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Reconomy reflects on the findings of the IPCC Report

Diane Crowe, Head of Group Sustainability at Reconomy, shares reaction to IPCC Report

Last week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its sixth assessment report which revealed further stark warnings and made it clear that we will not be able to limit global warming unless there are immediate large-scale reductions in greenhouse emissions.

The report, which has been pulled together by over 200 authors from all over the world, states that:

  1. Human activity is causing climate change
  2. The target of 1.5 degrees temperature is looking more and more out of reach
  3. In 2019 CO2 reached its highest level in over 2 million years
  4. Natural CO2 absorption is becoming over-saturated

Despite media attention and heightened awareness that we are in a climate emergency and the importance of acting now, there is not enough action.  Last year I was reassured by the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ability to come together during an emergency to make drastic change. Yet now we are hopefully passing the worst of this, many people are seemingly returning to normality, and to our damaging lifestyles – that crave convenience and consumerism – yet again.

We are at the tipping point of being able to turn this around, so it is critical that business leaders, governments and consumers, all join forces to take positive action now.

Our carbon strategy within the Reconomy environmental action plan (REAP) focuses on Zero Carbon by 2028 for our operations and with our customers, and our suppliers. To achieve this, we have:

  • Set Science based targets for Scope 1 direct and Scope 2 indirect emissions as well as Scope 3. We also work with customers to target a reduction in their Scope 3 waste Using our ‘zero waste index’. Click on Zero Waste Index to see our free version.
  • Procured renewable energy across our estate.
  • Moved 53% of our fleet to a hybrid and electric vehicles along with a commitment to reduce milage (100% before 2028).
  • Put a Sustainable Procurement policy in place to ensure our procurement reduces our environmental impact and is low carbon.
  • Use our ‘5 steps to circularity’ playbook (launching next week) to help customers to design out and reduce waste focusing on circular options for residual materials.
  • Implemented the Supplier Sustainability Charter with suppliers and have preferred suppliers that are targeting carbon reduction in their operations.
  • Set a mitigation plan to reduce our operational carbon emissions to 2028 by tree planting and protecting biodiversity.

It is time for anyone without a plan to get started – and quickly!

Act Now – Because there really is no time to waste

Here are some actions that can be taken now to reduce the carbon impact of any waste your business generates:

  1. Measure – baseline your carbon emissions today – we have a simple to use tool to help you get started (reconomy.com/zerowasteometer) and a more detailed analysis tool, The Zero Waste Index, to help businesses with multiple sites.
  2. Change – switch from non-renewable to renewable methods of waste and resource management
  3. Engage – build these actions into a strategy that helps everyone in the business see where you are heading and how you are going to get there
  4. Mitigate – look at nature-based solutions – tree planting is a brilliant way to tackle climate change and protect biodiversity.

Knowing where to start, understanding how much it costs and how it will impact your business are the biggest barriers. We believe data is key – understanding where you are will help you to see what you need to achieve.

Reconomy Group company, Valpak has the most comprehensive set of packaging data in the UK. Its database contains over 33m Stock Keeping Units (SKU), which generates insights to aid management decisions on the sustainability of business operations. It also supports more effective collaboration with supply chains to improve incoming products and packaging. Our experts across the Group have industry insight, which enables us to help businesses see the wood through the trees when it comes to complex environmental legislation. We urge you to be prepared – don’t leave it too late.

The Valpak Insight Platform provides visibility of packaging performance across a range of environmental and ethical topics, allowing businesses to build an evidence base and highlight areas of potential risk. The carbon module is included as standard, showing the carbon impact of the manufacture of packaging, by tonnage and split by packaging layer, this is a great tool to track progress and include in wider carbon reporting.

Reconomy, with the support and input from Valpak, is soon to be launching a “5 Steps to Circularity Resources Playbook” – a user-friendly guide to achieving a circular economy. This simple approach will enable your business to flip the concept of waste disposal on its head, so you can manage the resources journey from start to finish. All you must do is:

  1. Analyse
  2. Review
  3. Communicate
  4. Collaborate
  5. Innovate

Keep an eye on our LinkedIn page for its launch next week. In the meantime if you are interested in discussing how we can work together to help achieve sustainability for your business please get in touch.

Interested to learn more? Valpak’s Ben Richardson, Director of Procurement, shares some additional thoughts following the release of the report. Click here to read.