Seven of the world’s ten largest beverage manufacturers have signed the UN Global Compact goal of 1.5°Celsius. They are setting themselves science-based targets for reducing their emissions. But it’s not just the top-ten of the beverage industry that have committed themselves in this network: Suppliers of dairy products and liquid foods are also positioning themselves for sustainable manufacturing and packaging processes.
The industry has long known that the careful use of all resources is among the responsibilities of corporate activity. drinktec 2022, which will take place from September 12 to 16, in Munich, is the platform for sustainability topics at all stages in the manufacture of beverages and liquid food.
The UN Global Compact has been signed by a total of 807 members of the beverage and food industry, including small and medium-sized regional mineral water companies, large brewery corporations, as well as noteworthy manufacturers from the wine and spirits sector and the dairy and food industry. Solution providers such as manufacturers of ingredients, components and machines are also participating. The industry has long since reached the conclusion that sustainable production is no longer just an option. It is a mandatory part of a company’s own orientation in the industry and for consumers.
An important innovation factor for the manufacturers of beverages and liquid foods is inspiration from their machine and system providers. These companies have already been offering solutions for sustainable processes for years. The meeting place par excellence for this exchange in the industry is the world’s leading trade fair drinktec in Munich. “For more than two years, the conditions for personal exchange were extremely difficult. The providers of process, filling and packaging technologies are now very excited to once again present their technical developments in person,” states Petra Westphal, drinktec Exhibition Director. The interest of exhibitors in participating with a stand, she says, illustrates that personal exchange and the on-site presentation of technical solutions still enjoy a high level of importance. “drinktec has always benefited from a large number of machine presentations and a variety of solutions showcased on the exhibition grounds. And this applies in particular to the solutions relating to the sustainable orientation of all manufacturing and packaging steps.” The potential here is equally large: According to a study from Euromonitor, more than 70 percent of food and beverage companies are planning investments in sustainable activities.
In addition to reducing the CO2 footprint, meaningful and sustainable packaging strategies need to be brought onto the market and the consumption of resources minimized. The range of programs among beverage and liquid food manufacturers covers many perspectives. The claim to be among the first climate-neutral breweries is one variant. The introduction of a biodegradable spirits bottle is another—to name just two examples.
Information from the industry indicates that there are different levers for reducing the CO2 footprint in individual product categories: In the area of mineral water, 52 percent of the CO2 footprint stems from packaging. For carbonated soft drinks, this amounts to 43 percent. For these, the impact of emissions from the production and extraction of the basic beverage materials is 25 percent. For breweries, it’s a different story: 15 percent of the overall CO2 footprint results from the energy and media requirements of beer manufacturing and 24 percent from the extraction of raw materials. For milk products, meanwhile, 78 percent of the CO2 footprint comes from agricultural output. When it comes to reducing CO2 emissions, things therefore look very different for each individual production scenario.
A more traceable supply chain for the use of raw materials for all product varieties could illustrate which resources could be saved in the upstream area. Unused raw materials that previously had to be disposed of as waste material could be processed in biomass treatment. A modification to the temperature in the brewing process could contribute to lower evaporation rates. Circular systems for using process water could help to save energy. The variety of solutions not only covers the tasks directly connected to manufacturing and filling processes, but also extends far beyond. Simple cardboard clip solutions for containers, high-precision detection systems for bottle inspection and material detection as well as recycling solutions for plastic bottles all contribute to one thing: the conservation of resources.
Manufacturers name several hurdles that need to be overcome in sustainability projects: The absence of measuring points, the need to replace equipment and a lack of experience in implementing sustainability projects. More than one of these hurdles can be cleared with a visit to drinktec 2022. Comprehensive advice from exhibitors on individual tasks in the beverage and food business and examples of best practices make resource conservation and energy efficiency possible. And that’s not all the organizers of the trade fair have to offer: the supporting program in the drinktec Inspiration Hub in Halls A3 and B3 offers numerous new ideas on the main topic of sustainability from exhibitors and industry experts for sustainable production and supply chains.