Sonoco Sustainability Report: Energy Use Drops 5%
Packaging firm Sonoco reduced its normalized energy use by 4.96 percent from 2010 to 2011, from 3.688 to 3.507 MMBtu per ton of product produced, according to the company’s latest corporate sustainability report.
Over the course of the year Sonoco’s total energy use dropped 4.84 percent from 16.5 to 15.7 million MMBtu.
In 2011 the company began a series of lighting and compressor projects aimed at reducing energy usage and saving money. Year-to-date, Sonoco has saved 4.3 million kWh through lighting retrofits and 5.3 million kWh with upgrades to its compressors. Sonoco plans to continue the project during the second half of 2012, the report says.
According to figures on the Sonoco sustainability web site, the company cut its greenhouse gas emissions by over 12 percent year-on-year, from 0.311 metric tons of CO2 equivalent per ton of product produced in 2010 to 0.273 in 2011.
However, figures in the actual report suggest the reduction over the course of the year is a more modest 3.13 percent. In the report the 2010 normalized greenhouse gas emissions are listed as 0.311 metric tons of CO2 equivalent per ton of product produced – the same as on the web site – but for 2011 the report figure is listed as 3.01, far higher than the 0.273 listed on the web site.
The company says historical data referenced in the report has been adjusted to reflect changes in business structure and improvement in data collection and accuracy, and so may differ from previous reports.
Figures for the company’s total greenhouse emissions and its normalized emissions from Scopes 1 and 2 are consistent between the two data sets. All these metrics fell by over 3 percent year-on-year.
The company has a target of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent by 2014, from 2008 levels.
According to the report, Sonoco is constructing a biomass cogeneration system at its Hartsville complex. The boiler system is expected to produce 16 MW of low-cost, “green” electricity and steam and to provide about $14 million in annual savings, the report says.
There is some confusion over Sonoco’s waste production figures as well. The report says that the company’s normalized landfill disposal increased 12.46 percent year-on-year. But by Environmental Leader’s calculations the metric – which rose from 0.033 metric tons per metric ton of product in 2010 to 0.0376 metric tons per metric ton of product in 2011 – actually increased 13.9 percent year-on-year (see graph, below).
The company’s absolute landfill total rose 12.54 percent from 149,826 metric tons in 2010 to 168,611 metric tons in 2011.
In 2011, Sonoco Recycling started the Sustainability Star Award program to recognize customer- and Sonoco-owned facilities that have achieved significant milestones in waste stream reduction through recycling and other landfill mitigation efforts. A total of 12 plants received gold and silver awards for diverting up to 99 percent of those facilities’ waste streams from landfills.
The company also met its goal in 2011 of having five of its US manufacturing plants achieve Star Award status by diverting at least 95 percent of their waste streams from landfill disposal through improved recycling efforts. Three of those five plants – those in Birmingham, Ala., York, Penn., and West Chicago, Ill., – diverted 99 percent of their waste from landfill.
Normalized water usage at Sonoco’s global manufacturing operations has been reduced 7.2 percent since 2009, including a 5.1 percent reduction in 2011, the report says. From 2010 to 2011 the company reduced its normalized water use from 6.799 to 6.455 cubic meters per ton of production, the report says. In that time the company’s absolute water consumption dropped 1.84 percent.
Last year the company launched a peanut jar for firm Planters that weighs 84 percent less than its predecessor. The new packaging replaced Planters’ 16 oz. and 20 oz. glass peanut jars. It is made of 100 percent recyclable, BPA-free plastic and requires 25 percent fewer trucks for transportation than the old jars.
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