Team at Vernier headquarters reduces scope 3 GHG emissions with innovative packaging

The Vernier team’s brilliant idea of replacing round metal drums used to store and transport some products with square fibre packaging may seem like a simple, elegant solution, but it took a team of experts from fields from packaging engineering to procurement to come up with the polished result.

Innovative packaging in Vernier, Switzerland

They started out with a problem – metal detectors were incompatible with the drums being used. After looking at possible solutions, they hit upon an idea that has since benefitted the environment in many ways.

    The square cardboard drums are lighter and take up less space. This means that fewer trucks are needed to deliver the same quantity of product, reducing scope 3 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but also traffic-related nuisances such as noise, air pollution and accidents.

    The fibre is made from renewable materials and can be recycled whereas metal is mined – the innovation is more sustainable too.

    The benefits don’t stop there: because of their shape, there is less space between them in transport and this makes the shipment more stable. Because they are lighter, it requires less effort to move them, improving the health and safety of workers. A related improvement by the supplier – an ecoclip that replaces sealing tape – makes the solution faster to use, reliable and practical because the clip also serves as a handle. The new drums are so convincing that we are expanding their use to more and more products.

    This is not the only local innovation in packaging though. The team noticed that small drums were secured individually on much larger pallets for transportation. This leaves significant gaps and a lot of empty space, meaning the capacity of the truck is underused: this leads to wasted resources and extra costs.

    After discussing the problem with our transporter, they proposed pallets that are half the size of the EURO norm, that is 80x60 cm instead of 80x120 cm. After investigating their possible use with a range of experts and stakeholders and getting the thumbs up from our customers, we decided to introduce this new option.

    Ordering smaller pallets saves about 50 tonnes of wood a year and lets us avoid 70 trips of 725 km each, every year – this reduces the GHG emissions of transportation by about four tonnes annually. It is a simple and efficient solution that improves transport safety and helps protect the environment.