New Sustainability Report aligned with UN Sustainable Development Goals

The RKW Group has released its new Sustainability Report, which is aligned for the first time with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“We are committed to abiding by the SDGs as the building blocks of sustainable development. They also form the basis for all corporate activities in this vital area,” says Harald Biederbick, Chairman of the Executive Management Board at RKW SE. The RKW Sustainability Report 2020 summarizes the company’s strategy, goals, and results achieved to date. With its interactive format, it also represents a starting point for a new community: the RKW Sustainability Community. “Experts from all company areas – from R&D to environmental and energy management, HR, and sales – are part of this community. This approach helps anchor sustainability across all corporate functions, ensuring that it is practiced on a daily basis throughout the RKW Group,” adds Biederbick.

During the 2020 reporting period, the RKW Group expanded its commitment to sustainability and achieved demonstrable success in 11 of the 17 SDGs. One example is SDG 12 – Responsible Consumption & Production: All RKW Group production sites in Germany, France, and Belgium use electricity from renewable sources. Other RKW locations will also switch to green electricity in the future. By doing so, the company has saved roughly 60%, or 100,000 metric tons, of CO2 emissions year on year. Furthermore, investments at several locations have led to more efficient energy use overall.

Another example is SDG 2 – Zero Hunger: Innovative film solutions boost productivity and quality in agriculture and horticulture – from planting through to the harvesting, storage, and consumption of market fruits. What is more, modern plastic packaging keeps food fresh, healthy, and edible for longer, ensuring that less of our valuable food is spoiled and thrown away. In this way, RKW is making a valuable contribution to sustainability and the fight against global hunger.

Increasing the recycling rate 

For its medium-term sustainability goals up to 2025, the company is focusing in particular on significantly increasing the use of recycled films: “We aim to increase the use of recycled, renewable, and biodegradable materials from 7.6% in 2017 to 15% by the end of 2025,” says Carsten Lucassen, Group Director of Sustainability & Communications. He adds that some product segments, such as agricultural films, have already made significant progress. However, health-sensitive product segments such as hygiene are unable to use mechanically recycled plastics due to quality and safety requirements. The focus here is on the chemically recycled materials currently being developed whose purity and performance are on par with virgin raw materials, according to Lucassen.

New campaign reflects commitment to sustainability

Over the past year, RKW has already demonstrated its commitment to environmental and social issues by taking part in several diverse campaigns with numerous colleagues at all locations worldwide. This sustainability campaign will continue this summer. For instance, the staff at the corporate headquarters in Mannheim will join in the international RhineCleanUp initiative to remove waste from the riverbank. Likewise, staff at the Wasserburg site will take part in a voluntary clean-up campaign entitled “Ramadama,” a word in the Bavarian dialect that translates as “We're cleaning up!” A number of other activities, including at international sites such as those in Vietnam or China, are being planned.

“Sustainability affects us all, and is a challenge for society as a whole. That is why we take our responsibility as a company and as citizens seriously, and are rolling up our sleeves,” says Harald Biederbick.