Four in Five Businesses Say Being Ethical and Sustainable Is Important: Here’s How RPCs Can Boost Your Efforts

written by IFCO SYSTEMS, 14th March 2019, in Stories

Companies are stepping up in support of sustainability, as evidenced by new research from HSBC. In particular, businesses are looking for improvement opportunities in their supply chain. The HSBC Navigator sustainability survey has compiled data from more than 8,500 businesses to provide insight into what companies are doing now, and how they "can continue to grow and be future fit."

Results from the study reveal that 81% of companies say ethical and environmental sustainability is important to them and 83% want to be a genuinely ethical or environmentally sustainable company. Given that on average, around 80% of a company’s environmental impact is found in its supply chain, it is not surprising to see Navigator report that almost a third of businesses globally will be looking to make changes to their supply chains related to sustainability. Their rationale for these changes are cost reduction (38% of respondents), increased profits/revenue (36%) and improving sustainability (27%).

According to HSBC, there has been a paradigm shift over the last three years regarding how sustainability is viewed, with business outcomes now outweighing altruism. They note that 84% of businesses are making ethically or environmentally sustainable changes to their supply chains to support cost efficiencies while 84% of companies are looking to make ethically or environmentally sustainable changes to improve revenues/ financial performance.

One way to help reduce your supply chain costs, boost sales and improve sustainability is through the use of RPCs. The environmental benefits of RPCs have been demonstrated through several studies in both Europe and the U.S. For example, researchers from Stiftung Initiative Mehrweg (SIM) of the Fraunhofer Institute IBP (Germany) undertook a thorough life cycle analysis (LCA) for both disposable and reusable packaging options, including their actual transport performance in France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. The 2018 study determined that RPCs used to transport fresh fruit and vegetables create approximately 60% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than cardboard transport packaging. RPCs’ greenhouse gas emissions advantage over single-use packaging began with the 6th use of an RPC and grew exponentially with each use thereafter.

The results were consistent with the findings of a 2017 LCA study by Franklin Associates in the U.S., once again demonstrating the sustainability benefits of RPCs. The LCA reviewed the environmental impact of RPCs and Display-Ready Corrugated Fiber Containers (DRCs) and Non-Display-Ready Corrugated Fiber Containers (NDCs) for packaging apples, bell peppers, carrots, grapes, iceberg lettuce, onions, oranges, peaches/nectarines, tomatoes and strawberries. RPCs produced up to 60% globally (CO2 equivalents) and 86% less solid waste, while requiring 64% less energy and 80% less water.

The sustainability benefits of RPCs result from their reuse. Because they are reused up to 120 times, they avoid the resources required to produce a new disposable container for each shipment. The 2018 study determined that by the sixth trip, RPCs were a more sustainable option, even with the environmental impact of reverse logistics and washing captured in the analysis.

At the same time, IFCO RPCs also have been shown to provide important financial benefits with regard to reducing food loss, eliminating solid waste, and improving operational efficiencies. For example, 2018 research showed that RPCs can extend shelf life by an extra four days, thanks to superior air circulation. As of 2017, IFCO calculated that it had saved customers $5.2 billion over 9.5 billion trips since its launch in 1992.

According to HSBC Navigator, companies are looking closely towards sustainability improvements, especially where they are congruent with financial gains. Contact us to find out how IFCO RPCs can provide a win-win for sustainability and the bottom line.

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