Authors: Paz Toldos and Nancy Ortiz, leader and researcher of the Research Group-Thematic Area in Production, Marketing and Responsible Consumption of the Tecnológico de Monterrey Business School.
The adoption of sustainable production and consumption patterns encourages the efficient use of resources and energy efficiency that does not harm the environment.
Sustainable production and consumption means doing more and better things with fewer resources, avoiding putting the needs of future generations at risk. The adoption of sustainable production and consumption patterns encourages the efficient use of resources and energy efficiency that does not harm the environment, minimizes the use of natural resources, facilitates access to basic services and the creation of green jobs with good working conditions. , and therefore, improve the quality of life for society. Ensuring these sustainable modalities appears as goal 12 of the Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations General Assembly to achieve a better and more sustainable future.
Despite the challenges (high levels of poverty and inequality) that the countries of the Central American region face for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, more and more companies in the region are betting on production models and sustainable businesses.
Nestlé Central America carried out the regional launch of the RE initiative, reaffirming its commitment to the planet and encouraging society to adopt a sustainable lifestyle, ensuring that 82% of energy consumption in Central American factories comes from renewable sources. Likewise, in the last decade, it reduced the waste sent to landfills in its factories by 94%, reducing around 40% of water consumption per ton produced in its manufacturing centers and greenhouse gas emissions by 90%, hoping to reach net zero emissions throughout the value chain by 2050. The fundamental pillars of its strategy include developing sustainable, reusable and refillable packaging, creating a garbage-free future by promoting policies with a circular approach, as well as educating and incentivizing society in sustainable behaviors.
For the second year, Roché presented its annual report on sustainability in which it shares its commitment to a holistic approach, integrating three dimensions for sustainability; society (contribute to a better tomorrow), environment (reduce the impact on nature and the environment), and economy (invest in medical advances and create jobs that guarantee subsistence and prosperity). With this approach, they have managed to contribute to SDG 12, ensuring that 80.2% of the waste generated was valued through recycling, composting and co-processing actions, reducing the environmental impact of their operation. Additionally, it contributes to other SDGs through 40 initiatives implemented in the Caribbean region, Central America and Venezuela, which reflect its commitment to sustainable development.
For Unilever, sustainable living brands are those that have a socio-environmental purpose, developing products to halve their environmental footprint and increase positive social impact. Unilever, which has led the sustainability rankings in recent years, is working to take all its brands down the path of sustainability, thus demonstrating that brands with purpose are also strong growing brands. In Latin America, for example, 100% of the bottles used to market Hellmann's mayonnaise are recycled, while Dove bottles use recycled plastic. Added to this, among other initiatives, is the fact that 100% of the energy used in its operations comes from renewable sources, and an aerosol plant in Mexico that generates zero emissions.
Finally, Walmart de México y Centroamérica has been recognized for a couple of decades as a socially responsible company for its sustainable growth. With the ambition of being a regenerative company, it has implemented sustainability initiatives with three priorities; climate change, circular economy (reducing the use of natural resources and waste generation, and reintegrating materials into new value cycles), and natural capital (through sustainable sourcing and protection of natural resources). With these initiatives, it has achieved that 78.7% of its packaging is recyclable, that 54.6% of the energy for its operations comes from renewable sources, it has reduced the emissions intensity of scope 1 and 2 by 7.7% in 2022 compared to 2021, and it has with 25 recycling centers.
These are some cases that help exemplify the commitment of companies in Central America to the implementation of initiatives that contribute to the SDGs in terms of responsible production and consumption. To achieve sustainable consumption and production, it is necessary to adopt a systemic approach and cooperation between all actors participating in the supply chain, from the producer to the final consumer, raising awareness and educating them in responsible consumption. In the same way, it is necessary to continue promoting strategic alliances between companies, retailers, media, consumers, researchers, governments, non-governmental organizations, and development cooperation organizations that promote and formulate policies aimed at promoting and complying with initiatives to fulfill the SDGs.
Originally published in Forbes Centroamérica.