A company’s production and distribution chains are of critical importance not only for waste reduction but also for CO2 emissions. This is especially true for companies with high volumes such as Valmora, which produces 1.5 million bottles a day at their premises in North West Italy.
Already more than 150kg of packaging waste is generated per capita in the European Union each year, while industry and the transport sectors combined contribute almost half of the Union’s CO2 emissions. Companies must find innovative solutions to minimise their impacts on these two parameters in particular.
By setting up a sustainable strategy Valmora, an Italian SME, was able to transition to more environmentally friendly business practices.
The first phase within the strategy saw the company re-imagine their production process. Implementing eco-design principles they realised that they could reduce the amount of material used in their plastic bottles. The result was a 20% reduction in plastic per bottle – and therefore 20% less waste when disposed of.
The second phase saw Valmora change their energy supply. By integrating renewable energy the company was able to ensure that the energy used in the production site is 100% derived from renewable sources.
Finally the company reconsidered their distribution network. By focusing on increasing their customer base locally, the company has drastically reduced the distances covered by road for delivery. Now over 70% of the water produced is transported and distributed locally in the production region, Piedmont.
By implementing eco-design principles, Valmora has shown how companies can improve environmental performance without compromising other aspects such as product cost and quality. In fact the changes can have a positive overall business impact – Valmora’s green credentials are now a key part of their product branding.
The example also shows how waste reduction measures can be a win-win for companies – reducing material use in the production chain also lowers costs. By employing a multi-faceted approach, taking into account the entire production chain, Valmora was able to maximise their environmental impact reduction.
As well as being a good practice for larger companies, this action has shown how eco-design and LCA thinking can also bring added value to SMEs. Estimated GML beyond 9.