Smurfit Kappa eyes sustainability in packaging

Smurfit Kappa eyes sustainability in packaging

German Pulido, director of innovation for Smurfit Kappa, said counting the cost of packaging goes beyond dollars and cents.

Pulido said the company analyzes how packaging acts in the environment it is used.

“We are looking to optimize the total cost for the logistics chain, and doing this process what we do is not only to take a look at the costs but also what happens in terms of carbon dioxide emissions, transportation optimization and other factors,” he said.

“We work and develop solutions for our customers because the consumer doesn’t like to pay for packaging.”

He said the company has launched the Better Planet Packaging Initiative, inviting hundreds of designers and engineers and thousands of customers to innovate sustainability.

The company initiative looks at four key elements:

  • Materials: Recycled or reused materials are used where possible;
  • Production: Packaging is produced with the smallest carbon, waste and water footprint;
  • Supply Chain: Packaging protects products in the entire supply chain; other functionality like marketing is added with minimal impact on the environmental footprint.
  • End of Life: Sustainable packaging should not harm the planet in any “end-of-life” scenario. 
  • To support Smurfit Kappa’s strategy, it has opened Experience Centers in Dallas, Colombia, Brazil and Mexico.

Pulido said Smurfit Kappa has developed tools that can predict the effect of packaging and what it might mean to end consumers.

The tools include:

  • Paper to Box: Software that selects and creates the most suitable composition of papers to meet required packaging performance;
  • PackExpert: Calculates the strength required for a pack, accounting for constraints in the supply chain;
  • Innobook: A database of latest packaging designs;
  • Store Visualizer: Packaging prototypes are placed in a 3D virtual store;
  • Shelf Viewer: A database of images of shelf-ready packaging; and
  • MagicHat:Methods to bring savings at each stage of the supply chain;

Smurfit Kappa’s 2019 Innovation Event is May 16 in Amsterdam.