Mondelēz joins Circulate Capital Ocean Fund to improve snacks packaging recycling
Waste from snacks packaging will be a key target for Mondelez. Pic Rebecca Bolanos/Shutterstock
A major environmental move has been made by Mondelēz International, as it commits to delivering a circular economy for plastic through joining Circulate Capital Ocean Fund (CCOF) in Asia, supporting solutions for collecting, sorting and recycling product waste, writes Neill Barston.
According to the company, its focus will include exploring the snack industry’s use of flexible films in the form of multi-layered plastics, that have typically been more challenging to recycle than other packaging formats.
As Mondelez explained, CCOF is an investment fund dedicated to addressing India and Southeast Asia’s plastics challenges, and its investors include some of the world’s leading consumer packaged goods companies.
The fund provides financing to waste management, recycling and circular economy start-ups and small- and medium-sized enterprises across India, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.
CCOF helps identify collection and recycling solutions, catalyzes capital to both scale and replicate those solutions and connects these enterprises to the world’s leading companies.
Mondelēz International’s investment in CCOF is expected to finance enterprises that support the company’s goal to collect more plastic waste than the company currently produces across India and Southeast Asia and will further CCOF’s investments into flexible plastic waste collection, recycling and infrastructure enterprises.
“This investment marks a pivotal step forward in our contribution to a circular economy for plastics and is a clear demonstration of our long-term goal of net zero waste,” said Dirk Van de Put, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Mondelēz International, Inc. “As part of our ambition to become a more sustainable snacking company, this partnership will help fund businesses that are trying to fill systemic gaps in the collection, sorting and reuse of plastic waste, including flexible film.”
The company has already confirmed a number of initiatives targeting improvements within packaging for its United Kingdom and Australian operations, as part of its global goal to reduce the use of virgin plastic material in its overall plastic packaging portfolio by 5% by 2025, compared to 2020, select Cadbury Dairy Milk will be made with packaging containing up to 30% recycled plastic material starting in 2022.
Rob Kaplan, Founder and CEO of Circulate Capital, also welcomed Mondelez’s involvement in the initiative, which is hoped will have a marked impact on handling plastic waste.
He said: “We are excited to partner with Mondelēz International, a world leader in the food and beverage industry. Their investment in the Circulate Capital Ocean Fund will enable us to put more capital to work by funding enterprises located in South and Southeast Asia with innovative solutions to combat plastic waste and advance the circular economy.
“Adding Mondelēz International to our esteemed list of global partners is a reflection of the significant impact our portfolio companies have made thus far. This additional catalytic capital will also help CCOF reach our expected environmental and economic impacts by 2030 which includes the prevention of more than 13 million tonnes of plastic pollution leakage and at least 17 million tonnes of CO2e avoided.”
As Mondelēz noted, it has already made significant progress toward its packaging recyclability targets. The company has removed 65,000 tons of packaging from its portfolio since 2013 and remains on track to achieve its 2025 goals to reduce virgin plastic use in rigid plastic packaging by 25% or reduce virgin plastic in overall plastic packaging portfolio by 5%, assuming constant portfolio mix compared to 2020, increase use of recycled content to 5% by weight across plastic packaging and design 100% of its packaging to be recycle ready. Notably date, ~94% of all of the company’s packaging is designed to be recycle ready.
“Our support for a more sustainable future for plastics is clear. We’ve made significant strides to reduce plastic packaging use, substitute plastics for other materials, design to be recycle ready and set ambitious plastics packaging goals across our portfolio,” said Christine Montenegro McGrath, VP and Chief of Global Impact and Sustainability, Mondelēz International. “We are proud of our progress to date but know more must be done through innovative partnerships and investments like this one to be able to scale more sustainable solutions for plastics packaging, including flexible film.”
Furthermore, Mondelēz International already supports initiatives promoting a circular economy for plastics with programs underway across multiple markets demonstrating a strategic focus on less, better and improved plastic packaging and systems.
This includes its work in India, where the company, in partnership with Sustainable Futures, made a seed investment into Hasiru Dala, an NGO, to create a social enterprise to sort, clean, and recycle flexible plastic waste into more sustainable everyday products and targets to recycle 600 tons of multi layered plastics every year. The project implements recycling technology purchased from a local start-up and, together, these women-led local businesses positively impact the local economy through job creation.
Meanwhile, in the Philippines, Mondelēz International is working with several organisations to attempt to recycle and co-process multi-layer and single use plastics and is collaborating with small enterprises focused on a circular economy for plastics.
For its part in Indonesia, a waste bank project is ongoing in two schools to help educate children on the importance of collecting and recycling waste. The goal is to recycle plastic into construction material and use it to help renovate schools.
In addition, Mondelēz International is an active participant in a number of other initiatives including the Consumer Goods Forum Plastic Coalition of Action, the Business Call for a Global UN Treaty on Plastics Pollution, the U.S. Plastics Pact, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment.