Towards CO₂ neutrality for climate action – interview with TePe’s Marketing & Innovation Director
Working in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goal of Climate Action requires dedication, ambitious targets and a creative approach. We spoke with Helena Ossmer Thedius, Marketing and Innovation Director at TePe, to find out more about the company’s journey towards CO₂ neutrality.
TePe has decided to reach for CO₂ neutrality for all products in 2022. What is the reason behind setting such an ambitious goal?
– Taking action to combat climate change and its impacts is one of the greatest challenges of our time. To tackle this, we need to reduce carbon emissions and move towards a fossil-free society. At TePe, we want to contribute to a positive development. Our 2022 CO₂ neutrality goal will be a catalyst for our sustainability initiatives and a step towards our overarching goal to become a CO₂ neutral company, says Helena Ossmer Thedius, Marketing and Innovation Director.
What was the starting point of setting this goal?
– We asked ourselves: What is the most important thing that we at TePe can do for the climate, and where is our biggest environmental impact? We started with a materiality analysis which emphasised innovation, materials and reducing our CO₂ footprint. The next step was to conduct a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of our product and packaging materials to calculate how shifting to renewable sources could impact our carbon emissions.
Helena explains that an LCA considers the CO₂ footprint throughout the lifecycle of a product – from raw material extraction and processing, product manufacturing, distribution and use, to the recycling or final disposal. TePe’s LCA showed that TePe’s emphasis on resource management – using 100% green energy in their production and taking measures to reduce waste – was indeed relevant. But there was much to gain from focusing even harder on raw materials, transportation and product end of life, that is, what happens to the product when it has fulfilled its purpose.
– The question of raw materials was natural to address first because it is something that we can influence directly. Since we are in control of the whole production process at our site in Malmö, Sweden, we can test and implement new materials ourselves. However, finding sustainable raw materials that meet the high demands of our products is a continuous challenge, says Helena.
Your focus on raw materials has resulted in the introduction of biobased plastic in the range. How come you choose to go on using plastic?
– Plastic is an outstanding material in terms of hygiene, quality and efficacy. But it’s crucial to stay innovative regarding the sourcing and production of raw materials. Nowadays, plastics can be produced from different kinds of biomass. However, we are constantly exploring alternative, fossil-free pathways.
So, you will continue to investigate eco-friendly materials, but what about the other findings from the LCA?
– Now, we will look deeper into more sustainable transportation methods as well as solutions for end of life. An exciting development is taking place regarding, for example, chemical recycling, which would facilitate the shift from a linear to a circular approach in production.
– We’re striving towards a circular economy, but acknowledge that one single company can’t drive the transition. Finding strategic partners and engaging in sustainable technology is crucial. At the same time, we want to set our aims high. Reaching CO₂ neutrality will be a milestone in our commitments for a sustainable future, Helena Ossmer Thedius concludes.