Huhtamaki, a key global provider of sustainable packaging solutions, has signed a 12-year Virtual Power Purchase Agreement (VPPA) with a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC. NextEra Energy Resources is the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun. The 42-megawatt agreement for renewable energy covers approximately 30 % of Huhtamaki operations’ current electricity demands in the United States and Mexico, where the company has 18 manufacturing units.
“We believe in protecting food, people and the planet. This agreement marks an important milestone on our journey towards delivering on our ambitious 2030 sustainability agenda. The agreement builds on the European VPPA agreement announced late in 2021, which covers 80 % of our European electricity usage”, says Thomas Guest, Deputy CEO of Huhtamaki.
The renewable energy covered by the agreement will be sourced from a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources’ Inertia Wind Energy Center in the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) North Zone, in Texas. The approximately 300-megawatt project is expected to be operational by the end of 2022 and to save more than 71,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually, equivalent to the average electricity usage of more than 12,000 homes in the United States.*
“We applaud Huhtamaki’s commitment to sustainability and are pleased to be able to support the company’s renewable energy goals. This will also create significant economic stimulus for the local community, creating good jobs and additional tax revenue”, says Matt Handel, Senior Vice President of Development for NextEra Energy Resources.
“We have already taken a series of pioneering steps on our journey to a sustainable future, with the intent to reach carbon-neutral production by 2030 while optimizing usage of resources, including energy, water, and waste. The VPPA enables us to make a significant leap forward in delivering on our ambitious sustainability agenda and Scope 2 emissions reduction target in line with our science-based targets. It also contributes to adding more green electricity into the U.S. energy mix”, says Thomasine Kamerling EVP Sustainability and Communications.
Huhtamaki’s science-based targets were validated and approved by the Science-Based Targets initiative in 2021. The company is committed to limiting the global temperature rise to well below 2°C in its operations and value chain. It will reduce its electricity greenhouse gas emissions by 27.5 % by 2030 and greenhouse gas emissions from its product end-of-life by 13.5 % also by the same timeframe. To achieve these targets, the company has to address its Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. Currently, a large portion of Huhtamaki’s Scope 2 emissions relate to purchased electricity and can thus be addressed with further adoption of renewable electricity.
New technology river waste collector now operational on the Mithi River in Mumbai, India
Finding new ways to address our environmental challenges is reliant on our ability to foster innovation to find ways of driving systemic change. To support such innovation and progress towards circularity, Huhtamaki, a key global provider of sustainable packaging solutions for consumers around the world, donated € 600,000 to fund the development and piloting of a river waste collector, invented by the Finnish cleantech start-up RiverRecycle. The collector is an integral part of RiverRecycle’s solution to solve marine waste, one of the biggest global challenges of today. With Huhtamaki’s support, a prototype waste collector was built and tested in Finland. This was then transported to and assembled in Mumbai, where it is now operational and where it will be collecting waste from the Mithi River for the next 12 months.
“We believe in protecting food, people and the planet. We also believe that cooperation across the value chain with key stakeholders is needed to address global sustainability challenges, for example such as in this case marine plastics. If we want to drive systemic change, we not only need to support the development and commercialisation of innovation that can help stop waste from getting into the oceans, but we also need the monetisation of waste and incentivisation of local communities to improve their waste management practices,” says Thomasine Kamerling, Executive Vice President Sustainability and Communications at Huhtamaki.
“When operating in a circular economy, cooperation among different players is fundamental to sustainability. Huhtamaki funding enabled us to complete two of the three parts of our journey of transforming plastic waste into a resource, with the positive engagement of affected communities. Huhtamaki’s commitment is an example of how collaboration helps solve global problems such as plastic waste pollution,” says Anssi Mikola, CEO and Founder of RiverRecycle.
The Mithi River project is run by a global partnership between UNTIL (now known as UN Global Pulse), VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, RiverRecycle and Earth5R, an India-based citizen-led environmental movement. In addition to building, setting up and operating the river cleaner for a year, Huhtamaki’s donation has been used to organise local hands-on workshops on effective waste management and recycling with a view to drive systemic change. The project also provides input to VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland on the floating waste and its seasonal variations that can be used to optimize clean-up operations and recycling processes for the future.
“The Huhtamaki funding enables the adaption of optical sensors and drones in the detection of floating plastic objects and differentiation of plastics from organic material. VTT’s contribution also includes pyrolysis test runs and assessing chemical recycling of the recovered plastic waste fractions. At a broader level we aim to enhance circular economy solutions for the global challenge of plastic waste pollution. In addition to the technology involvement, we also appreciate the collaboration between local partners and communities as an essential part of the successful project implementation,” says Jukka Sassi, Senior Scientist, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd.
Huhtamaki’s ambition is to have 100 % of its products designed to be recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2030. In India, where Huhtamaki has 16 units and manufactures mainly high-quality flexible packaging that protect for example food, pharmaceuticals and personal and home care products, the Company has already several recyclable flexible packaging structures in the market under its Huhtamaki blueloop concept. In addition to the Mithi River project, Huhtamaki is contributing to the building of necessary recycling infrastructure by setting up a pilot recycling plant for flexible packaging in India which should be operational by the end of 2021.
Huhtamaki inaugurates its new, state-of-the-art flexible packaging unit in Egypt today. The investment marks the company’s entry into manufacturing flexible packaging in Africa.
The greenfield is located in the greater Cairo area and will serve Huhtamaki’s flexible packaging customers in Egypt as well as export its products into other African countries and Europe. The manufacturing unit is built on a land area of almost 37,000 square meters, with ample space for future expansion. Production has started this spring and the facility is expected to employ approximately 250 employees.
“The Egyptian market is sizeable, and with the rapid population growth in Africa we expect future growth opportunities both for us and our customers. Until now we have served flexible packaging customers in Egypt from our units in the United Arab Emirates and India. With the new plant we can offer our current and new customers – both in Africa and Europe – the same top quality with shorter lead times,” says Olli Koponen, EVP Flexible Packaging.
The new manufacturing unit is owned and operated as a joint venture of which Huhtamaki owns 75 %. The remaining 25 % is owned by Mr. Ayman Korra, who has been Huhtamaki’s joint venture partner in the Egyptian fiber packaging business since 2003. The current investment, including land purchase, facility construction and machinery, is expected to be approx. EUR 23 million with Huhtamaki share at approx. EUR 17 million.
Huhtamaki is a global specialist in packaging for food and drink. With our network of 78 manufacturing units and additional 24 sales only offices in altogether 34 countries, we’re well placed to support our customers’ growth wherever they operate. Mastering three distinctive packaging technologies, approximately 17,700 employees develop and make packaging that helps great products reach more people, more easily. In 2018, our net sales totaled EUR 3.1 billion. The Group has its head office in Espoo, Finland and the parent company Huhtamäki Oyj is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki Ltd.