Sustainability and Packaging Chandler Slavin, Sustainability Coordinator, Dordan Mfg.
In a perfect world… • According to the SPC, Sustainable Packaging: • Is beneficial, safe & healthy for individuals and communities throughout its life cycle; • Meets market criteria for both performance and cost; • Is sourced, manufactured, transported, and recycled using renewable energy; • Is manufactured using clean production technologies and best practices; • Is made from materials healthy in all probable end of life scenarios; • Is physically designed to optimize materials and energy; • Is effectively recovered and utilized in biological and/or industrial closed loop cycles.
In reality… • In my opinion, today there is no such thing as a truly sustainable package; all commodities consume energy and emit GHG equivalents during production. • While paper comes from trees and plastic fossil fuel, both utilize natural resources as their feedstock; both consume energy during their procurement and conversion; and, both emit chemicals into the atmosphere throughout their lifecycle.
So what’s all this jazz about “Sustainability?” • According to the WWF’s Living Planet Report, which is a biannual analysis of the carrying capacity of the globe compared with resource consumption, our current approaches to production and consumption are not sustainable: • Population x Consumption > Planet
We estimate that current demand for the Earth’s resources is 1.25 times what scientists believe our planet can sustain. And by the way, that’s with 6 billion people, not the 9 billion world population predicted by mid-century. Put another way, according to the findings in our Living Planet Index, on September 25 of this year our resource use surpassed what is sustainable. What this would mean as a financial issue is that we are living off our principle; as a farmer it means we are eating our seed. Yikes!
What does this mean for packaging? • Because of the contemporary anxiety over our depleting resources, single-use, disposable packaging has been targeted as a manifestation of our over-consumptive society. • Think bag bans, bottle bills, PS bans and the like…
The “Green” Consumer • Market research shows that consumers will buy a product/package with a “green” presence over a product/package that is perceived to have a negative impact on the social and ecological environments. • While most surveys indicate consumers are willing to pay more for “green” products, this is often not the case. • Therefore, it has been concluded that if at a comparable cost and performance, consumers will buy the “green” product/package over the product/package not identifying with “green” values.
What’s important for you • Because of these cultural shifts and the changing landscape of the packaging industry, it is important for you as packaging professionals to understand the various dimensions of “sustainability” as it pertains to packaging. • By understanding these issues, you will be able to make more informed packaging choices, which will resonate with your customer and end consumer.
Presentation Overview, Part I • How to measure “Sustainability:” • LCA and LCI • Sustainability Metrics • COMPASS • Go Phone package redesign • Walmart Scorecard • Direct and Indirect suppliers • Scorecard metrics • Scorecard completion • SVN Scorecard discussion
How to measure sustainability, continued • Walmart Supplier Assessment • P&G Scorecard • Global Packaging Project • Consumer Goods Forum • Sustainability Index
Presentation Overview, Part II • Traditional packaging materials sustainability profiles: • Energy consumption • GHG emissions • Water and biotic consumption • Global warming • Deforestation
Presentation Overview, Part III • Waste management of traditional packaging materials • MSW, US EPA 2007 • Generation and recovery rates, US EPA 2008 • Recycling initiative
Presentation Overview, Part IV • Environmental labeling guidelines for packaging: • FTC, EPI • Greenwashing, Walmart Expo, greenerpackage.com • Dos and don’ts of green claims • Recyclability claims • Bio/oxo/photo degradability claims • Comparative claims
Presentation Overview, Part V • Extended producer responsibility/product stewardship • EPR and packaging • Who does it affect? • What you should do about it • How to avoid high EPR fees • What you should require from your suppliers • The advantage of the domestic supplier
Presentation Overview, Part VI • Bio-based polymers sustainability considerations • Sustainable sourcing • Complete biodegradation • End-of-life management • Energy requirements/GHG emissions of production vs. traditional resins
Part I: How to measure “Sustainability” • LCA stands for life cycle analysis, which is a popular approach to understanding the environmental profiles of products and services. • LCA considers the entire life cycle of a product or service, from its procurement to conversion, manufacture, distribution, and end of life.
LCA and LCI • If one wanted to perform a LCA of a product or service, one would need at least three different LCI data sets, which stands for life cycle inventory data. These data sets would be averaged to determine the metrics used for the product or service LCA. • LCI data is primary data that is collected for a specific product or service.
LCI, example • If Dordan wanted to measure the environmental requirements of its manufacturing facility in order to contribute to the metrics used in LCAs for material converters, Dordan would have to collect data about its operating processes, such as the energy requirements of manufacturing and distributing its products. • This data would be consider LCI data, and would be used in the development of metrics for performing LCA of thermoforming operations.
Sustainable Metrics • The LCI data collected for the performance of LCAs of a product or service are based on sustainability metrics. • Metrics are the various environmental indicators considered in LCAs that help measure sustainability. • These include, but are not limited to, greenhouse gas emissions, fossil fuel consumption, water consumption, biotic consumption, aquatic toxicity, eutrophication, etc.
COMPASS, overview • COMPASS is a life-cycle based, environmental modeling software that allows you to compare the environmental performances of different packages, based on material selection and packaging weight. • COMPASS contains life cycle inventory data from raw material sourcing, primary packaging material manufacture, conversion, and end-of-life. • Transportation and purchased electricity within these phases is also included. • In addition, COMPASS includes end-of-life probabilities for waste scenarios such as recycling, waste-to-energy incineration, landfill, composting, and litter.
COMPASS and LCAs • This tool uses LCI data in order to create the metrics used to perform LCAs. • If no LCI data has been collected about a certain material or service i.e. RPET, then one can not perform an LCA of said material or service.
COMPASS example, introduction • Dordan uses COMPASS to run environmental comparisons between different packaging materials and designs. • One instance in which Dordan used COMPASS to illustrate the environmental improvements of a package redesign is the Go Phone package comparison.
Redesign approach • Redesign package to achieve a smaller product-to-package ratio; • Reduce the gauge of the clamshell from 0.030" to 0.025" and the inner tray from 0.045" to 0.035;" • Change the clamshell from convex to flat, thereby eliminating the snap-on lid.
Go Phone package redesign savings • 29% cost savings compared to previous package; • For the same amount of product sold, reduced the total packaging weight by 25%; • Reduced C02 emissions by 25%; • Reduced total usage of packaging, saving transportation costs and energy use; • The slimmer design allows for more products per pallet and an increased number of units per foot of retail space.
The proof is in the pudding… COMPASS packaging comparison results: • http://www.dordan.com/Go_Phone_COMPASS.xps
COMPASS Summary • In short, COMPASS can be utilized in the following ways: • Allows packaging engineers to compare the environmental impacts of their package designs using a life cycle approach. • Helps engineers make more informed material selections and design decisions early in the development process. • Allows Marketing teams to articulate packaging improvements, which should resonate with customers and the end consumer. • Allows Sales teams to “reverse-engineer” competitors packages in order to show how package can be improved to yield a better environmental profile.
Questions about COMPASS as a tool for measuring sustainability?
Retailers and measuring sustainability, overview • Many retailers are investigating the different tools available for measuring sustainability, for both products and packages. • Examples include: • Walmart Scorecard and Supplier Sustainability Assessment • Global Packaging Project • Consumer Goods Forum • P&G Scorecard • Sustainability Index
Walmart Scorecard, introduction • Like COMPASS, the Walmart Scorecard uses available LCI data sets to perform LCAs of different packages, based on material and packaging weight. • ECRM created the software for the Walmart Scorecard, which stands for “Efficient collaborative retail marketing.” • Based on the environmental profile of one’s package, suppliers receive Scores, which conveys a packages assumed “sustainability.” • Scores for packaging only; based on ITEM level.
Scorecard and suppliers • Direct suppliers to Walmart are required to enter their packaging information into the Scorecard software via “retail link,” which is per vendor number and item number. • Indirect suppliers are encouraged to subscribe to the Walmart Packaging Modeling Software, which uses the metrics of the Scorecard to perform LCAs of different packages.
Scorecard metrics • Metrics considered: • Material type • material weight • material distance • packaging efficiency. • Material distance considers the point the package travels from point of conversion to point of fulfillment.
Scorecard completion • The Walmart Scorecard is a constantly evolving tool. • Each item sold in Walmart has its own number. Suppliers are required to fill out a Score for each item number. Currently, completion of Scores is the easiest way to influence purchasing decisions. • Scores are based on comparisons with others in your product category i.e. dairy. • As more companies submit their Scores, your Score is likely to change, depending on your competitor's performance.
SVN meeting, Scorecard discussion • “Sustainable Material metric?” • What does a “sustainable material” mean? • Until clarified, should everyone get the same Score? • Should we remove the metric? • Is Recovery taken into consideration? • Is it a LCA based approach? • Does it consider conversion or primary production? • What about toxics? • Sourcing certificates?
SVN meeting, Scorecard discussion, continued • SVN determined that it would be helpful to have a health and safety metric AND a sustainable sourcing metric, which together would be blanketed under the metric “sustainable material.”
SVN Questions • Add an ink/laminate metric? • Only if proof is provided that argues that such a metric is necessary. • International manufacturing vs. domestic metric? • Had considered a point of origin because overseas manufacturing has different environmental profiles than domestic manufacturing i.e. labor laws, environmental regulations, etc.; however, unable to quantify at this time. • It maybe considered in the future.
Walmart, Supplier Sustainability Assessment • Consists of 15 questions, which are asked of all product suppliers to Walmart. • “Scores” based on CORPORATE level.
Global Packaging Project • Walmart funds this but is not the only CPG company on the board; • GPP looks for a GLOBAL metric for assessing the sustainability of packages and products; • This is bigger than the Scorecard, as the Scorecard will be one component utilized in the metrics.
GPP, continued • The GPP metrics look to take into account the Scorecard metrics, COMPASS, the SPC’s Sustainable Packaging Metrics, and other existing and legitimate metrics. • If one wants the inclusion of another metric i.e. sustainable sourcing, it must be reviewed for application prior to being incorporated into the GPP metrics.
Consumer Good Forum • The GPP grew out of the CGF, which was originally called the Global CEO Forum. • The relationship between the CGF and GPP has yet to be determined.
P&G Scorecard • Release in May 2010; • This tool is designed to help suppliers meet sustainability targets, for both packaging and products. • It utilizes existing data sets to determine the “sustainability” of a product, package, or service.
Sustainability Index • The assessment is part of the Sustainability Index, which is a project of the Sustainability Consortium. • Walmart funds this organization but is not the only CPGs company that participates. • Ambiguous organization and role; • Assumed to provide metrics to GPP.
Retailers, organizations, tools and sustainability • It has yet to be determined what the governance will be over the different tools to measure sustainability i.e. Walmart Scorecard vs. P&G Scorecard vs. COMPASS, etc. • It has yet to be determined what the governance will be over the different organizations i.e. GPP vs. CGF vs. Sustainability Index.