We at BillerudKorsnäs are convinced that it is through partnerships and strategic working relationships with others that we reach our full potential. We cannot tackle global sustainability challenges alone. However, when we team up with others we can identify new and innovative solutions to these challenges and simultaneously achieve greater insight into the demands the market makes on us. This approach also allows us to learn from one another, to spread knowledge and to generate broader positive impact on society and our environment.
Plastic debris in the sea is one of the biggest environmental problems of our age – millions of tonnes of plastic find their way into the seas and oceans every year. According to a report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation there will be more plastic in the sea than fish – measured by weight – in 2050. This constitutes a genuine threat to ecosystems worldwide and, by extension, to the human race.
That is why BillerudKorsnäs jointly finances and works closely with the French research organisation Tara Expeditions in order to contribute to building up know¬ledge about the impact plastic is having on our seas. Together with Tara Expeditions, BillerudKorsnäs was represented in Paris during COP21, when the world’s decision-makers finally passed an historic global climate agreement. Tara received visits from important figures including Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, and government ministers from a number of countries.
Working to increase the recycling of packaging solutions and to cut the volume of debris – regardless of the material used – plays a prominent role in our operations. We are happy to accept our responsibility as a manufacturer through the Packaging and Newspaper collection service (Förpacknings- och tidningsinsamlingen – FTI). FTI is tasked with collecting and recycling packaging and newspapers in Sweden. As the biggest manufacturer in Europe of paper for carrier bags, we also provide an excellent alternative, particularly given that the EU has decided make drastic cuts to the use of plastic carrier bags.
Collaboration to combat food waste
We at BillerudKorsnäs want more people to have access to better food, and we realise that food waste is a major global sustainability issue that has to be tackled. Through our products and our competence, we are in a position to make a positive contribution in this area. Working closely with our customers, we produce smart packaging solutions for a variety of foods – solutions that improve the shelf life of the food and protect it from external influences throughout the value chain, from food producer to end consumer.
One example is the Tetra Recart® solution, where the food is sterilised in the packaging itself. In this way, we contribute to reducing the huge level of waste from food ruined on account of poor packaging.
BillerudKorsnäs has a fruitful relationship with the machine manufacturer Bosch. It was in partnership with this player that we launched a new, completely air-tight packaging system for paper bags for dry foods: Axello Zap. BillerudKorsnäs is also involved in a research and development project in collaboration with other companies and organisations centred on reducing food waste. For additional information about this project, click here.
Partnership with ActionAid
BillerudKorsnäs supports ActionAid – a global organisation devoted to standing up for human rights and combating poverty. We primarily support the ActionAid activities centred on the human right to food, as this area is so clearly linked to our business. The working relationship with ActionAid is an additional step in our commitment to making the most of earth’s resources and to giving more people access to the food available.
Through an internal programme, all employees who wish to participate have the opportunity to donate ‘a lunch’ (SEK 60 per month). For every lunch donated, BillerudKorsnäs makes an additional contribution of SEK 100. SEK 160 per month is enough to provide five at-risk families with enough seeds and tools to start a small-scale farm, or to give five orphans porridge for school lunches for an entire year. Every year, some employees who participate in the project also have the chance to travel to one of the countries where it is possible to contribute to ActionAid’s work. In 2015, the destination was Mozambique, and four of our employees helped build a centre for victims of violent crime.
Network with students
In order to make contact with students interested in sustainability issues, and to contribute to their education, BillerudKorsnäs works with Sustainergies – a network that focuses on sustainability for the business community, academia and students. In 2015, we held a number of events including what is known as ‘CSR Live’, where a group of students had the opportunity to visit BillerudKorsnäs’ sustainability department.
We also participated in ‘Sustainergies Cup’, a competition in which students from all parts of the world put forward their innovative ideas for helping various companies tackle sustainability challenges. For its assignment, BillerudKorsnäs asked the students to describe how we will be buying and consuming food in the future, and how this may affect the need for packaging. The winning entry came from three engineering students at Uppsala University: Alireza Hosseini Shabestari and Daniel Ismail Eriksson, who are studying Mechanical Engineering, and Anders Larsson, who is taking a Master’s degree in Industrial Management and Innovation. In their vision entitled ‘The BillerudKorsnäs Way’, they lay out a timeline stretching 50 years into the future, with carbon-negative packaging as one of the leading innovations. Their solution illustrates how society can close the circuit for food production as the global population approaches ten billion. For additional information about Sustainergies Cup, click here.
Project White-Backed Woodpecker
The white-backed woodpecker is seriously endangered, largely because its habitat – deciduous forests containing a lot of dead wood – is being replaced by spruce and pine forests. Sustainability in forestry is a key issue for BillerudKorsnäs, which is why we have decided to participate in ‘Project White-Backed Woodpecker’ as from 2016.
We are supporting the construction of breeding cages for the white-backed woodpecker, as well as a rearing facility at Järvzoo. We are also helping to restore areas of deciduous forest for the white-backed woodpecker – areas that are also important to many other species of insect and bird. By fattening up white-backed woodpecker chicks that we then release into healthy, restored deciduous woods, we hope to make this species of bird become a natural feature of our forests once more. Read more here.