How can it be smart for the planet to transport paper half way around the globe?
CO2 -emissions from transportation of goods is one of the main global issues to deal with in order to get to grips with the escalating global warming. But how then can Iggesund justify transporting a packaging material like paperboard far and wide from its birthplace in the Swedish forest? A recent study shows that long transports may still give a positive climate effect to your packaging.
Iggesund Paperboard is a multinational company serving customers all around the globe. We have people on the ground on all major markets and have a web of service stations on strategic sites in order to be able to deliver to demanding customers swiftly, no matter if the destination is Yokohama, Madrid or Toronto.
But today people are correctly looking at the big picture when sourcing packaging material. Aside from technical specifications and delivery times, sustainability has become a real market driver. In this process many have started to question the logic in using a paperboard from Scandinavia when their production is located in the Americas or in the Far East.
Together with transport consulting system Ecotransit World Iggesund set out to get hard facts on how the transports effects the total carbon dioxide load of our Invercote paperboard. This is what we learned:
Transportation of Invercote from Iggesund, Sweden to Tokyo almost doubles the carbon dioxide emissions, the carbon footprint, of the product! Simply put we went from ~200kg CO2 per tonne paperboard to almost 400kg! Seems like shopping locally really is much better!
But there is a catch!
Official figures from the Japanese Paperindustry Association show that the average figure for Japanese paper is almost 800kg! Double that of Invercote despite the long travel! Using Invercote saves 50% of the carbon dioxide compared to using local paperboard!
How is this possible?
- The Invercote production is almost 100% powered by biofuels from the forest minimizing the about of fossil CO2 emitted from the mill.
- The small part of electricity that is bought from the national Swedish grid contains practically no fossil energy.
- The Iggesund mill has worked with energy efficiency activities for decades and today it has a total energy footprint significantly lower than almost all other paper mills.
Together these three points make the carbon footprint of Invercote extremely low, so low that even if it is doubled by transport it still is much better for our environment than anything domestically produced on other markets.
Are we happy with this? No way!
We need to put more pressure on our transport partners to improve and we need to continue to work with innovation in production to get rid of the last gallons of fossil oil.
All this said I have so far only compared to other paper materials. If you replace a plastic packaging with a box made of Invercote you easily can save more than 90% of the CO2, but that is story for another time!
(But if you can’t wait to learn more about the benefits of using Invercote to replace plastic packaging you can do so here.)