Penny is accelerating its sustainability activities and the elimination of waste by switching to IFCO's Banana Lift Lock solution. "With the reusable packaging containers (RPCs), the international retailer benefits from lower CO2 emissions, perfectly ripened bananas and a more efficient banana supply chain," the grocery chain said.
Replacing single-use packaging for the environment
Whether through low-emission supply chains, eco-friendly product lines, energy-efficient stores or the use of sustainable packaging, Penny is a driving force in the ongoing transformation of the retail industry. "Just because something has been done the same way for decades doesn't mean it can't be improved," says Nico Wittlich, Division Manager Ultrafresh - Fruits, Vegetables, Flowers, Plants at Penny, the international supermarket chain owned by REWE Group, one of Europe's leading retailers. "It's our responsibility to stand up and change the status quo when there are sustainable and competitive alternatives."
When it comes to bananas, that alternative is the Banana Lift Lock, our innovative reusable packaging container (RPC) designed specifically to meet the needs of the banana supply chain. Since September 2022, all BioHelden bananas displayed in Penny stores in Germany will no longer be shipped in disposable packaging. Now, organic bananas begin and end their international journey safely in Banana Lift Lock. Other banana categories are expected to follow in the future.
In fact, bananas are not the only fresh produce transported in our RPCs. Since 2015, our Black Lift Lock has transported fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the Penny store network directly from farms and suppliers to retail outlets, contributing to the retailer's sustainability goals.
Saving CO2, energy and water avoids waste
Not one, but 2,242. that's how many trips to the moon you'd have to make to achieve the CO2e savings Penny achieves by switching from disposable packaging to our Banana Lift Lock. Closer to home, this is equivalent to 35,743 car trips around the world.
In concrete figures, replacing disposable containers with our sustainable solution for bananas means a saving of 154,697 MT CO2e. These figures are based on the import volume of bananas from South America to Europe and were calculated using established tools. This is an impressive result. "This is a win for the environment, our customers and our operations," Wittlich said. "By switching to reusable packaging, significantly less carbon dioxide is generated and packaging waste is radically reduced."
In addition, by sharing RPCs within IFCO's closed-loop pooling system, SmartCycle, Banana Lift Lock uses less energy and water throughout its life cycle than single-use packaging. The solution avoids waste on multiple levels. Because the RPCs last up to a decade - and are 100% recycled into new IFCO RPCs when they can no longer be repaired - the SmartCycle is a sophisticated circular economy model for banana packaging. A positive development for the environment and perhaps a defining moment for the banana industry.
Expert teamwork to address supply chain challenges
Although one of the main drivers of change is sustainability, efficiency must never be overlooked in the world of supply chains. This is especially true for the banana supply chain, which is a complex logistical system involving numerous players, including growers, suppliers, importers and retailers.
To ensure that the Banana Lift Lock fits into the company's sophisticated concept and supports a smooth logistics process, Penny first conducted trials with pre-selected packing stations and selected Penny stores. In these stores, the bananas in the Banana Lift Lock were tested with very positive results.
The requirements and standards at Penny were high. To be accepted, the Banana Lift Lock had to function on multiple levels and fit seamlessly into PENNY's established operations. It also had to meet the strict criteria for the BioHelden brand, the company's organic range, and protect the delicate fresh produce from damage during transport.
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