Leadership by Example

There is a rising international movement challenging the status quo that is devoted to responsible and sustainable packaging. And the thinking behind this initiative is reaching the marketplace. Waste reduction, smart design, recycled content, responsibly sourced paper fiber and even rethinking the need for packaging altogether; these are the ideas behind the very real efforts by Corporate America to fix its packaging problem. Please read more for information on these corporate leaders and click here for other sustainable packaging initiatives.

Paper garbage on streetCertainly
there are useful functions of packaging —maintaining freshness,
providing safety, and protecting products in transport. But far too often goods are egregiously over packaged and not recycled, resulting in the needless waste of resources.

We know that corporations have a strong interest in marketing and brand identity, but because paper packaging ultimately only serves as packaging that provides for safe and economical protection of the actual product within, industry can do better without having to redesign or re-manufacture particular products. And, if this transformation is handled with creativity and skill, with no loss of sales, market share or profit. Because these leadership companies have done the work to break away from the pack and make change, we want to recognize their efforts and showcase that change is possible. Across America there are successful corporations greening their paper packaging. We call it leadership by example and feature their smart and responsible packaging decisions to show that yes it can be done. And we call on the rest of Corporate America to do their part!

KEEN Shoes

Keen HybridThe folks at KEEN Shoes have totally upgraded the plain old shoe box. They are going 100% recycled box for all Spring 2007 styles, replacing the current black box.


Check out how the box folds flat making it easy to be recycled yet again. Isn’t it great to know that somewhere, somehow maybe another shoe box can be made from old shoe boxes and not our forests! And, KEEN’s Eco carton is 100% biodegradable and produced with 100% post-consumer waste. Maybe because they are a shoe company they know that small steps can lead to big changes.


Clif Bar

Cliff Bar In 2001, Clif Bar began their sustainability efforts in earnest and
committed themselves to reducing their environmental impact across the
board including moving towards zero waste and greening their packaging
materials. They are honest in their appraisal about the process: According to Clif Bar Producing environmentally-sound packaging is a difficult challenge, and one we're still working on.” But they have made real progress!

Clif Bar redesigned their product caddies in 2002 to eliminate shrink-wrap, they have avoided the cumulative use of more than 450,000 pounds of shrink-wrap and saved more than $2 million in expenses. Next they asked why use paper packaging made from virgin tree fiber at the expense of our forests. In 2003, they switched to 100% (50% post-consumer) recycled paperboard for
all their caddies. According to Clif Bar, switching to unbleached
recycled paperboard for the 15 million caddies a year Clif Bar achieved
impressive annual environmental benefits:11,000 Trees saved; 5 million
gallons water saved: 6 million BTUs Energy saved: (enough energy to run
58 homes for a year); and 990,000 pounds CO2 emissions avoided: (that’s equal to taking 82 cars off the road for a year) And their bars are good too!


Patagonia has done some great work over the years. They have managed to find environmental improvements in their packaging which simultaneously boosted their bottomline. And their longjohns are pretty good too.

Patagonia Packaging

Here’s what they say: “In the early days of our base layer business, when we were still selling polypropelene, we packaged it in a plastic bag with a cardboard tag, which cost us 20 cents per unit. Next, we shifted to paper packaging, similar to a mini grocery store bag. Our environmental impact was lower, and the cost came down to 16 cents a unit. Now, with our Capilene line, we just roll up the bare garment and wrap it with a recycled cardboard card and two rubber bands. We call it the "sushi roll."… It's reduced our costs to 6 cents per unit and eliminated tons of waste. As an added advantage, the exposed packaging allows customers to touch the product, which has actually increased sales. Retailers thought it was going to be terrible: they told us time and time again that consumers would hate the sushi roll. But again, when you do the right thing, success follows.


Lavedaighttheway Candle
Aveda a leader in the cosmetics and beauty field operates in an arena where looks are everything. So they have been able to make environmental progress without compromise their visual aesthetic. So with Aveda, it’s beautiful on the outside and beautiful on the inside. They have staked out a responsible packaging leadership position and accomplished some impressive things. With Aveda you can give some green holiday cheer with giftboxes that are recycled, reusable and help support non-polluting wind power. Aveda worked with Mohawk Paper Mills, Inc.—one of the first large-scale production facilities in the United States to use non-polluting, wind-generated electricity for manufacturing environmentally conscious packaging.

It is exciting to report this level of commitment from these members
of Corporate America. Dogwood Alliance applauds their efforts! With
your help and leadership like that displayed by these companies, we
look forward to more success stories as we move forward in our efforts
to reform paper packaging and protect Southern Forests.

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