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KPI of the Day – Sustainability: % Recycled paper packaging



Measures the proportion of packaging material that is made from recycled paper. Paperboard packaging includes corrugated cardboard, cartons, and boxboard.


To indicate the sustainability efforts put into paper usage and responsible product packaging in a manufacturing company. It is also an indicator of responsible procurement practices within an organization.


Accurately reporting on this KPI is dependent on recording the source of paper packaging and the total packaging used, with targets varying based on the company’s procurement guidelines and industry.

To optimize the value of this KPI, companies can implement various initiatives, depending on the type of products they manufacture:

  • Using paperboard packaging which contains as much post-consumer recycled fiber as there can be, preferably at least 30%, due to this type of recycled paper offering higher environmental benefits
  • Working with suppliers who are certified by an internationally recognized forest and manufacturing environmental organization, such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC)
  • Implementing a reliable supplier management policy, including tools such as sustainability scorecards and checklists to ensure the high quality and sustainability of purchased paperboard packaging, as well as to facilitate the monitoring of this KPI
  • Selecting unbleached paper or cardboard in the packaging process
  • Opting for total chlorine-free (TCF) or processed chlorine-free (PCF) paper packaging, as these generate lower pollution levels in the manufacturing process

If you are interested in more Sustainability related KPIs, subscriptions provide access to +1,500 KPI examples. Our dedicated Library contains relevant resources to improve your KPI practices, and if you want to further improve your knowledge, feel free to explore our latest sustainability-related publications – our white paper on Sustainability Reporting, The Health, Safety, Security and Environment KPI DictionaryThe KPI Dictionary Volume I: Functional Areas and The Resources KPI Dictionary.

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