New research from the renewable materials company Stora Enso sheds light on the importance of packaging in achieving greater food systems sustainability. The report entitled “Food packaging for better food systems” identifies 13 impact opportunities for the food packaging value chain, powered by innovation and collaboration, to unlock greater global climate, biodiversity, and social progress.
Fiber-based packaging is an enabler of sustainable food systems due in part to its renewable base material, recyclability, and reliability in hygienic food protection. In the report, Stora Enso envisions a new developmental role for packaging to combat the hidden socioeconomic costs created by our food systems. This includes strengthening food system sustainability by advancing opportunities in areas including supporting healthy diets, minimizing food loss, and developing new compostable or waste-based materials.
Tiina Pursula, SVP Sustainability commented: “Our food systems play a crucial role in securing a circular, biodiversity- and climate-positive future. We need to look at these systems holistically and consider how can we contribute to food system transformation, such as healthier, plant-based foods and food waste reduction. This way, we can drastically change the way we produce, transport, and consume food.”
In mapping the 13 impact opportunities, the report highlights enabling conditions for each to be fully realized, such as innovation, technology, finance, and policy, such as better waste sorting, higher recycling capacity, and establishing a market for secondary raw materials to improve the circularity of materials systems. These conditions illustrate the need for a multi-stakeholder approach to fully realize the solutions proposed by the research.
Phillip Hanefeld, SVP Innovation and R&D said of opportunity for the sector: “Across the packaging value chain and beyond, we already have the innovation expertise to act on these opportunities and accelerate the food system’s transition. We’re hopeful that the information in this white paper will spark and deepen the much-needed collaboration among stakeholders to optimize the use of our collective resources and make our proposals a reality.”
The report follows a string of collaborations with leading companies in the food and beverage packaging industry. Stora Enso recently discussed the research findings in a webinar as it continues to champion the adoption and integration of renewable, fiber-based materials in packaging solutions and a strategic overhaul of current food systems.