DS Smith has today launched its Circular Design Metrics – a new set of guidelines that allow customers to rate the circularity of their packaging.

This initiative aims to provide a unique insight into how companies’ packaging choices can reduce their impact on the environment. Through the collaborative design process, DS Smith hopes that customers will be able to compare the environmental performance of different solutions to create more circular packaging.

Stefano Rossi, packaging CEO at DS Smith, said of the announcement: “Our new Circular Design Metrics is a game-changer in driving environmental performance in packaging. We’re excited to use our expertise to help companies, large and small, on their journey to become circular ready.”

The metrics include eight different indicators that seek to provide a clear indication of circularity performance and help identify areas with potential for improvement. These metrics are:

  • Supply chain optimization
  • Recyclability
  • Planet safety
  • Carbon footprint
  • Renewable material source
  • Level of recycled content
  • Material utilization
  • Design for reuse

DS Smith launched its Circular Design Principles for packaging in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in 2020. The principles were developed with the aim of helping companies to design out waste and pollution, keep products and materials in use, and regenerate natural systems.


Now, one year later, the company has trained its 700 packaging designers to apply the Circular Design Principles in the packaging design process. The company says that, with the addition of the new Circular Design Metrics, it will be possible to rate the impact of every design decision, and help customers create the most circular packaging solutions. DS Smith plans to embed the new metrics in the packaging design process with customers over the coming months.

Joe Iles, circular design lead at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, commented: “The design stage has a huge influence on how products including packaging are produced, used and what happens to them after use. DS Smith’s Circular Design Metrics are a key milestone to help drive change towards a circular economy.

“As a strategic partner, DS Smith has the ability to make change happen faster by mobilizing its large design community and influencing its customers, many of which are global brands. And what’s more, the company will also inspire many other businesses and designers worldwide.”