15th September 2023

“We pushed the envelope in optimizing the carbon footprint”

ALPLA's carbon-optimized Canupak packaging is one of the finalists in this year's Sustainability Awards. In this context, the responsible project manager, Karina Wachter (formerly Pölzl), gave an interview to the awarding magazine Packaging Europe.


Karina Wachter, Innovation Manager at ALPLA

You’re a finalist in the Sustainability Awards 2023. Congratulations! To start off, could you summarise your entry, in less than 50 words?

The Canupak packaging demonstrates the possibilities of optimizing the carbon footprint of a packaging system. In a cradle-to-gate plus end-of-life approach, all aspects that can be influenced by the packaging converter were evaluated and optimized to the limit.

Why do you think the judges were impressed with your entry? Tell us about what is innovative about your project and/or about its impact on packaging sustainability.

I think the jury was impressed because we really pushed the envelope in optimizing the carbon footprint of the entire packaging system. We have strived to optimize the packaging in all aspects that are within our sphere of influence - be it the lightweight design, the selection and sourcing of the material used, full compliance with design and recycling regulations, the use of renewable energy for production and the choice of transport method.

When and how do you intend to launch/commercialize this innovation?

The Canupak packaging in its current form can be integrated into the customer´s portfolio at any time. In addition, we want to inspire the market and our customers for carbon optimized packaging and be part of this journey.


ALPLA's carbon-optimized Canupak packaging

You’re shortlisted for the Climate category. What do you see as the key demands and challenges in relation to reducing the carbon footprint of packaging and packaged goods?

The overriding requirement of the Green Deal is clear: carbon neutrality by 2050. Everyone must do their part to achieve this goal. However, it is still unclear how the industry can move from reducing its carbon emissions to true carbon neutrality. In my opinion, the lack of clear guidelines for achieving carbon neutrality, the lack of a legal and regulatory framework, and the lack of collaboration on data management along the value chain are the biggest challenges.

What do you think are the main opportunities in this area or what future innovations do you predict in this area?

The main opportunities in this area lie in collaboration along the value chain to make all influencing factors traceable and determine the carbon footprint of the final product based on real data and less on assumptions. In order to make this possible, I firmly believe that innovations in reliable and real-time data collection and data processing will be necessary. In my opinion, the next stop will be carbon neutral packaging. However, this requires a clear legal framework, more transparency about the effectiveness of carbon offset projects and better data management along the value chain.

The winners of the Sustainability Awards 2023 will be announced at the Sustainable Packaging Summit from November 14th to 15th, 2023 in Amsterdam.

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