headline press information

Date 30th October 2012 / www.procarton.com
Title Pro Carton’s good environmental story continues ...
  • Carbon Footprint is now 915 kg fossil CO₂e/tonne
  • The new updated figure shows a reduction of by 5% in 3 years

Since 2005, Pro Carton has regularly gathered and reported data on the environmental impact of the production processes of European cartonboard and cartons. The latest report presents Life Cycle data from 2011 which includes virgin and recycled fibre cartonboard and printed cartons.

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When using the same basis to compare the data from 2011 with data collected in 2008, improvements were found in the following major environmental impact categories. Many of the improvements are due to more efficient use of electricity, increasing use of bio-energy , and more focus on measurement and control of water use.


Table of Improvement
The relative changes in the major environmental impact categories since 2008 are:


Consumption of non-renewable resources (Abiotic depletion) -1%
Emissions that can cause acid rain (Acidification) -4%
Emissions that can lead to loss of oxygen (Eutrophication) -6%
Emissions that can harm the ozone layer (Ozone layer depletion) -8%
Carbon Footprint -5%

The industry average Carbon Footprint is 915 kg fossil CO₂ equivalents/tonne from cartonboard produced and converted.

This new Carbon Footprint figure continues the trend for continuous improvement in the environmental performance of the industry. In 2008, Pro Carton published a Carbon Footprint figure of 964 kg/tonne CO₂e which was a 7% reduction from 2005.


Biogenic Carbon and the Carbon Footprint of Cartons
Discussions are on-going at ISO (International Organization for Standardization) to establish an ISO standard for Carbon Footprint. As the debate continues, the forest products industries, including the cartonboard industry, have a unique attribute to bring to the Carbon Footprinting discussion, based on the renewable raw material.

Trees grow by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen through photosynthesis. This filtering process delivers a renewable, bio-based raw material which is used for paper and cartonboard products. The process is measured in terms of biogenic carbon.

In 2009, IVL Swedish Environmental Institute developed a methodology to calculate biogenic carbon the in the Carbon Footprint of cartons, which is based on relating the carbon benefits of the natural raw material to cartonboard packaging¹.

IVL proposed a positive link between net carbon sequestration in sustainably managed forests and consumption of cartons: consumer demand for cartons stimulates demand for timber (wood fibre to make cartonboard) which in turn encourages the sustainable management of forests and net carbon sequestration in the forest. IVL’s study suggests that due to demand for cartons from the market, 730 kg of biogenic carbon dioxide per average tonne of cartons in Europe, is removed from the atmosphere.

IVL’s work complements Pro Carton’s data which measures the amount of carbon dioxide equivalents emitted from fossil fuels used in the industry’s production process (cradle-to-gate). For 2011, Pro Carton’s Carbon Footprint figure is 915 kg CO₂e/tonne of cartons. In a cradle-to-gate approach, the emissions of 915 kg/tonne fossil CO₂ e is significantly compensated by the figure of -730 kg biogenic CO₂ sequestration.


European cartons’ environmental credentials are underpinned by the use of cartonboard whose raw material comes from sustainably managed forests. These credentials have been reinforced by a recently published amendment to the International Standard, ISO 14021 on Self-declared environmental claims. Clause 7.14 of ISO 14021 gives the usage of the term “renewable material” as :

material that is composed of biomass from a living source and that can be continually replenished

Cartonboard packaging based on virgin fibres from sustainably managed forests can credibly make the claim of being made from a renewable material.

Choosing cartons encourages the capture of carbon dioxide to make a renewable material and shows the positive contribution which cartonboard packaging is making in the debate about climate change and the environment.


¹”Carbon Footprint of Cartons in Europe – Carbon Footprint methodology and biogenic carbon sequestration” by IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute 2009”

For more information, please visit the Sustainability and Resource Efficiency sections at: www.procarton.com

Carbon Footprint
Carbon Footprint



Jennifer Buhaenko +44 1371 856 577 buhaenko@procarton.com
Background Pro Carton is the European Association of Carton and Cartonboard manufacturers. Its main purpose is to promote the use of cartons and cartonboard to brand owners, the trade as well as designers, the media and politicians as an economically and ecologically balanced packaging medium.