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Resource Efficiency

Carbon Footprint

Although carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions are not resources as such, they have been cited as indicators that can be used to measure a product’s use of resources.

Fossil Carbon

Pro Carton’s Carbon Footprint for Cartons is 885 kg / tonne fossil CO2 emissions from cartonboard produced and converted.

The industry continues to make improvements through more efficient use of electricity, increasing use of bio-energy and more focus on measurement and control of water use.

Biogenic Carbon

Cartonboard’s raw material is wood fibre – the renewable resource of the sustainably managed forest. Growing trees capture and store CO2 and when the wood fibre is processed into cartons, the CO2 continues to be stored in the cartons. In addition, recycling cartons keeps the CO2 locked up in the material and prevents it from returning to the atmosphere.

Despite the obvious carbon benefits of the carton’s raw material, there is currently no agreed way to include forest carbon in the carbon footprint of forest-derived products . In order to advance the debate, ECMA (European Carton Makers Association) with the help of Pro Carton, commissioned IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute to produce a report “Carbon Footprint of Cartons in Europe”.

Carbon Footprint 2016v2

The report, published in 2009, focuses on carbon sequestration in the forest and suggests a link between carton consumption and net carbon sequestration in sustainably managed forests. IVL suggests that due to demand for cartons from the market, 730 kg of biogenic carbon per average tonne of cartons in Europe, is removed from the atmosphere: -730 kg biogenic CO₂ / tonne cartons.

IVL’s study complements Pro Carton’s work which measures the amount of carbon dioxide equivalents emitted from fossil fuels used by the industry (cradle-to-gate). For 2014, Pro Carton’s Carbon Footprint figure is 885 kg/tonne CO2e per tonne of cartons. In a cradle-to-age approach, the emissions of 885 kg/tonne fossil CO2e is significantly compensated by the figure of -730 kg biogenic CO2 sequestration.

An average cradle –to -grave Carbon Footprint of converted cartons sold in Europe was also calculated by IVL in 2009. It represented the total Greenhouse Gas Emissions from one average tonne of cartons produced, converted and printed in Europe at that time, taking into account the current virgin and recycled fibre utilisation mix.

For further information on the carbon footprint for cartons, please visit the Environment section of the Sustainability site.