By measuring the footprint of what goes into making a product, from farm to fork and beyond through LCA, Kraft Foods says it can rid itself of complex and time-consuming environmental impact measurements and focus on making the right changes and get the best results.
Sustainability Director for Research, Development and Quality, Roger Zellner said, “Lifecycle Assessment is an important part of our sustainability journey. It gives us a competitive advantage, as we now have the more insight into how to reduce our products’ footprints, find efficiencies and validate and explain those benefits to our customers and consumers.
This LCA work builds on the multi-year footprinting project the brand owner recently used to map its impact on climate change, land and water use. Now, employees around the globe are using LCA to find ways to eliminate waste in the manufacturing process, for example by reducing the amount of raw materials such as agricultural commodities, which are used at the start of the supply chain.
Kraft Foods is also using LCA to measure how product and packaging innovations improve on previous designs, and provides a common system to measure and explain those advantages.
A most recent example of how LCA has helped Kraft Food’s environmental strategy is the YES Pack salad dressing product sold in the US. Through LCA, the product team was able to reduce its plastic packaging usage by 60%. In the UK, the Kenco coffee team used LCA to confirm its new Eco-Refill package delivered a 70% savings in the packaging’s carbon impact footprint compared to its glass counterpart.
At the heart of Kraft Foods’ reductions in packaging is its Eco-Calculator – a proprietary tool that helps packaging designers develop more efficient, sustainable solutions based on data from the US Environmental Protection Agency, the United States Department of Energy and packaging industry groups.
The Eco-Calculator calculates the percentage of post-consumer recycled material in a given package design, together with the amount of energy and carbon dioxide emissions needed to produce the package. It also helps designers find out how efficiently they are using materials and how well the designs will fit the physical dimension of the product. The Eco-Calculator is used along with other business practices, like economic assessments and ability to manufacture, before deciding on a final design.