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Avery Dennison Cuts Energy, GHG Intensity 6% in One Year

Avery Dennison reduced both its greenhouse gas emissions and energy use, indexed to net sales, by six percent last year, according to its first Sustainability Report.

Greenhouse gas emissions fell from 90 to 86 tons of CO2e/$million last year, and were down two percent from 2005 levels. Avery Dennison has a goal of reducing company-wide GHG emissions indexed to net sales by 15 percent from 2005 levels.

Meanwhile energy use fell from 252 to 237 MWh/$million, compared to 2009 levels, though energy consumption was up overall.

Avery Dennison is perhaps best known for its office products, but derives the biggest portion of its revenue from a variety of pressure-sensitive materials, including flexible packaging, polymer adhesives and films. It also produces retail branding items and products for the automotive, medical, electronics and construction industries.

The report said that most of the company’s direct GHG emissions stem from electricity and natural gas for manufacturing processes and equipment including pressure-sensitive materials coaters, drying ovens, process cooling equipment, HVAC systems, paper slitters and other converting machinery.

This year the company plans to develop and implement an energy and climate change strategy, which will encompass efficiency projects, supply-side procurement and renewable energy use, and will launch an energy scorecard to be regularly reviewed by the corporate leadership team. The company also plans to start collecting air emissions data on major facilities.

Its global water consumption in 2010 was 1,830,205 cubic meters, and its North American waste generation was 53,198 metric tons of waste, 44 percent of which was recycled or reused.

The report shows waste figures for North America only, and does not include water or waste data for 2009.

The company has a “long-term” target of zero waste to landfill, with no end date specified. It says next steps include completing waste data collection for its global operations, and by the end of the year, setting a 2015 target towards achieving the long-term aim.

But Avery says that the industry-wide problem of waste streams tied to self-adhesive labels – at multiple points in the product lifecycle – represents a much greater need. This includes “matrix waste,” which remains after labels are cut from material rolls, and “release liner waste,” after labels are applied to products or packaging.

Its Label and Packaging Materials group began in 2010 to pilot programs with customers to test ideas such as transforming the waste into fuel and reclaiming valuable material components.

The company says it is beginning to track material flows and is working to integrate sustainability factors into procurement processes. Initial estimates for 2010 indicate that roughly 60% of the material it procures is paper-based. It has FSC certification on 49 facilities around the world and is exploring the addition of other certification programs.

Avery plans to build in a mechanism to track the percentage of recycled input materials it uses in its products and processes.

In 2009, it began to use life-cycle assessment to gain a baseline understanding of products’ environmental footprints. LCA studies conducted on its major paper label and graphics film products reveal that roughly 60–95 percent of the environmental and human health impacts can be attributed to the production of the raw materials, and the second largest impact contributor is end-of-life disposal of those materials.

The company says that its Avery Dennison ThinStream technology is one of the most significant sustainability advances in labeling technology in decades. This innovation enables the application of ultra-thin label materials. With a liner only 12 microns in thickness (half the thickness of a human hair), ThinStream products yield at least 17 percent more labels per roll and reduce liner waste up to 50 percent, Avery says.

The company says it is working to integrate LCA into its product development processes and product compliance programs.

In 2010 the company launched Greenprint, described as a user-friendly way to communicate a product’s environmental footprint based on life cycle thinking, within Avery and to brand owners and customers. Greenprint presents LCA data across six environmental impact categories—fossil material, trees, water, energy, greenhouse gases and waste—and enables product managers, technicians and designers to quickly assess design and material options based on environmental impact.

The company also has a Product Integrity Management System (PIMS), designed assure a product’s compliance with an array of international and local regulations as well as critical customer and end user requirements. Last year Avery launched a global process to facilitate and manage the risks of new product development, and began developing a Chemical Risk Management Program for Products (CRMP). When it is introduced in 2011, the CRMP is expected to:

  • Enhance the speed and documentation of the systems that control regulatory, liability and market risks related to the chemicals in Avery Dennison products
  • Promote the use of lower risk substances in the product development phase.

Avery says it plans to develop sustainability criteria and an internal certification mark for sustainable products and materials, and implement a responsible paper sourcing policy by 2012.

In 2010, the company received no notices of noncompliance with government regulations concerning health and safety impacts of products.

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