The University of St. Gallen has presented a comprehensive study on sustainable industrial packaging. Companies such as Bosch, Tchibo, Swiss Post and the packaging specialist Smurfit Kappa were involved.
Politics, businesses and consumers have long been aware of the environmental impact of packaging. However, there is potential for optimizing sustainability not only in consumer packaging, which is usually the focus of attention, but also in industrial packaging.
The Institute for Supply Chain Management at the University of St. Gallen (ISCM-HSG) has been working on the sustainability of industrial packaging since June 2022 with a consortium of well-known users and producers of industrial packaging as well as logistics service providers. Participants included Hexagon Geosystems, Leica Geosystems part of Hexagon, Bosch, Swiss Post, Tchibo, xpack green logistics and Smurfit Kappa.
Three thematic clusters
Concrete levers for more sustainability were developed by the participants in three thematic clusters: alternative materials for packaging materials, improved recycling and the introduction or improvement of reusable systems. The overall result of the study provides guidelines for the use of sustainable packaging for industrial companies and concrete evaluation criteria. Success and risk factors are addressed, which provide orientation for the selection of the optimal packaging solution.
The content of the guidelines can be applied to different application environments and industries. They also include potential solutions in recycling and reusable systems. Extracts from material lists also help companies to gain a quick overview of suitable alternative packaging materials, packaging types, and sustainability levers. Thus the set of possible optimization options can be condensed at an early stage.
The study is here available for download in German from the University of St. Gallen.