Evansville-based Berry Global Group Inc. (NYSE: BERY) says it is on pace to meet or exceed its sustainability goals as part of its worldwide Environmental, Social, and Governance initiatives. The plastics packaging company recently released its 2021 Impact Report, which highlights successes and establishes benchmarks for 2025. During last week’s Engage Indiana event in Evansville, hosted by Inside INdiana Business and IBJ Media, Berry Global Chief Executive Officer Tom Salmon said companies that embrace ESG efforts can help bolster the bottom line.
“Most of our end users have goals in terms of recycled content that they will use in their products. There’s a limited supply of that today. So, the ability to ultimately have already access to a supply of viable materials to meet those sustainability goals… is a competitive growth advantage that we’re harnessing. We want to take advantage of for sure,” Salmon told Inside INdiana Business.
During a discussion with IIB reporter Wes Mills, Salmon explained how ESG initiatives are connected to performance.
The company first released an impact report in 2017, which established a roadmap the company intended to follow for its sustainability goals. The 2021 version is a scorecard that the company says highlights investments in sustainable packaging, increased use of recycled and circular plastics, and reductions in carbon emissions.
The company is one of the largest consumers of polyethylene and polypropylene in the world and produces plastic materials for the health and hygiene, consumer packaging and engineered materials sectors. Its customers include some of the biggest names in consumer products.
“We believe all materials can become circular in the plastics industry. We’ve been working on the forefront beginning in 2018, embracing new technologies that promote that circularity giving plastic, second, third and fourth life,” said Salmon.
Berry self-reported that 86% of its fast-moving consumer products, also known as consumer-packaged goods, are now reusable, recyclable, and/or compostable. The company says it is on target for achieving 100% by 2025.
“2021 was a year of action for Berry,” said Salmon. “From unmatched access to recycled material and strategic partnerships to innovative products, Berry is taking action on its ambitious sustainability goals to best serve customers.”
While the company has increased its usage of recycled plastic, it still also produces virgin plastic to create brand new plastic products from crude oil.
Salmon says the skyrocketing cost of crude is pushing prices higher, which is being passed along to customers.
“Right now, we’ve got decent demand, limited supply on some materials and it’s ultimately raising prices because the input costs are going up, specifically petroleum based materials, labor as well as transportation,” said Salmon.