Circular Sustainability Assessment for Packaging

Plastic pollution and consumers’ environmental awareness have been driving businesses to adopt new strategies to safely deliver their products. However, capturing the sustainability and circularity credentials of packaging is still a challenge, and existing methodologies are limited in scope.

What is a sustainable packaging? How to ensure that all sustainability and circularity aspects are covered in a packaging analysis? Is it feasible to go beyond current assessment boundaries and create an all-encompassing framework? These are the questions that gathered members across the value chain around a common need: a holistic environmental assessment for their packaging.

    The challenge

    Around 40% of the plastic produced globally is used for packaging applications. It is clear today that packaging value chains linear strategies entail significant economic and environmental drawbacks. However, a lack of common understanding about how to assess plastic packaging alternatives prevents the wide adoption and scale-up of circular and sustainable solutions.

    The business case

    Plastic packaging capital cost generated by its negative impact on the environment has been valued conservatively by UNEP at USD $40 billion. This figure will enormously grow if our current trajectory does not reverse. A widely accepted overarching framework for packaging environmental assessment is crucial to shape the future of circular and sustainable packaging and drive business long-term value creation.

    The solution

    Developing a standardized framework combining circularity and sustainability considerations will allow businesses to speak a common language across the value chain, ensuring credibility and comparability of outcomes. It will support companies’ objective decision-making process for packaging material or delivery system, in line with their sustainability strategy.

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