In anticipation of the 2020 National Co+op Grocers Climate Collaborative Awards, we're talking with the leaders of our 2019 award-winning companies to learn a little bit more about what drives their climate leadership.
Our final interview is with Michele Kessler, CEO at REBBL, winner of the 2019 Outstanding Value Chain Engagement Award. (View our previous interviews with Sambazon, Organic India, Nature's Path, PCC Community Markets, Dr. Bronner's, Nancy Hirshberg and Glen's Garden Market).
Congratulations on winning a 2019 National Co+op Grocers Climate Collaborative award! What are you most proud of, when it comes to your company’s climate work?
We are thrilled to be recognized for our climate work. A core part of REBBL’s mission is to create positive social and environmental impact in conjunction with delivering truly delicious and nourishing plant-based beverages. We are proud to operate with a sustainable business model that considers social, ecological, and economic factors to ensure well-being for the people and the planet.
Last year, REBBL received the Outstanding Value Chain Engagement award for our work on ethical sourcing, community engagement and rainforest protection. We continually seek opportunities to create positive global impact, innovating and using business as a force for good. This year, we launched our new Green Packaging Initiative, utilizing 100% recycled and recyclable plastic bottles, reducing our emissions and energy use. Climate change is a serious global problem and REBBL continues to seek solutions.
Looking forward with your own climate work—and the opportunity for industry action on climate—what are you most excited about?
Looking forward, we’re excited to reduce our climate impact with our new Green Packaging Initiative. We just launched our transition to 100% recycled and recyclable plastic bottles, and we are one of the first companies in the industry to do so.
Working with a team of environmental and packaging design experts to bring sustainable packaging to market, our new Green Packaging Initiative converts used plastic bottles into new 12oz. plastic bottles. This change helps us conserve resources, reduce what ends up in the landfill and capitalize on the energy already invested in existing plastic products. There is an opportunity for the entire industry to transition to post-consumer recycled plastic and make an even bigger difference. It’s a complex and costly process but one we are proud to prioritize as a leading member of the Climate Collaborative.
With this new packaging, REBBL is making it easier for consumers to choose both sustainable and high-quality products. By switching 20 million REBBL bottles annually to recycled plastic, we have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 922 tons of carbon dioxide, roughly the environmental equivalent benefit of 1,086 acres of U.S. forests in one year. REBBL’s Green Packaging Initiative is also an important solution for reducing environmental waste. Recycling one ton of plastic containers saves 7.4 cubic yards of landfill space.
What’s your advice for others in the industry looking to tackle climate change in their operations?
There are many opportunities to tackle climate change in any business’s operations. Every single decision that a business makes has an impact. A company can choose to make it a positive impact, from leveraging purchasing power for ethical sourcing, to reassessing operational setup to increase energy efficiency, to switching to environmentally green packaging and more. Taking actionable steps to tackle climate change is possible when businesses see every decision as an opportunity—such as the one REBBL is taking to create a market for repurposed plastic.
Today’s shoppers have the power to play a substantial role in shifting the environmental landscape, as well. Through responsible purchasing decisions, consumers can help create a market for post-consumer recycled plastic.