Dunstan Harris, Account Executive at Curtis Packaging, explains the environmental and business value of carbon balancing and becoming a certified Carbon Balanced Printer.

“Sustainability is incredibly big for the younger generation”

How long have Curtis Packaging been involved with World Land Trust?

We’ve been involved with them for over 11 years. We were the first carbon-balanced packaging company in the UK and we’re very proud of the partnership. We are able to offset the carbon emissions from the production of our cartons and supply a certificate to our customers saying how many tonnes of carbon has been offset and how much land has been protected.

What was the thinking behind the partnership with World Land Trust?

It was a natural step for the business to take. We pride ourselves on being carton specialists, but also having a sustainable point of difference from a lot of other manufacturers in the UK. For example, we only print using vegetable-based inks and we use only water-based coatings and glues where possible. As we are a Carbon Balanced Printer, we offset all our business emissions, but we also offset the carton emissions for the brands we work with.

How do your customers benefit?

It’s a fantastic marketing initiative for them, to say that the emissions from their packaging have been offset. We’re finding that a lot of customers are printing statements on their packaging that explains that the carton has been carbon-balanced. So it’s really strong for their brand and fantastic for us, given that sustainability is such an important factor in packaging. We also have a logo the customer can use, the Carbon Balanced Carton logo, which we think is the pinnacle of accreditation.

How difficult was it to achieve Carbon Balanced Printer status?

Someone from the Carbon Balanced scheme assessed our processes and worked out our emissions. We need to continually update them with our impacts but it’s not a complex procedure. If there’s a company out there that produces anything that uses carton board then I definitely recommend to get in touch with Curtis and see how we can help their business.

Do you personally take a keen interest in the environment?

I do, yes. I’m a keen recycler at home. It’s the little things that make a big difference, such as washing items before putting them in the recycling. Sustainability is incredibly big for the younger generation. I have two younger brothers. They’re 12 and 14, and very hot on recycling. They’re into their clothes but the brands need to demonstrate their commitment to the environment, donating 1% of their profits to charity for instance, or helping to plant trees.

What are the key developments in the packaging industry regarding sustainability?

The move away from plastics will continue to grow, particularly the fantastic work that’s being done in alternative materials such as sugarcane, fruits and vegetables. Another interesting area is film windows made using acetates from cotton and wood pulp chip.

In general, brands are being pushed to be as sustainable as possible. The customers are pushing the brands and the brands are pushing the suppliers, who are having to look at alternatives to keep the supply chain happy. This will make the packaging industry a better place over the next few years as more and more sustainable innovations come to light and start being implemented.

Article written by Sam Upton.