Many brands and retailers could reduce the climate impact of their packaging up to 50% and avoid thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide being emitted into the air. The result is based on a large number of life cycle assessments performed by BillerudKorsnäs in a new tool that evaluates the environmental impact of different packaging solutions. The digital tool has received a warm welcome by customers and brand owners in their pursuit of reducing carbon emissions.

Global demand for packaging is rising with sustainability as a strong driver, which means future packaging will need to be designed so that it does not impact our climate.

"There is a knowledge gap on the market," says Johan Tegell, business development director at BillerudKorsnäs. "Companies don’t realizehow much they can reduce their carbon and fresh water footprint from packaging. It’s about optimizing the packaging to the supply chain and choosing suitable raw materials. Normally just small adjustments are needed to get great environmental savings. This was the reason why we introduced a life cycle assessment tool, to provide our customers with environmental insights about their packaging. Most customers are surprised when they see the results and realize the potential savings.

Life cycle assessment is a technique used to assess the environmental impact associated with all the stages of a product's life, from the extraction of raw materials through to processing, manufacturing, transportation and end-of-life treatment. Traditionally, performing one single life cycle assessment could take months of work due to the large amount of data that needs to be collected from the value chain.

The recently introduced digital tool contains an extensive database on different packaging materials, including data from BillerudKorsnäs’ own production. By selecting a number of parameters related to packaging, such as material, size, production location, transport and disposal method, it will show the total life cycle impact for carbon dioxide emissions and water consumption. At BillerudKorsnäs, the tool is mainly used to improve supply chain efficiency and environmental performance for customers with production in Asia. Customers can then use the information in their environmental communication and sustainability reporting.

During the year, BillerudKorsnäs will further develop the tool to include more data points on different materials. The tool is 3rd party reviewed and used on all projects within the business unit managed packaging.