SBS21: Pack Light and Right’: a Collaborative Approach to more Sustainable Packaging


This blog post has been produced for the Greater Birmingham and Coventry and Warwickshire Chambers of Commerce as part of the 2021 Sustainable Business Series: Net Zero campaign.

The Sustainable Business Series: Net Zero is the Chamber’s first campaign on environmental sustainability, which aims to share best practice, guidance and knowledge to increase business progress to net zero. In 2021, this involves 5 free online webinars taking place from the end of September and throughout October along with publishing thought leadership podcasts, videos and blog content. The campaign will feature a Sustainability Summit on 3rd November

Thanks to our Headline Sponsors – Aston University, Arup, Morgan Sindall and the University of Birmingham - all webinars and the Summit are free to attend. Interested parties can find out more and register to attend Sustainable Business Series: Net Zero events here, and the Sustainable Business Summit here.

Mondelez International is proud to make much loved treats such as Cadbury, Maynards Bassetts, Belvita and Oreo.

We recognise we have a responsibility to make our snacks sustainably and in the right way - and this is at the heart of our purpose – ‘Snacking Made Right’. We want to create a future where people and planet thrive, using less energy, water and waste, with ingredients consumers know and trust.  Our approach to packaging is designed to support our broader sustainability goals, with our carbon emissions in mind. We’re constantly driving innovation for solutions and our ambition is zero net waste packaging, having already removing 65,000 tonnes of packaging globally by the end of 2020 as part of our wider 2025 sustainability commitments.

For the UK, our packaging strategy is simple – ‘Pack Light and Right’. This means optimising our packaging - reducing or removing it where we can without compromising performance.  In the UK we’ve removed over 192 tonnes of packaging including:

  • Removing all plastic trays and secondary packaging (1.1m pieces) from our Christmas adult selection boxes as of 2020
  • Removing plastic windows from value and inclusion shell Easter Eggs (6.4m pieces) in 2021
  • Removing 108 tonnes of cardboard in our Easter Egg cartons
  • Using 15% less packaging across our large sharing bags, whilst keeping the same amount of treats inside – removing the equivalent of 20 football pitches worth of packaging


But how did we start on this journey and what would we share as best practice?

Cross functional collaboration is key.  We created a Sustainability Steering Group across our Northern European business with key decision makers and influencers from RDQ, Procurement, Marketing, Sales, Corporate & Government Affairs and Sustainability to drive this agenda forwards.  

We created a playbook to support our Marketing and RDQ community to identify sustainable packaging reduction opportunities in both new and existing products and provide them with the tools to support them. We undertook training sessions with Marketing and Product Change Management (PCM) teams on how to apply the playbook to inspire innovative ideas and to implement changes in support of our sustainable packaging goals.

Partnering with our customers has been mutually beneficial, supporting their own commitments to reduce their packaging, waste and environmental footprint.  We have partnered with Co-Op, switching our cardboard display units to metal units, removing 252 tonnes of cardboard and outer packaging per year. 

Partnerships with NGO’s like WRAP and becoming members of the UK Plastic Pact also really hold us to account, whilst proving a collaborative platform to drive activities at scale – like the Flexible Plastic Fund. 

We also invite colleagues to share packaging reduction ideas through our colleague led sustainability network ‘GreenBite’. They are hugely passionate about our sustainability agenda - living and breathing our products every day. Many of our reduction activities have been born out of ideas from our colleagues.  

Like most companies, we’re on a journey as we strive to make progress against our sustainability commitments.  We’re incredibly proud of what we have accomplished but know there is much more to do. We will forge ahead in our distinctive way leading to better, lasting, and quicker results at scale.

Kelly’s experience at Mondelēz International spans over 20 years, beginning at the popular Birmingham based attraction Cadbury World. Following her work alongside cocoa farmers in Ghana, Kelly joined the community affairs team.  She now leads The Cadbury Foundation, including the award-winning “Health for Life” programme which is celebrating its 10 year anniversary in 2021. Kelly represents Mondelēz International as one of the founding members of the recently-launched Flexible Plastic Fund, and was instrumental in the business signing up to the UK Plastic Pact. Kelly is also a sponsor of the internal ‘GreenBite’ colleague-led network focusing on all things sustainability. Having a positive impact on people and planet is something Kelly is incredibly passionate about in both her professional and personal life.