New packaging in the name of sustainability.
It started with Ensto customers. “Customers really don’t need a fancy, glossy package with many colors used on the box,” says Tatiana Novatskaya, Ensto Project Manager for the packaging transition. “Following global environmental responsibility initiatives they’re far more interested in knowing that our packaging is sustainable.”
The place to start being sustainable was corrugated cardboard. Ensto spends close to two million euros each year to produce packaging, and more than a half of that amount is connected to corrugated cardboard. Ensto packaging was folded into about 450 different forms, and plenty of different suppliers were used to create it. There was also no common process or agreed-upon rules for new package introduction. Some existing marking methods like tick-the-box labeling were not always understood properly. With input from customers and consumers, our team set out to simplify the box itself and make markings clear and unequivocal.
The project’s Steering Team, headed by Project Owner Pia Hänninen and Project Manager Tatiana Novatskaya, defined the project scope as “from beginning to end, a huge cooperation project within Ensto.” It required people from every link in the supply-, production-, and logistics chains, and especially those in product management and product development. “It’s a huge amount of work for a lot of people,” says Novatskaya, “and the new boxes are now being implemented in factories, which will create even more unpredictable challenges. But we’re all committed to maintaining the sustainability of our packages, therefore we’ll definitely find the needed solutions in every struggle.”
The team’s target is to reduce the number of cardboard boxes used by 30 percent, and optimize cardboard through the newest methods and tools available on the market.
Learning from the insights of the leading carton manufacturers worldwide, the steering team came up with the “brownies” and “blueys” packaging concept.
Most industrial packages were made brown – made from recycled flute with a strong fiber top liner and onecolor printing. This change is creating a synergy effect with box sustainability where manufacturers require less water for production, less ink, and less CO2 emissions. In addition, “brownies” do not require the use of AOX (absorbable organic halides) like chlorine.
The quantity of consumer boxes (“blueys”) required has also been significantly decreased. Here, several brands have been combined into one Ensto-brand packaging, and manufacturing technologies simplified. Glossy top liners are being eliminated, since they require an additional layer of varnish to be used. The quantity of colors used was reduced from the previous three (and sometimes five!) to only one. This change also reduces water consumption. For consumer boxes, Ensto has undertaken a huge optimization process, with box structure and opening mechanisms reconsidered in order to maximize savings of plywood used for carton manufacturing.
New boxes are clearly labeled with a photo or product illustration so everyone knows what’s inside, and the Ensto brand is crystal clear to everyone who encounters the package.
Because part of not wasting is utilizing what you have, Ensto is still working its way through the old packages. This means it’s entirely possible that you may not have seen the new packaging yet, but you definitely will notice a big difference soon.
It’s also too early to be able to accurately calculate how much Ensto will reduce its CO2 footprint through its new packaging, though with 20,000 products supplied annually it’s clear the reduction will be substantial.
What is clear is how much customers appreciate it. Heikki Palmu, Marketing Manager at Rexel, the wholesaler which distributes products and services in the areas of automation, technical supply and energy management, believes the new design perfectly reflects the environmental-friendliness of Ensto’s strategy. “Ensto's new package design is simple and stylish at the same time,” he says. “Less is now totally more.”
Text: Scott Diel