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Earth Day

Winfried Muehling, general manager, Pro Carton, gives his thoughts on Earth Day 2022.

Invest in our planet. This is the core message of Earth Day 2022, the day in which the earth’s inhabitants come together to work towards a prosperous and sustainable future for the next generations. People and organisations from every walk of life, including business and politics, are encouraged to act (boldly), innovate (broadly) and implement (equitably) to instigate meaningful, societal change that can tackle the issues at the heart of climate change.

Climate change is a complex and urgent challenge facing all of humankind – there is no quick fix. It will take prompt, bold and innovative action to reverse its troubling effects, and although it sometimes feels like an uphill battle, my faith is frequently restored by the acts of determination and innovation from both individuals and organisations that can inspire us on Earth Day 2022 to change our habits for the better, and crucially, offer us reasons to be hopeful going forward. One example, from October, was the UN Human Rights Council voting to recognise the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment as a human right in the context of the climate emergency, protecting climate activism and holding harmful groups to account more stringently.

A further example, this time from the packaging industry, is the recently published Circularity by Design guideline, by the cross-industry alliance, 4evergreen.

Developed by 29 packaging design experts, and reviewed by 114 industry leaders, the guideline provides precise recommendations for how to make fibre based packaging that is designed for recycling from the very beginning. The document facilitates collaboration across the supply chain and internal divisions within the businesses, with major brands, such as Danone, Ferrero, Kellogg’s, L’Oreal, Mars, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, and Unilever, joining forces to with other value chain stakeholders to further improve the recyclability of their packaging and circularity credentials.

The collaboration demonstrated through the 4evergreen example, which brings together representatives from every stage of the supply chain, proves how we can address the issue most effectively: together. To enact long lasting change, a combined approach is crucial, with the bold, innovative measures of legislators and organisations supplemented with smaller scale changes to our everyday lives. Pro Carton fully supports the EU’s Green Deal ambitions and the Circular Economy Action Plan, and we are actively contributing every day to mitigate the impact of climate change.

Thanks to the innovation our industry has undergone over recent years, exemplified by the 4evergreen guideline, the cartonboard industry is standing firm to its commitment for sustainable and recyclable packaging based on renewable materials from sustainably managed forests. More than 75% of all wood used by the cartonboard industry comes from certified sustainably managed forests in Europe, with the forests used to source this natural material expanding year after year. Furthermore, cartonboard boasts the highest recycling rate of all the packaging materials, at 84.2%, demonstrating unequivocally that consumers trust the cartonboard recycling system.

There is no better time than Earth Day to come together and reverse the effects of climate change. From big organisations leading by example, to every individual adjusting our habits to make small but impactful changes to the environment, each one of us has the power to make a difference. Together, we can make Earth Day 2022 the most influential yet.


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