TORONTO, Ont.—Canadian food, beverage and consumer products manufacturers are pulling ahead of their global peers when it comes to investment in environmental sustainability initiatives, according to the results of a new survey and report from KPMG LLP, which was produced in collaboration with Food and Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC).
KPMG surveyed 32 manufacturers—all FCPC members— for Making an Impact: Environmental Sustainability Initiatives in Canada’s Food, Beverage and Consumer Product’s Industry.
Eighty-eight per cent of respondents have an environmental sustainability strategy in place, and of those, 96 per cent have updated it in the past three years.
Ninety-seven per cent are tracking and monitoring their company’s performance for energy, 94 per cent for water and 91 per cent for waste. Also, 75 per cent monitor packaging content and 72 per cent monitor greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
“We’re seeing companies dedicate vast resources—both financial and human— to help create and implement their environmental sustainability strategies. These dedicated resources are much more than ‘going green’—these are fundamental shifts to their business models with a view to positive for all stakeholders,” Phil Ludvigsen, director, Carbon Advisory Services at KPMG LLP in Toronto, Ont., said in a statement.
Projects involving energy efficiency, water conservation and waste reduction are most common because they require the least amount of resources but deliver the greatest financial benefits, according to the report.
Overall, two-thirds of respondents have Environmental Management Systems (EMS) in place but many couldn’t provide metrics related to Canadian operations.
When asked to name their top three drivers for environmental initiatives, 69 per cent of respondents included ‘improving internal process to enhance performance and reduce costs’ with 44 per cent making it their top choice.
‘Internal company commitment to reduce environmental impacts of products’ was the second most cited driver, chosen by 54 per cent of companies, with 19 per cent putting it as number one.
The third most common reason was to ‘enhance brand and reputation’, indicated by 43 per cent overall with 16 per cent putting it at the top of their list.
And more than 90 per cent of respondents have some sort of sustainable packaging initiative, whether formal or informal. Companies with informal strategies have higher adoption rates over those with formal strategies.
“In part, this may be indicative the challenges faced when submitting higher up-front costs for management approval within a formal process,” the report said.
High-cost programs such as biodegradable packaging and take-back systems tend to have lower adoption rates compared with low-cost strategies such as reducing packaging size and improving design efficiency, enhancing the recyclability of packaging and using packaging made of recycled materials.