Across the globe, millions of tonnes of plastic ends up in landfills, is burned or leaks into the environment – and that amount is rising every year. At the current pace, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. That is why, at Ahold Delhaize, we’re working hard to eliminate plastic waste. We are a signatory of the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with the UN Environment Programme, to address plastic waste and pollution at its source. The commitment calls on companies and governments to eliminate plastic we do not need; innovate so that all plastic we do use is 100% reusable, recyclable, or compostable; and circulate all the plastic we use to keep it in the economy and out of the environment. By joining this commitment, we aim to deliver on these objectives related to our own-brand packaging by 2025.
We aim to move to a more circular system to reduce the negative impacts of plastic. At Ahold Delhaize and the local brands, our focus to date has been on where we can make a direct impact: optimizing own-brand product packaging, reducing single-use plastics used for carrier bags, and recycling plastic waste generated in our own facilities. In 2018, Ahold Delhaize signed the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with UN Environment, to help us drive momentum and ensure transparency in our approach to sustainable packaging.
Our brands continue to improve their own-brand product packaging by switching to more environmentally friendly materials or reusable packaging, eliminating unnecessary plastic packaging and increasing the use of post-consumer recycled content.
Our challenge is to reduce food waste while at the same time, offering our customers fresh and nutritious products that make it convenient for them to choose the healthy option. Fresh products often have a shorter shelf life; to avoid food waste, we need to make sure that they don’t reach their expiration dates before they are able to be purchased and consumed by customers.
We aim to contribute to a food system that ensures everyone has access to nutritious food for generations to come. We continuously review our operational processes to reduce food waste, and divert unsold food to relieve hunger in our communities. We have a three-pronged approach to driving down food waste.
As Ahold Delhaize is a founding member of the 10x20x30 Food Loss and Waste Initiative, the brands are partnering with key suppliers to tackle the challenge across the supply chain.
Enhance store operations
Technology is helping us to enhance how our brands operate stores. For example, Albert Heijn rolled out electronic shelf labelling to 100% of company-owned stores in the Netherlands and Belgium. Our European brands will implement the technology at more than 50% of their supermarkets in 2021. It enables them to offer dynamic markdowns that improve turnover on aging fresh items, reducing shrink, allowing for faster price changes and improving labor efficiency.