Iggesund Paperboard is working via the American crowdsourcing company Crowdspring to challenge the world’s designers to improve existing consumer packaging.
“Every day we all see examples of packaging that could be improved by a better choice of materials or a better design,” explains Staffan Sjöberg, who is in charge of the project at Iggesund Paperboard. “Now we’re giving designers all over the world the chance to contribute their ideas on how to replace packaging made of glass, plastic or metal with solutions that use paperboard.”
He stresses that Iggesund is not looking for inexpensive ideas which can be put into commercial use. Instead, the aim is to get a picture of how global designers as a collective group believe they can steer packaging development in a more sustainable direction.
“We will not claim any commercial rights to the ideas that come in,” Sjöberg says. “We’re just interested in getting a snapshot of how designers believe they can improve the packaging they see in the shops they visit on a daily basis. We want to publish the ideas and maybe reproduce some of them in physical form but we are not interested in exploiting them commercially.”
For Crowdspring the collaboration with Iggesund Paperboard is an unusual project. Normally the online marketplace’s services are used when someone wants either a number of inexpensive design proposals or a wide range of ideas.
“This is an unusual reason for initiating a project with us,” comments Mike Samson, who is coordinating the project with Iggesund. “But we believe its combination of sustainability and innovative thinking will attract many of the thousands of designers listed in our database.”
Iggesund is challenging designers to make everyday consumer packaging more sustainable by replacing plastic, glass and metal with paperboard. As one example, a decade ago almost all sandwich packaging was made of plastic – now paperboard packaging is increasingly common for sustainability reasons.
Iggesund Paperboard is part of the Swedish forest industry group Holmen, one of the world’s 100 most sustainable industrial companies according to the UN Global Compact Index. Iggesund’s annual turnover is close to SEK 5bn (EUR 525m) and its flagship product Invercote is sold in over 100 countries.
The company has two product families, Invercote and Incada, which are both among the quality leaders in their segment. Since 2010 Iggesund has invested SEK 3.3bn (EUR 346m) to increase the energy efficiency and reduce the fossil carbon emissions from its paperboard mills. The investments have made both mills almost self-sufficient in electricity.
Iggesund and the Holmen Group report their fossil carbon emissions to the international Carbon Disclosure Project and are on the project’s A List, which singles out almost 200 companies world wide for their work against climate change. The two companies’ environmental data are integrated into their annual reports, which are produced in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative’s highest level of sustainability accounting.