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Leading by Example: A Q&A on Sustainable Packaging Trends

Posted: November 20, 2012

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KF:One of the more visible scorecards is Walmart’s Sustainability Scorecard. It forces Walmart’s suppliers to measure themselves against several criteria, including recycled content and recovery value. While it’s not an LCA, it makes use of LCA tools to assess the sustainability value of materials used, introducing the concept that sustainability is not just about material choices but also includes transportation, materials sourcing and the end of life of a product. It also drives the concept of continuous improvement and innovation by scoring products on a bell curve against one another.

The P&G scorecard is another example, asking manufacturers to share how they are using resources internally and what they doing to help drive sustainability with the products they provide to P&G.

When supply chain-influencers such as Walmart or P&G send the message that they will not do business with suppliers that do not foster sustainable innovation or internally implement sustainable business practices, these scorecards become powerful tools to drive change across the entire consumer products supply chain.

Q: There is a growing trend toward co-innovation between brand owners and suppliers to achieve more environmentally friendly packaging. How is this new dynamic changing the way you work with brands?

KF: In terms of productivity, this new dynamic is a game-changer. [Packaging companies and suppliers] are no longer just order-takers—we’re employing a more collaborative problem-solving approach. This means that we can work more closely with customers to understand their needs and make actionable recommendations for continuous improvement.

Utilizing the expertise and know-how our people have in materials science, engineering and design, [packaging suppliers] are able to work with customers throughout the product life cycle to develop innovations in sustainable packaging that work.

For example, PaperWorks’ team will look at customer packaging lines and processes, working to reduce the amount of waste and realize cost savings. We also apply our engineering and design expertise to develop sustainable packaging solutions that are both effective and efficient. From design to final manufacturing, we apply sustainability throughout the production process, creating packaging solutions that result in higher scorecard ratings.