During his presentation at the 10th Speciality Films & Flexible Packaging Global Summit 2023 in Mumbai, Jose Novo, key account manager, Toyo Ink, Japan, delved into the scrutiny of carbon footprints associated with inks and coatings. He also explored how ink and coatings can actively contribute to the ongoing discourse surrounding monomaterials.
His presentation delivered several crucial insights for the audience. He highlighted the rapid transformation occurring within the printing industry, emphasizing a shift from decorative to functional applications. Additionally, Novo emphasized the pivotal role that inks and coatings can play in diminishing the overall carbon footprint. He underscored the significance of upstream initiatives, emphasizing that effective CO2 reductions require actions across various stages of the supply chain. Additionally, he proposed that the utilization of water-based solutions, in conjunction with suitable press conditions, offers a pragmatic and environmentally friendly approach to minimize CO2 emissions.
Furthermore, Novo identified barrier coatings as essential components in advancing the transition toward monomaterialization, facilitating the recycling of substrates. Novo also stressed the importance of tailoring ink chemistries to align with the end-of-life requirements of products, further highlighting the industry’s commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility.
In his address, Novo emphasized that sustainability extends beyond mere packaging; it necessitates a focus on sustainable design. Often, there is a misconception where people conflate sustainability with eco-friendly packaging. However, he clarified that being eco-friendly does not automatically equate to sustainability, and sustainability does not inherently imply eco-friendliness.
Regarding the carbon footprint, Novo discussed three scopes within the cradle-to-gate life cycle assessments. Scope one considered factors such as fuel consumption for electricity generation, in-house energy production (e.g., solar power), and emissions from company equipment. Scope two encompassed emissions associated with purchased energy sources. Finally, scope three involved a comprehensive discussion of emissions related to various stages in the value chain, including raw material production, material transportation to the factory, outsourced activities, waste generated during production, and sales/management activities.
Novo added, “We conducted an analysis to understand the dependency of CO2 emissions on each scope and discovered that these figures generally apply to all our factories worldwide – scope one accounts for 7% of CO2 emissions, scope two contributes 4%, and scope three constitutes the majority at 89%. Within this 89%, a significant portion, approximately 80%, is directly linked to raw materials.”
In the context of reducing scope three emissions, Nova emphasized two key strategies. Firstly, he stressed the importance of a thorough assessment and selection of raw material suppliers, prioritizing those with a low Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). Secondly, he highlighted the significance of offering products with chemistries that result in lower CO2 emissions during the raw materials production phase. This includes transitioning to flexographic printing methods, incorporating biomass-based products, and adopting water-based alternatives for products.
“Within the supply chain, our responsibility extends beyond the CO2 emissions directly generated in our factories. It encompasses a broader spectrum, including emissions originating from our suppliers and raw materials. Within this framework, it’s essential to distinguish between these scopes to collaboratively identify strategies for reducing CO2 emission,” said Novo.