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Reduce paper waste through reduced packaging and improve overall packaging efficiencies


Segment    Family    Class




SDG Alignment

11. Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

SDG Target


Target Description

By 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management

Level of Effort

Level of Effort Scale


1 -Quick Wins: solution involves adding criteria for the good or service being purchased (ex: certifications), minimal internal process changes.

2 -Long Term Adoption: solution requires some changes to internal processes and/or more capital investment (ex: digital transformation to reduce paper use).

3 – Disruptive Opportunities: requires significant investment and changes to internal processes (ex: retrofitting building)

Category Assessment

ETCH Procurement Process .png


• Encourage manufacturers to package their products in an easy-to-open package solution, by ensuring the use of recyclable materials through reduction of quantity of virgin paper use.

• Amazon, one of the industry's top users of industrial paper and packaging, developed the frustration-free packaging (FFP) program. their packaging is designed without plastic clamshells, wire ties, and other redundant packaging features, so it’s super easy to open and 100% recyclable. Cross-check with your current suppliers to identify whether a similar program can be integrated. If not, consider some form of program adoption to ensure paper waste reduction.

• Investigate organizations and third-party groups that advocate for better paper usages in businesses. This includes the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC), businesses should assess their level of commitment to these initiatives, then take the action to be members of these organizations.

Opportunity Identification 

Reduce the paper usage and associate your company (brand) with third party organizations and suppliers who are aligned with your business values.

Industry paper usage is in the scope of utilizing materials from recycled options to ensure usage reduction - this is essential to environmental conservation and reducing carbon emissions through the reduction in industrial paper use.

Strategy Build & Execution

• After establishing these targets, determine what degree of transition is appropriate (if a high-grade paper is necessary for the function of the company, consider smaller-scale innovations and other 100% recycled materials options)

• Align with paper/ paper packaging suppliers about this initiative and determine the level of transition they can adopt to begin the initiative.

• Deliberately purchase packaging made with recycled paper or compostable materials.

• Establish new guidelines on the products that require additional packaging during shipping, if products are structurally sound in their intended packaging, it should not require more packaging before shipment

• Help the suppliers with the implementation of the paper-reduction strategies for their day-to-day operations.

Supplier Negotiation & Contract

• Negotiate paper specifications in contracts, this includes recycled content and paper manufacturing certifications.

• Specify in your RFI to require vendors with their ability to offer alternatives to traditional packaging paper.

• Discuss with your suppliers your organization's action plan to reduce overall packaging and align on how they can support your initiative, collaborate on material sourcing initiatives.

• Consider working with a local paper supplier to build their capacity to minimize excessive paper usage, sourcing locally.

Supplier Performance & Management

• Set a commitment with your vendor and suppliers, work towards reducing overall paper usage in packaging, increase the percentage of recycled and compostable material in your packaging. These are trackable information as your place purchase orders on packaging material.

• Report on your progress with stakeholders and continue to shift towards less packaging if feasible.

• Evaluate the commercial impact of procuring paper products from ethical suppliers, include an assessment on environmental impact; compare to historical data to track progress.

Resource Links

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