Our Approach and Commitments

We’ve been telling people for years that we’re not a disposable products company trying to act green, we’re a green company who happens to operate in disposables. In order for this to be true, we have to do more than make great sustainable products for the foodservice industry – we have to make sure that we are doing everything we can to manage the impacts our business has on the planet. To that end, we have developed a framework to help us determine exactly where our problems might lie, and where our opportunities might be.

The process of generating a framework like this is a gut check for any business. It forces you to look in the mirror and be honest about what is important from an environmental as well as a social perspective. Often times there is a natural tension that evolves between the issues that matter most for the future of the planet, and the inherent requirement of a growing businesses to be consuming resources and generating byproducts associated with that consumption. We have landed on three core elements of this framework that you will see referenced throughout this report.

The first we call “Aeris”, which comes from the Latin word for “air”.
This part of the framework is all about accepting the threat of climate change is among the greatest issues we face today, something that is important to us – important enough that we have been measuring all of the emissions associated with our operations and our supply chain for years now. What’s new is that we are going to start setting targets for managing those emissions for the first time in this report.

The second we call “Utis”, which comes from the Latin word for “use”.
This part of the framework is all about recognizing that using resources wisely and limiting waste is important to us – in our operations, in our supply chain, and in how our products are designed and disposed of. For the first time we are setting goals around managing these aspects of resource consumption and waste minimization.


The third we call “Populis”, which comes from the Latin word for “people”.
This part of the framework is all about valuing the employees, suppliers, and communities who enable us to deliver innovative sustainable foodservice products and services to businesses and consumers all over North America. We’ll make new commitments to Eco-Products employees and other stakeholders in this report as well.

In sum, we are putting some stakes in the ground where they have not been before. While we may have been conceptually committed to this for years now, we didn’t feel right about not setting some public facing goals for managing our impacts in these areas. We also didn’t feel right about calling ourselves “a green company who happens to operate in disposables” until our goals were out there for everyone to see and to hold us accountable as we walk the talk.


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    Aeris

  • Achieve a net zero electricity HQ. Until we get there, invest in high quality offsets to balance our emissions
  • New policy: Eco-Products employees will rent only economy or compact cars when local driving is involved. When highway or group travel is involved, employees may rent up to a midsize at their discretion.
  • In 2014, each sales department staff will participate in at least one meeting per year virtually, which they would otherwise fly to.

    Utis

  • By 2017, increase HQ waste diversion to 90%
  • By 2017, reduce HQ water consumption by 10%; restore the balance every year through high quality water restoration certificates
  • In 2014, complete an analysis on the opportunities, costs, and implications associated with reducing the environmental impact of packaging used in product distribution.
  • In 2014, review the business implications of phasing out our Plant Starch Cutlery and 100% virgin polypropylene soup cup lid
  • Continue to research new materials that offer real environmental benefits for our products. In 2014, we will actively participate in Iowa State’s Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites.
  • Continue to participate in industry efforts to address end-of-life challenges, such as the USCC Compostable Plastics Task Force and FPI’s PRA/PRG.

    Populis

  • In 2014, brand and reassess our community engagement program
  • In 2014, review employee benefits and current engagement efforts, and identify ways to deepen employee engagement
  • In 2014, draft a sustainability code of conduct for our manufacturers. share with key manufacturers for feedback.
  • In 2015, finalize code, have manufacturers sign it or develop plan for getting there
  • In 2016, incorporate environmental and social criteria into factory audits