Through this pilot, Unilever became the first company in the world to use Carbon Neutral pallets in its supply chain, complementing the benefit to the environment of its worldwide use of CHEP’s reusable pallet pooling system. The Carbon Neutral program supports the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, in which the company sets a target to halving the environmental impact of its products by 2020.
Unilever Spain Distribution Manager, Josu Lesaka, said: “We have a strong commitment to sustainability and this project is an excellent opportunity to reach our objectives. Through this program with CHEP, Unilever has been able to offset the annual carbon footprint of our CHEP pallet movements in Spain, which amount to more than 370,000 movements on average per year. We had the opportunity to choose where we would invest our carbon credits. Our choice was Africa, where we have been investing in social programs in Kenya and Tanzania. In Tanzania we found a reforestation project and acquired the certified carbon credits. Offsetting is considered as the last resort after optimising and improving efficiency”.
Through CHEP’s pooling system, users of pallets, crates and containers are able to reuse assets continuously, reducing the consumption and waste of raw materials, while CHEP’s optimised network increases efficiency and reduces emissions associated with transportation. The Carbon Neutral program builds on CHEP’s existing sustainability initiatives, enabling the purchase of carbon credits to help finance emission-reduction projects worldwide. It is an immediate and cost-effective way for CHEP to support customers to reach their carbon reduction targets.
CHEP developed the Carbon Neutral program after completing a life cycle assessment of its products and services in Europe. The study, carried out under ISO 14044 standards, which govern life cycle assessments, analysed the entire life cycle of a CHEP wood pallet and its environmental impact, from lumber sourcing through to maintenance, transportation and the recycling of scrap. CHEP already has sustainable timber sourcing certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).
The pilot Carbon Neutral program involved CHEP Europe facilitating the purchase of carbon credits for Unilever, through The CarbonNeutral®Company, a London and New York-based leading offset retailer of carbon credits. The credits – certified by The Verified Carbon Standard and The Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance – compensate for greenhouse gas emissions, which Unilever and CHEP quantified, verified and acquired in metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.
CHEP Iberia Country General Manager, Laura Nador, said: “When it comes to reducing carbon emissions, leading companies such as Unilever are looking at their supply chains. The Carbon Neutral pilot program is a powerful demonstration of the environmental benefits that our business model provides. We are looking forward to sharing this offering with other like-minded customers such as Unilever that are looking to improve the sustainability of their supply chains. The plan now is to roll this out over the next 18 months to other key CHEP customers across Europe, the Middle East & Africa.”