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The right choice

We seek to optimise the use of packaging material without ever compromising the quality and food safety of our products.
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Materials and Packaging

Our goal is to foster more sustainable supply chains and consumption practices by knowing the source and production methods of the resources we use, such as plastic and paper.

In 2019, and when compared to sales volume (per 1 million euros), the Group’s total material consumption decreased 2.9%.

 Plastic consumption

The Group is committed to ensuring that all Private Brand packaging is 100% recyclable by 2025, five years ahead of the alignment with the EU Plastics Strategy.

We are also a signatory of the New Plastic Economy Global Commitment, which includes implementing several commitments by 2025. Among these commitments are eliminating problematic components, such as PVC, from all Private Brand packaging, which must also be reusable or recyclable, and incorporating at least 25% of recycled plastic.

 Single-Use Plastics

In 2018 and 2019, plastic accounted for 32% of all materials that comprise the four packaging categories (Private Brand packaging, service packaging, check-out bags and stretch wrap).

Our strategy to fight plastic pollution involves developing partnerships with our suppliers, which have made it possible to reduce the use of materials in Private Brand products or to replace them with others with less environmental impact, namely:

  • in Private Brand cotton swabs, sold in Poland and Portugal, we replaced plastic sticks with certified paper sticks. In total, around 330 tons of plastic per year were avoided;
  • in the personal hygiene wipes sold in Biedronka, the plastic fibres were replaced by cotton fibres. This change prevented the use of around 220 tonnes of plastic per year;
  • in the cleaning, clothing care and personal hygiene product formulas soldin Poland and Portugal, microplastics were replaced by degradable materials, avoiding the use of more than four tonnes of microplastics per year.

Given that customers prefer reusable materials, the increased efficiency of our logistics operations and the gradual replacement of single-use plastics with alternative materials, we have reduced single-use plastic specific consumption by 3% (per million euros).

Paper consumption

We seek not only to promote the use of paper from sustainably managed forests, but also to effectively reduce paper consumption, as is the case with the promotional leaflets produced by our companies.

Additionally, the paper used for both Pingo Doce and Recheio leaflets and catalogues is “European Eco-Label” or is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). The same applies to the leaflets that we print at Biedronka.

The paper used in Portugal for printing the banners’ magazines is PEFC or FSC certified, and/or the companies producing it have ISO 14001 certification.

PACKAGING ECODESIGN

Having an effective sustainability strategy implies changing internal practices, as well as working in partnership with our suppliers to improve the eco-efficiency profile of packaging to reduce the environmental impact of Private Brand product packaging and to optimise costs with production, transport and waste management.

Since 2011, around 24,000 tonnes of materials have been spared and the emission of 4,000 tonnes of CO2 on transport has been avoided, thereby improving the eco-efficiency of the packaging in more than 385 Private Brand references.

For the 2018-2020 triennium, we aim at implementing at least 20 of these projects every year, together with our partners.

REUSABLE PACKAGING

We increasingly seek to reuse materials in our operations. In Portugal we use reusable plastic boxes in the Perishables and Dairy areas. In Colombia, we provide reusable transport boxes for bottled water and for fruit and vegetables. In total, in 2019 we avoided the use of almost 22,000 tonnes of disposable packaging.

We charge for the plastic bags provided in all our companies’ checkout counters. Even before the legal obligations in this regard, since 2007 that the Group has progressively adopted this measure as a way of promoting the reuse of bags by customers.

In 2018, Pingo Doce established a partnership to launch an innovative solution for refilling water bottles. This service is made available through a piped water dispenser, with a purifying filter. The ECO project has already been implemented in more than 130 stores in Portugal and has avoided the consumption of around 100 tonnes of plastic.

Bulk Sales

At Ara, bulk sales account for nearly 60,000 tonnes of food products and are currently implemented in 539 stores, where at least one of the products covered are sold: rice, sugar, lentils and beans.
The bulk sale of sweets and dried fruits accounted for about 27,000 tonnes at Biedronka (covering all stores) and 229 tonnes at Pingo Doce (more than 230 stores).

Independent Verification

The data regarding materials savings from the ecodesign projects and the Group’s plastic footprint were verified by an external and independent entity for the Group’s 2019 Annual Report.