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Sonoco Records 18% Drop in Direct Emissions

sonoco-water-energySonoco is reducing its energy and water usage year over year, with water consumption dropping 8 percent from 2007 to 2008 and energy consumption dropping less than 1 percent over the same period.

The packaging company, which had sales of $4.12 billion in 2008, has committed to reducing GHG emissions from its 121 manufacturing sites in North America by 15 percent over the next five years, using 2008 as a baseline. A big chunk of the emissions reductions will come from improvements at its uncoated recycled paperboard mills. Where possible, Sonoco plans to transition from process steam production to renewables or other less carbon-intensive fuels.

So far, direct GHG emissions have dropped from 700,000 metric tons in 2007 to 561,000 metric tons in 2008, a nearly 20 percent improvement. Its indirect emissions, however, are trending upward, from 477,000 metric tons in 2007 to 562,000 metric tons in 2008, a nearly 18 percent jump. See the following chart for more information.


Sonoco’s North American operations account for about 72 percent of revenues. Starting this year, the company has began collecting GHG data at its other worldwide plants, with the goal of setting a baseline for future improvements.

In the area of recycling, Sonoco has installed a $3.5 million upgrade to its materials recovery facility in Raleigh, N.C. The upgrade means that Raleigh can convert to a single-stream waste collection service, saving money and emissions by not having two types of trucks run routes.

The company in 2008 established its internal Sonoco Sustainability Solutions waste reduction program, which audited 34 plants for opportunities to improve productivity and waste reduction. So far, the program has identified 70,000 tons of additional scrap that can be recycled, much of which was shipped to Sonoco paper mills.

At other Sonoco businesses, an additional 28,000 tons of recyclables were identified. The efforts resulted in sales of $770,000 for materials that previously went to landfills, and another $230,000 in future savings by improving procedures.

Download the PDF report here.

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