Case Study

ACCO Brands Australia (Northfork)

ACCO Brands Australia (Northfork)

For more than 25 years, Northfork (owned by ACCO Brands) has been manufacturing quality cleaning chemicals at its manufacturing facility in NSW. From food service hygiene to housekeeping and washroom, personal hand care and laundry washing products, Northfork is ideal for the home and workplace environment. 

As part of its diverse portfolio, Northfork manufactures environmentally preferable products certified by GECA.

What are some key sustainability aspects of your business and certified products?

Our core values are:

• Integrity
• Respect
• Diversity
• Creativity
• Responsibility to our Global Community

Our GECA product philosophy is simple, manufacture products of outstanding quality that are efficacious and better for the environment.

By 2025 we aim to transfer a significant amount of our bottles to up to 50% post-consumer recycled material. In addition, Northfork will implement the Australian Recycling Label (ARL) on packaging to better inform customers on the best way to dispose of the packaging.

Why did you choose to get a GECA certification?

The GECA philosophy is concise and committed to identifying and certifying environmentally sound products. The Northfork GECA range embodies this stance. As a leading chemical manufacturer, Northfork must be environmentally accountable and protect the world we live in.

How important is independent certification to you and your customers?

It is crucial to Northfork and its customers to provide eco-friendly products that are certified by a respected and well-known organisation. Certifying with an independent external body such as GECA allows Northfork to build customer trust and assurance.

Together with GECA, Northfork can make it easier for businesses and individuals to assess their cleaning practices and products. We’re working toward a sustainable future by encouraging the purchase of quality cleaning products.

Did you have to make any changes to your product to obtain GECA certification?

The Northfork formulation chemist created an entirely new range dedicated to GECA products. This came with its own set of challenges – we sourced several new materials with special orders, which meant longer lead times and price constraints. The meticulous certification process to have GECA certified products was a great learning opportunity for Northfork as it revealed the steps that could be taken to be more environmentally responsible.

What do you think are the biggest sustainability challenges for your industry right now?

According to the National Plastics Plan 2021, Australia now produces 2.5 million tonnes of plastic waste each year, equating to 100 kg per person. Of this, only 13% of plastic is recovered, and 84% is sent to landfill.

Why is this a problem? Plastic takes centuries to break down, and not all plastic is recyclable, ending up as congestion in our landfills. Furthermore, around 130,000 tonnes of the plastic we consume leaks into the environment each year. By 2025 it is predicted that 99% of seabirds worldwide will have ingested plastic.

Northfork is committed to reducing the plastic footprint by placing the ARL on Northfork packaging and educating customers to dispose of waste correctly.

Northfork believes sustainably sourced ingredients are also a stress point in the chemical manufacturing industry. It is evident that sourcing raw materials has an environmental influence (e.g. deforestation); however, it also influences social networks as supply chains expand into undeveloped countries to increase volume and reduce prices.

It is imperative for everyone to strive for sustainability as we need to collectively do our best to protect the beautiful planet we call home.

Follow Northfork on Instagram at @northforkau.

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