Tetra Pak says that during recent client visits in both India and China, customers have shown an increased interest in environmental issues such as energy use, water consumption and product loss.
Lars Lundahl, environment manager, Tetra Pak Processing Systems, said: “We increasingly have the environment on the agenda when we meet customers, to understand their needs and to present our environmental offering, and the response has been very positive.
Tim High, executive vp, Tetra Pak processing systems, said: “In recent visits to both China and India, our customers have identified the same three areas, in terms of energy, water consumption and product losses that are important in the developed markets as well.”
A Tetra Pak spokeswoman told FoodProductionDaily.com: "Over the past couple of years we are seeing increasing concern among our customers in China about product losses and energy consumption due to increasing cost pressure as well as environment awareness.
"It’s happening in many sectors of the economy. Environmental performance and responsibility is a key priority of the government and industry partners."
Tetra Pak’s ‘Design for Environment’ programme involves integrating environmental aspects throughout the development process, and setting targets linked to climate impact and pressure on freshwater resources.
Last year, Tetra Pak announced new environmental targets, including a bid to cap carbon emissions across its value chain at 2010 levels by the end of 2020, necessitating a 40% relative reduction in CO2 emissions.
Environmental improvements were evident in Tetra Pak processing machinery launched over the past few years. Lundahl said: “One-step technology is an innovation for dairy UHT milk production, which combines several processes in one step.
“So for example, you have only one heat treatment instead of two, and you avoid intermediate storage of milk. This translates into major environmental improvements,” he added.
Customers producing large quantities of UHT milk were able to cut their carbon footprint by around 40% and cut their water consumption by around 60%, Lundahl added, in comparison with conventional systems.
He said one area with real potential was services, since via both plant audits and upgrades Tetra Pak could support customers to reduce energy and water consumption, as well as reducing product loss and effluent release.
Said Lundahl: “In most cases, environmental improvements go hand-in-hand with reducing customers’ operational costs, So it’s really about supporting customers to achieve a really effective and sustainable business.”
Holistic plant solutions
High said there were four key areas that Tetra Pak needed to develop further. Firstly, proactively engaging with customers. Secondly, supporting them with performance guarantees, and thirdly, implementing solutions to provide that performance.
Finally, High said Tetra Pak was striving to adopt a holistic view of a customer’s plant, allowing it to optimise the “total solution” rather than simply individual pieces of equipment.
Asked whether the drive towards holistic solutions also stemmed from a desire to cement long-term business relationships with clients, the spokeswoman told this publication: “The reason to do it is really to benefit the customer, to be able to provide operational efficiencies for them throughout the plant.
She added: “More and more, and this has been an ongoing development for us – we are trying to continuously integrate plant operations, so more sophisticated automation systems allow us to maximise efficiencies for a given plant.
“We have solutions, and it’s not necessarily been driven by the desire to sell more products, but to have products integrated for greater efficiency. It also allows for planning, so that you know what’s coming down the line, all the way through to the retailer.”