Big three drink carton firms improve traceability

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags European union Sig combibloc

Tetra Pak, Elopak, and SIG Combibloc increased sharply their purchase of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified or controlled wood fibres last year, according to a new report.

The three carton manufacturers, who control four fifths of the global drinks carton market, increased their purchase of certified or controlled fibres from 47 per cent in 2007 to 77 per cent in 2008. This represents an increase of more than 700,000 tons.

These were the key finding of a report carried out by independent verifier ProForest on behalf of the Alliance for beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE).

Tetra Pak, Elopak, and SIG Combibloc may be making significant progress on traceability and sustainability but still have some way to go before meeting their long-term targets.

Certification goals

One of these goals is to reach 100 per cent chain of custody certification of all wood fibres used in mills that produce their paperboard by 2015. Achieving 100 per cent certification means overcoming the current supply shortages that prompted FSC to create the less stringent green category of controlled fibres.

The big three drinks carton makers have also set the target of securing chain of supply certification for all their carton manufacturing plants by 2018. This will require major infrastructure investment.

Mario Abreu, forestry and supply chain director at Tetra Pak, said: “While we have doubled the number of manufacturing plants certified, this accounts for only a little over 10 per cent of the total. There is still a tough challenge ahead but we are confident of meeting it.”

The ProForest progress report on carton sustainability comes as the EU Council of Ministers prepares to finalise its first reading on the proposal for a Regulation to combat illegal logging.

ACE spokesperson Alec Elliot said it is not being prompted to act by legislation or the threat of it, but that its goal is rather to go “well above and beyond legislative requirements.”

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