SDG 12: Responsible Production and Consumption
TC Transcontinental has always diligently integrated best practices in sustainable development as part of its business activities and processes. We make every effort to pursue our business activities in a responsible manner within all our verticals. Driven by a long-term vision to ensure continued profitable growth, we have nurtured an integrated approach to corporate social responsibility (CSR). From our first Environmental Policy in 1993, to the 2012 update of our Paper Purchasing Policy and the release of our successive three-year CSR plans, we have shown, and continue to show, proven leadership in this regard.
Consumers are increasingly concerned about the protection of the environment as well as sustainable development. The industries where TC Transcontinental operates (packaging, printing and publishing), notably use large quantities of resources (paper and plastics) for their day-to-day operations. We recognize the critical nature of sustainability and have always taken steps to promote and incorporate sustainable development in our operations by mobilizing stakeholders and supporting innovation. We are also committed to reporting regularly on our sustainability performance and encourage suppliers to adopt practices consistent with our policies and objectives.
In 2020, for the seventeenth year we were named as one of Canada’s 50 best corporate citizens, as determined by Corporate Knights, placing in tenth position. This ranking is established by measuring a broad range of environmental, social and governance (ESG) indicators. For several years now, we have tracked our fuel and electricity use, and have calculated the associated greenhouse gas emissions, reporting our results to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) since 2006. In 2020, TC Transcontinental also reported for the eighth year to the CDP on forest risk commodities.
To emphasize our commitment as a good corporate citizen, in 2020 we joined the United Nations Global Compact, a voluntary initiative through which signatory companies commit to aligning their approach to social responsibility with universal principles relating to human rights, labour standards and environmental protection.
As TC Transcontinental continues its transformation, we remain committed to maintaining our leadership in corporate social responsibility by ensuring that we pursue all of our business activities in a responsible manner.
On the one hand, the packaging we produce plays an essential role: it contains, protects and facilitates the transport of the product it holds and helps extend product shelf-life, making it one of the key solutions to reducing food waste. On the other hand, although flexible packaging has many advantages, more work is needed to ensure that plastic packaging is effectively managed at its end of life. We want to be part of the solution.
TC Transcontinental shares the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s common vision of a circular economy for plastic, where plastic never becomes waste. Therefore, in March 2019, we became the first Canadian-based manufacturer to join the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment. We have committed, that by 2025, 100% of our plastic packaging will be reusable, recyclable or compostable, in addition to achieving a 10% use of post-consumer recycled content on average, by weight, across all plastics in our product basket. The creation of the Recycling Group within TC Transcontinental Packaging in February 2020 will contribute to the achievement of that goal, by supplying quality recycled resin. As a good corporate citizen, TC Transcontinental also understands its role in promoting recycling best practices and we commit to collaborating towards increasing reuse, recycling and composting rates for plastic in the communities where we operate. To that effect, we joined five other leaders in Canada’s food, beverage and packaging sector to create the Circular Plastics Taskforce (CPT), with the goal of developing a circular economy for plastics in Canada. The CPT seeks to provide concrete solutions to the challenges currently facing the recycling industry in Québec and Canada by, among others, fostering the expansion of existing recycled plastics markets as well as the creation of new dynamic local and national markets .
In February 2020, TC Transcontinental announced the creation of a Recycling Group within TC Transcontinental Packaging. The establishment of the Recycling Group will contribute to the achievement of TC Transcontinental’s objectives as a signatory of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment. One of the Corporation’s objectives is to increase post-consumer recycled content across its portfolio of flexible plastic packaging products. The purchase of recovered plastics will better enable their value recovery and facilitate the creation of local outlets for sorting facilities and companies in the commercial, industrial and agricultural sectors.
Our recycling activities allow us to offer our customers eco-responsible packaging products that contain recycled plastic, and accelerate its development. Our equipment is used for converting plastic waste recovered from sorting facilities and other commercial, industrial and agricultural sources into recycled plastic granules.
Our goal is to vertically integrate the recycling of plastics in our packaging production chain in Canada, the United States and Latin America, ultimately ensuring stable procurement of recycled resin. We want to create a true circular economy for plastic that will bring further benefits for the environment and for communities. Here is an infographic explaining the vertical integration of plastics recycling in our packaging production:
This decision stems from our desire and that of many customers to differentiate ourselves with an offering of eco-responsible packaging products containing recycled plastic, accelerate its development, and create a truly circular economy for plastic that will bring further benefits for the environment and for communities.
September 2019, TC Transcontinental Packaging, the Packaging Sector of TC Transcontinental, announced the launch of the vieVERTe sustainable product portfolio underscoring its dedication to contribute to a better environment and its commitment towards sustainability. The vieVERTe brand, which is always used in French across the markets served by the Corporation, is the equivalent of “green life” and is a tribute to the Québec roots of the organization. This launch is also completely in line with its pledge for all of its packaging products to be 100% reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025. The vieVERTe, live green, thrive green, brand offering is comprised of award-winning, custom, proprietary structures that are engineered to provide an end-of-life solution for flexible packaging.
The vieVERTe brand currently encompasses TC Transcontinental Packaging’s commercialized compostable product line (BPI certified for industrial composting) and its in-market 100% recyclable product line (ready for in-store drop off), which includes PCR (post consumer resin) options. vieVERTe sustainable products provide all of the benefits flexible packaging offers including barrier, strength, performance, shelf stability, and graphic appeal, while supporting a responsible end-of-life solution. The vieVERTe products are custom developed to fit the customers’ needs and product requirements, and are available in rollstock or finished bags and pouches, along with sustainable fitment options such as de-gassing valves.
TC Transcontinental Packaging is eager to pioneer change and fulfill its commitments outlined in TC Transcontinental’s 2019-2021 Corporate Social Responsibility Plan, Acting Together, and is determined to make strides towards a circular economy for plastics. The Corporation shares the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s vision that plastic should never become waste, and will be aggressively working towards broadening the vieVERTe brand offering to add new products that are reusable and to reduce its environmental footprint. TC Transcontinental will achieve this by expanding its Research and Development initiatives and investing at least 1% of its overall Packaging Sector’s annual revenues to fund these innovative efforts.
Through meaningful actions and a collaborative approach involving all stakeholders, the Corporation intends to lead the way and accelerate the creation of a circular economy for plastic, a model where plastic is better managed from sourcing to end-of-life. In 2019, TC Transcontinental was the first Canadian manufacturer to join the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment. Setting out to build on its experience of being a key player in the creation of a circular economy for paper in Canada, TC Transcontinental also announced in early 2020 the creation of a new Recycling group within TC Transcontinental Packaging, marking yet another step towards the implementation of a circular economy strategy that supports the fulfillment of the Corporation’s objective as a signatory of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Global Commitment. More recently, the Recycling Group announced the acquisition of the assets of Enviroplast inc., a company dedicated to the recycling of flexible plastics in Québec. The equipment acquired will be used to transform flexible plastics recovered from sorting facilities and other commercial, industrial and agricultural sources into recycled plastic granules.
We believe that sustainability is a shared responsibility across the industry. With a focus on innovation, research and product development, we support our customers in their efforts towards solving the challenge of plastic waste. With our three-year Corporate Social Responsibility plans identifying quantifiable targets and our participation to the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, we are poised and determined to make strides towards a circular economy.
September 2019, TC Transcontinental, owner of the Publisac (TC Transcontinental’s distribution system for flyers and local newspapers in Québec), announced the launch of the Publisac bag made from 100% recycled plastic, a commitment made by the Corporation this past spring to the Environment Commission of the Montréal Metropolitan Community. Taking an ecodesign approach, with the support of Éco Entreprises Québec, TC Transcontinental replaced the Publisac’s recyclable virgin plastic bag by a bag that it produces itself here in Québec, made entirely from recycled plastic and still recyclable, to reduce its environmental footprint. A picture of the new bag is available here:
We listened to people’s environmental concerns and took the opportunity to make the Publisac one of the first milestones in the creation of a circular economy for plastic in Québec. We are very proud to have created this new bag made entirely from residual plastic, thanks to the work of our internal teams in research and development, sustainability, procurement, distribution and packaging who mobilized themselves for this promising company project, in collaboration with several external partners, to come up with an innovative solution.
In November 2020, TC Transcontinental Packaging announced the launch of Integritite™ 30% post-consumer recycled (PCR) collation shrink film. The new packaging can be found in the AHA® Sparkling Water printed case wrap appearing on select Sam’s and BJ’s Club Store shelves this Fall in Ohio, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Indiana, South Carolina, North Carolina, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi and Delaware.
Integritite™ PCR collation shrink film includes 30% of post-consumer plastic resin transformed into a recyclable resource. Our R&D team has crafted a collation shrink film that is itself recyclable at store drop off locations and contains PCR without sacrificing performance, strength and durability. We are proud to support The Coca-Cola Company in sourcing flexible packaging with recycled content, to contribute to the establishment of a circular economy for plastics, and to meet our shared Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment signatory vision of a future whereby plastic never becomes waste.
It is through collaboration with industry leading technology partners that we’ve succeeded in developing this breakthrough recycled film. By incorporating 30% of PCR resin into our extruded shrink film structures, we’ve introduced a film that is close to par with virgin plastic resin performance, is recyclable at store drop-off locations, looks great on the shelf, and appeals to the consumer’s desire for a cleaner environment. The development of a reliable film has taken a great deal of craftsmanship to overcome the challenges of a high-loading of PCR resins.
Integritite™ PCR collation shrink film is just one of the many PCR products available in TC Transcontinental Packaging’s sustainable product portfolio. The Sector’s focus is on offering packaging products that contain recycled plastic and to accelerate their development to create a true circular economy for plastics that is beneficial for the environment and for communities. Furthermore, to ensure the stable procurement of PCR and PIR (post-industrial recycled) resins, and to keep up with its 2025 sustainability objectives, in February 2020 TC Transcontinental Packaging created a new Recycling Group to vertically integrate the recycling of plastics in its packaging production chain.
In June 2020, TC Transcontinental announced the acquisition of the assets of Enviroplast Inc., a company dedicated to recycling flexible plastics in the province of Québec. The equipment acquired will be used for converting plastic waste recovered from sorting facilities and other commercial, industrial and agricultural sources into recycled plastic granules.
In February 2020, five leading companies in Canada’s food, beverage and packaging sector joined forces and created the Circular Plastics Taskforce (Groupe d’action plastiques circulaires, or GAPC) to develop a circular economy for plastics, in partnership with the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA) and with support from Environment and Climate Change Canada. Éco Entreprises Québec will also support the project as a consultant and financial partner.
With the goal of closer alignment between market needs and recycling stakeholders (material recovery facilities (MRF) and packaging companies), Cascades, Danone Canada, Dyne-a-pak, Keurig Dr Pepper Canada, TC Transcontinental, and CPIA have teamed up with Centre de transfert technologique en écologie industrielle (CTTEI) at the Sorel-Tracy CÉGEP and Chamard Stratégies environnementales to identify and recommend solutions for optimizing the handling of plastics throughout the recycling value chain.
The group will map the recycling value chain and use pilot projects to test innovative solutions. The GAPC is well aware of the need to recover plastics more effectively in Canada, but more important still, to recycle them within a circular economy. The goal is to see all types of plastic recycled locally and to develop a strong recycled resin market in the province. For that to happen, we need to step up support for our MRFs and packaging companies. GAPC is committed to taking action and being part of the solution.
With this initiative, GAPC members are seeking to provide concrete solutions to the challenges currently facing the recycling industry in Québec and Canada. To that end, they will be fostering the expansion of existing markets and the creation of new dynamic local and national markets. These will be fueled by a high-performance industry that produces quality recycled materials, in order to lay the foundations for a truly circular plastics economy. This project, driven by industry leaders, is therefore fully in line with the Québec government’s recent announcement regarding its willingness to reinforce the responsibility of producers in the management of the recycling system.
Environment and Climate Change Canada will help fund the initial project phase with a contribution of nearly $475,000 over two years. The rest of the funding of this first step will come from the contribution of the GAPC’s founding members, as well as from Éco Entreprises Québec, who will also support the project with their expertise and know-how.
GAPC also works with various provincial government agencies and has been consulted by departments within the ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation (MEI) and the ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les Changements climatiques (MELCC) in drawing up the provincial government’s plastics strategy.
On April 22, 2019, TC Transcontinental relaunched its Green Teams. This initiative invites all business units to identify key resources who will raise awareness among their colleagues, look for solutions and encourage best practices in order to make their workplace more environmentally-friendly. All employees care about the environment and expect TC Transcontinental to be a responsible corporate citizen.
We understand that all business units may have their own unique challenges when it comes to making responsible and environmentally conscious choices. We believe that every effort counts and represents a step in the right direction to make sustainable changes.
Eco-tips, internal communications, dedicated platforms are shared with all the Green Teams and all employees in order to facilitate and promote more eco-friendly ways to operate in our facilities and our day-to-day lives. The idea is to join our efforts and encourage each other to develop new behaviours.
Also, to meet our circular economy goals, we have assembled a multi-functional, focused taskforce of highly skilled sustainability gurus, to develop and execute our action plan which includes packaging that is recyclable, biopolymers, made of post-consumer recycled content, and more.
Over the past few months, we have taken on many challenges and have done everything possible to ensure the health and safety of our employees and the safe continuity of our operations that have been identified as essential or that support the essential services of our clients in the various geographies in which we operate. Early on, we activated our crisis unit and deployed our company-wide crisis management and communication plan. We continue to review the situation closely, follow government guidelines in the countries where we operate and undertake new preventive actions as needed. In this context, we are united, prudent and responsible. We have witnessed our teams’ commitment and the resilience of our organization in the face of this unprecedented situation. More than ever, our corporate culture and values remain a solid foundation that inspired our actions and enabled us to approach this difficult period with confidence and determination.
TC Transcontinental committed to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals SDG 12 – Responsible Production and Consumption; 12.5 – By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse. In response to COVID-19, TC Transcontinental researched the efficiency criteria of washable masks and aimed to use the most effective washable fabric mask models possible. Indeed, reusable and washable masks were distributed to the employees. If employees had to wear disposable masks, we provided a recycling option for those disposable masks and gloves. TC Transcontinental has collaborated with some recycling providers to install recycling stations in order to find a recycling solution for all our safety equipment and protective gear, therefore reducing the landfill waste generated by employees.
Our people at TC Media Books supported distance teaching and learning initiatives for all levels of education. Until the end of the current school year or session, all elementary, secondary, college and university teaching resources were offered free of charge on the i+Interactive (https://vimeo.com/230792111) and i+Interactive elementary (https://vimeo.com/89540577) platforms. Many new online tools have also been developed over the past few months. As well, we continued to print and distribute educational books to facilitate student learning and prepare for September 2020 back-to-school.
TC Transcontinental Packaging is proud to support the vital food industry, a sector considered critical by governments, and contribute to the maintenance of essential services in communities during the COVID-19 global pandemic. While some of the sector’s verticals are experiencing a decrease in volumes due to government restrictions or the economic slowdown, the verticals related to food and other essential consumer staples, which represent the large majority of the sector’s activities, continue to fully operate in a safe and secure environment.
Now more than ever, the benefits of plastic packaging make sense. Packaging protects the product it holds to ensure food security for people and extends product shelf life in store and at home. TC Transcontinental Packaging plays a crucial role in the food supply chain by continuing to produce the packaging of its customers with care and always meeting the highest standards of quality and manufacturing.
All TC Transcontinental Packaging facilities are contributing responsibly to the global effort to halt the pandemic, protect the health of the employees and their families, and ensure the safe continuity of the activities in the countries, provinces and states in which it operates. TC Transcontinental’s values of respect, teamwork, performance and innovation are at the heart of everything it does,and every decision it takes.
Our in-store marketing products printing team created innovative pandemic-related products, such as signage for physical distancing and plexiglass panels for several large Canadian retailers to protect their customers and employees. We also continued to print newspapers, books and magazines to keep the public informed and educated. The same goes for the printing and distribution of flyers that help households better manage their personal finances, break isolation, and facilitate people’s decision-making in their online purchases and in planning their movements to and from retailers.