Lidl delivers promise on reducing plastic packaging consumption one year ahead of target 

Elaine O’Connor, head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Lidl Ireland and Northern Ireland; and Cáit Lynch, responsible sourcing manager, Lidl Ireland and Northern Ireland

Lidl plans to continue to advance its ‘A Better Tomorrow’ strategy early next year by moving all its standard assortment own brand wet wipes to plastic-free alternatives

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4 October 2022 | 0

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Lidl Ireland and Northern Ireland has become the first national supermarket to achieve its goal of reducing the consumption of own-brand primary plastic packaging by 20% – one year ahead of the target timeframe.

The announcement marks another milestone hit by the retailer as part of its ‘A Better Tomorrow’ sustainability strategy.

Lidl had committed to reach the 20% reduction against a 2017 baseline by the end of 2022, however it reached this target ahead of the deadline in 2021.

The retailer calculates the plastic reduction on a revenue adjusted basis, which allows Lidl to continuously compare their plastic output and packaging reductions while the business grows.

From 2017 to 2021 in Ireland, Lidl’s market share increased from 11.3% to 12.8% in Ireland and in Northern Ireland it increased from 5.4% to 7.0%.

Lidl was able to reach its ambitious 20% reduction one year ahead of schedule through a number of initiatives, which included:

  • In 2020, collaborating with supplier, Strathroy Dairy, Lidl’s 3 litre milk bottles were reduced by 20% in weight, saving over 50 tonnes of plastic annually without any visible difference to the packaging.
  • Last year, in collaboration with its biggest fresh seafood supplier (Keohane Seafoods), Lidl reduced the size of 11 of its own-brand fresh seafood packages. The total plastic weight has been reduced by over 20% which equates to the reduction of 28 tonnes of plastic packaging from customer packaging annually.
  • Lidl also collaborated with supplier, Mannings Bakery Ltd., to remove plastic liners from the boxes used to deliver goods to Lidl’s in-store bakeries – avoiding approximately 30 tonnes of plastic from their supply chain.
  • In 2019 Lidl Ireland and Northern Ireland was first to market in changing its Fairtrade organic banana packaging from plastic bags to a paper-based band equating to a removal of 10 tonnes of plastic packaging taken home by customers.

The next steps in Lidl’s ‘A Better Tomorrow’ strategy which will be implemented early next year when the retailer will be moving all its standard assortment own brand wet wipes to plastic-free alternatives. This will avoid more than 400 million additional pieces of plastic being put on the market every year. Together with the completed initiatives, this will equate to over half a billion pieces of plastic being avoided by Lidl every year.

Discussing the 20% packaging consumption reduction announcement and Lidl’s ongoing sustainability commitments, Elaine O’Connor, head of CSR, Lidl Ireland said: “At Lidl, we believe it is our responsibility to offer the best service for our customers, suppliers, and communities whilst also protecting resources and reducing our impact on the environment. Lidl therefore set ambitious targets to develop a more sustainable approach to packaging. We are proud to announce that we have reached one of our targets one year ahead of schedule.

“We will continue to focus on reducing our plastic packaging where it is sustainably possible and are currently reviewing a new reduction target to keep the focus high,” O’Connor added. “We are committed to continuous progress on our other packaging targets set until 2025 to help reduce the negative effect unsuitable packaging formats and materials have on our environment.”

The discount retailer announced the achievement of reaching its goal in light of research carried out by Deutsche Welle, and the European Data Journalism Network that shows that of 37 pledges by major companies in Europe to improve their use of plastic packaging have not been delivered in line with targets. 68% either abandoned or were never reported on again. Instead, they silently dropped the target or shifted the goal posts**.[2] 

By 2025, Lidl Ireland and Northern Ireland is continuing its commitment that all own-brand packaging will be designed for maximum recyclability and that 50% of the packaging used on own-brand products will be made using recycled materials. Lidl will be advancing on those targets through a robust strategy driven from within its commercial department, collaborating with suppliers and the wider packaging industry.

**(Source: European food companies break their plastics promises | Europe | News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 09.08.2022)

 

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