Supporting the Transition of MENA’s Food & Beverage Sector to a Circular Economy Series (part II of II)

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Monday, February 6, 2023

Supporting the Transition of MENA’s Food & Beverage Sector to a Circular Economy Series (part II of II)

In Part I of this blog series on the transition of MENA’s food and beverage sector to a Circular Economy, we explored metal packaging’s green credentials and how the format can help regional producers implement steps toward a more sustainable future. In our second post in this series, Sandrine Duquerroy-Delesalle, Director, Sustainability & External Affairs, Crown Bevcan EMEA, talks about the shift in consumer preferences toward metal packaging and the role MENA’s food and beverage manufacturers can play in increasing recycling rates in the region. 

Appealing to Environmentally Conscious Consumers 

In a recent analysis, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce showed that the food and beverage trade in the UAE increased steadily to reach over $20 billion in 2021. The growth is coupled with increasing consumer demands for more sustainable, ethical and healthy food and drink choices, driving brands to re-evaluate their processes, ingredients, packaging materials, and energy sources to decrease their environmental footprint and secure long-term business success.  

As public concerns over climate change grow, food and beverage brands could attract and retain environmentally conscious consumers by committing to advancing a Circular Economy and switching to ethically sourced ingredients and sustainable packaging. Metal packaging’s superior green credentials, outlined in part I of this series, make it an ideal format to appeal to consumers looking for more sustainable consumption patterns and habits. 

Encouraging Consumer Education on the Importance of Recycling 

With its infinite recyclability, metal can be used again and again with no degradation in quality, making it important to ensure all metal packaging is recycled correctly. It is a joint effort that requires accountability from all players in the value chain, including our customers, end-consumers and retailers, as well as waste management operators and local authorities. To do our part, we continuously leverage the power of partnership to drive positive impact. For example, we are actively supporting Every Can Counts (ECC) – an initiative to promote the recyclability of metal cans among consumers. The program is expanding to include countries and regions beyond Europe as consumers recognize the importance of recycling for protecting the environment. 

To boost our efforts and recapture as many beverage cans as possible, we have recently announced even more ambitious recycling targets, namely an 80% recycling target in the countries where we operate in the MENA region. Food and beverage manufacturers and regional authorities can contribute to progress around these goals by increasing consumer awareness on the accessibility and effectiveness of recycling (especially for out-of-home consumption) and supplying convenient metal packaging collection points across the region. Additionally, for home consumption and recycling, individual door-to-door collection or a deposit refund system are essential for notable progress. 

What the Future Holds 

Future Food Forum 2022 yielded multiple fruitful discussions, unearthing the most prominent challenges and opportunities for food and beverage producers in the MENA region–from waste management and Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) policies and public-private partnerships. It is now up to our industry to set sustainability goals and adhere to the practices discussed at the forum. 

We encourage brands in the region to find inspiration in our latest 2021 Sustainability Report, which outlines progress toward our ambitious Twentyby30 goals. We believe that a true change can only be achieved with close collaboration across the supply chain and the industry at large. Open discussions such as the Future Food Forum can help keep industry players on track and speed up the transition to a Circular Economy.