Tetra Pak

Tetra Pak is committed to powering its operations with 100% renewable electricity by 2030, with an interim goal to reach 80% by 2020. Here, Mario Abreu, VP Environment, shares the company's journey.

What is driving Tetra Pak to become ‘100% renewable’?

“Investing in renewable energy forms part of our climate goal whereby we have committed to capping our emissions at 2010 levels by 2020.

“Energy consumption is currently the source of our biggest climate impact throughout our value chain as well as within our own operations. Over the years we have invested significantly in increasing efficiency and identifying opportunities to reduce energy use. Having delivered significant energy reductions through these efforts, we are now looking for more ways to continue to manage and reduce our climate impact. One way is by increasing our use of renewable energy.

“Moreover, through renewable energy we also aim to reduce our exposure to volatile fossil fuel prices.”

How did you decide on your 100% goal?

“Setting a clear and ambitious goal for renewable energy makes sense from an environmental point of view as well as a financial one. We felt it was time to set a goal and get internal and external support for this effort.

“Ultimately we want to support the growth of the renewable energy sector and we believe a corporate goal of 100% is what we should be aiming for. However, we do recognise that there will be challenges to overcome along the way. Through a review of our global operations we know that some of the markets in which we operate do not currently support robust tracking mechanisms for renewable electricity.  We view this as a short-term constraint, hence setting an interim renewable electricity target of 80% for 2020.” 

What are your achievements so far?

“We already have a significant number of activities ongoing across our global operations, meaning that 19% of our electricity consumption is sourced from renewable sources.

“Four of our large packaging factories are already purchasing 100% green electricity. In March 2016 we commissioned our latest onsite solar PV project at our Råbyholm site in Lund, Sweden. This project took us over 1MW of installed onsite solar PV capacity across seven different sites globally.

“We consider reaching a capacity of 1MW as a start and we are working to expand the program. Through purchasing green electricity and onsite generation, we are achieving annual carbon savings equivalent to more than 29,000 tonnes of CO2. We are also supporting renewable energy projects in other countries – including Turkey, Thailand and Taiwan – via GoldPower certificates.”

What challenges and opportunities are you experiencing?

“Again, one key challenge we face is the geographic spread of the countries in which we operate, some of which do not yet have robust tracking mechanisms or regulation in place for renewable electricity. In addition some countries heavily subsidise fossil fuels and there we face economic competitiveness issues with renewable electricity.

“We see significant opportunities, particularly in developing economies where electricity prices are high and the cost of renewable technologies is decreasing each year. Renewable electricity is increasingly becoming cost effective and Tetra Pak can play a part in leading by example and driving the growth of renewable electricity across our own operations and supply chain.    

“We also see joining the RE100 initiative as an opportunity to learn more about the risks and opportunities that other companies are experiencing.”

How do you plan to switch to renewable electricity going forward?

“In the short term we will be increasing our purchases of green electricity and evaluating the potential to increase the volume of electricity generated through onsite solar PV. However, to achieve a meaningful impact we would like to explore the PPA landscape to help support the development of new projects and improve our electricity cost stability.”

Why do you think it’s important for companies to help increase demand for renewable electricity?

“The private sector accounts for a large amount of the world’s electricity consumption. If private companies switch to renewable energy, the reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions will be substantial.

“Moreover, increased demand for renewable energy will result in increased investment, improved infrastructure and accelerated transformation of the global energy market.

“We see potential for us to play an active role in demonstrating renewable energy leadership particularly in Africa, Latin America and Asia.”

Why do you think RE100 is a good initiative to join?

“RE100 is an initiative with a global reach and broad participation by companies from different industries. We feel it is the right initiative to join in order to do our part in driving renewable energy in the private sector. At the same time, it will allow us to have access to expert guidance and to benefit from knowledge sharing between its high profile members.”

What else are you doing to help drive a low carbon economy?

“Our ambitious climate impact goal covers every aspect of the value chain, from the raw materials we source all the way through to how our products are handled after use. Data validated for 2014 showed CO2e emissions across all parts of the Tetra Pak value chain down 16% from a 2010 baseline, despite a 14% increase in production over the same time period.

“Audits of our factories carried out by external energy experts have identified opportunities to reduce energy use by 10-12% and we are implementing these recommendations, as well as sharing best practice guidance across all sites. By the end of 2015 we had implemented around 63% of identified savings and were on track to reach 91% by the end of 2017. Electricity consumption in our factories has remained almost flat since 2005, whilst our business has grown over 30% during the same period.

“Finally, by investing in renewable energy and supporting this initiative we hope to align with our customers’ sustainability targets as well as incentivise our suppliers to also switch to renewable energy sources.”