Sonoco recently reported that it has achieved its five-year global sustainability targets, including significant reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), water usage and development of landfill-free operations.

"Five years ago, we established goals to change our economic, environmental and social performance in aspects that were material to Sonoco and its stakeholders," said Sonoco president and CEO Jack Sanders. "Our process of change, which is providing us better opportunities to grow through new products, new markets, new customers, new services and new ways of thinking, also has created an environment that allows us to better harness the power of our portfolio and our people to optimize our sustainability performance. As a result, we made significant progress to not just meet but exceed our challenging sustainability goals."

Targeted achievements highlighted in the company's corporate responsibility report include reducing normalized carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by nearly 24 percent over the past five years, with normalized emissions in 2014 dropping nearly 12 percent and direct emissions from Sonoco's facilities reduced by 21 percent. Much of the emission reduction success was a result of the company's new biomass cogeneration system at its largest manufacturing complex in Hartsville, South Carolina, where CO2 emissions were reduced by 65 percent since 2009. The company had set a goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 15 percent over the five-year period ending in 2014.

Normalized water usage also decreased 40 percent over the past five years due to Sonoco's investment in a new water cooling and treatment system at the Hartsville complex. Following the completion of the project, water consumption at the plant declined 35 percent in 2014, which is equivalent to saving more than 10 million cubic meters of water.

Nearly 10 percent of the company's 336 global operating facilities achieved Sonoco Sustainability Star Awards by reaching landfill-free status of 95-percent waste diversion or higher. In addition, the Sonoco Recycling subsidiary implemented programs for 17 of its customers' facilities to also reach landfill diversion goals.

In addition to reducing the company's impact on the environment, Sonoco reported continued improvement in employee safety, engagement and leadership development, including being ranked by AON Hewitt as one of the top 25 global companies for leaders six consecutive times.

Using 2014 as the new baseline, Sonoco has made the following sustainability commitments through 2020:

  • Decrease normalized global energy usage by 1 percent annually, which should result in a further 1-percent reduction in GHG emissions (or reduce CO2 emissions by 5 percent).
  • Reduce normalized water usage by 5 percent.
  • Achieve landfill-free status at an additional 10 percent of the company's operations while continuing to work with customers to also reduce their waste going to landfills.
  • Continue to demonstrate improvement in employee safety, diversity and engagement.

Founded in 1899, Sonoco is a global provider of a variety of consumer packaging, industrial products, protective packaging and supply chain services. With annualized net sales of approximately $5 billion, the company has 20,800 employees working in more than 330 operations in 34 countries.

For more information, visit www.sonoco.com.