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The End Justifies the Means

By: Sara Mason
Posted: February 11, 2008, from the February 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Now companies must make themselves much more accountable for the environmental impact involved in the manufacturing process to avoid greenwashing backlash and give themselves a competitive advantage. “Be transparent,” said Duber-Smith. “Show consumers what you are doing and that you are aware of areas that need improvement.” They want to do business with companies that communicate honestly and with authenticity.

To comply, companies are making environmental claims on their Web sites, relating information about the company as a whole, rather than just referring to specific products.

In November 2007, Diamond Packaging launched the Diamond Greenbox initiative, the company’s commitment to research, design and implement sustainable packaging solutions. The initiative balances business with environmental considerations by promoting sustainability in all aspects of package production. The core of the commitment—designs, materials and methods—represents a comprehensive approach to packaging that minimizes impact across the supply chain.

“Sustainability optimizes the value of packaging through every phase of its life cycle,” said Dennis Bacchetta, director of marketing, Diamond Packaging. “Through creative design, careful material selection and best practices at the plant level, we are able to minimize waste, reduce shipping costs and increase efficiencies—all of which support a sustainable use of resources and cultivate a positive emotional connection to the brand.”

Diamond carefully evaluates all materials and suppliers in order to make the best recommendation to its customers. For example, its supplier Potlatch offers paperboard that has earned Forest Stewardship Council certification and is recognized by The Rainforest Alliance, a nonprofit international conservation organization, for integrating environmental and social sustainability into its work. Diamond also addresses sustainability throughout the manufacturing process, and this includes incorporating best practices at the plant level—such as recycling, process improvements, energy efficiency, resource recovery and waste management.