Carton giant Tetra Pak has much to be proud of, but fails to package its sustainability story as well as it should
“Packaging should save more money than it costs.” This was the mantra of Swedish Tetra Pak founder Reuben Rausing, one that was particularly poignant in post-war Europe. Decades later, the packaging giant is one of three companies that make up Tetra Laval group, a private company headquartered in Switzerland. Still run by the Rausing family, does today’s Tetra Pak uphold the same values and apply this concept of saving more than it costs to people and planet?
Tetra Pak’s tagline – “Protect what’s good”– suggests these values have carried through to its carton empire today. The company’s efforts in sustainability span a broad range of issues, with growth strategies in base-of-pyramid markets, a focus on educating consumers about recycling, and sourcing raw materials responsibly. Tetra Pak launched its first carton made from fully recycled material in 2015. Its reporting, however, is doing little justice to these efforts, and lacks a clear sense of ambition, with few clear targets or reporting against these.
At first glance, Tetra Pak’s 2015 sustainability report appears to cover a broad range of relevant content. The company places a strong emphasis on sustainability communications, so finding the report on the website is easy. “Sustainability” sits at the...