How one of the world’s leading beverage companies is growing for good in the UK

Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I is a Business Reporter client

Suntory Beverage and Food GB&I, the manufacturer of Ribena and Lucozade, remains on track to achieve its Net Zero goals, according to the latest figures from a new sustainability report it has commissioned.

The soft drinks business, which has roots in both Japan and Europe, has a long-term vision called “Growing for Good”. This is a recognition by the company that the bigger it grows, the greater the positive impact it can have on people, society and the planet.

The original founder of the business, Shinjiro Torii, was driven by an ambition to dream big and never give up. This attitude continues today, represented by Suntory’s spirit of “yatte minahare” (“bold ambition”) that propels SBF GB&I’s operations and purpose.

Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I’s 2021 Sustainability Report comes seven years after the company’s 2015 commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals – and represents a half-time measure on its journey towards its 2030 sustainability targets.

Since 2015, Suntory Beverage and Food GB&I, the UK’s third-largest branded soft drinks company in terms of market share, has:

  • Successfully reduced Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 22 per cent across Europe
  • Made significant packaging changes on brands such as Lucozade Sport and Ribena
  • Removed 98 billion calories from its core drinks range in the UK and Ireland

Summing up this progress, Liz Nieboer, Head of Sustainability and External Affairs at Suntory Beverage and Food GB&I, said: “We’re in a positive position on our sustainability journey, but as a company committed to being in harmony with people and nature, we recognise that we still have a lot do.”

A £13 million investment in a new production line at the company’s Coleford factory in 2020 has resulted in 40 per cent less energy and water being used across operations. This investment has also helped scale up capabilities for creating bottles made from 100 per cent recycled plastic and ensuring progress on SBF GB&I’s commitment to 100 per cent sustainable plastic packaging by 2030.

Great taste, of course, is crucial to the ongoing appeal of Lucozade and Ribena, and the business is an industry leader in sugar reduction. Globally it has committed to a 35 per cent reduction in added sugar by 2025, and this has required more than 287 different drinks to be reformulated across the European portfolio, as well as a focus on boosting natural ingredients.

For Ribena, this has meant working closely with Britain’s blackcurrant farming community to pioneer new, naturally sweeter crop varieties that can be relied on in an ever-more-variable climate. Alongside the introduction of sugar-free varieties of its drinks, this has seen more than 25,000 tonnes of sugar removed from the business’s core drinks range in the UK and Ireland since 2015.

SBF GB&I has also continued the work it started during the Covid-19 pandemic to deliver surplus drinks to those in need, redeploying 139,000 cases of surplus stock intended for restaurants and gyms to charities such as FareShare and frontline health workers. Over the past few years, the business has also put a focus on helping young people achieve their potential, most recently through its Lucozade brand and a new flagship partnership with life skills training platform Apprentice Nation. The collaboration is about helping young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and underrepresented communities get a start in their careers using the power of music to inspire them.

Nieboer reflects that none of this progress could have been achieved without the hard work and commitment of the business’s 700 employees, as well as the support of its suppliers, customers and consumers. “The past three years of progress toward our sustainability goals occurred against the backdrop of the pandemic and challenges to global supply chains and trading relationships,” she says. “I am proud that through all of this, our people have shown a depth of resilience and resourcefulness to help our company continue to thrive.”

In pushing the boundaries between good outcomes for business and society, SBF GB&I is setting a bold example for its peers to follow. As its half-time report shows, doing the right thing is clearly unlocking both industrial and societal growth, and with tough targets still to achieve ahead of the UN’s 2030 deadline, the promise of a sustainable future looks firmly within reach.

To read more about SBF GB&I’s sustainability initiatives, click here.

Courtesy of Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I

(Courtesy of Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I)

Originally published on Business Reporter

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