Protecting biodiversity and ecosystems
We see that protecting biodiversity plays an important role in our business with climate change as one of the main drivers of biodiversity loss.
We are committed to protecting the world’s biodiversity and have started to assess our nature-related dependencies and impacts. Not only do we rely on natural resources entering our value chain, but we also benefit from the services provided by the ecosystems and are exposed to nature-related risks. As part of the value chain, we can play a role in helping to maintain healthy ecosystems which generate oxygen, supply food and resources, provide wildlife habitats and ensure pollination. We agree that the loss of nature is a long-term threat to economic sustainability. Biodiversity is essential to the resilience of nature. It is part of the natural capital, and it is affected by human activities, such as exploitation of forest, land use changes, agriculture and manufacturing and will work with others to play our part in addressing this going forward.
Understanding our material potential biodiversity impacts
When converting raw materials into packaging solutions, Huhtamaki is directly accountable for a relatively small share of the overall impact on biodiversity in the value chain. Based on information available from publicly recognized databases, we can describe qualitatively the potential main impacts of each phase of the life cycle of our products:
- Huhtamaki’s manufacturing operations may have impacts on freshwater through the use of water, particularly for the rough molded fiber production sites, and – to a smaller extent – in sites converting paperboard, manufacturing flexible packaging or labels.
- Potential impacts on terrestrial ecosystems occur mainly in the exceptional cases where we build a new production site on land that was not already used for equivalent purposes, as this would require a change of land use. There are no major potential impacts on marine ecosystems from our direct operations under normal conditions
- Our most material potential impacts on biodiversity take place in our supply chain. These impacts arise in the paper and forest industry, as well as the plastic and metal manufacturing industries. Additionally, there are potential impacts on biodiversity due to the global warming potential associated with the production of the energy that we use and transportation throughout our products’ life cycle. The natural resources used in our packaging solutions originate mostly from forests but also, in smaller quantities, from crude oil and metallic ores, with one key raw material being aluminum. Forests provide the materials used in our fiber-based packaging The main impacts typically identified by the forest and paper industry are habitat degradation, the conversion of terrestrial ecosystems, hydrologic impact, and the impact on water quality for freshwater ecosystems.
Preventing loss or degradation of forests is essential to mitigate climate change and manage fiber-based production systems sustainably. Conservation of natural habitats helps reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere. Growing forests remove carbon and store them in carbon sinks. In biologically diverse forests, organisms can adapt to continually changing environmental conditions and maintain ecosystem functions.
Huhtamaki is committed to no deforestation and to the protection of biodiversity throughout its value chain. More specifically, we are commited to:
- Zero deforestation and zero conversion of areas of high biodiversity value in our supply chain.
- Maintaining and enhancing biodiversity for our own operations and encouraging our suppliers to do the same.
- Conduct an audit of our operational activities to determine the exposure to critical biodiversity.
- Having traceability systems in place to track and monitor the origin of the forest- based materials we use.
- Sourcing virgin wood fiber from sustainably managed forests either certified to Forest
Stewardship Council® (FSC®), the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification™ (PEFC), Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) or other comparable and reputable certification schemes. We recognize that wood has high potential impact on biodiversity. Enhancing or maintaining the biodiversity is one of the focus areas in sustainable forest management as managed by FSC®, PEFC, and SFI®.
Our commitments regarding the protection of biodiversity are stated in our Group Environmental Policy and reflected in the Code of Conduct for Suppliers. As described earlier, we also protect biodiversity through our efforts to mitigate climate change and responsible water management. We aim to have 100% of our fiber from recycled or certified sources by 2030. We promote sustainable forestry by sourcing virgin fiber from certified forests (FSC®, PEFC/02-44-55 or SFI®).
We acknowledge that local communities contribute to biodiversity conservation through their knowledge of local flora and fauna, local circumstances and practices. We aim to cooperate with local communities through structured community work and ensure their involvement in relevant decision-making processes. In 2021, Huhtamaki engaged with community involvement projects that had significant impact on biodiversity protection and restoring degraded habitats, such as cleaning up the Mithi river in India and working with WasteAid in Vietnam, India and South Africa to drive innovations supporting circular economy in urban areas. Going forward, we will continue to safeguard biodiversity in our operations and work closely with our value chain to promote the protection of ecosystems and our natural capital.
In 2021, we joined the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) that aims to provide organizations a framework for evaluating, mitigating, and disclosing their nature-related risks and opportunities. The TNFD is a joint initiative by Global Canopy, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Joining TNFD helps us deepen our understanding on how our activities impact nature, and to explore potential ways to measure and address our nature related risks and opportunities.