Member Spotlight: Avery Dennison Retail Branding and Information Solutions (“RBIS”)

Learn how the Higg Index is helping Avery Dennison RBIS

SAC member Avery Dennison sets the standard high, with cutting-edge adhesive technologies and materials that inspire packaging trends across industries and around the globe.

What are the top environmental and/or social challenges facing Avery Dennison today?

Like many in the production world today, the largest environmental challenges we face are to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, and address waste generation and disposal. In order to achieve the ambitious goals we’ve set for ourselves in these two areas, we need to invest in efficient and renewable energy and materials, as well as partnerships outside of our comfort zone.

We’re working to reduce our absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 3 percent every year from where we are today, which would represent a 26 percent reduction by 2025. We will also be setting a reduction goal to take responsibility of our impact throughout our value chain.

For waste reduction, we’re aiming to be 95 percent landfill free with at least 75 percent of waste reused, repurposed and/or recycled by that time. We’ll achieve this by working through a redesign in product development, improving our manufacturing efficiency, and looking for innovative partnerships that could use our waste as a resource.

How does SAC membership and/or use of the Higg Index help you address your sustainability challenges?

Our partnership with the Sustainable Apparel Coalition has been key in working toward these goals – especially around greenhouse gases and eliminating waste. The entire supply chain needs to come together from the retailer to the brand, manufacturer and suppliers, to make this happen.

From the Manufacturer’s Summit in Hong Kong, we learned and shared information on energy efficiency and waste management projects and initiatives, to the scoring of our sites environmental module — we’ve scored 17 of our facilities, validating that the efforts we put in place are effective; we’ve also highlighted opportunities for improvement.

We’re extremely interested in authenticating the Verification Pilot with SAC and validating our scores through this process, so all brands and retailers adopt the Higg Index. In doing so, we can reduce the audit fatigue and dedicate those resources toward actually making changes and improvements to our facilities, which will ultimately help us contribute to the SAC’s mission of producing no unnecessary environmental harm and a positive impact on our people and our communities.

In what ways has the use of the Higg Index helped drive other sustainability and/or social labor improvements and innovations in your company or organization?

We could easily see opportunities for improvement. For example, we have a great chemical management framework in place, and by using the Higg Index, we were able to tweak it and make even more of a positive adjustment.

As an SAC member, how has your company contributed to the development of the Higg Index or any of the Coalition’s other ongoing projects?

We’ve been very involved since the beginning. At RBIS, we participate in SAC working groups overseeing Higg Index development, social and labor issues, and communications.

What environmental and/or social and labor practice that is utilized by your company today are you the most proud of?

Our energy efficiency efforts have been driven by using wireless energy meters to obtain real-time, minute-by-minute data on our consumption within our facilities — it’s pretty incredible. We have pilot tested this method in two of our facilities and were able to achieve over 10 percent energy reduction at those sites.

We’ve deployed between 20 and 50 meters at a time in our facilities, and with that granularity of data, the site teams have felt empowered to improve our operations and use less energy, through changing the manufacturing schedules around peak time charges, and improving the power factor for the facility. We are currently deploying this system in our largest manufacturing site in China and hope to achieve similar results to help us toward meeting our greenhouse goal for the year.

How does belonging to the SAC help companies make changes at the broader, systemic level?

We saw right away that it was an extraordinary opportunity to get all the players in our industry in one room, working on a common sustainability agenda. It’s also a chance for us to share what we know about sustainability with others, and to learn from them as well.

Helen Sahi

Helen Sahi is Director of Sustainability.

Learn more about Avery Dennison Retail Branding and Information Solutions at