We strive to base our business decisions on the fact that humanity must live within the limits of the earth’s resources. That means meeting the challenges that all businesses face: achieving growth while using fewer natural resources, and operating in a way that leaves the planet in better condition than we found it.
2025 Goal: To achieve at least a 3 percent absolute reduction in greenhouse gas emissions year over year.
As a member of World Wildlife Fund's Climate Savers and the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance, and as a signatory of the American Businesses Act on Climate Pledge, we support the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and keep global temperatures to less than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. We believe that every sector of society, including business, must do its part to help reach those targets.
We’re working specifically to reduce the carbon emissions from powering our more than 180 facilities. Almost all of the energy we use comes from electricity or natural gas. Our aim is to lower absolute emissions by at least 3 percent each year between 2015 and 2025—a minimum of 26 percent in total. Our approach is based on The 3% Solution developed by World Wildlife Fund, CDP and McKinsey & Company. Because our facilities require different solutions based on their design and location, we’re pursuing reductions through a variety of means, such as improving energy efficiency, sourcing renewable power and procuring renewable energy certificates. In late 2016, we entered into our first renewable energy power purchase agreement (PPA) in the United States. We expect the renewable energy certificates we receive via the PPA to offset 50 percent of the GHG emissions generated from our electricity consumption in the U.S.
Between 2015, our baseline year, and 2016, we met our annual goal of reducing absolute CO2 emissions by at least 3 percent. Our location-based emissions, which result from our consumption of electricity from power grids around the globe, fell 3.2 percent, from 486,400 metric tons to 470,631 metric tons. Our market-based absolute emissions for 2016, which factor in the effects of our renewable energy instruments, such as PPAs and renewable energy certificates, is even lower, at 423,226 metric tons—a decline of nearly 12 percent.
Between 2014 and 2016, we reduced energy consumption by 5.1 percent, from 1.37 million megawatt hours to 1.30 million megawatt hours.
In 2016, our Label and Graphic Materials (LGM) business where we initiated our efforts had one of its best years ever for reducing energy intensity, which we define as energy consumption per unit of production, or megawatt hours per million square meters. We reduced intensity by 7.2 percent from 2015, bringing us to a total reduction of just over 40 percent against our 2007 baseline. Our LGM operations in Europe led the way in 2016 with a 12 percent reduction in intensity. Since 2007, operations in North Asia Pacific have reduced their energy intensity by 55%. Since our baseline was established in 2007, our LGM business has saved an estimated total of nearly $150 million by using energy more efficiently.
To date, we’ve focused on reducing direct emissions from our operations and consumption of electricity. We’re developing our strategy for reducing indirect emissions from our value chain, both upstream from our suppliers and downstream from customers and consumers, where emissions can be greatest. We are working to have our strategy in place over the next few years.
2025 Goal: To be 95 percent landfill‑free, with at least 75 percent of waste reused, repurposed or recycled.
We work continuously to minimize the solid waste created through our manufacturing operations. Our main waste products are excess paper, laminate, liner, fabric, adhesive and other materials left over from making our products. We’re pursuing a vision of sending zero operational waste to landfills. Our 2025 goal is to be 95 percent landfill-free and to reuse, recycle or repurpose at least 75 percent of our waste. (We’ve also committed to eliminating customer waste created by our products by 70 percent. See more information in “Taking on the challenge of label waste” here.)
As of the end of 2016, 91 percent of our solid waste was being diverted from landfills, and 59 of our sites worldwide were operating landfill-free. About 58 percent of all diverted waste was recycled. We’re building new partnerships with recyclers to help increase that number. At the same time, we’re working to better understand how to reduce and more efficiently use the materials that come into our facilities.
We use relatively little water in our direct operations compared to manufacturing companies in other industries. So while we do track our water consumption and look for ways to use water more efficiently in our products and processes, we have not made water conservation one of our sustainability goals. Between 2014 and 2016, we consumed approximately 1.1 billion gallons of water—about the same amount as in the prior two-year period. The wastewater we produce is discharged into publicly owned treatment works and treated at municipal facilities.
By the end of 2016, 19 of our Retail Branding and Information Solutions (RBIS) facilities, which generate more than 80 percent of RBIS’s revenue, had completed the Higg Index Facilities Environmental Module, a self-assessment providing information about our environmental performance to our customers. The module is part of the Higg Index, a suite of tools created to improve both transparency and the environmental and social impacts of companies in the apparel, footwear and home textile industry. The Index was developed by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), the industry’s foremost alliance for sustainable production, of which Avery Dennison is a member. Increasingly, our customers expect us to provide information via the Index. SAC’s long-term vision is to make the Index available to consumers as well.