Sustainability deals with global and regional issues concerning the environment, the economy and social responsibility, our sustainability pillars. The implementation of our Group sustainability strategy allows us to continue to operate and enjoy success while taking a responsible stance towards the environment. The Group's focus and commitment is to build a sustainable future based on our three pillars and to be the leading supplier of inherently sustainable packaging.
Ardagh Group's steel, aluminium and glass packaging are recycled by melting processes and can be re-used for packaging or other applications, while preserving their original material qualtities. These infinite recycling possibilities, and the ability to constantly deliver new applications in a permanent material loop without depleting the earth's resources, means that these materials are classified as 'Permanent Materials'.
Permanent materials now have a greater focus because of increased consumption and growing populations around the world. This brings the need for materials that are infinitely recyclable in order to serve these demands and this concept is known as a 'Circular Economy'.
All manufacturing processes have an impact on the environment. Ardagh identifies, controls, measures and reduces this impact. The Group achieves this by reducing energy consumption and emissions, maximising the recycling rate and use of recycled product, optimising the use of secondary packaging materials, managing waste appropriately by avoiding use of landfills and limiting water usage. Environmental management systems across all regions in which Ardagh operates help to manage the environmental impact and so enable us to achieve ambitious long-term targets.
The economic stability of Ardagh Group has an impact on its employees, local communities, the environment and other stakeholders. Ardagh continually invests in systems and processes to improve the efficiency of all its operations, thereby reducing costs as well as environmental impact. We focus on customer and supplier partnership programs to strengthen relationships within the supply chain. This enhances competitiveness and contributes to financial sustainability.
Ardagh Group undertakes a number of initiatives across all aspects of its global operations, including;
Welcome to the ‘Circular Economy’, Sedex Membership, Glass Recycling Education, Frozen Cullet Project, Zero Landfill Project, Heat Exchange Pilot, Cradle to Cradle, Glass Batch Preheating, Waste Heat Capture, Sustainable Production, Sustainable Sourcing, Sustainable Consumption, Conflict-Free Mineral Sourcing.
In the 1990s the preferred method of measuring sustainability performance was to focus on Environmental Management. It then progressed to ‘Life Cycle Assessments’ (LCA) but now the attention is shifting once more towards material resources. The need for a ‘Circular Economy’ has been highlighted as the way forward – where resources can be recycled in an ‘infinite material loop.’
The Metal and Glass industries are perfect examples of this ‘Circular Economy’ as both are infinitely recyclable in a material loop, without any loss of quality. As a result, metal and glass can be regarded as ‘Permanently Available’. The materials are not lost as long as they are recycled into another metal or glass product. The EU parliament has recognised the need to create a category for these ‘Permanently Available’ materials as part of this ‘circular economy’ approach.
Ardagh Group has been a member of SEDEX for several years and has sites from both the glass and metal businesses registered. Sedex is a social and ethical platform which aims to increase transparency in the supply chain. Companies register their production plants and complete plant-specific questionnaires covering four areas: Labour, Health & Safety, Business Ethics and the Environment. Customers are then granted ‘access rights’ for their respective supplying plants and are able to view all the information detailed in these questionnaires.
For more info visit: www.sedexglobal.com
During 2012, Ardagh employees in Poland started a campaign to promote recycling in schools and universities across the country. Furnace specialists, environmental managers and health and safety managers gave talks discussing recycling, the benefits and technological process of glass packaging, as well the environmental responsibilities of each facility.
During the campaign over 4,500 people of various ages were educated on recycling. Eco or Earth Days have since been introduced and are actively supported by Ardagh.
The Frozen Cullet Project was internally developed due to the fact that under severe weather conditions, furnace preheaters would become blocked with too much moisture, snow and ice. This caused additional energy consumption as well as production losses.
To prevent this from happening, the hot air from above the furnace is now captured and heated with a heat exchanger resulting in maximum temperatures of 120°. The heated air is then blown into the cullet bin, heats it up and leaves the bin dry and unfrozen. The air with an average temperature of 40° leaves the cullet bin on the upper side and flows out into the batch house, heating it up once more. This process results in less energy consumption in our facilities.
Ardagh Group is a proactive advocate of environmentally friendly and energy efficient technologies. In Conklin we have recently implemented a zero landfill strategy, meaning all waste generated at the facility is recycled and not disposed of in landfills
As a result of this strategy and other energy and environmental efforts, the facility has been awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certificate by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Our Ardagh Glass facility in Dongen, The Netherlands, together with Coca-Cola Enterprises recently launched a new heat exchange pilot programme. Residual heat from Ardagh’s glass furnaces is being captured and used to supply heat-driven processes at Coca-Cola’s neighbouring factory.
The initiative is expected to provide a sizeable proportion of the energy required for Coca-Cola’s processes and thus reduces overall carbon emissions.
This pilot project is currently on-going and is due to conclude in January 2014. On completion, the results will be analysed to give an accurate measure of the amount of energy and associated carbon emissions that can be saved on an annual basis.
Cradle to Cradle® is a phrase coined by Prof. Dr. Michael Braungart in the 1980s. His institute is called the Environmental Protection Encouragement Agency (EPEA).
The philosophy behind C2C is that products should be designed in such a way that they are 100% recyclable or 100% biodegradable. Also, products should not contain toxic substances and will be produced with renewable energy. The idea being that there is no more waste and depletion, nor a ‘negative footprint'.
Two of our products, 400g infant formula can and the 750ml paint can have achieved Silver Certification status.
Ardagh Group has developed a sophisticated process of preheating its glass raw materials to give energy savings of up to 15%.
The system, which heats the batch to 300°C, cost in the region of €2m per site and so far has been introduced in five facilities, with a further three planned over the next two years. This investment in environmentally friendly systems remains part of the company's long-term strategy.
Ardagh's work in this area has been included in the European Union best available technology - known as a BREF document.
A small community of around 5,000 people in the region of Tranemo are benefitting from the waste heat generated by the furnaces at Ardagh's Limmared facility in Sweden. This is due to an innovative energy-exchange installation on site.
Since 2010, homes, businesses and schools now receive up to 100% of their hot water and heating requirements via the exchange, at a reduced price of approximately 50% (compared with alternative supplier E-ON).
The heat exchanger also provides all the building heat requirements and hot water to the Limmared facility.
The use of recycled post-consumer glass (cullet) as a substitution for virgin raw materials has a positive impact on the environment. It directly leads to a conservation of melting energy and CO2, along with other emissions, as well as helping to avoid the generation of waste caused by closed loop recycling.
For example, our facility in Dongen operates a furnace that uses 90% recycled glass (cullet), which is a true benchmark on a global scale.
Since 2008, electricity for operational divisions in our Dutch metal facilities has been sourced from a renewable energy provider. The Norwegian supplier, Electrabel, uses hydropower to produce energy that is 100% renewable. The production of this green energy is environmentally friendly, minimises pollution and reduces energy-related CO2 emissions by approximately 75,000 tonnes. In addition to this, some Ardagh facilities use waste heat from the production process to heat their offices.
All of these initiatives reduce the Group's carbon footprint on an annual basis.
Ardagh's drive to reduce energy consumption has led to a number of initiatives globally. Some examples of this include:
Project Sheer in the Taree, Australia facility, delivers material optimisations through weight reduction of the slugs used to make cans and reduced aluminium consumption in aerosols.
The Ardagh facility in Reus, Spain has recently installed motion detectors throughout the site so that lights are only activated when rooms are occupied.
Ardagh have made a declaration to its customers to ensure conflict-free tin sourcing. Regulations have been implemented so companies report on the use of any conflict materials originating from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) or adjoining countries and aim to purchase material from conflict-free mines only. Our suppliers need to demonstrate traceability and accountability of the raw materials they supply us. We made it our policy to survey all our coating and tinplate suppliers for our businesses in Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the US.
Up to now we have received responses from every coating supplier and almost all tinplate suppliers. They have all confirmed they do not source any conflict minerals from the DRC or adjacent countries. Based on this, we can declare we take due diligence that we do not knowingly source tin which contains conflict materials.