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Multinationals make sustainability progress

2015 has already seen two multinationals make major strides in sustainability, with drinks company, Diageo, committing to new targets and travel firm, Thomas Cook, slashing its resource use.

2015 has already seen two multinationals make major strides in sustainability, with drinks company, Diageo, committing to new targets and travel firm, Thomas Cook, slashing its resource use.

Diageo, which includes Guinness and Smirnoff in its range of brands, has launched 20 new sustainability targets for 2020.

The new targets include improving water efficiency by 50 per cent, returning all waste water to the environment safely, halving carbon emissions from direct operations and cutting them by 30 per cent across its supply chain, making all of its packaging recyclable and achieving zero waste to landfill.

Other goals beyond its own operations include working with suppliers to improve water management and ensure packaging is sustainably sourced.

Improving supply chains

Sally Uren, chief executive of Forum for the Future, welcomed Diageo’s new targets and emphasised the importance of large companies working with their supply chains to improve environmental performance.

“Diageo’s 2020 targets display a clear understanding of the need for collaboration outside its traditional business boundaries to tackle complex issues such as sustainable supply chains”, she said.

Cutting resource use

Meanwhile, Thomas Cook has revealed reveals a number of resource efficiency successes in its recently published 2014 Sustainability Report.

Successes include a 55 per cent cut in electricity use across its office and retail network since 2010 and a carbon reduction of 385,000 tonnes since 2008 through improvements to its aircraft.

The company’s improvements on the ground are attributed to a combination of streamlining locations, focusing on energy efficiency and upgrading existing lighting with LED technology. 

Changes in Thomas Cook’s air fleet, which include the installation of new lightweight seats and trolleys as well as aerodynamic improvements to the aircrafts themselves, have increased fuel efficiency by 5.6 per cent since 2009.

Changing culture

Harriet Green, group chief executive officer at the Thomas Cook Group, highlighted the increasing importance of sustainability to the company’s plans.

“Our culture is changing hugely, with sustainability shaping our transformation and supporting the long-term success of the Group”, she said.

“For us, being a successful business goes hand in hand with being a responsible business.”