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Sustainable Foods Summit, Amsterdam

‘Most companies don’t tell the real lifecycle story - they are not completely green’

By Jenny Eagle+

17-Jun-2015
Last updated on 17-Jun-2015 at 15:06 GMT2015-06-17T15:06:12Z

Professor Roland Ten Klooster
Professor Roland Ten Klooster

Designing a sustainable package is a chain activity. Many companies claim to be ‘green’ but they are just working on a green image, according to Professor Roland Ten Klooster, chair, packaging design and management, University of Twente, The Netherlands.

Consumers cannot make proper choices about sustainable packaging because manufacturers are not transparent enough about what they are putting into their packaging.

Sustainable Foods Summit

This is the message from Klooster during his discussion at the Sustainable Foods Summit in Amsterdam last month.

Many companies say they are green but they are just working on a green image. Why don’t they make the message complete and not just tell one tell one part of the story,” he said.

No one packaging is sustainable. The best packaging is no packaging but it’s still not the most sustainable solution. Packaging companies spend 10% of all their cost on packaging and packaging materials.”

Klooster believes packaging design and engineering is a profession and needs investment for training.

He said he was recently employed by H.J. Heinz Company, Danone and Smurfit Kappa carrying out various projects to evaluate their packaging.

Heinz, Danone, Smurfit Kappa

Heinz wanted data that was more transparent, so asked for help to find a method which is clear to communicate to the market about what is happening and to be honest,” he said.

They wanted to look at the whole supply chain.

Klooster added, with an eco-design it’s hard to come up with a decision model.

We tried to put the designer into the centre of everything using the theory of Matchett FDM (fundamental design method) to put a software program together,” he said.

This would show the outcome of the design and the design process, but we needed so much data and a lot of this is sensitive data for many companies.

We developed a roadmap to sustainable packaging design but we still had a lot of questions when we finished it.”

Matchett FDM

According to Edward Matchett the great gulf that divides mankind is not political, religious or scientific.

It is the split between those persons who would hang on to old forms and those who wish to see new ones,” he said.

Two spirits are at work in the world. It is they who are the cause of the great divide. One would drive the world along at an ever-increasing rate, one would have the world stay precisely where it is.

“One has its foot hard down on the accelerator, the other is trying hard to apply the brake. One has his eyes fixed firmly on the future, the other has his eyes fixed firmly on the past (he does not realise that the ground that he thinks he is standing on disappeared many years ago.”

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