By Adriana Zwolan
Earth: our home, our provider, and our responsibility. As we face the mounting challenges of climate change and environmental degradation, it’s more important than ever to recognize the vital role we play in preserving the planet for future generations. But how do we inspire a culture of sustainability that permeates every aspect of our lives – from our personal choices to the way we conduct business? Let’s explore the importance of fostering a sustainability culture and the steps we can take to make it a reality.
Why should we care about the Earth?
“The truth is: the natural world is changing. And we are totally dependent on that world. It provides our food, water, and air. It is the most precious thing we have and we need to defend it.”
(Sir David Attenborough)
The natural world serves as the foundation for our economy, our society, and our very existence. It’s an incredible wonder that inspires us all, but at the same time, it’s a force that can threaten our survival, creating food and water insecurity, leading to severe health and development consequences. So, if the nature has an immense impact on our health, happiness, and prosperity, why would we want to go against it?
In my daily life, I try to lead by example. As responsible mother, I strive to raise my children to care about the Earth and the environment. It’s my personal success when I see them following in my footsteps and showing their disapproval when exposed to effects of climate change and people who contribute to it!
However, when it comes to my professional life, the very same approach ends up with completely different result. I find myself questioning whether it’s because of age, attitude, culture, lack of respect or something else. Unfortunately, the number of factors to be considered when answering this question is making the whole engagement process unprecedently challenging.
Young people genuinely care more about everything, they’re more passionate. If exposed to the right facts and figures they’re ready to adopt the right approach and even positive action. They embrace the fact that we depend on Earth, and we have only one to live on. When it comes to middle-aged group, they are already oriented in their beliefs. They know what they want and where they want to be. If they don’t care about the environment at this stage, they will likely remain that way unless they come across someone like you or me- passionate individuals who might potentially change the way they look at surrounding world. Unfortunately, in some circumstances, the way some people are brought up, their cultural background or simply their environmental ignorance makes the chance of us having positive impact on this group very limited.
So, how do we build Sustainability Culture within the community, family group, business?
We talk, communicate, provide information, and make people aware. We expose them to problems, topics, and issues that affect them, such as sustainability, climate change, energy crises, and raising food costs. By helping them to understand how these global issues affect their private lives, we help them to apply changes that will bring advantages not only to their way of living, but also to the environment. It’s a win-win situation. We enable these little steps to be taken by providing resources, training, and workshops that shed light on all these unfamiliar topics.
What is JBT Proseal doing to create a Sustainability Culture?
In my previous article “Sustainability in the Heart of Proseal” I discussed various projects that help us to build better response to the current climate issues. This time I’d like to mention the importance of Waste Management and Circular Economy principles that we’ve been adopting lately.
Back in 2022, Proseal UK implemented a Waste Reduction and Recycling Strategy founded on the Waste Hierarchy and the following principles:
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recover, Dispose
The hierarchy prioritises waste prevention over anything else with better planning and enhanced collaboration with the supply chain. The strategy provides set of guidelines that Proseal UK has put in place to address the reduction, handling, disposal of waste materials to minimize the environmental impact and to comply with legal and regulatory requirements. The ultimate goal of the strategy is to reduce the amount of waste generated, manage the waste that is produced in an environmentally responsible manner, and ensure the safety of the community and the environment.
To further enhance current waste management strategy, Proseal UK is embarking on another level of waste control, reflected in 11 Rs model below:
- Rethink what you buy and what you make. Think how to reduce waste and improve efficiency.
- Refuse: Say no to unnecessary products, packaging, and single-use items.
- Reduce: the use of resources, reduce your waste, reduce your energy consumption.
- Reuse: Give products a second life. Reuse and repurpose products.
- Repair: instead of throwing products away and buying new ones.
- Refurbish: and extent product life span by renewing them.
- Remanufacture: and rebuild products to create new ones.
- Recycle: to create a resource for new products.
- Recover: Extract resources from waste and turn them into valuable materials.
- Be Responsible:
- Respect the Earth and people.
Proseal UK has been already successful in implementing above principles on its way towards circular economy. We have put design considerations in place to reduce the amount of wear and tear parts. We use mostly recyclable products to build our machines. We’re working with our supply chain and customers to reduce volume of packaging involved in production and operation of the final product. We never dispose of an entire machine; we always try to reuse as much as possible. We offer maintenance and servicing solutions to enhance already long (25 years) lifespan of our machines. We recover materials and products that can still be used, and we recycle whatever we can.
To fulfil our ambitions for waste management, we have been awarded the Zero Waste to Landfill Certification with an incredible 84% recycling rate. As much as we appreciate achieving this milestone, it’s not the peak of our aspirations. We have further waste reduction targets and improvements planned for the rest of the year, with our continuous improvement efforts now focusing on Respect and Responsibility. These 2 Rs are currently the most important within Circular Economy, yet they have not been discussed often enough.
Being responsible means being accountable for our impact on the environment and society. Many steps have been taken and completed in this matter from the HR and business perspective, but we must consider it within the context of business culture. Business Circularity requires a change of behaviours and way of thinking across all levels and departments. It requires a clear definition of progress vs success and a balance among environmental, social, and economic values so that a sustainable future can be achieved.
This is why Proseal UK has been considering a holistic approach to sustainability, where all three values are successfully met. We’re on the path to become fully circular. There are many stones on the road, but we’re determined to overcome them and create a more sustainable future for all.
Uniting for a Sustainable Future
As we celebrate Earth Day, let’s remember that each of us can make a difference by embracing a sustainability culture in our daily lives and work. I had the opportunity to speak with Jon Garner, President of the Packaging Group, about this ongoing journey. He pointed out the importance of collaboration in achieving our sustainability goals, saying, “It’s a journey that requires the collective support of all stakeholders. As we continue on this path, we must work together to overcome challenges and foster a greener future for everyone.”
Together, we can create lasting, positive change for our planet and future generations. By integrating sustainability into every aspect of our lives, from personal choices to business practices, we can ensure a healthier planet for generations to come.