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SIG Combibloc blazes green trail in China

By Rory Harrington , 11-Mar-2010

The first FSC-labelled cartons are to be launched onto the Chinese market, said SIG Combibloc as it seeks to raise awareness of sustainability issues in the global economic powerhouse.

The company said its sustainably-sourced cartons would be on sale across China from May onwards after securing a deal with Inner Mongolia Yili Group to sell three of its premium yoghurt drinks in the containers.

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification is verification that the wood fibre used in the cartons has been sourced in accordance with the scheme’s internationally renowned eco-standards, said a SIG Combibloc statement.

The company said the burgeoning significance of China’s economic influence meant the promotion of green issues was of paramount importance.

“With China’s fast-growing economy, its importance in respect to global environmental and climate protection also rises,“ said Karl Eagle, CEO of SIG Combibloc Asia-Pacific. „The launch of beverage cartons carrying the FSC label will make consumers and other companies and industries more aware of where the packaging comes from. Responsible forest management has an important role to play here."

World Expo

The company said the products would be launched at the World Expo in May. The global gathering, taking place in Shanghai, is being billed as a green event in combining technological innovation with ecologically sound development. The issue of sustainability has world-wide significance and is a focal point of global debate, added SIG.

The packaging giant said that as of the end of 2009, it was the only carton manufacturer certified for a continuous chain of custody (CoC) at all its production sites world-wide in accordance with the criteria of the FSC. This certification means the company now offers carton packs that can bear the label ‘FSC Mix’ across the world.

As well as ensuring that its carton are made up of 75 per cent wood fibre, the company said this raw material comes from responsibly managed forests.

"The FSC label on the beverage cartons is a clear confirmation to consumers that all the wood fibres used to manufacture the packaging, are traceable along the entire value-added chain – from labelled carton pack right back to forest of origin – in accordance with the FSC standards," said a company statement.

SIG Combibloc is a major system supplier of carton packaging and filling machines for beverages and food. In 2009 the company achieved a turnover of EUR1.2bn and employs around 4,250 employees in 40 countries. It is part of the New Zealand based Rank Group.