- May 01, 2007, By Claudia Hine Managing Editor
Sustainability and collaboration were hot topics at the Paperboard Packaging Council's spring meeting, held March 6-8 at Loews Vanderbilt Hotel in Nashville, TN. As Coca-Cola's senior environmental manager, April Crow, so aptly stated in the brand leader's panel discussion, “We can't just set lofty goals without working together.”
More than 125 attendees participated in seven general sessions, including a keynote address from Wal-Mart's senior VP Matt Kistler and a three-hour workshop designed to help members get organized to implement sustainability efforts.
PPC chairman William Biedenharn (MeadWestvaco) reported the industry is strong and getting stronger, with 2%-3% growth in 2006 and a predicted record year for 2007; $10 billion in carton shipments is forecast.
Ken Alston, CEO of MDBC, covered the principles of cradle-to-cradle product life cycles and the business value of designing products for sustainability. These business values include such benefits as tangible social responsibility; improved reputation; reduced liability, risk, and regulatory costs; product and service innovation; brand differentiation; extended customer relationships beyond the sale; and enhanced competitive advantage.
Alston provided details on the Cradle to Cradle Certification Program, introduced a year ago, that provides third party certification of materials and products. For more information visit www.mbdc.com.
Kistler's presentation addressed WalMart's packaging sustainability goals [known as the “7 R's of Packaging”: Remove, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Renew, Revenue, and Read (learn about)]. He covered the company's Packaging Scorecard, which evaluates suppliers based on nine basic metrics (see sidebar). WalMart is committed to reducing packaging across its global supply chain by 5% by 2013. Toward that end, Kistler says, the company is “moving at an unbelievably fast pace.”
Additional presentations came from Jeanette Palmer, director of client services for Raison Pure Intl., who introduced the design guidelines of the Sustainable Packaging Coalition; Dr. Matthew Realff, National Science Foundation, who stressed the need for transparent life cycle data to facilitate sustainable standards and progress; Rob Wallace, managing partner of Wallace-Church, who discussed the ROI of package design; and Karen Lynn, manager of customer and regulatory affairs at International Paper, who believes that when it comes to sustainability, paperboard packaging converters “have a fabulous story to tell.”
As sponsors of the 64th Annual National Paperboard Packaging Competition, PPC acknowledged converters' efforts and ingenuity with a total of 79 gold and excellence awards, including the top two honors: The President's Award and the Innovation Award. Judges fielded a total of 150 entries in 25 categories, noting nearly 85% of entries were designed with special environmental and sustainability considerations.
Judges for this year's awards were John T. Lyons III, Package Design Magazine; Jeannie Spitler, graphic designer; James W. Peters CPP, Inst. of Packaging Professionals; Maria A. Ferrante, Packaging Machinery Technology/PMMI; Kay Cooksey, Clemson Univ.; Harold Hughes, Michigan State Univ.; Jennifer Acevedo, BrandPackaging; and Richard E. DePaul, DePaul Assoc.
PPC's top honor, the President's Award, was bestowed on Jones Packaging, London, ON, Canada, for its Nestlé Turtles package, entered in the Candy and Confections category. Uniquely designed to store and display individually wrapped chocolates, the standup box features slider sides that allow it to double as a serving bowl. Tamper tabs protect the package from entry prior to purchase. Judges liked the soft curves in the lid, and due to its stackability, the product is ideal for floor displays.
Created from solid bleached sulfate board, the package design eliminated the need for plastic containers and overwrap, making it a more sustainable option. The absence of the wrap is said to accentuate the high gloss and premium graphics, attracting the consumer to the carton.
A big winner with a total of 11 awards, MeadWestvaco Corp., Glen Allen, VA, claimed the Innovation Award for its Electronic Hard Case cigarette carton converted for British American Tobacco. Entered in the Materials/Process Applications category division, this store-shelf standout catches consumers' attention with the words “Inspired From Within” blinking and scrolling like a tickertape across the front of the carton.
To create this effect, MeadWestvaco installs several technologies in the top panel. Inside the lid is an electronic module containing a circuit board, batteries, touch pad, and light array. A red button on the top left corner of the package turns the feature on and off. For the initial order, this was hand applied, but automated inserting is reported possible. The lid and back panel also have a magnetic opening and closing feature.
Utilizing coated natural kraft board to achieve the required stiff structure, this carton becomes a keepsake that can be reused to store cigarettes or other items, extending the brand image to continue advertising within the home.
For a complete list of winners, visit www.ppcnet.org.
The Nine Basic Metrics of Walmart's Packaging Scorecard
- 15% based on GHG/CO2 per ton of Production
- 15% based on Material Value
- 15% based on Product/Package Ratio
- 15% based on Cube Utilization
- 10% based on Transportation
- 10% based on Recycled Content
- 10% based on Recovery Value
- 5% based on Renewable Energy
- 5% based on Innovation
What is Sustainable Packaging?
The Sustainable Packaging Coalition defines sustainable packaging as packaging that:
- is beneficial, safe, and healthy for individuals and communities throughout its life cycle;
- meets market criteria for performance and cost;
- is sourced, manufactured, transported, and recycled using renewable energy;
- maximizes the use of renewable or recycled source materials;
- 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; and
- is effectively recovered and utilized in biological and/or industrial cradle-to-cradle cycles.
For more information visit www.sustainablepackaging.org.