LONG BEACH, CA—Global supply chains remain under pressure even as consumer demand continues to rise. All industries are working through supply challenges to meet this demand while maintaining or even improving on “green” sustainability efforts. Packagers are critical in such pursuits. Whether glass, cardboard, aluminum or other materials, packaging plays a role throughout every supply chain. Improve emissions with packaging manufacture, and the positive impacts ripple outward to all downstream users, “greening” the entire supply chain. Ship & Shore Environmental (S&SE), a multinational environmental pollution abatement and energy solutions firm, offers guidance and platforms for packagers and other supply chain organizations in need of meeting urgent market demand without adding to environmental, logistical, and regulatory concerns.
According to key research by McKinsey, “the typical consumer company’s supply chain creates far greater social and environmental costs than its own operations, accounting for more than 80 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions and more than 90 percent of the impact on air, land, water, biodiversity, and geological resources.”
When improperly managed, packaging can be an egregious contributor to that supply chain environmental waste. Wastes from plastics are commonly cited, but aluminum production can yield greenhouse gases, sulfur dioxide, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Paper and paperboard manufacturing create carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and volatile organic compounds.
S&SE creates a broad line of abatement solutions that allow packaging manufacturers to mitigate the hazardous waste from these processes. Among several similar examples, two organizations that recently deployed S&SE solutions include:
- A century-old industry leader in film conversion and the production of flexible packaging. The manufacturer’s clients span the food, snack, pet care, household, and health and beauty industries. Processes are highly chemical-intensive, involving polypropylene as well as metalizing, cold seal applications, and 10-color conventional and expanded gamut (EG) flexographic printing
- A subsidiary of a large flexographic printing and packaging company that specializes in security packaging systems. The firm services clients across diverse industries including e-commerce, pharmaceutical, banking, armored carriers, retail, restaurant delivery, law enforcement, duty-free/air travel, healthcare, laboratories, and cannabis
Both manufacturers play large roles in world-scale supply chains, even though those chains address disparate market segments. In each case, the manufacturer addressed greenhouse gas emission abatement in its manufacturing line with energy-efficient S&SE regenerative thermal oxidizer (RTO) systems.
“Most of our clients do not have permission to operate unless they are within certain limits set forth by their permits,” said S&SE president and CEO Anoosheh Oskouian. “Most often, they come to us because they need to become within these limits, either before constructing a plant at a brand-new facility or increasing production at an existing facility. Implementing our technologies is an act of environmental stewardship, which keeps our clients within their long-term environmental goals. We provide long term solutions, as many of systems are still operating even after 25 years.”
Sustainability remains a critical issue for all nations and the world’s future health. Air pollution inflicts widely understood harm on people and environments alike. As noted in the environmental conference paper “Pollution and its Impact on Sustainable Development,” pollution contributes to declines in agricultural and animal production, declines in labor productivity (due to worker suffering), and high costs associated with social and economic fallout from dealing with pollution, which in turn draws funds away from R&D and potential industrial advances.
In short, unchecked pollution hurts people as much as industries. Conversely, companies that take sustainability seriously tend to reap ROI benefits. The McKinsey study offers the example of British retailer Marks and Spencer, which “generated £145 million in net benefits in 2013–14.”
As noted, cleaning up packaging emissions can yield outsized sustainability benefits that can aid the efforts and reporting of downstream users in the supply chain. This is especially fortunate as increasing numbers of companies are demanding that their supply chains meet governmental sustainability laws, such as California’s 2006 Toxics in Manufacturing Prevention Act. S&SE dedicates many resources to staying abreast of such regulations around the world and counseling both companies and governments on how to integrate pollution abatement into their efforts. Some of that counseling results in systems deployment; all of it results in more informed decision makers taking an ever more influential role in shaping the livability of our planet.