As an Innovation Manager at Driscoll’s, Christine Hoogenboom focuses on innovations and sustainability. With the help of Greenhouse Sustainability, they carefully looked at their footprint which provided useful insights.
“When I started here in 2017, footprinting was not yet a current theme. But sustainability was. From day one I focused on our plastic packaging and how we could do it differently. As a global player in the tastiest soft fruit, packaging is important in several aspects. It must be functional and, above all, protect our fragile products very well. At the same time, our packaging in the store must be distinctive and attractive to the consumer. In Europe, we are now very far with the transition from plastic to paper. It's a journey we've started, but we're certainly not there yet.
An LCA (life cycle assessment, which maps the total life cycle of a product) provides surprising insights into several footprint aspects; not only in terms of packaging, but also other elements in the entire chain. Greenhouse Sustainability allowed us to look further than just the packaging with the footprint calculation. Transport is a major influencer in our process. How are you going to fine-tune that? How are you going to improve the impact of that part? Footprint calculation broadens and indicates in your chain where major improvement can be achieved. Important, because you really have to look very carefully at yourself and your own processes. And cannot make all sorts of assumptions.
It is often assumed that a paper packaging is heavier in terms of material than one made of plastic. At Driscoll’s that is not the case. With the reduction of weight, the lower product footprint of the packaging material and 'the end of life' of paper versus plastic, our transition to paper has reduced CO2 emissions enormously. Even if the 'end of life'-stage of plastic improves in the future and less plastic ends up in the incinerator, paper will remain a good choice in our case.
The fight against the plastic waste mountain
Of course we are continuously active to further reduce our footprint in a broader perspective. Although we don't have all the answers and know that the road to total sustainable cultivation is long, we are determined to make a difference. We do this by tackling the plastic waste mountain and dealing responsibly with natural resources.”
Innovation Manager Driscoll's