Gabriel Ivan, CHEP Romania: “We intend to build new partnerships to leverage the circular economy”
“We delivered in 2021 important ESG results in the first year of our 2025 sustainability targets. We are now a carbon-neutral operations business, which supports our commitment to a 1.5-degree climate future and aligns with the highest level of ambition on the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. We have also maintained 100% sustainable sourcing of timber and have enabled the transformation of more forestry markets to Chain of Custody (CoC) certification,” Gabriel Ivan, Country General Manager CHEP Romania & Bulgaria told The Diplomat-Bucharest.
“Our ambition to decarbonize our entire supply chain comes with big challenges such as advocating for our customers and suppliers to become carbon neutral in their operations and educating globally one million change makers in the circular economy by 2025.
We are committed to continuing working to support our customers to become more circular and sustainable, hoping to reach our aim to be business, communities and planet positive in the next three years.”
Why is corporate sustainability important?
Businesses are powerful actors in society, but most have an extractive model based on the consumption of natural resources, which affects communities, society and the future of the next generations.
It is widely acknowledged today that sustainability and profitability are more than compatible. Businesses will benefit in the long term from being good and green. Failing to prove concern in this respect leads to losing their employee engagement, their clients’ loyalty, the society trust and get less competitive. Needless to say that consumers nowadays are much more conscious of their environmental impact and they prefer sustainable producers, retailers and companies in general.
What projects is your company implementing to achieve sustainability goals?
The launch of our 2025 Sustainability targets to pioneer regenerative supply chains moved CHEP from a ‘better’ to a ‘positive’ sustainability approach. The strategy outlines three major commitments and projects.
First, becoming Business Positive by extending our circular model every year, increasing the environmental benefits in our customers’ supply chains, and by expanding our customer collaborations in all regions through our Zero Waste World initiative.
Second, a Planet Positive target, focused on afforestation, carbon neutrality and zero waste. Last year, CHEP already became carbon neutral across all its operations (scope 1 and 2 of the GHG Protocol) and achieved zero deforestation in 2020. Now we want to go beyond and grow two trees for every tree we use to produce our pallets.
Third, our Communities Positive target relates to CHEP’s collaboration with food banks and our commitment to serve rescued food to millions of people around the world. It also relates with our Circular economy transformation target, for which we will advocate, educate and impact one million people to become circular economy change makers.
All our goals directly connect to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
What game-changing indicatives have been run in your company in 2021 in terms of sustainability?
CHEP’s 2025 sustainability targets go beyond achieving net-zero emissions to building a regenerative, positive supply chain future. To achieve this, we have ambitious environmental and social sustainability targets in place, including 100 per cent renewable energy, 30 per cent recycled plastics across our inventory and greater than 40 per cent of women in management roles by 2025. CHEP commits to a 1.5°C degree climate future aligning with the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement and including a science-based carbon emissions target covering our entire supply chain.
In what educational projects and academic/ research partnerships has your company been involved in 2021 with impact in sustainability?
We collaborate with external organisations such as the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (EMF), the World Economic Forum (WEF), the World Business Council For Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and other leading coalitions to help accelerate the circular transition.
Our 70 years’ experience operating through a circular business model positions us as a leader that sets a benchmark for circularity at a global scale. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, for instance, recognised this unique attribute in May 2020, rating Brambles with an A- in its Circulytics programme. Moreover, Brambles’ circular expertise helped to develop the two leading circular measurement frameworks from the EMF and the WBCSD.
As I already said, we are committed to advocating, educating and impacting one million people to become circular economy change makers by 2025 – so far, we have reached more than 95,000 people through communications, training and advocacy in collaboration with our partners.
What sustainable-related projects has your company run in 2021 and with what objectives and impact?
Helping our clients become more sustainable, more efficient, more agile and more collaborative is in our DNA, especially in these challenging times. This is our most important project. Nothing equals the impact of building a solid sustainability and efficiency-oriented business culture which is being adopted and cascaded by our clients and partners to their employees, suppliers, commercial partners and other shareholders.
How do we translate sustainability goals into efficient ESG initiatives?
Let’s talk about some achievements. We delivered in 2021 important ESG results in the first year of our 2025 sustainability targets. We are now a carbon-neutral operations business, which supports our commitment to a 1.5-degree climate future and aligns with the highest level of ambition on the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. We have also maintained 100% sustainable sourcing of timber and have enabled the transformation of more forestry markets to Chain of Custody (CoC) certification.
We have launched the first closed loop, upcycled plastic platform, the wheeled Q+ as part of our Waste Positive commitment to using waste plastic in our platforms. Made of 100% post-consumer plastic waste, the wheeled Q+ was launched in Europe this year.
In the Human Resources area, CHEP achieved 32% of women in management roles. Workplace Positive targets include rolling out inclusivity, wellbeing-at-work and accessibility initiatives, as well as a commitment to at least 40% of management roles being held by women and doubling the number of women in our plants by 2025. It is worth to mention that CHEP is Top Employer in 21 countries across five continents, illustrating the company’s commitment to its staff and to creating an inclusive and rewarding work environment.
How are you measuring sustainability progress?
To start taking ambitious climate action, Brambles set science-based reduction targets for emissions in our direct control and in our supply chain. These science-based targets provide us with a clearly defined path to reduce emissions in line with the Paris Agreement goals.
All our sustainability achievements are published annually in Brambles Sustainability Review. This review also shares Brambles’ sustainability targets and strategy towards 2025. KPMG Limited provides limited assurance on key elements of the Sustainability review.
What sustainability challenges does your organization face?
To paraphrase Marcus Aurelius, an organization’s worth is no greater than its ambitions. Our ambition to decarbonize our entire supply chain comes with big challenges such as advocating for our customers and suppliers to become carbon neutral in their operations and educating globally one million change makers in the circular economy by 2025.
In practical terms, we intend to extend the existing partnerships and build new ones to leverage the circular economy and our best available low and zero-carbon footprint products and services.
What are your sustainability objectives for 2022?
We have just reached our 10-year milestone of building a sustainable supply chains in Romania and an over 400 company business ecosystem that leads the transition to a more circular economy.
We are committed to continuing working to support our customers to become more circular and sustainable hoping to reach our aim to be business, communities and planet positive in the next three years.
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