TORONTO — Responsibly sourcing high-priority ingredients and developing and using sustainable packaging are two of the five pillars that will serve as the foundation of Weston Foods’ “Baking Better” corporate responsibility strategy.
The pillars are described in detail as part of the company’s inaugural ”Baking Better Corporate Responsibility” report, issued May 10. In the report, Weston has established targets it hopes to achieve by 2030 along with focal points for the company during 2021.
“At Weston Foods, we recognize the need for a proactive approach to protect and preserve our environment in the fight against climate change,” said Luc Mongeau, president of Weston Foods. “As we pursue our purpose of Elevating Everyday Moments, we’re committed to increasing our efforts to support a sustainable future.”
In its ingredients pillar, Weston has set a 2030 target of responsibly sourcing high-priority commodity ingredients used in its products.
“By identifying high-priority ingredients across our product portfolio and implementing strategic sourcing plans, we strive to ensure the products we make align with our mission and values,” Weston noted in the report. “We have identified our list of high-priority commodity ingredients based on a review of environmental and social risk. Our focus for 2021 is augmenting our sustainable sourcing strategies for palm oil and cocoa, and developing sustainable sourcing strategies for other commodities such as soy, wheat and eggs.”
Offering a closer look at responsibly sourced palm oil, Weston said in 2017 the company began introducing Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Mass Balance certified palm oil into its supply chain. In 2020, 36% of the palm oil the company used received RSPO Mass Balance certification.
In its packaging pillar, Weston has set a target of 100% of packaging is recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025. The company also has committed to advance its packaging portfolio leveraging partnerships and latest innovations by 2030.
The company has identified several areas of focus in the packaging pillar during 2021, including the planned launch of a reusable packaging pilot, in partnership with the President’s Choice Decadent Chocolate Chip Cookie, as part of the Loop circular shopping initiative. Weston also is finalizing plans to eliminate problematic or unnecessary plastic packaging by 2025.
Weston said its progress in reducing its packaging footprint is evident in the way its blue bread trays program has evolved.
“Since 1980, Weston Foods has been delivering bread to our customers across North America in blue plastic bread trays with steel fold-down handles,” the company said. “In 1996, Weston Foods started a return program: trays are returned by our network of distributors and reused, significantly reducing the amount of secondary packaging used in our bread retail business. At the same time, we introduced a tray recycle program, which has morphed into a closed-loop system where trays are returned and reused continuously. If a tray is broken, its plastic is ground down and steel handles used to make new trays from 100% recycled content.
“These iconic blue Weston Foods bread trays demonstrate one of the ways Weston Foods has embraced the concept of closed-loop recycling. Over the past five years, Weston Foods has focused on packaging reduction and improved recyclability. Efforts include plastic reductions in the plastic trays used for cookies and further plastic reductions in our bread bags. Weston Foods has also made efforts to reduce the use of hard-to-recycle black plastic that has been traditionally used in the cake category.”
The three other pillars identified in the report are waste, social responsibility, and energy and carbon.
Weston said it is targeting zero waste to landfill by 2030, 20% intensity-based greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2025 (against a 2015 baseline), and by 2024, 37% of executive management positions and 45% of other managements positions to be held by people who identify as women and 25% of executive management positions and 26% other management positions to be held by people who identify as visible minorities.