JAPAN – Japanese drinks giant Suntory Holdings is putting a lot of effort into its sustainability mission with the use of a first-of-a-kind 100% recycled Stay on Tabs (SOT) can that emits 60% less CO2 compared to when creating a regular aluminum can.

The can, jointly developed by UACJ Corporation and Toyo Seikan Group Holdings, Ltd. will be launched in Japan on September 6 and featured two products, The Premium Malt’s CO2 Reduction Can and The Premium Malt’s Kaoru Ale CO2 Reduction Can.

For packaging and containers, the Suntory Group considers its environmental impact throughout the entire product life cycle, from product design to transportation and recycling after consumption, and works to promote a circular economy.

Masaaki Fujiwara, Deputy Division COO, sustainability management division leader at Suntory Holdings: “We are delighted that the three companies were able to take on the challenge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the value chain and achieve this goal.”

“We will continue to work together with all members of the value chain and promote various initiatives to realize a circular society. It’s the latest step in Suntory Group’s mission for a sustainable society aligned with the company motto “to create harmony with people and nature.”

UACJ commented that the fact that the three companies were able to realize this unprecedented attempt to use 100% recycled materials is a big step toward its corporate slogan, ‘Aluminum lightens the world’.

To achieve net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across the entire value chain by 2050, the Suntory Group set a goal to halve GHG emissions in its direct operations and reduce them by 30% emissions across the entire value chain.

The Suntory Group said it will continue its efforts to reduce GHG emissions by introducing environmentally friendly packaging materials and containers as well as installing more energy-efficient technologies and renewable energy.

Beverage brands in partnerships with aluminum can makers are ramping up efforts on different continents to raise recycling content and lower carbon footprints; in June, Packaging Digest reported on a similar project for a Corona beer pilot in Canada that featured a low-carbon can.

Meanwhile, Suntory is picking top casks from Bordeaux winery Château Lagrange to enhance the group’s whiskies.

In 1983, Suntory acquired the management rights to Château Lagrange, a 3ème Cru Classé status winery, becoming the first non-Western company to operate a Bordeaux Grand Cru Château.

The company ploughed €30 million into the winery in Suntory’s first two years of ownership and succeeded in transforming Lagrange’s reputation to new heights.

Bordes said that the relationship has been mutually beneficial with Japan now accounting for 15% of the Château’s sales (compared with 5% each for China and the UK).

He also indicated that Lagrange has taken learnings from Suntory, one of the oldest drinks distribution companies in Japan.

And of course, there is the significant financial backing that Suntory continues to provide. “Every two years a further €1.5 million to €2 million is invested in the Château,” said Bordes.

The winemaker further revealed that the Japanese “buy a lot of our white wine – almost 75% – as it goes so well with their cuisine” and noted that white Bordeaux, when compared with white Burgundy, tended to be less popular in export markets, making Japan the exception to the rule.

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