Increased environmental awareness will lead to completely new demands being placed on the packaging industry. BillerudKorsnäs, a Swedish provider of sustainable paper packaging materials and solutions, sees this challenge as a business opportunity. When BillerudKorsnäs’ partner, the French research platform Tara Expeditions, recently made a stopover in Miami on the way to the Pacific Ocean for an 18-month expedition, BillerudKorsnäs invited stakeholders in its U.S. market to discuss how the packaging industry can contribute in this regard.
Assistant Secretary-General of the UN Thomas Gass, one of the speakers at the event, challenged the audience - which included representatives from global brands and the packaging industry - to become advocates for a sustainable future:
“Everyone must contribute and make the courageous decisions necessary for the future: politicians, environmental organizations, government agencies and, not least, CEOs. I’m looking at you guys to be the champions - you are the interface to the consumers; the messages you send to the value chain are very important. Start by looking at the risks and opportunities relating to the Sustainable Development Goals and define specific goals in your company’s area of business; get your board of directors, shareholders and employees involved, too. Show your commitment publicly.”
“The UN SGDs set the direction for what the world needs in a midterm perspective and many of the goals are relevant for our industry,” Daniel Badman, Director of Sustainability at BillerudKorsnäs, said via email. “To realize, for example, SDG 14 (to Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources) points at our oceans - the choice of packing material and solutions is one piece of the puzzle; as a consequence, we expect the market of non-plastic packaging solutions to grow. We see an interesting business opportunity for the renewable packaging alternatives we offer.”
BillerudKorsnäs is challenging conventional packaging solutions, which are mostly made of plastic, with new packaging materials and solutions based on renewable Nordic paper fiber. Products include D-Sack (pictured above), a cement sack that disappears and becomes one with the cement when mixed; and FibreForm - a paper that can be pressed in a cold state into forms previously achieved with plastics, including beverage cups and sleeves; product ties; and a stand-up paper pouch for dry goods such as sugar, flour and pasta. The company is also picking up Carlsberg’s efforts to develop a paper-based bottle for the beverage industry.
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“Our guiding principle is that packaging must be sustainable throughout the value chain,” in a statement. “By working together with our customers and tailoring resource-efficient and innovative solutions to meet the specific needs of their products and markets, we also take sustainability a step further. Increasing environmental awareness will revolutionize our and many other industries, and we want to be at the forefront of developments together with our customers.
The Tara Expeditions Foundation, supported by BillerudKorsnäs, contributes to ongoing research about how plastic affects our seas. After the stop in Miami from 29 June to 5 July, Tara is continuing on its journey to the Pacific Ocean to study how coral reefs and marine biodiversity are affected by climate change.