Udo Felten Product related Environm. S. & Affairs

Udo Felten –
SIG Manager Product Related Global Environmental Sustainability & Affairs

Seventy-one percent of millennials – those born in the 1980s and 1990s, and the biggest consumer group the world has ever seen – want brands to be environmentally friendly and ethical, research shows.

And they look for authentic labels to guide them.

That’s just one of the reasons we are committed to the Forest Stewardship Council™ (FSC™) certification system. Since 2009, all our paperboard supply and production plants and sales units worldwide have been verified in accordance with the FSC™ Chain of Custody certification.


Protecting forests worldwide

For nearly 20 years, the FSC has been working to improve forest management practices worldwide and has grown to become the leading international forest certification system – thanks to consumer demand and the widespread support of key environmental organisations.

In 2009 when we started the FSC label use for mass market products, it was only recognised at customer and consumer level in a small number of countries. Nevertheless, we achieved a continual increase in label use, and after five years, about 50% of our global carton sales included the FSC label.

Over 4,400 different food and beverage products now carry the FSC label on SIG Combibloc carton packs. The FSC label sends a strong environmental message to choosy consumers and we want our customers to benefit from the trend in sustainable buying habits of millennials and others.


Easier labeling

“The good news is that the world is fully aware of the important role of forests in climate health.”

Trademark requirements for FSC logo placement used to be quite strict -particularly regarding colour use and size – and were subject to lengthy, bureaucratic approval processes. This made it impossible to use the label for many pack designs in existing lead times.

In recent years, we have been working with FSC International on how to overcome barriers to logo use on packaging by simplifying the process and adjusting graphic requirements. For example, where space is limited, it is now possible to use a smaller logo or print it in a less prominent place, such as the bottom of the pack. These new trademark use options are an important basis for working with our customers towards our goal of seeing FSC labeling on 100% of SIG packaging by 2020.


Why is it important to label?

“The way forests are managed is vitally important to the local environment and the people who live nearby.”

These are the five key messages the FSC label says about you:

1) You have considered the social and environmental impacts in your supply chain

In a globalised world, supply chains are long and complex. Customers are increasingly demanding greater transparency – if there are social or environmental problems that can be linked to your products, then it’s likely they will be discovered. In a crowded marketplace, FSC accreditation sends a strong message to your customers that you are aware of the potential risks in your supply chain and you are taking positive steps to tackle them.

2) Your sourcing has been endorsed by leading NGOs

The FSC is an international non-profit organisation and is endorsed by many non-governmental organisations (NGOs) including WWF, Greenpeace, and the Rainforest Alliance. WWF regards the FSC as the only viable standard for promoting responsible forest management, and it recommends it to consumers, forest managers, policymakers, and businesses.

3) Your packaging is helping to protect the environment and wildlife

The FSC label guarantees certain environmental forest management standards. Harvested trees must be replaced or allowed to regenerate naturally, and natural forests must not be converted to tree farms. These requirements help to limit deforestation of rare and old-growth forest and avoid disruption to wildlife. Genetically-modified trees are prohibited, as are highly hazardous pesticides which are still widely used in many non-certified forests.  These chemicals can pollute waterways and harm animals and plants.

4) Your packaging comes from forests where people and communities are protected

A 2014 study by the Center for International Forestry Research demonstrated that FSC-certified forests confer more benefits to the workers and communities than uncertified ones. Certified forests report better employee living and working conditions, superior health and safety procedures and a fairer distribution of resources. Forest managers must address any negative social impacts of their operations, engage with local community members and importantly, respect the customary rights of indigenous peoples nearby.

5) You are helping tackle climate change

Growing trees remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which helps to limit the impact of climate change. If forests are well-managed, trees are a continuously available renewable resource. Neither plastic (non-renewable)nor metal has an equivalent certification scheme that can provide the same sustainable sourcing assurance that the FSC does.  This means that FSC™-certified cartons are the best environmental choice for food and drinks packaging.


What next?

We believe the label is where the value lies. The FSC™ label helps to empower consumers to make informed choices about the products they buy.

Today, around 7% of the world’s forests – over 180 million hectares – are FSCcertified. By working with our customers to ensure that all packaging is labeled, we can help to spread brand awareness and increase demand for FSC-certified products across our industry. In this way, we can empower consumers to make sustainable choices which help to drive improvements in the way forests are run and managed, benefitting plants, wildlife and communities the world over.

We want to continue challenging ourselves to be leaders in the sustainable food packaging industry, and we hope you will join us on our journey towards our target of 100% labeled cartons by 2020.


Want to know more about SIG´s environmental behaviour? Give us a call, comment or e-mail us.



• 2007 – SIG made the decision to become FSC™ certified

• 2009 – SIG became the first manufacturer of carton packs to have all its production sites worldwide certified in accordance with FSC Chain of Custody (CoC) certification.

• 2009 – SIG became the first manufacturer to offer aseptic juice and dairy cartons carrying the ‘FSC-Mix’ label

• 2009 – SIG partnered with LIDL to introduce FSC-labelled cartons to the German mass market

• 2010 – SIG partnered with Yili to release first FSC-labelled cartons in China at the world expo in Shanghai

• 2012 – 17% of SIG packaging is FSC-labelled

• 2014 – 20 billion FSC-labelled cartons were produced

• 2014 – 40% of SIG packaging is FSC-labelled

• 2014 – SIG proposed “the logo motion” at FSC International General Assembly to reduce hurdles and bureaucratic burden in the FSC logo use

• 2016 – SIG set 2020 target to achieve 100% FSC-labelled cartons

Posted by Udo Felten

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