Skip to Main Content
Access your saved content
The Sustainable Energy for All initiative was launched by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to mobilize action and partnerships focused on sustainably meeting the increasing energy requirements of businesses and society. The initiative has set three primary objectives, to be met by 2030:
This report looks at the consumer packaged goods industry and identifies six priority actions it can take to reduce its energy use while simultaneously driving high performance.
To understand the importance of sustainable energy, consumer packaged goods companies must evaluate energy consumption at every stage of the product life cycle.
Packaging typically uses considerable energy. Heavy industrial reliance on plastics correlates to a heavy reliance on oil. Many consumer packaged goods companies are beginning to address this by reducing the amount of packaging used or by using packaging that is made from renewable materials.
For some consumer packaged goods companies, water plays a major role as a raw material for production. Its use in manufacturing is energy-intensive since electricity or fuels are usually required to source, treat, heat and/or transport water as well as to collect and dispose of it. Therefore, efficient water use can also represent an opportunity to reduce energy consumption.
Manufacturing can account for 10-25 percent of the emissions in the life cycle of the product, and refrigeration and storage also use substantial amounts of energy. Finally, transportation and distribution of finished products requires a great deal of energy.
With a comprehensive understanding of the energy use associated with each stage of the product life cycle, companies can drive better energy efficiency and incorporate renewable energy initiatives in the manufacture of their products.
One of the biggest opportunities lies in packaging reduction. Consumer packaged goods companies have already made significant progress. Sustainable packaging initiatives have demonstrated their bottom-line benefits by reducing the cost of materials and by increasing the amount of product per pallet shipped. Companies are also capitalizing on demand for more energy-efficient products, driving new revenue growth.
Within the manufacturing realm, technological advances have enabled more energy-efficient machinery, which can drive business value through operational cost reductions. For refrigeration, companies can achieve energy savings by switching to more efficient refrigerants and making some technical adjustments to the system. Anhydrous ammonia is one of the oldest commercial refrigerants, and is returning as a popular choice among large companies in addition to other refrigerants like carbon dioxide.
Finally, improving transportation and distribution capabilities can reduce energy consumption and save money. According to the US Federal Railway Administration, freight trains move a ton of freight 480 miles on a single gallon, which is about four times as efficient as a truck. Well-designed shipping routes and mode of transport can also drive cost reductions.
The consumer packaged goods industry can take six priority actions to become more energy efficient and to advance its business opportunities in the sustainable energy market:
Reduce product packaging and increase the use of renewable feedstock in its manufacture.
Increase the energy efficiency of operations in manufacturing and distribution.
Create products that enable consumers to be more energy efficient.
Use renewable energy to power operations and facilities.
Reduce the amount of energy required to refrigerate and cool products.
Minimize energy required to source, heat, treat and transport water.
October 2, 2012
Skip Footer Links