Sustainable and recyclable cartonboard packaging sheets

Navigating the green frontier: unveiling success in packaging through sustainability benchmarking

Written by Katie Mencke

Insights from SPC Impact 2024, New Orleans

Benchmarking is emerging as a crucial tool in the modern business landscape, where evaluating and comparing sustainability performance against competitor, customer, and supplier standards has become not just a preference but a necessity in building resilient and responsible supply chains.

The importance of sustainability benchmarking is underscored by the increasing legislative pressures on supply chains, compelling brand owners to take responsibility for the sustainability performance of their products’ full life cycles. This accountability extends throughout the supply chain, driving packaging producers and other stakeholders to adopt better practices. By setting specific sustainability targets and measuring progress against them, businesses can respond effectively to these legislative demands while also enhancing their operational efficiency and the sustainability performance of the entire supply chain.

Moreover, sustainability benchmarking is closely tied to a company's reputation and financial performance. Through frameworks and standards such as ESG ratings and supply chain certifications, companies can transparently communicate their sustainability achievements, thereby improving their public image and attracting environmentally conscious investors. Questions like who operates the most carbon-efficient facility or who is closest to reaching net-zero emissions become significant in determining a company's competitive edge and sustainability leadership in the market.

This process includes the quantitative assessment of sustainability performance criteria that are key to your specific supply chain and can cover a wide range of metrics from greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across Scopes 1, 2, and 3 to renewable energy usage, water and air emissions, and total water withdrawal. However, it’s equally as important to include qualitative performance metrics such as Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) ratings, eco-certification usage, reporting frameworks and/or political risk. Such comprehensive evaluations are essential in understanding a company's impact and identifying areas for improvement.

In conclusion, sustainability benchmarking offers a pathway for businesses to navigate the complexities of environmental responsibility, legislative compliance, and market competition. By adopting a structured approach to measure and improve their environmental performance, companies can not only contribute to global sustainability efforts but also unlock new opportunities for growth and innovation. This strategic focus on sustainability can guide investment, reporting, and marketing actions, positioning businesses as leaders in the transition towards a more sustainable future.

Green forest view

Bioindustry Management Consulting

Our dedicated team of over 200 industry experts advise clients across bioeconomy value chains from forestry to packaging and retail, as well as from new bio-based materials to novel new end-uses.

Our service offerings, from corporate strategy to process design and from market insights to operational efficiency backed up by an understanding of best practices, detailed in-house databases, and analysis led by experts in the field, ensure your outstanding performance. We want to be your trusted partner.

For more information, please contact

Katie Mencke - Manager, AFRY Management Consulting

Katie Mencke

Manager, AFRY Management Consulting

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