FSC labelled beverage cartons surge in Germany | WWF

FSC labelled beverage cartons surge in Germany

Posted on 19 September 2012
The first FSC labelled beverage cartons in Germany.
© SIG Combibloc
FSC labels are quickly becoming a hot item on German breakfast tables. That’s because half of the beverage cartons sold in the country today – more than 4 billion per annum – are now FSC-certified, a major shift from just two and a half years ago when no cartons held the FSC label.

FSC is rapidly gaining visibility in Germany, thanks to a commitment by the country’s top three suppliers, including GFTN participants SIG Combibloc and Tetra Pak. The two, along with Elopak, have set a goal to achieve 85 per cent FSC certification of beverage cartons and labeled packages by 2015, but a recent survey shows that the three companies are well ahead of their target.

There is growing momentum among retailers in Germany to address the issue of sustainability and demonstrate to consumers they are frontrunners in sourcing responsibly produced paper products. The recent surge and accompanying push to actively advertise the benefits of FSC certification has made Germany a leader among its European counterparts when it comes to FSC-labeled beverage cartons.

"This positive development in Germany will help increase the brand awareness of FSC and responsible forestry worldwide and across industries," said Johannes Zahnen, Manager, GFTN-Germany.

SIG Combibloc, which became a GFTN participant in 2009, was the first to introduce FSC-labelled beverage cartons in Germany. Today, it is the only beverage carton supplier in the world that has 100 per cent FSC Chain of Custody (CoC) certification for its paper board supply and all its production facilities and sales units, a milestone that it achieved in the end of 2009. The company has set an ambitious target of having 40 percent of all its cartons worldwide FSC-labeled by the end of 2014.

"Being one of the leading system suppliers for aseptic beverage and food cartons, we take responsibility for the responsible sourcing of our main raw material paper board. To guarantee this we decided to go with the FSC system, as FSC offers the highest standards on a global level, which are supported by all major NGOs," said Michael Hecker, Head of Environment, Health & Safety at SIG Combibloc. "Another important element in our strategy is to cooperate with other key players on the WWF/GFTN platform in order to increase and promote the use of FSC labeled products at all levels, as we are strongly committed to promoting responsible forestry worldwide."

In 2010, SIG Combibloc launched China’s first FSC-labelled cartons and has, in recent years, introduced FSC-labeled beverage cartons in the US as well. GFTN has helped SIG Combibloc progress towards its targets of increasing FSC labels by helping evaluate the market, providing valuable opinion on the benefits of FSC certification and promoting FSC.

Tetra Pak, a leading food processing and packaging solutions company, has been a GFTN participant for its global sourcing of paperboard through GFTN-Sweden since 2006 and has adopted the stepwise approach for all its global sourcing of paper. The company sources about two million tons of paperboard each year from paper mills around the globe and the resulting containers are used by people in more than 170 countries.

Tetra Pak launched the first ever FSC labelled beverage carton in partnership with UK-based retailer Sainsbury’s. Today, over 50 per cent of Tetra Pak’s cartons in Brazil, Germany, Argentina, UK, Belgium, Switzerland and the Netherlands are FSC-labelled, and for 2012 the company forecasts more than four billion FSC-labelled cartons to be sold in China alone, and more than seven billion in Brazil.

"Tetra Pak is proud to be a pioneer and one of the leading promoters of responsibly managed forests, having offered its customers the FSC label since 2007. The programme was launched in the UK and has reached more than 20 countries so far. FSC is an important part of our ambition to ensure long term sustainability of our business and environment," said Mario Abreu, Director of Forestry and Recycling at Tetra Pak. "Having fully certified packaging material is essential for us and the future of the material we are dependent on. Almost as important is to increase consumer's awareness about the value of choosing credibly certified products, which provide for a better management of resources, thus reducing our footprint on our planet."

The first FSC labelled beverage cartons in Germany.
© SIG Combibloc Enlarge