DS Smith has pledged to manufacture 100 per cent reusable or recyclable packaging by 2025, and to use 100 per cent recycled or chain of custody certified papers by 2020 - helping its customers to meet their Zero Deforestation target.

Announced in its 2018 Sustainability Review, published on Monday, the firm made a total of nine new sustainability pledges after achieving the majority its existing energy, water and waste targets ahead of schedule. Aside from packaging-specific pledges, its new targets include:

•             Ensure 100 per cent of suppliers comply with its sustainability standards by 2025

•             Reduce its CO2 emissions by 30 per cent per tonne of production by 2030, against a 2015 baseline.

The company will spend the next year establishing strong action plans and gathering robust data for the new targets, which will be reported on for the first time in 12 months’ time. The pledges reflect DS Smith’s commitment to redefine packaging as consumer habits and expectations shift rapidly.

The report highlighted the company’s progress against existing targets and commitments. 71% of the commitments have been achieved or are on track and many have now been integrated into the nine new targets and internal action plans. Key achievements in the past 12 months include:

•             95% FSC® certification across all in-scope sites within Packaging and Paper divisions

•             Improved EcoVadis score - remaining in the top five per cent of all organisations evaluated

•             Continued to build a network of PackRight and Impact Centres, working with customers to design brand-building packaging that removes excess packaging and optimises logistics.

Commenting in the report, Miles Roberts, Group Chief Executive of DS Smith, said:

“Innovative packaging has a key role to play in helping to address a number of global sustainability challenges – ensuring more efficient use of resources, optimising last-mile

delivery in increasingly urbanised societies and reducing food and product waste as populations grow.

“More needs to be done to ensure that the positive role of good, sustainable packaging is not forgotten. With increasing scrutiny of the role of packaging, we all need to do more to help tackle some of the challenges associated with ‘bad packaging’ by working within our industry, with government, local authorities, brand owners, retailers, recyclers, reprocessors and consumers.”

Emma Ciechan, Director of Planning, Performance Management and Sustainability at DS Smith, said: “We have engaged a wide range of stakeholders, identifying their priorities and balancing these against the areas in which we believe we can have the greatest impact. Alongside increasing our ambition and focus in areas like water and waste, we are particularly excited by our target to manufacture only reusable or recyclable packaging by 2025.”

The world is changing. With the rise of e-commerce, brand reputation and packaging have never been more closely linked and increased consumer exposure to packaging means relationships with brands are ever more informed by secondary and tertiary packs. E-commerce packaging must also be designed to protect products amidst a rising amount of touch points, whilst simultaneously optimising last-mile deliveries.