], and reports that [its overall use of packaging materials has been reduced compared to the year before / recycling […]% of its coffee capsules / using only [biodegradable/compostable*] coffee capsules / sourcing only [e.g., FSC / PEFC] certified paper*]

Answer '?':

  • [Brand] does not report the percentage of recycled or renewable materials used for its consumer packaging, nor any annual reductions or best practices regarding its packaging materials.
  • [Brand] reports that […]% of its packaging materials are made from [recycled/renewable*] materials, but does not report annual reductions nor best practices regarding its packaging materials.
  • [Brand] reports [an annual reduction of […]% of its packaging materials / recycling […]% of its coffee capsules / using only [compostable/biodegradable*] coffee capsules / sourcing only [e.g., FSC / PEFC] certified paper*], but does not report the percentage of recycled or renewable materials for its consumer packaging.

Answer 'No':

  • [Brand] explicitly states to not report the percentage of recycled or renewable materials used for its consumer packaging, or states to not have achieved an annual reduction in packaging materials, nor to have implemented any best practices regarding paper and cardboard or coffee capsules.

-* You can pick the topic that applies to 'your' brand.

Note: when linking to a downloadable source document, please refer to the page(s) where to find the respective information with: (see link, page [..]).

Optional, but only for ? Answers, feel free to write at the end of a remark: Sustainability information should be easily accessible for consumers to make responsible choices.with: (see link, page [..]).