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DS Smith embeds circular design metrics across all packaging sites

Global packaging company can now measure environmental impact of all its design solutions helping clients prove sustainability goals to stakeholders

A tablet shows circular economy metrics
As more than 80 percent of a product's environmental impact is made at the design stage, data from Circular Design Metrics enables brands and retailers to compare different design solutions.

Sustainable packaging specialist DS Smith has embedded its pioneering Circular Design Metrics across all its packaging sites to support the transition to a circular economy and help its customers achieve their ESG goals. According to the company, corporations around the world are working to create and implement ESG plans that meet the demands of all stakeholders, and CEOs specifically are facing increased pressures to meet those goals. A recent KPMG survey of 1,325 chief executives, shows that 58 percent are "seeing increased demands from stakeholders — such as investors, regulators and customers — for increased reporting and transparency on ESG issues." Much of the challenge for business stems from the ability to capture data and transparently report on activity against these goals.

Using its Circular Design Metrics, DS Smith can now measure and quantify the sustainability performance of each of its packaging designs across eight key indicators: carbon footprint, design for reuse, supply chain optimization, recyclability, planet safety, material utilization, renewable source and recycled content. The company says it is the only packaging producer to offer this unique tool which gives its customers across a wide range of sectors such as FMCG, industrial, retail and e-commerce a clear view of their packaging designs' circularity performance. 

As more than 80 percent of a product's environmental impact is made at the design stage, data from Circular Design Metrics enables brands and retailers to compare different design solutions, helping them to reduce waste and pollution and keep materials and products in use for longer. In addition, it supplies them with valuable data that can be shared in ESG reporting to demonstrate what DS Smith customers are doing to reduce their carbon footprint.

"Many of our customers have ambitious targets to increase the sustainability of their packaging and designing for sustainability is a crucial element in getting closer to a Circular Economy," said Brian Romankow, design and innovation manager, DS Smith North America Packaging, Paper and Recycling. "Using our Circular Design Metrics, our customers can easily compare different design solutions and rate their circularity so they can use the solution that best supports their ESG targets. Working together, we can support our customers in their transition to a circular economy to create a better and more sustainable future for generations to come."

The rollout of the Circular Design Metrics follows the launch of the Circular Design Principles last year which were developed in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. All of DS Smith's 700 designers have been trained on how to apply the principles to design packaging solutions fit for the Circular Economy.

The Circular Economy is at the heart of DS Smith's Now and Next strategy, focusing on closing the loop through better design, protecting natural resources by making the most of every fibre through circular solutions and equipping people to lead the transition to a circular economy. By 2023, DS Smith will manufacture 100 percent reusable or recyclable packaging and its aim is that by 2030, all its packaging will be recycled or reused.

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