Avon GHG Emissions Fall, But Energy Use Rises

by | Dec 19, 2011

Avon’s GHG emissions intensity for its global manufacturing fell 6.6 percent in 2010, from 36.6 to 34.2 metric tons of CO2e per million units, but its total energy use increased by 1.2 percent, according to the company’s 2010-2011 corporate responsibility report.

Avon said that the launch of its Zanesville, Ohio distribution center, which for a short time operated simultaneously with old facilities, contributed to the rise in energy use.

The company has a goal of a 10 percent reduction in GHG intensity by 2012, from a 2008 baseline, and a 20 percent reduction in absolute GHG emissions by 2020, from a 2005 baseline. From 2008 to 2010, its GHG intensity fell 16.6 percent.

Last year, absolute GHG emissions from global operations fell 3.9 percent, from 145,055 to 139,241 metric tons. The report said that absolute emissions increased by 2.1 percent for branch locations, particularly distribution sites, again mostly due to the Zanesville center opening.

The new facility is certified LEED Gold, with features including solar hot water, re-use of grey water, use of recycled building materials and renewable energy credits offsetting 50 percent of annual estimated emissions from power consumption.

Avon is the least carbon-intensive U.S. consumer goods company that discloses data publicly, Nadia Montoto of Trucost wrote in a recent Environmental Leader column.

Avon says it will continue to focus on energy efficiency as a critical measure for achieving its 10-­year GHG emissions reduction strategy. The company plans to implement “100 Energy Best Practices,” which include exploration of renewable and clean energy sources; replacing older, less energy­-efficient equipment; and installing energy meters to better understand consumption patterns.

In 2010, Avon reduced overall water usage by 10 percent in manufacturing operations (absolute and per unit basis) and by 23 percent throughout administrative facilities and distribution centers (absolute basis). It estimates that its Zanesville distribution center saves 5.5 million gallons a year through green design elements such as rainwater harvesting and water­-saving plumbing fixtures.

Avon says air-cooling compressors at Canadian operations have conserved 5 million gallons, optimized cleaning processes in Poland conserved 14 million gallons and its manufacturing facility in Morton Grove, Illinois saved 12 million gallons by monitoring consumption, increasing employee awareness and using more grey water.

The company is aiming to reduce water intensity by seven percent by 2012 from a 2008 baseline, and by 40 percent by 2020 from a 2005 baseline. By 2020, it is also targeting zero waste water discharge in water-stressed regions.

In 2010, Avon says its recycling increased seven percent in global manufacturing locations, resulting in an overall recycling rate of 76 percent. Among distribution centers, recycling increased four percent for an overall rate of 80 percent in these facilities, including several with recycling rates near 95 percent.

Solid waste, such as non­recyclable scraps, increased at the company’s global manufacturing locations, with a 1.5 percent rise in total waste and a 1.6 percent rise on a pounds-per-­unit basis. This increase was partly due to an unforeseen rise in volumes of obsolete or expired inventory, which are categorized as waste, the company said. But it noted that its distribution centers achieved a five percent reduction in waste generation in 2010.

Avon says its future efforts around waste management will include exploring options for reusing corrugated cardboard, offering customer discounts on excess products, donating product surplus to nonprofit organizations and charities, and moving excess saleable products to countries with an approved waste disposal solution.

The company has a target to increase recycling through manufacturing, distribution and administrative facilities by five percent by 2012, from a 2008 baseline, and to reach zero waste to landfills by 2020. It is also aiming to reduce waste intensity by ten percent by 2012 from a 2008 baseline, and by 40 percent by 2020 from a 2005 baseline.

The company says its North American carton suppliers have committed to using renewable energy sources to produce product cartons for Avon products, and that in 2008, about 48 percent of the cartons the company purchased depended on renewable energy. Avon has also has committed to discontinue the use of PVC in beauty packaging across all markets by 2015. But the report did not offer any overall performance data for packaging reductions or improvements in recyclability.

In March 2010 the company announced its Avon Paper Promise, a policy for promoting responsible forest use and protecting forests. It set a target to purchase 100 percent of its paper from certified and/or post­consumer recycled content sources by 2020 with a certification preference for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). As of 2011, 74 percent of Avon’s brochure paper met the Avon Paper Promise commitments, and about 25 percent of paper used in Avon’s product brochures is sourced from FSC certified forests, the report said.

Avon is a founding member of the Forest Products Working Group, which aims to develop practical tools and resources to address issues including climate change, resource efficiency, forest health, and biodiversity.

In March 2011 the company adopted the Avon Palm Oil Promise, which outlines its guidelines for purchasing sustainably sourced palm oil. Avon says the promise made it the the first major beauty company to commit to 100 percent RSPO­-certified palm oil through “book and claim” certificates designed to advance the production of sustainable palm oil.

This year, Avon says it will have supported 13,000 metric tons of sustainable palm kernel oil production through the purchase of book and claim certificates, estimated to be equivalent to 100 percent of the palm kernel oil and palm kernel oil derivatives it used in 2010.

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