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Sonoco Achieves Five Year Sustainability Targets

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Sonoco, Hartsville, S.C, USA, recently released its Corporate Responsibility Report for 2014-2015, reporting that it 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:
  • Sonoco reduced normalized carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by nearly 24% over the past five years, with normalized emissions in 2014 dropping nearly 12% and direct emissions from Sonoco’s facilities reduced by 21%. Much of the emission reduction success was a result of the company’s new biomass cogeneration system at its largest manufacturing complex in Hartsville, S.C., where CO2 emissions were reduced by 65% since 2009. The company had set a goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 15% over the five-year period ending in 2014.
  • Normalized water usage decreased 40% over the past five years, due to Sonoco’s investment in a new water cooling and treatment system put in place at the Hartsville complex. Following the completion of the project, water consumption at the plant declined 35% in 2014 – equivalent to saving more than 10 million cubic meters of water.
  • Nearly 10% of the company’s 336 global operating facilities achieved Sonoco Sustainability Star Awards by reaching landfill-free status of 95% 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 impact on the environment, the company 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. Finally, the report provides a summary of the Company’s support of communities in which it operates, particularly through its support of education.

Using 2014 as the company’s new baseline, Sonoco has made the following sustainability commitments through 2020:
  • Reducing normalized global energy usage by 1% annually, which should result in a further 1% reduction in GHG emissions (or reducing CO2 emissions by 5%).
  • Reducing normalized water usage by 5%.
  • Achieving landfill-free status at an additional 10% of the Company’s operations significantly diverting landfill wastes, while continuing to work with customers to also reduce their waste going to landfills.
  • Continuing 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, as well as displays and packaging 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, serving some of the world’s best known brands in some 85 nations. Sonoco is a proud member of the 2014/2015 Dow Jones Sustainability World Index.

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