Hey! 

The second session of day one at Sustainability in Packaging was titled “Global Packaging Project and the Proliferation of Tools: How to Quantify the Data and Choose the Tools that Work,” including presentations from Procter & Gamble, RMIT University, UC Berkely, and PepsiCo.

First up was Alan Blake of Procter & Gamble, to present on “Practical Applications of the Global Packaging Project.”

Blake began by contextualizing the work of the Global Packaging Project, which as I have blogged about before, grew out of the Consumer Goods Forum and looks to develop a common language for packaging and sustainability. The action plan of the GPP was to begin by developing common metrics and indicators for assessing sustainable packaging; after which, test the established framework and measurement system via pilots. Consequently, pre-existing internationally recognized metrics balanced across the spectrum of sustainability were investigated, culminating in the GPP’s “dictionary of metrics;” this consists of 13 environmental attributes, 14 LCI indicators, 2 economic indicators, and 11 social indicators. After conducting 30 pilots via Walmart and P&G participation, the GPP released the Guidelines, which are intended to aid firms in answering specific business questions in the context of packaging/product environmental performance. Blake suggested visiting the GPP’s website, http://globalpackaging.mycgforum.com/ concluding, “GPP metrics should be integrated into the way you work today.” 

Next Blake moved onto a discussion of how the Guidelines are actually applied via several case studies that began with a specific business question:

Case study 1: what is the benefit of 20% less HDPE in a bottle? Bottle= 100 g –> 80 g 

GPP Common Metrics

Current

Proposed

Packaging Weight and Minimization

315 g

195 g

Case study 2: What is the benefit of 2X compacted product?

GPP Common Metrics

Current

Proposed

Packaging Weight and Minimization

315 g

195 g

Transport Packaging Cube Efficiency

75%

68%

Packaging to Product Weight Ratio

4.92g/load

3.04/g/load

Climate Change (GHG)

 

Transportation savings? 

Case study 3: What is the benefit of HDPE sourced from sugar cane? Bottle= petro –> renewable

Attributes of business question include: renewable content, material waste, chain of custody, water from stressed resources, environmental management system, energy audits.

The life cycle indicators of business question include all life cycle metrics (14); the social indicators of business question include all social metrics (11); therefore, in order to answer this business question, a total of 31 GPP metrics need to be consulted. 

Blake states, “The range of metrics depends on the business question.”In the first case study where the proposed packaging change was light-weighting, only 1 GPP metric pertained; in the second case study where the proposed change was compaction, 4 GPP metrics pertained; and, in the third case study where the proposed change was new HDPE source, 31 metrics needed investigation. Therefore, depending on your business sustainability strategy and sustainable packaging policy, different business questions re: sustainable packaging will appear more “appealing” than others due to the commitment required with data collection inherent in the different changes proposed.

Blake finishes his discussion by providing the following template for using the Guidelines of the GPP:

1. Define question

2. Determine scope

3. Select metrics

4. Gather data

5. Review data quality

6. Communicate business decision

My next post will discuss Dr. Karli Verghese’s presentation, “Developing the Corporate Strategy or Packaging Sustainability and Integrating Tools into the Product-Packaging Development Process.” Dr. Verghese is the Program Director of the Sustainable Products and Packaging Center at the Centre for Design at RMIT University. 

Happy Monday Funday! I hope everyone had a nice weekend and one full of relaxation!

As most industry-folk know, the Global Packaging Project released its “A Global Language for Packaging and Sustainability: A framework and a measurement system for our industry” a week ago-ish, which discusses, as the title implies, a global metric for assessing the sustainability of a given package or packaging system. Pack World’s/Greenerpackage.com’s Anne Marie Mohan provides a good summary of the project here with the report(s) available for download: http://www.greenerpackage.com/metrics_standards_and_lca/gpp_releases_global_framework_measurement_system_sustainability.

As Mohan explains, the GPP looks to create a GLOBAL metric for quantifying the “sustainability” of a package/packaging system. While the Walmart Scorecard and the SPC’s Metrics for Sustainable Packaging exist in isolation, this project looks to be the over-arching governance on sustainable packaging metrics, absorbing the work of both the SPC and Walmart. From what I believe, if a new metric wishes to be added to the Walmart Scorecard, it must first be presented to the GPP for consideration and validation.

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of “sustainable packaging metrics,” a “metric” can be understood as an “attribute” that a given package or packaging system has in the context of the environment from a life cycle approach. For instance, packaging weight could be a metric taken into consideration when trying to quantify the environmental profile of a given package, as is the case with the SPC’s COMPASS packaging life cycle assessment modeling software and the Walmart Scorecard (packaging weight informs the energy required to transport the product/package throughout the supply chain and consequentially impacts GHG emissions, fossil fuel consumption, etc.)

Unlike the Scorecard and COMPASS, however, this global set of metrics takes into account social and economic indicators, in addition to the environmental ones; in my opinion, this integration makes the GPP’s approach to assessing packaging sustainability a much more holistic and therefore efficient tool than those currently in use.  

Taken together, the GPP proposes 52 metrics that need to be recognized in the discussion around issues pertaining to packaging and sustainability. 52, isn’t that wonderful!!!

And here are some of my favorites:

Environmental—chain of custody: This questions if the production/cultivation of the feedstock (cellulous vs. fossil fuel) is done so “sustainably.” Think Forest Stewardship Council…AWSOME!

Environmental—water used from stressed sources: This metric questions where the water comes from that facilitates the production/cultivation of the packaging feedstock. Check out the Global Water Tool, based on several independent sources, which provides a global water scarcity mapping function for the identification of production activities occurring in stressed or scarce watersheds:

http://www.wbcsd.org/templates/TemplateWBCSD5/layout.asp?type=p&MenuId=MTUxNQ&doOpen=1&ClickMenu=LeftMenu=LeftMenu

There’s this, too:

http://www.ifu.ethz.ch/staff/stpfiste/index_EN

Economic—packaged product wastage: this metric questions the value of packaged product lost due to packaging failure. I like this one because it is so simple; it reaffirms the number one function of packaging, which is, to protect the product. In a time when “smaller product to package ratio”, “material reduction” and “downgauging” has become, for the most part, our industries’ approach to “sustainability,” it is nice to be reminded of the necessity for excess…

Social—community investment: This metric questions the role a corporation plays in its community. Because Corporate Social Responsibility reports are so in vogue, it’s nice to see that such efforts will be quantified with this assessment, hopefully influencing purchasing decisions.

For the other 49 metrics, check out the report here:

http://globalpackaging.mycgforum.com/allfiles/TCGF_Packaging_Sustainability_Indicators__Metrics_Framework_1.0.pdf

Ok folks, that’s all I got for today. I am researching how to perform a waste audit so we can determine what type of composter would be the most appropriate for Dordan’s food and yard waste generation. Details to come!