It’s important for us to remember that our responsibility to the planet also means a responsibility to people

Earth Day 2023

Coming up this Saturday, the 22nd of April, is Earth Day. If you’ve read our previous blog, you’ll know that there are certain areas for businesses to address that are crucial for the survival of our planet.

As an international organisation, Bunzl (Worldpack’s parent company) has a responsibility to contribute to the wellbeing of the earth, and the people on it, so that we protect the places and people we love. This Earth Day, we want to celebrate some of the ways we’re making a positive impact on the planet and showcase our efforts.

Our absolute emissions have reduced by 15% since 2019, so we are making progress. And our long-term carbon targets were recently approved by the Science Based Targets initiative, which achieves a commitment we made in 2021 when Bunzl joined the Business Ambition for 1.5°C and the United Nations ‘UN’ Race to Zero initiative.

Here’s a snapshot of what we’re doing to make the planet a better place for everyone.

Responsible Supply Chains

It’s important for us to remember that our responsibility to the planet also means a responsibility to people.

We have a global supply chain and operate across 30 countries, so we are accountable for ensuring that our supply chain is a safe place for the people that work in it. According to the International Labour Organization, 28 million people were in forced labour in 2021.

It’s important that workers’ rights and human rights are adhered to along with good standards of working conditions. Our auditing processes for any supplier is robust, but we pay additional diligence to suppliers in what we consider to be ‘high risk’ countries.

Our audits include factory walk-throughs in all areas, including production, packing, canteens and dormitories and we also conduct employee interviews, using our own translators where required.

Where any of our suppliers fail to meet our high standards, we work with them to resolve the issues we have found and where this isn’t possible, we no longer continue to work with that supplier.

Collaborating on Climate Change

The supply chain is one of the hottest topics within climate change now, and with good reason.

The World Economic Forum calls the supply chain a ‘climate game-changer’ – after evidence showed that eight supply chains are responsible for 50% of global emissions. The potential for supply chain emission reductions to create positive impact is enormous.

And at Bunzl we’ve taken this seriously. We recognise that it’s within our power to reduce these emissions, so we’ve committed to ensuring our suppliers set science-based reduction targets to reduce their impact, which we want 79% of our suppliers to achieve by 2027. This comes in conjunction with us mapping our supply chain emissions for the very first time, which is no mean feat - but crucial to us being able to produce evidence-based carbon targets.

By working with suppliers and customers who are equally committed to reducing their impact, we can minimise our total impact together.

Within Bunzl, some of our operating companies are using our newly developed carbon forecast tool to drive engagement on the emissions associated with our deliveries and the impact ordering patterns can have on these. The tool calculates the emission reductions that could be achieved by customers eliminating smaller orders and increasing their average order value. It supports customers with their scope 3 emissions reporting and drives efficiency savings, customers also have the option to offset the remaining emissions (from the reduced number of deliveries) through certified schemes if this approach aligns with their carbon reduction strategy. Where they choose to do this, the deliveries Bunzl makes to their locations are carbon neutral.

We’ve also taken steps to consolidate deliveries, increase our electric vehicle fleet and convert to biofuels where possible, as well as committing to using 100% renewable energy across Europe and the UK. All this feeds into our target to be net zero by 2050.

Diverse Workforce

Diversity in our workforce takes many shapes and forms and we are aware of the need to increase representation of women and those from different ethnic backgrounds, especially in leadership positions, within our organisation.

We are committed to encourage more women into leadership roles through focused and targeted activities, including giving all high-potential females an internal or external mentor, ensuring that we consider female candidates where we can for senior leadership roles, and continuing with the rollout of our successful women’s networks.

And we have made progress. 28% of senior leadership roles in our UK & Ireland operating companies are now held by women.

We’re also making efforts to address some of the issues further down the career ladder that continue to affect women in the workplace, like warehouse employment programmes that focus on areas such as family friendly shift patterns.

Tailored Solutions

It’s no surprise that people across the world are looking for packaging and product alternatives that don’t involve plastic or that are widely recyclable or reusable.

We’ve written at length about the shifts in consumer expectations when it comes to sustainable product ranges. And we’ve been transforming the products that our customers can choose from.

Our businesses have continued to help transition customers to packaging products made from alternative materials and these solutions account for 53% of total packaging sales across the Group.

But we don’t just offer alternative solutions to our customers. Sometimes, a tailored solution might be needed to look at helping our customers understand their product consumption levels and end of life use and choosing an option that will last longer or have greater recyclability.

You can see this approach in action by reading about our partnership with British-based restaurant chain, Wagamama, on page 64/65 of our 2022 Sustainability Report.

As Bunzl Catering Supplies Managing Director, Helen Cockerham says: “Because we have sight of the complete product journey and offer transparent advice on products and materials we supply, we enable our customers to make well informed decisions. Supporting Wagamama with the design of their new home delivery offer was a great opportunity for us to demonstrate the value we can bring to a project, helping to coordinate key stakeholders across the supply chain, bringing suppliers and customers together to understand the benefits of the materials used and delivering a solution that took the whole life cycle of the product into account.”

If you want to partner with people who can help you take smarter sustainability steps in your business, speak to our team on +31 (0) 88 494 20 80 or email us at

Marc Wullems
Purchasing Manager

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