Pro Carton regularly measures the average fossil carbon footprint of the European cartonboard and carton industries. Based on Life Cycle data from 2014, Pro Carton has calculated that the industry’s Carbon Footprint figure is 885 kg CO2 eq / tonne of cartons. This replaces the Carbon Footprint figure last calculated in 2011 which was 915 kg CO2 eq / tonne. Alongside this, a study of biogenic carbon in cartons shows that a significant amount of carbon is absorbed and “locked up” in the carton’s raw material – wood fibre.
Pro Carton has collected environmental data on cartonboard packaging produced in Europe and compiled a Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) of European average figures. These relate to the amount of resources used to manufacture cartonboard packaging and the effects of the production processes, in 2014. Using this data, Pro Carton calculated a carbon footprint figure of 885 kg of carbon dioxide (and equivalents) produced for each tonne of cartonboard which is converted. The latest LCI report shows that the cartonboard and carton industries are continuing to manage their environmental effects responsibly and efficiently.
As an industry based on the renewable resource of the forest, cartonboard has a unique advantage as a packaging material. It can claim that the raw material derived from sustainably managed forests captures and stores carbon; that cartons in use continue to store carbon; and that recycling cartons keeps the carbon locked up and prevents it from returning to the atmosphere.
The industry believes that cartons should be credited for their role in mitigating carbon in the atmosphere. A study by the Swedish Environmental Research Institute (IVL) (1) showed 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 biogenic study complements Pro Carton’s data and the fossil carbon footprint of 885 kg CO2 eq / tonne cartonboard produced and converted could be weighed against the figure of -730 kg biogenic CO2 sequestration.
Therefore, choosing cartons encourages the capture of carbon dioxide to make a renewable material and shows the positive contribution which cartonboard packaging is making to the debate about climate change and the environment.
(1) Carbon Footprint of Cartons in Europe – Carbon Footprint methodology and biogenic carbon sequestration” IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute 2009
For further information, please contact :
Jennifer Buhaenko, Head of Sustainability and Regulatory Affairs