Selling Sustainability

Sustainability is the best kind of business opportunity—a way to grow our sales while enabling our customers (and theirs) to operate more efficiently and cost effectively, with less impact on the planet’s resources. Our pursuit of sustainable solutions is just one more way we’re anticipating and meeting our customers’ needs, as we’ve done for more than eight decades.

Offering Our Customers Better Options

2025 Goal: To ensure that 70 percent of our products and solutions will conform to, or will enable end products to conform to, our environmental and social guiding principles.

Across our company, we’re innovating to give customers more sustainability-oriented choices. Our Label and Graphic Materials (LGM) business—our largest—is developing ClearIntentTM, a growing portfolio of hundreds of products made with materials that are reduced, recycled, recyclable or responsibly sourced. They include labels made with plant-based film, labels for plastic bottles that detach more readily in the recycling process, and a wide line of labels made with FSC®-certified paper.

Similarly, our Retail Branding and Information Solutions (RBIS) business routinely enables customers to replace conventional packaging and brand elements with more environmentally friendly alternatives. RBIS offers labels made from 100 percent recycled polyester yarn; FSC®-certified paper for graphic tickets, tags and labels; recycled plastic fasteners for attaching brand and price tickets; and bags made from bioplastic, a plant-derived alternative to conventional, petroleum-based polyethylene.

Our product offerings don’t yet solve every sustainability challenge, but they are a powerful starting place for companies and a strong foundation for our future in this market. Driven by our 2025 goals and our commitment to making a difference up and down the supply chains we’re part of, we’re excited to continue our pursuit of groundbreaking sustainable solutions.

Visualizing Sustainability with GreenprintTM

Avery Dennison Greenprint is our tool for analyzing the environmental impact of the packaging, labels and other solutions we provide to customers and their end customers. Greenprint helps our customers make more informed decisions about the materials they use, providing a cradle-to-gate analysis of the water, electricity, fossil material and bio‑based material (like trees) necessary for a product. We then show customers how they can reduce those impacts through more efficient design or through the use of recycled materials. Greenprint has proven especially popular among apparel brands served by our RBIS business. It’s increasingly used by our LGM customers as well, especially when we’re helping to serve the fast-moving consumer goods market.

Greenprint was one of the first impact-analysis tools in our industry, and it’s still unique in its focus on the impacts that occur during the resource-intensive states of raw material extraction and manufacturing. In 2016, we added certified paper and fabric to the mix of factors customers can analyze as they seek a balance of cost, performance and sustainability.

Taking on the Challenge of Label Waste

2025 Goal: To eliminate 70 percent of matrix and liner as waste from our value chain.

One of our greatest and most urgent sustainability challenges is to reduce the waste from our pressure-sensitive labels—specifically the liners and matrix left over after our customers and end users have applied the labels.

We’ve set a goal of eliminating 70 percent of the matrix and liner waste from our value chain by 2025. To get there, we’re working with customers, recyclers and others to create a recycling infrastructure and network of processors that doesn’t currently exist on a scale that matches our customers’ needs. So far, that’s meant citing research to show both our customers and recyclers that our label liners can be feasibly recycled, and identifying recyclers worldwide willing to recycle them. Our ultimate aim, which we’ll pursue over the next several years, is to create a complete, circular industry-wide system, through which label liners are affordably recycled and, in some cases, re-pulped and made into new liners. It’s a big challenge, and one we believe our expertise, scale and influence make us uniquely positioned—and uniquely obligated—to take on. 

Cultivating More FSC-Certified Forestland

2025 Goal: We’ll source 100 percent certified claim paper, of which 70 percent will be Forest Stewardship Council–certified.

Because forests are critical to the environment, to local economies and to making the paper we rely on in our business, we’re using our purchasing power and partnerships to increase the amount of forest under FSC®-certified management.

From 2014 through 2016, the Avery Dennison Foundation partnered with the Rainforest Alliance on a three-year effort to increase the amount of FSC®-certified forest in the rugged and ecologically critical La Mosquitia region of northeast Honduras. A grant of $600,000 was made, along with technical expertise, to help teach timber producers how to profitably harvest timber, manage land and connect to markets, while preserving the health of the forest ecosystem. As a result of the project, more than 81,500 acres of mahogany and other hardwoods are under improved management or are in the process of obtaining FSC®-certification. The project improved management capacities among 18 small and medium-sized enterprises and helped create more than 650 permanent jobs. Producers gained market access for new timber species and products. And sales of sustainably produced timber products increased to $2.1 million over three years, surpassing the project’s original goal by 22 percent.

The Foundation is now working with the Rainforest Alliance, the U.S. Forest Service and several other companies in the U.S. in The Appalachian Woodlands Alliance (AWA), an effort to encourage woodland owners in south and central Appalachia to manage their land according to FSC® practices. Unlike forests of the western U.S., which are largely managed by the government and private timber companies, the woodlands of Appalachia are owned by thousands of individual owners on tracts that average a few dozen acres in size. Increasingly, owners are being enticed to sell their lands to developers, who cut down large swaths of trees for housing or retail complexes. AWA works with ambassadors from within the local forest industry, among others, to show landowners the economic and cultural benefits of sustainably managed forests. Working with an advisory group of regional experts, the Alliance has also developed recommendations for supporting healthy forest ecosystems, giving woodland owners guidance on how they can help support conservation. AWA has developed a new sustainable forest-management assurance tool that provides a point-of-harvest assessment intended to significantly grow the volume of sustainably harvested forest products in the project area.

Promoting Sustainable Apparel

We work with peers and partners to increase social and environmental responsibility in the apparel industry chiefly through our membership in the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, an alliance among the apparel, footwear and home textile industries. The Coalition’s primary focus is the Higg Index, a standardized supply chain measurement tool aimed at helping companies understand their environmental and social impacts. In 2016, our Senior Director of Sustainability, Helen Sahi, was elected to the Coalition’s board of directors and continues to serve as a member of its Social and Labor Convergence Working Group. As a company situated at the nexus of multiple supply chains, with influence both as a buyer and a supplier, we’re proud to bring a manufacturer’s perspective to the Coalition.

 

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