Opportunities for growth in biobased packaging

Nicolas Viart of Bonsucro will be discussing What Makes a Sustainability Standard Credible? at Sustainability in Packaging 2014.

Nicolas Viart was appointed Head of Sustainability of Bonsucro® in November 2011. Bonsucro® promotes the world's only metric standard for sustainable sugar cane.

Previously Traceability Manager at the Marine Stewardship Council where he was responsible for the development and maintenance of their Chain of Custody programme, Nicolas will be bringing extensive experience in the management of global environmental standards to Sustainability in Packaging 2014.

Nicolas will be discussing What Makes a Sustainability Standard Credible? at this year's conference including a look at the use of sugarcane derived products in packaging and the future of sustainably-sourced packaging. Enjoy our recent interview with him offering a sneak preview of his presentation at Sustainability in Packaging 2014.

We have seen an uptake of biobased feedstocks available in the last 5 years. Sugarcane has and is taking on a more predominant role as a feedstock for packaging, can you tell us where do you see the challenges for even a bigger expansion and what opportunities do you see in the near future for more end users adopting it in their packaged goods?

Non-renewable packaging is still predominant, however there is a huge opportunity for growth for biobased packaging. The challenge lies in product development to ensure the quality of new packaging and their sustainability credentials. Only when both are reached, the large-scale switch from non-renewable to renewable will happen.

We know that Brazil is the biggest market when it comes to sugarcane production, what are the challenges for a sustainable supply chain involving an emerging economy?

Brazil is largest producer of sugarcane totaling over 40% of the world production.

Some of the best performing mills are located in Brazil and they have embraced the vision of long term sustainability. Brazilians have lead the way in demonstrating and proving their sustainability by achieving Bonsucro certification.

Our challenge is to work with all producing units to the level of Bonsucro certification. Financial investment is needed to bring producing units up to the level of certification and the return on investment is in the companies ability to realize the long term vision of sustainability. The international market demands one global standard for sugarcane and Bonsucro continues to work with all stakeholders to make this a reality. We are also seeing a trend of local public commitments being made toward sustainability, this is why we work with our members so they can supply consumers with sustainable products.

You will be speaking as part of the Sustainable Packaging Sourcing session: what role does Bonsucro play when it comes to sustainable sourcing and why is it so important to make sure of the sources of sustainable feedstocks?

Bonsucro is dedicated to sugarcane! By specializing, Bonsucro has gained expertise in sugarcane and has tailored a tool specific to the sector. But although sugarcane is an efficient crop, number of issues (including industrial efficiencies, environmental impact, social conditions of workers, research and development amongst others) must be tackled before claiming sustainability. Bonsucro has developed a unique International Standard which addresses the three pillars of sustainability (social, environmental and economic) and set measurable targets. When buyers specify Bonsucro-certified sugarcane derived products, they can be confident that producers and millers have implemented practices that offer sustainability

What are you looking forward to hear at Sustainability in Packaging 2014?

I am really looking forward to hear more about the marine debris case studies and policy as I have been involved in addressing sustainability issues in the fishing sector. I will also follow closely the discussions around balancing act of sustainability vs. cost and meeting supply need.

Sustainability in Packaging 2014 will take place March 5-7, 2014 in Orlando, FL. More than 300 leaders in the sustainability and packaging supply chains are expected to come together to discuss the opportunities, challenges and solutions that will lead to packaging innovations that improve sustainability and the bottom line.

Nearly 50 experts from diverse organizations like Waste Management, The Coca-Cola Company, the NRDC, Aveda, P&G, Otterbox, the U.S. Department of Defense and more will engage and inspire you through presentations, workshops, networking events, panel discussion, Q&A and more. Learn the latest on sustainable feedstocks, EPR, sustainabile sourcing, flexible packaging and more.