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Is your brew making the right kind of impact on climate change?

Just tiny alterations in your packaging design can create a domino effect that cuts your carbon footprint throughout your supply chain and take 100s of lorries off the roads.

September 22, 2020

Across the world, students are walking out of classrooms on climate strike and the public are frustrated that current commitments to reducing CO2 are failing to deliver real change. Meanwhile, employee activism is forcing companies worldwide to consider their own sustainability and carbon reduction plans. Over 550 companies have now set emissions reduction targets and align their own carbon reduction strategy to meeting the Paris Climate Agreement.

From insulating bar cellars to reducing food waste, some brewers have already committed to lowering absolute carbon emissions by 50% within own operations and by 20% across value chain by 2025 to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius pathway and prevent catastrophic and irreversible climate change.

We are Redefining Packaging for a Changing World. And our Free White Paper reveals the contribution our sustainable packaging solutions can make.

Brewers can’t afford climate change

Reducing CO2 and preventing climate changes is vital for the brewing industry. Climate change will affect how and where hops and barley can be grown. It could impact the availability of water. According to new research involving the University of East Anglia (UEA), severe climate events could even cause shortages in the global beer supply. An increase in severe weather conditions will have an effect on hops, wilting the plants and accelerating the life cycles of pests, allowing them to produce more generations during a growing season. Yeasts, moulds, mildews, viruses, bacteria, and other infections also increase when temperatures rise. There’s never been a more critical time to move to packaging that stands out because it protects the world’s vital resources.

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Stop shipping empty space

At our Impact Centres across Europe our packaging designers and strategists are working hard to create tailored ‘distribution efficient’ packaging solutions that cut carbon footprints and reduce delivery miles. Each year 122 million tonnes of CO2 is emitted globally by shipping empty space and just a couple of millimetres reduction in your box size can take 100s of lorries off the road each year.

And it’s not just your ‘Goods Out’ where reductions in CO2 emissions (and costs) can be made. Switching from heavy weight solid board packs to suitable corrugated alternatives like our R-FluteTM packaging can cut packaging volume and weight, reducing the number of deliveries to your brewery. For one of our large brewery customers in the UK this has led to a 35% decrease in the number of pallets being delivered to their warehouses – which also means potentially 35% less warehousing space to light and heat too.

The origins of your fibre count

In our recent materiality analysis, the quality of our packaging and how we source the fibres used to make it were revealed as two of the highest priorities for both our internal and external stakeholders. This highlights the increasing importance to our customers of not only the sustainability credentials of our packaging - but of the whole supply chain. 

At DS Smith most packaging and paper products manufactured are made using recycled fibres, collected by our Recycling Division and recycled at our network of paper mills. Our corrugated board solutions already have the highest recycling rate of any packaging material in Europe ​and contain an average of 89% recycled content per box.

Yet without the use of virgin fibres, the supply of recycled board would run out within three years. So where we do not use recycled papers, we use virgin papers instead. In these cases, to ensure we use papers that derive from responsibly managed forests, we buy chain of custody certified papers in line with DS Smith Fibre Sourcing Policy.

To understand the impact of this on your carbon footprint, every tree has the potential to remove carbon from the atmosphere at the rate of approximately half a kilo of carbon every year. And every cubic meter of wood obtained from a felled tree could have reduced your carbon footprint by a further 2 tonnes.

Using fibre only from sustainable sources is just one way we have been able to achieve an 8.1% reduction in CO2 emissions per tonne of production across our own business in 2019.

Sustainability needn’t be a cost

Reducing CO2 can attract and retain customers and deliver efficiencies and value savings throughout your supply chain. At our Impact Centres you can discover practical easy steps you can take to deliver cost-effective sustainability benefits.

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And once you’ve taken steps to reduce your carbon footprint? Don’t forget to leave space on your packaging to tell your customers. According to the European Consumer Packaging Perceptions Survey, 88% of UK shoppers for example say they’d like to see more on-pack information that highlights how environmentally-friendly your packaging format is…

Discover the future of beer and cider packaging now

Our latest White Paper ‘Make the right kind of impact’ will tell you more about how our beer and cider packaging can help you cut your carbon footprint. It also explains how we are helping brewers meet the challenges of reducing single-use plastic in the supply chain, standing out on shelf and getting online quickly and safely.

Download it today. It could give you a competitive advantage and help you succeed in a challenging, changing world