Company: Tetra Pak Pakistan
Project Name: Building Entrepreneurship and Sustainability Together
The project aimed to do the following:
i. create widespread awareness about the need for recycling
ii. implement a pioneering project across the country that would serve as a role model
iii. create job opportunities for several hundreds of individuals, thereby making the entire initiative sustainable in the long-run, and thus contributing to poverty alleviation as a complimentary benefit.
Details of the project:
Environment consciousness was ingrained in the employees and processes at Tetra Pak. The Company had a strategy to raise awareness about the environment, with recycling as one of the most critical issues. Tetra Pak’s cartons were environmentally sound, and came from a natural and renewable resource. They were recyclable and increasingly recycled. The company contributed toward improving the state of the environment by taking up several CSR activities.
It worked with children to raise awareness about the 4R's: reuse, recycle, responsible, reduce. It celebrated Green Day, Nature Carnival (in collaboration with WWF), Jungle Melas to raise awareness about threats to children due to the poor state of natural resources.
Tetra Pak also raised awareness about the success of recycling and how small and medium sized enterprises in the recycling industry generated employment and contributed to poverty alleviation. Campaigns like Proud Pakistanis Recycle showed consumers the need to recycle, while Turn Your Cartons into Gold incentivized people to start recycling their Tetra Pak cartons. In Pakistan, most people were unaware of the concept of recycling, let alone the fact that it could be a viable business proposition, the way it was in other developing countries.
In 2007, after research showed that only 555 Metric Tonnes of PCCs were recycled, it was decided that a partner should be on board. This partner organization should be made responsible for waste collection and transportation to the factory for recycling.
So it was that Tetra Pak chose Asif Khan and helped him set up Green Futures. The family business started by recycling PET bottles. Later, Asif Khan recycled Tetra Pak packages. Green Futures worked out of five major warehouses spread from Peshawar to Karachi.
Scavengers in over 44 cities nationwide were directly or indirectly involved in collecting the empty discarded Tetra Pak packages. Each city had one or more warehouses, where contractors hired the scavengers and at the end of each workday, collected, weighed, and paid them daily wages for their efforts. Afterwards, contractors bagged the loose beverage cartons in huge cloth bales and transported them by land to the Green Futures warehouses in Lahore. In the warehouses, packages were offloaded, sorted, compressed, weighed, and packed for the factory in Kasur where they were recycled into paper and board products.
In 2008, Tetra Pak Pakistan's recycling infrastructure created jobs for more than 1,100 individuals. Tetra Pak invested Rs. 30 million in subsidies alone and Green Futures received nearly 10.5 million.
Since 2007, Tetra Pak had grown more proactive in its recycling and environmental campaigns. It launched the “Green Media Awards” campaign to encourage media to highlight and raise awareness about environment-related issues, recycling being one of them.
Tetra Pak realized that one of the real challenges in making recycling a successful venture was mobilizing the community.