The research showed that the reduction in the paperboard weight can easily correlate into at least an equivalent reduction in the carbon footprint of the packaging product.
The Finland-based company, which is present in the beauty, healthcare and food segments, says its research showed that an 18 percent reduction in the board weight translated into an 18 percent reduction in the carbon footprint.
'Sustainability goes hand in hand with cost savings'
“By making packaging more effective and less wasteful, sustainability goes hand in hand with cost savings, which can be achieved both by the choice of lightweight materials and by a design that has the right impact,” said Rikka Joukio, VP of marketing for M-real.
As an example the research was calculated using biscuit cartons to demonstrate what effect reducing the board had on the overall carbon footprint.
Carbon footprints were calculated for 10,000 biscuit cartons produced in 250, 270 and 295g/m² weights to determine the savings made in the carbon footprint as the board weight was reduced.
Research considered all aspects of packaging production
M-real says that the calculations assessed energy used in forestry, transport and manufacturing at all stages, including logging the wood for the cartons and logistical aspects of the process such as transporting the board to the customers.
Although paperboard is generally only used as secondary packaging for more upmarket personal care and cosmetic products, consumers purchasing these type of products are often well informed about issues relating to the environment.
As a result they are more likely to have concerns about the environmental impact of the purchases they make, so any effort to reduce that impact will be well received.
Carbon footprint labeling
In recent months environmental labeling for product packaging has become an increasingly hot topic, with the French government leading the way by announcing aims to introduce compulsory carbon footprint labeling for consumer products.
Already many personal care and cosmetics brands, particularly in the natural and organic category, have introduced packaging made from recyclable materials or have made efforts to reduce the amount of packaging used.
However, in the US in particular, many critics point out that, although the intention to specify packaging made from recyclable materials is good, currently the country does not have adequate recycling facilities to handle all recyclable packaging.