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13/12/2016

Sonoco Consumer Products Europe plants receive top marks in BRC certification

Packaging manufacturer's production operations across Europe meet highest BRC Hygiene Level AA

Hockenheim, Germany, December 13, 2016 – (NYSE: SON). Hygiene is a top priority in the food industry. Accordingly, production plants operated by Sonoco Consumer Products Europe strictly follow the provisions of the British Retail Consortium, the BRC Global Standard. This is one of the world's leading programs for product safety and quality certifications. In the first half of the year, Sonoco plants in Germany were recertified in accordance with the BRC Global Standard for Packaging and Packaging Materials. All of the plants immediately achieved the recently introduced AA grade of excellence. The other European plants of Sonoco Consumer Products Europe have also been certified AA. Certification to the BRC Global Standard confirms that Sonoco continues to meet the highest international hygiene standards.

The requirements for safety, quality and hygiene in the food industry have been increasing for years. The fact that consumers have become more aware of them is not just reflected in various ISO standards at national and European levels. The demands on food market suppliers have also increased within the scope of BRC Global Standards. A fifth quality level, the AA grade, was introduced last year with Revision 5 of the Global Standards for Packaging and Packaging Materials. In the past, there were only four grades, from A to D. BRC Global Standards also require certificate holders to provide a more rigorous risk analysis across the supply, production and transport chains. Appropriate preventive measures protect products and consumers. Revision 5 of the BRC Standard places allergens and food defense (i.e. protecting food against intentional contamination) more into the focus of risk analysis. This results in the establishment of preventive measures to protect the consumer.

Standards apply to all company areas
Sonoco's BRC certification applies to all areas of the company. For example, buildings must meet structural criteria to ensure that ceilings, walls and doors do not pose a risk of product contamination. Employees are also very important for effective hygiene management. "Our hygiene teams ensure that all guidelines are followed. This applies, for example, to cleaning processes and orderliness in production. In addition to this, all employees are comprehensively trained once a year," explains Gudrun Strauss, Quality and Hygiene Management Representative at Sonoco. To meet the high quality and hygiene demands of its customers, Sonoco works primarily with appropriately certified suppliers.

Highest standards in hygiene, quality and energy efficiency
Sonoco plants are certified to BRC Standards annually. Depending on the country, the audits are handled by different companies including, for example, DQS (Deutsche Gesellschaft zur Zertifizierung von Managementsystemen) or Lloyd's Register. Along with hygiene management, Sonoco strives to meet the highest quality standards. Accordingly, production operations have strictly complied with ISO 9001:2008 quality management standards for more than 20 years (when plants were still operated by Weidenhammer). By 2018, Sonoco will also be certified in compliance with the updated ISO 9001:2015 standard. Furthermore, all German plants have been certified to ISO 50001 since the beginning of 2016. This norm sets standards for energy efficiency and reinforces Sonoco's commitment to eco-sustainable operations. "We want to complete our Integrated Management System by 2018," Strauss explains. This will integrate the systems for hygiene, quality and energy management and enable them to be centrally checked. According to Strauss "Not only will this make our internal processes more efficient; it will enable the systems to seamlessly complement each other without overlap."

About Sonoco Europe
Sonoco's more than 70 operations in Europe provide customers with solutions in Global Rigid Paper and Closures; Global Plastics; Packaging Services and Graphics Management. Offering a range of packaging materials, packaging services, technical disciplines, material science and manufacturing capabilities, Sonoco takes a holistic approach to providing customized solutions that meet our customers' unique needs. To learn more, visit www.sonocoeurope.com.

About Sonoco
Founded in 1899, Sonoco is a global provider of a variety of consumer packaging, industrial products, protective packaging, and displays and packaging supply chain services. With annualized net sales of approximately $5 billion, the company has 21,000 employees working in more than 330 operations in 34 countries, serving some of the world’s best known brands in some 85 nations. Sonoco is a proud member of the 2015/2016 Dow Jones Sustainability World Index. For more information on the Company, visit our website at www.sonoco.com.

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