While sustainability is high on most organisational agendas, implementation often lags behind intent, especially as far as packaging is concerned. And this applies not only to the agricultural and manufacturing sectors but, more specifically, to the retail sector. The lack of environmentally-sound, sustainably-produced and biodegradable packaging choices is simply not meeting changing consumer demand or business targets.
"Many brand owners and retailers are coming under pressure from consumers to respond positively to sustainability and environmental issues," says Albert Lubbe, Sappi Kraft MD, "and this is particularly evident in the area of packaging."
"So Sappi is partnering with them right from the R&D stage to custom develop food-grade and other paper packaging solutions that meet the specific needs of both the business and its customers. New innovations in paper technology and packaging design are enabling us and our packaging industry partners to offer solutions that have the properties most needed in this sector, including strength, attractiveness, durability, and resistance, while also facilitating our sustainability objectives. "
This is just one of the many sound reasons for making the switch to paper packaging, and forward-thinking brand owners and retailers that have partnered with Sappi to make the change in all of their outlets, are leading the way.
But, of course, not all paper is created equal. Consumers looking for food-safe, convenient and environmentally-sound paper packaging choices want to know that the paper they choose has a solid, reliable pedigree.
"One of the greatest benefits of paper is that it's a sustainable resource," says Lubbe, "and at Sappi, all of our tree plantations are accredited by the international Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC). Independent auditing procedures also mean that it is possible trace our virgin fibre from source to end product, something that is becoming increasingly important not only to consumers, but to shareholders and other stakeholders as well."
Sappi only uses fibre sourced from either Sappi-owned or partner-owned tree farms, and not from old-growth or indigenous forests. And innovations in manufacturing technology pioneered by the group mean that many Sappi papers contain a high percentage of either sugar cane fibre, which is manufacturing waste from the sugar industry, or recycled paper.
"We're also deeply committed to efficient energy and water usage," says Lubbe, "and our papers are produced using up to 50% renewable energy, a percentage we hope to increase in the future."
At the end user interface, consumers choosing packaging made from Sappi paper can be assured that it is not only an environmentally-sound choice to make, but a convenient one. Packaging solutions like grocery bags and take-away boxes are developed with the precise end use in mind, and are frequently more reliable than alternatives.
"From a usage point of view, our retail partners and Sappi have interrogated consumer needs very carefully, and have responded with solutions that are safe, strong and durable," says Lubbe.
"From an environmental point of view, Sappi packaging papers are not only reusable and recyclable, but offer a host of other features and benefits. Most importantly, they're biodegradable, and don't leave toxic residue in either the soil or the water when they do degrade. Together with the non-toxic inks used in the printing process, brand owners can be assured of a truly planet-friendly solution."
All Sappi papers are produced locally, using labour drawn from local communities, and the services of small and medium enterprises situated in the areas around plantations and production facilities. The group also has a best-practice training programme and, through its corporate social investment programme, is investing in the socio-economic development of the communities in which its workers live.
"So when you choose paper by Sappi, you're not just making a convenient choice, you're making a progressive, environmentally-sound and socially-conscious choice too," concludes Albert Lubbe.
"In short, paper is the choice of the future. And paper by Sappi is the paper to choose."
For further information on Sappi, please visitwww.sappi.com, and for more information about "I choose paper", visitwww.ichoosepaper.com. Follow "i choose paper" and chat about it on both Facebook and Twitter.