Picking up a carton juice box and drinking it sounds like a fairly easy process. However, there is a long production process that goes into fashioning a particular Swedish pine tree into a juice box, from chopping it down to packaging it and delivering it onto your food tray. Daily News Egypt travelled to Sweden to gain better insight into the process of carton manufacturing.
BillerudKorsnäs, one of the world’s largest paper-packaging production mills, is the main supplier for Tetra Pak, an international packaging company. Together, the companies cooperate to produce food preservation products in certified cartons.
BillerudKorsnäs produces 730,000 tonnes of pulp-based board annually. The company registered SEK 22bn in net sales in 2015, 25% of which occurred in its Greater Middle East and Africa market. The company recorded a gross profit of SEK 2.6bn.
Tetra Pak commands a 85% to 95% share of the Egyptian market’s milk packaging production. The company’s clients include Faragalla, Juhayna, Domty, and Obourland. By mid-2015, the company produced 3bn packages in Egypt per year.
Preserving natural resources
Tetra Pakis a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) packaging company as it adheres to the bodies’ good forestry practices and sources all of its paperboard from independently protected forests. In 2015, Tetra Pak produced approximately 54bn packaging containers bearing a FSC label.
Every tree that is chopped has three main uses. Bark and braches that cannot be converted into wood pulp are broken down into woodchips that are used as fuel to provide steam in the production process. The middle of the tree is harvested for pulp and paper production with each tree producing paperboard for 1,500 one-litre drink cartons. The lower part of the tree is used to produce wooden products.
For every tree BillerudKorsnäscuts down, it plans three new ones.
Forests comprise 60% to 70% of Sweden. The Swedish state only owns 15% to 20% of forests. Approximately 50% are owned by citizens while the remaining portion is held by private companies.
Swedish legislation mandates that local owners must leave 5% of the forest under their control untouched. The remaining forest area can be cut down for various purposes. However, local owners must replant new trees in areas they have deforested.
Do people care?
The attention consumers pay to sourcing notifications on consumer packaging varies from one country to another.
According to a report conducted Tetra Pak, 73% of consumers in developed countries care about sourcing information that identifies environmentally sustainable practices as opposed to 61% in developing countries.
Consumers believe that the presence of labels indicating sustainably sourced packaging makes a product “more appealing”. They also argued that labels “are useful in helping them understand the environmental impact of the packaging”.
Environmental awareness is also on the rise among industry influencers such as food manufacturers, retailers, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and industry associates. In total, 85% of the respondents surveyed by Tetra Pak stated that they understood FSC’s primary tenets.
In developing countries, 98% of respondents understood the label. Recognition of the label was notably higher in the United Kingdom, Germany, USA, Brazil, and Japan. In developing countries, however, the level of awareness declines to 71%.
In India, only 57% understand the meaning of the label. This figures drops further in Turkey, with only 40% understanding the label’s meaning.
The awareness for the meaning of the FSC label is significantly low among costumers in both developed and developing countries.
Only 23% of customers understand the meaning of the label in developing countries. This figure inches up for developed countries, with around 28% understanding the FSC label.
Approximately 50% of customers in Germany and the United Kingdom understand the meaning of the FSC label. In France and Brazil, only 29% of the customers understood the meaning of the FSC label.
For costumers in developing counties, only 18% were aware of the label’s importance.
In 1994, a group of non-governmental organisations, timber users and traders, founded the FSC. Now, the label is widely recognised as the highest global certification standard for forest management.
For a product to carry the FSC label there must be an unbroken chain of custody certification for all relevant production sites.
About Tetra Pak
Tetra Pak has completed the certification for all of its production plants and marketing companies. The company can supply FSC-labelled packages from anywhere in the world, including the sites in its Greater Middle East and Africa region. The company still do not have a facility in Egypt, however.
In June 2015, Tetra Pak’s managing director Andres Lindgren told Daily News Egypt that the company wants to increase the volume of production to between 5bn and 7bn packages.
“We basically do 3bn packages today. And it is almost split evenly between milk, juice, nectar, and cheese,” he said.
Tetra Pak boosted the rate of deployment of FSC-labelled packages in the Greater Middle East and Africa region from 2.2% to 6.7% in 2015.