Waste war: IFCO's ESG strategy to defeat climate change

By John Pinching
IFCO unveils comprehensive ESG strategy to take on climate change, food waste and single-use packaging

IFCO – the world’s leading provider of Reusable Plastic Containers (RPCs) for fresh food packaging – has presented its comprehensive ESG 2025 strategy for a thriving circular economy. 

The main objectives include combating climate change, embracing diversity & inclusion, while also reducing food waste and single-use packaging. Along with the ESG strategy, IFCO has also published its first standalone ESG report.

The report focuses on key material topics for the business in the areas of Thriving Business, Thriving Planet and Thriving Society and conforms to global reporting standards including the Global Reporting Initiative, Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and United Nations Global Compact.

Back to life

IFCO's business model fosters the principles of circular economy since the company was founded almost 30 years ago. Recently, the European Lift-Lock range of RPCs was awarded the Cradle to Cradle Certified Silver certification. IFCO RPCs are reused up to 120 times, cleaned, disinfected and granulated at the end of their lifecycle to produce new containers.

This process offers numerous environmental benefits. For example, IFCO enables significant CO2, water and energy savings compared to single-use packaging, as well as reducing solid and food waste.

As the global market leader in the sustainable transport of fresh food, IFCO wants to enable producers, retailers and consumers to do their part to protect the environment and create a resource-efficient supply chain. In 2021 alone, IFCO customers reduced the carbon footprint in their supply chain by up to 60% compared to using single-use packaging.

Gold standard

IFCO has already taken numerous measures to make its business operations more environmentally friendly. For example, materials are recycled and, at the end of their life cycle, reused to produce new IFCO RPCs. This is one of the reasons why IFCO has received Cradle to Cradle certification at Gold level in material reutilisation.

In addition, IFCO reduces CO2 emissions by optimising its network and using multimodal transport. The company is also improving technologies in its washing centers to maximise water reuse and reduce energy consumption through closed-loop systems. IFCO also works with food banks around the world, reducing food waste and supporting people in need.

"We have already achieved considerable success with our measures to be more environmentally friendly. At the same time, we acknowledge that it is time for further action. Together with our partners, we are working every day to make our business model even more sustainable. Our new ESG strategy helps us to fulfil our purpose to make fresh grocery supply chains sustainable and have a meaningful positive impact on our planet and society”, explains Michael Pooley, CEO at IFCO.

Star sign

IFCO has also recently become a signatory of the UN Global Compact supporting its Ten Principles, reinforcing its commitment to human rights, labour standards, the environment and anti-corruption.

IFCO's ESG strategy to thrive in the circular economy focuses on three main pillars:

  • Thriving Business - IFCO aims to make fresh food supply chains resilient to the challenges of the future through circular economy, innovation and best-in-class governance. Specifically, the company aims to double the environmental benefits it generates in its customers’ supply chains as well as implementing adequate policies, trainings and expanding customer collaboration programs.
  • Thriving Planet - In order to further protect and regenerate natural resources, IFCO is going beyond the benefits of its Share & Reuse model. For example, the company aims to achieve carbon-neutral operations by 2025 and net zero emissions across its value chain by 2040. In addition, IFCO is working to eliminate waste completely.
  • Thriving Society - IFCO is a safe, diverse and inclusive employer. The company has a target of 40% women in management positions and aims to achieve best in class employee satisfaction. In addition, IFCO is a pioneer in health and safety and works to reduce food waste through cooperation with food banks worldwide and innovative solutions.

As detailed in the ESG report, IFCO´s 2025 goals are closely aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Specifically, the circular essence of its business model supports its customers in achieving SDG 12, Responsible Consumption and Production.

IFCO´s ESG strategy encompasses its ambition to thrive in the circular economy and together with its partners, cease the opportunity to create a better future for its employees, customers and society. 


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