Environmental friendliness and the power of plant-based take centre stage for Veganuary

We may only be a couple of weeks into January, but its overriding megatrend from a business perspective across segments has surrounded delivering on key corporate sustainability targets on improving environmental performance.

From Barry Callebaut’s latest chocolate report revealing that at least two thirds of consumers agree that developing products that are not just better for you, but also good for the planet, through to flavours and fragrance firm Symrise gaining high ratings from non-profit organisation CDP for its climate positive actions, it seems companies are in more of a hurry than ever to declare their eco-friendly ways.

Perhaps inevitably, this has led to a culture of ‘greenwashing’ claims against major corporates from across industries – with some of the criticism being somewhat unfair upon companies that are setting out on a journey to literally clean up their global act in environmental terms. Personally, I would share the perspective of industry observers who would make a rational judgement on this landscape. If a business can tangibly show that it’s giving back by planting a significant amount of trees, improving the efficiency of its business operations, and polluting less, using less energy and producing less waste, then this surely has to be welcomed?

From a consumer perspective, the continued rise in demand for plant-based, planet friendly food options, including within the confectionery sector shows no sign of abating, with this month being a global focus for Veganuary, marked by hundreds of thousands of people around the world, the need for us all to think more sustainably both individually and on a company-wide basis is clearly a notion that remains of critical importance.

As we revealed at the last edition of our World Confectionery Conference, our industry has shown how it is engaging on major issues of improving environmental performance, efficiencies and awareness of their overall impact. So what are the possible solutions when almost every business is now under unprecedented pressure due to the effects of the pandemic, energy crisis and inflationary pressures?

There are assuredly no magic wands to be waved to improve conditions, and as Francesco Tramontin of Ferrero noted in a new interview with Confectionery Production, ‘companies have to be a in a healthy position to be able to deal with conditions that we are all facing,’ meaning that strong planning, staying relevant through consistent engagement and exploring efficiency and environmental performance are all vital considerations. The problems, are indeed multi-faceted, but with collaborative action, some determination and a little fortune, we can but hope that 2023’s conditions improve around the world.

Neill Barston, editor, Confectionery Production

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